By Katie Steiner

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — With all of this warm weather time is starting to run out to enjoy winter activities that Minnesotans know and love.

Today was the last day people could enjoy the Ice Castles in New Brighton. And ice fisherman will have to start thinking about pulling their houses off the lake.

On Saturday people were enjoying one last nice weekend on the ice. Lake Waconia has been a hot place to ice fish this year.

“It’s a lot quieter than it was a few weeks ago. Lot of houses have already came off the ice,” fisherman Troy Roberts said.

Fisherman like Roberts only have one more weekend to enjoy the fishing.

“Fish the night bite, and then spend the night, take the house off in the morning,” Roberts said.

This is the last weekend that fishermen and woman can keep their ice houses on the lake. All unattended structures in the southern two-thirds of Minnesota must be off by Monday, March 2nd.

If they aren’t removed, the Department of Natural Resources will fine owners and potentially confiscate the houses.

“I think this weekend is going to be a mass exodus on the lake. With the warm temperatures in the forecast, and next weekend looking even warmer, I think anglers are going to be in a rush to get everything off this weekend so they are not scrambling in bad conditions,” DNR conservation officer Alexander Birdsall said. “Right now, the ice is strong, [you can] probably get one last weekend of fishing in.”

Matt Ronnie knows the deadline is coming up, so he spent the morning packing his house up. And the nice Minnesota weather really helped.

“We are cranking up and going home,” Matt Ronnie said.

And the warm weather makes it a little harder to say goodbye.

“When it’s 20 below this is no fun. Yeah this is beautiful, we don’t get much like this in February, so we will take it,” Ronnie said. “This is going to be it. Little bit of sadness, but there is always next year.”

People in the northern third of Minnesota have longer before they need to get their ice houses off the lake. That deadline is March 16th.

Katie Steiner

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