Fish houses and wheelhouses require license purchase for ice fishing

New definition of portable shelter expands types of structures needing to be licensed      

Beginning this ice fishing season, anglers using a wheelhouse type of ice or dark-house shelter are required to purchase a license to place the shelter on the ice, even when occupying it. 

A new definition for portable shelters has been provided in law, which states that a portable shelter is one that collapses, folds or is disassembled for transportation.

“Wheeled fish houses, which formerly were considered portable – and thus excluded from licensing requirements for shelters – will now need to be licensed,” said Al Stevens, fisheries survey and systems consultant with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “In the past, anglers using wheelhouses could use them without shelter licenses as long as they were occupied, including overnight.”

A shelter meeting the new definition of portable only needs a license when a person leaves it unattended, meaning they are farther than 200 feet from the shelter.

The change pursued by the DNR and enabled by 2017 legislation accompanied hunting and angling fee increases. An annual resident shelter license is $16. A three-year license is $43. Owners of houses to be rented pay $31 annually or $88 for a three-year license.

A valid license tag must be attached to the outside of the fish house in a readily visible location. On border waters, a shelter license is not required on the Minnesota side if the neighboring state doesn’t require a shelter license for its waters.

To learn more about the fishing and hunting license dollars are spent, visit mndnr.gov/licensedollarsatwork. Shelter or fishing licenses can be purchased at DNR license agents across Minnesota, by phone at 888-665-4236 or online at mndnr.gov/buyalicense.