Editorial - There's no Ice Fairy to clean up after anglersHere’s a tip for ice anglers: Clean up your act. Every winter, officers with the Department of Natural Resources are sickened to see all the garbage that fishermen leave on the ice.
Here’s a tip for ice anglers: Clean up your act.
Every winter, officers with the Department of Natural Resources are sickened to see all the garbage that fishermen leave on the ice.
What should be a pristine environment of ice and snow is littered with bottles, cans, cigarette butts, food wrappers and more.
Of course, not every angler is a litterbug. It’s usually only a handful who cause problems. But the challenge for law enforcement officers is identifying those perpetrators.
“Lakes are normally ringed by fish houses this time of year so conservation officers find it challenging to identify who is leaving trash on a lake,” said Captain Ken Soring, DNR Enforcement northeast regional manager in Grand Rapids in a news release. “Another factor is the wind, which makes it difficult to prove where the trash came from. And we just don’t have enough conservation officers to thoroughly enforce litter laws.”
Littering, Soring noted, is a petty misdemeanor criminal charge with a fine of up to $300. Conservation officers also have Solid Waste Civil Citation authority. These civil citations are “by the pound” or “by the cubic foot” penalties, and since they are not criminal charges, they don’t require proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The person suspected of littering must pay the penalty and clean up the mess.
The DNR offers the following tips to keep Minnesota waterways clean:
•Set an example for others, especially children, by not littering.
•Properly dispose of tangled fishing line to prevent wildlife from being trapped and injured.
•It is unlawful to dispose of ice fishing shacks anywhere in the state. Check with local refuse provider or landfill for disposal.
•Litter is a costly problem that we all end up paying for to keep our roadways, parks, and waterways clean. The act of littering not only hurts our pocketbooks, but it also causes harm to our environment in many ways.
•Keep a litter bag or trash container in your fish house, dark house or shelter.
•Secure trash container covers to prevent wind or animals from spreading litter.
•Cover and secure any vehicle, truck, or trailer carrying refuse.
•When visiting any recreation area, make sure to leave the area clean for the next person to enjoy.
Remember, the trash you leave on the ice doesn’t just magically disappear or get carted off by an Ice Fairy. It gets blown around the lake and when the ice melts, it could end up polluting your favorite fishing spot.
All those who enjoy ice fishing should make a conscious effort to tidy up the area around their fish house in the next few weeks. If they spot a mess a fellow angler has left on the ice, they should clean it up or offer the litterbug a tip that’s more valuable than bait or depth advice: Don’t leave your garbage out on the ice; it’s illegal and can cost you a $300 fine.