Regulations on fishing shanties on ice

This week’s question came in before the new year prior to the extreme cold weather we have had the last few weeks. The question was, “When is it legal to place an ice shanty on the ice for the year? When does the shanty have to be removed from the ice, and if it is not removed, then what can happen?”

I had to reach out to one of our local conservation officers for some guidance on this as we troopers do not typically enforce such a law.

By authority conferred on the Natural Resources Commission and the Department of Natural Resources by Part 487 of 1994 PA 451, MCL 324.48701 to 324.48740, it is ordered on September 14, 2017 the following sections of Order 251.17 – Ice Fishing Shanty Regulations shall read as follows.

Throughout the entire order, I was not able to find anywhere that it specifically states when a shanty can be placed on the ice. It would be good thinking on the fisherman’s part to be sure to check the depth of the ice for safety and then also to look at the upcoming weather conditions to be sure there is no chance of a shanty falling into the water.

Under this order, it lists an ice shanty as “a fishing house or any other structure or shelter placed on the ice on the waters over which this state has jurisdiction.” This order also gives the specific guidelines for the display of ownership which is required to permanently place a shanty for the season. Under section 2 of the order, “A person shall not set … a fishing shanty at any time upon the ice in waters over which the state has jurisdiction, unless the name and address of the owner is affixed to each side of the outside of the fishing shanty in legible letters not less than 2 inches in height. The letters shall be readily visible and consist of materials that are not soluble in water.”

When it comes to removing the shanty, in the order under section 4 it states, “A person who sets, places, erects, or causes to be set, placed, or erected a fishing shanty upon the ice of any water in Emmet, Cheboygan, Presque Isle … Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Oscoda, Alcona … Ogemaw, Iosco … shall remove the fishing shanty before ice conditions are unsafe for its removal. However … the fishing shanty shall not remain on the ice beyond 12 midnight, March 15, of any year.”

If a shanty is not removed prior to the above listed the date, the owner could be charged with a misdemeanor, with the possibility of a $500 fine and 90 days in jail. If the State of Michigan has to retrieve the shanty from the lake, there will be fees associated with the removal of the shanty, and the owner may possibly face charges from environmental laws.

Ashley Simpson is a Community Service Trooper for the MSP Alpena Post. If you have a question for Trooper Simpson, you can email her at or mail them to Ask A Trooper, Michigan State Police Alpena Post, 3283 W. Washington Ave, Alpena, MI 49707.