As anglers prepare for ice fishing, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources sometimes receives questions about ice shelter licenses. Minnesota fishing regulations recognize two types of shelters: portable and nonportable. A portable shelter is one that collapses, folds or is disassembled for transportation. Portable shelters need licenses and identification only when left unattended, defined as all occupants being more than 200 feet away. In contrast, all nonportable ice shelters must be licensed. Wheeled fish houses are not considered portable and must be licensed.
An annual shelter license costs $15 for residents and $37 for nonresidents, not including issuing fees. A shelter license is valid from March 1 through April 30 of the following year. A shelter license is not required on border waters between Minnesota and its neighboring states (Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota). Licenses can be purchased in person, by telephone or at mndnr.gov/buyalicense. Also, a reminder that no ice is ever considered “safe ice.” DNR ice safety guidelines can be found at mndnr.gov/icesafety.