Ice fishing trash washing ashore on Lake Mille Lacs

7:52 PM, May 5, 2011   |    comments
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ONAMIA, Minn. -- Ice fishing season is two months in the rear view mirror, and yet reminders of winter angling are still washing ashore and littering one of Minnesota's premier walleye lakes.

Wood blocks and beams from ice shanties, empty beer cans and bottles pollute a 4-mile stretch along the northeastern shore on Lake Mille Lacs, Minnesota's second-largest inland lake.

Local resident Art Howard says the trash makes him mad because the fishermen aren't respecting the lake as a valuable resource.

"The problem is that peole aren't properly attending to their houses and leaving blocking in place when they're supposed to be picking it up," Howard told KARE 11 Wednesday. "I picked up several pieces of 6 x 6 that are several feet long. You really don't want to hit one with your boat or while you're waterskiing"  

Conservation officer Scott Fiztgerald says it's the responsibility of the ice shack owner to remove any blocking under the shanty or any trash. Those responsible for the trash could be fined but at this stage are hard to identify.

"We'll gps their houses, mark their names, their DNR number and come back later and check," Fitzgerald explained. "The hard thing is the houses move if the fish aren't biting, and there may be two or more spots that they've blocked up that we don't know about at this point."

Fitzgerald says he's unaware of any state program that would help clean up the lakeshore.

Reporter Jordana Green will have more on Art Howard's resolve to keep his lake clean, Thursday on KARE 11 News at 5.  

"It's sort of like trying to bail out the swimming pool with a thimble," Howard told KARE 11. "It's a lot of wood."

(Copyright 2011 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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