Young anglers drop a line as deadline to remove ice shelters approaches

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The next generation of Minnesota anglers took advantage of a warmer day on Rush Lake Saturday, marking the beginning of the end of ice fishing season. About 100 people dropped a line, many of them kids who were learning for the first time as part of the Union Sportsman Alliance’s Minneapolis Area ‘Take Your Kids Ice Fishing’ community event.

Kameron Krause, 12, was not new to one of Minnesota’s favorite sports.

“I’m the best in the nation,” he repeated when asked about his time on the ice.

Exaggeration aside, Krause understood the goal of the day: “Just get out there and have fun,” he said.

“I’ve always been watching and this is my first time actually fishing,” said nearby young angler Maddex Nielson.

He came to learn alongside his brother, Silas, and grandfather, Ron White.

“Oh yeah, we got about five of them out here today,” White said, referencing his grandkids.

White said he isn’t a fisherman himself, but he had help from the volunteers who put the event together.

“The Sportsmen Alliance does a really good job, along with our local [IUEC Local 9] Elevator Constructors, and the people that organize it have done a really good job throughout the years,” he said.

When asked what he thought about fishing after giving it a first try, “pretty fun,” was how Maddex Nielsen described it.

Shannon Kruse has come back to teach kids for a few years.

“Because it’s my sport,” he said. “And I’m not going to let my sport die with how busy we are nowadays.”

Kruse’s motto: “Just less screen time, more fishing time.”

But his favorite four months of the year are coming to a close.

“The ice we’re standing on, we’re probably around 30 inches of ice right here. This will be here for a long time, but the shore will give way, and we can’t get out here,” he explained.

The portable, tent-like shelters used for Saturday’s event are free to come and go during the day until they can’t make it onto the ice anymore, which Kruse estimated to be about a month out.

However, come noon on Monday, shelters left standing for the season have to be removed unless they’re occupied overnight, according to the deadlines set by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
The removal deadline is for inland waters in the southern two-thirds of the state.

Thankfully, for Kyla Citrowski, 12, and her family, their ice shelter has use year-round.

“Sometimes in the summer we use it as like an RV and go camping in there,” she shared. “Yeah, it definitely create some good family bonding.”

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in a press release Thursday warned that shelters not removed by the deadline could be confiscated and the owners could be cited.