As more anglers prepare for ice fishing, the DNR 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 only need licenses and identification when left unattended, which is 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 that may be charged. A shelter license is valid from March 1 through April 30 of the following year, and 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. No ice can ever be considered “safe ice,” and DNR ice safety guidelines can be found at mndnr.gov/icesafety.