Vermont ice conditions are deteriorating rapidly on lakes throughout the state because of recent warm weather, according to Col. Jason Batchelder, Vermont’s chief game warden. 

“While some of the best ice fishing of the season can come during mid-to-late March, the ice will be going fast,” said Batchelder. “I’ve fished two Northeast Kingdom lakes in the past week and have watched the ice change considerably in that short time.”

High temperatures, runoff from snowmelt and rain will all occur this week in various parts of the state, causing ice to deteriorate rapidly from above the surface and below. People venturing out on the ice should use extreme caution and take all the recommended precautions.

Vermont state law requires that ice fishing shanties be removed from the ice before the ice becomes unsafe or loses its ability to support the shanty out of the water, or before the last Sunday in March, whichever comes first. 

All contents, debris, wood and supports must also be removed so they do not become a hazard to navigation in the spring. Batchelder urges anglers not to wait until the last minute. 

The fine for leaving an ice fishing shanty on the ice can be up to $1,000, and shanties may not be left at state fishing access areas. 

State game wardens are available for questions by calling Vermont Fish and Wildlife Central Office at (802) 828-1483.

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