Ice Houses & Winter Regulations

Icehouse Regulations

Ice houses, shacks, shanties, shelters, etc. must be removed from Prior Lake no later than March 4th. After that date, structures can be left on the lake during daylight hours, but must be occupied or attended (user must be within 200 feet) if left on the lake from midnight to sunrise. Failure to comply with this regulation can result in prosecution and the structure will be confiscated, removed or destroyed by authorities. Leaving or storing ice houses at a public access is prohibited. Is also illegal to improperly dispose of ice houses anywhere in the state.

Licensing: Ice houses which are left unattended between midnight and one hour before sunrise must have a license.  The license tag must be clearly visible on the ice house. The license is valid from March 1st through April 30th of the following year. You can obtain a license in person at any deputy registrar of motor vehicles (where you license your car); at the DNR License Center in St. Paul; or renew online at Trailers used to haul ice house on the road must also have a license.

Identification:  All shelters need identification, except portable shelters that are occupied. Occupying a shelter means staying within 200 feet of it. Identification means one of the following: Owner’s name and address; owner’s driver’s license number; or owner’s Minnesota DNR identification number. Identification must be on the outside of the shelter with characters at least two inches high.

Other ice house requirements:

  • The door of an icehouse must open outward toward the outside.

  • Ice houses must not be placed closer than 10 feet apart.

  • If you leave your shelter out overnight, you need at least two square inches of reflective material on each side.

  • Two fishing lines per person are allowed when ice fishing.

For more information on icehouse regulations:

For more information on ice fishing:

Please keep your ice fishing area picked up and orderly. Fines will be issued for leaving litter on the ice.

Fires on the Ice:

You cannot have a fire directly on the ice but you can have a fire in a portable fire bowl that does not allow the fire to sit directly on the ice.

Sunken Vehicles:

Anyone who sinks a car, ATV, snowmobile or other vehicle through the ice has 48 hours to report this incident to the Sheriff’s department. You will have 30 days to remove the vehicle from the water at your expense. Failure to do so will result in the local government removing it for you and you will be charged 2 to 5 times the cost of removal.

Please Enjoy Prior Lake Respectfully and Safely!