Every winter, hundreds of thousands of anglers head for the frozen water to fish. Most ice anglers clean up after themselves, but some don’t—and it’s their behavior that was the impetus for a new litter-on-ice law the Minnesota Legislature passed earlier this year.

Ice conditions so far this season have been highly variable and safety has to be anglers’ top priority. As anglers venture out, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reminds them that the new law requires people to secure their trash in a container such as a bucket, garbage bag or trash bin, and makes clear that depositing sewage— whether from animals orhumans—on the ice is prohibited. The latter, particularly as it relates to human waste, has been an increasing problem in recent years, with some owners of deluxe fish houses (also known as wheelhouses) dumping their holding tanks on the ice before heading for shore.

The new law makes it easier for conservation officers and other law enforcement personnel to take enforcement action against people who leave trash and waste on the ice.

“Most anglers leave nothing more than an impression on the ice, and many of them actually take the time to clean up after others because they know trash and waste left on the ice is an eyesore and environmental and human health concern,” said Col. Rodmen Smith, director of the DNR Enforcement Division. “We certainly appreciate that mindset, but the reality is we expect all anglers to bring off the ice whatever they brought on. This law will help all of us ensure that happens.”