Ice on Lake Winnebago 28 inches deep, causing headaches for fishermen

By Millaine Wells, Local 5 News

Published 01/30 2014 05:34PM

Updated 01/30 2014 05:46PM

OSHKOSH, Wis. (WFRV) - Today's snow was a welcome sight for local ice fishermen.

It is a good insulation for area lakes, so that they do not freeze any deeper.

Anglers are already having a tough time getting through the ice with the tools they have.

It is especially worrisome for sturgeon spearers with their season just over a week away.

Lake Winnebago is close to setting records for ice thickness.

"The last time we had this was in the early 80s" says Don Herman, a member of the Otter Street Fishing Club.

Anglers are going to have to get creative, to get to the fish.

"A  typical auger is 30 inches and we are approaching that right now" explains Scott Engel, President of the Otter Street Fishing Club

About 1/8 mile off shore in Oshkosh the ice is 28 inches thick.

"It is very rare" Herman says. "We do not get this many cold winters".

Last year at this time the ice was not even thick enough to put out the bridges.

"A lot of people had a tough time getting out in previous years. It was just snowmobile or ATV travel" Engel says.

Experts say it will take more time and more muscle for sturgeon spearers to set up camp.

"Some of the guys that have 36 inch bars, probably will not be able to get through. They will have to borrow someone else's saw or buy another bar" Herman says.

Despite the challenges, the thick ice will likely extend the season, bringing a benefit to business and people who love to ice fish.

"We should enjoy it because it doesn't happen a lot" says Herman with a smile.

The Otter Street Fishing Club is having its annual Winter Fisheree this weekend. For more details on the club click here 

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