OSHKOSH, Wis. (WFRV) – Lake Winnebago and the surrounding smaller lakes all have solid sheets of ice going into the Sturgeon Season.
Don Herman, of the Otter Street Fishing Club and the Owner of ‘Sunk? Dive and Ice Service’ said, “I always say the ice isn’t 100% safe.”
But with that in mind, he is optimistic about ice conditions going into this sturgeon-spearing season.
“This year is probably a really good year from the last couple of years,” said Herman. “We have about a 17-20 inch base on ice and once you get over the bridges you can drive just about anywhere.”
Herman has been pulling sunk cars out of cracked ice since 1980. He said, “We do about 20-25 a year and built all our own equipment.”
He said he has already been called to pull one vehicle out of the ice and is expecting more calls as the season progresses.
“Normally when we have good ice like this and you can drive everywhere I have a very busy year,” said Herman. “People think I have a good year when we have bad ice but nobody goes out there.”
The temperature is also affecting the water clarity. Experts said without the snow to block the sun algae started blooming under the ice, making it harder to see.
Aaron O’Connell, a Sturgeon Biologist with the DNR said, “Water clarity is right around 10.7 feet on average on Lake Winnebago and harvest is really dependent on that water clarity, if you can see further down that hole you have a better chance of spearing a sturgeon.”
The experts want everyone to remember the most important thing to do is always be aware of your surroundings any time you are on the ice.