The latest in ice thickness reports in NE Wisconsin, along with safety tips

Beyond The Forecast

(WFRV) – Ice fishing is starting to pick up across Northeast Wisconsin, especially with the increase of ice coverage over the last few days. For those heading out, it’s important to stay safe and informed about where you are heading. 

According to Don Herman of SUNK? Dive and Ice Service, Lake Winnebago is covered in ice. Most areas have an ice thickness of 8-9″ with some spots at 4-5″.

Gaven Brault is a Conservation Warden for the Wisconsin DNR. The general area he watches includes the lower Bay all the way up to Pensaukee on the western shores.   

“I’ve seen anywhere from 2 inches of ice to anywhere up to 10 inches of ice…it just depends where you are…especially along the bay where there are streams and rivers…sandbars that rip over the ice which makes the ice super unstable.”  

There is no such thing as safe ice. However, here are some guidelines in which certain ice thickness levels can handle. Generally, 2 inches or less of ice, people should keep off. 5-6″ is when snowmobiles and ATVs can get out on the ice. For cars and small trucks, 8-12″ of ice is needed.

If you are heading out keep track of the weather, especially the wind direction which could develop cracks. Besides bringing the proper equipment along with throw ropes, what is the best advice for those looking to head out on the ice? 

Brault points out, “At least let someone know what your plan is…shoot someone a text or phone call…leave someone a note letting them know what your plan is, like where you want to go. So at least if something happens there is a start for law enforcement or first responders to start looking.”

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