OSKHOSH – Just as quickly as the snow melts away, the ice on area lakes is doing the same.
Authorities are recommending people remain off the ice if at all possible.
Despite the warning, anglers still ventured out on the ice of Lake Winnebago. The Otter Street Fishing Club president says their time is limited.
“Once those shorelines go, it really becomes difficult for anyone to leave the shore because it’s all broken up,” explained Otter Street Fishing Club President, Scott Engel. “It’ll be water running along the shore line. It’s going to go fast with the weather temperatures we see coming.”
And as the season nears an end, the Department of Natural Resources is heightening restrictions.
Right now, anglers are not allowed to leave their shanties on the ice over night. If they do, DNR officials say the fine is more than $260.
But as long as there’s some ice and people continue to venture out, the job’s not over for owner of Sunk, Dive and Ice Service, Don Herman.
So far this year he’s helped retrieve around 30 vehicles and shacks from the ice. He says that’s about average; however the 3rd week in February was one for the record books.
“It doesn’t happen that often,” said Herman. “In the 30 plus years I’ve been doing this, I’ve only seen that happen 2 or 3 times.”
That weekend alone, he went out on 19 different calls. But he says since then, it seems people have learned their lesson.
“Since that thaw, everybody’s been pretty careful now, since we had quite a few go through a couple weeks ago, a lot of people are more careful,” Herman explained.
With temperatures set to hit 50 degrees this week, it would appear the ice season is about over.
Officials say last year, most of the ice had melted on Lake Winnebago by early April.