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Winnebago Waterfront Businesses Hoping Weather Doesn't Spoil Tradition

Posted at 6:00 PM, Feb 02, 2024

LAKE WINNEBAGO (NBC 26) — Ice fishing is sport to many, but to others, it's part of making a living. Near Lake Winnebago, businesses are finding a way to get by—especially when they can't rely on the ice.

  • Unseasonably high temperatures are threatening ice fishing and ice activities on Lake Winnebago
  • Businesses say they'll forge on and hope, just maybe, the lake freezes over

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

“Probably no walking room. We would even have sturgeons hanging over there on that side for weight stations.”

Kendra Redlin is a bartender and manager at “Sidetracked” in Neenah. Her parents own the place and she's seen many sturgeon fishing seasons in the Fox Valley.

“Usually, we do, like, sturgeon spearing raffles and we actually have a spear that we sell to people during that raffle as well as money, so usually we get a huge crowd in just for that."

But with unseasonably high temperatures Redlin and many business owners are preparing to tighten their belts.

“We’re not gonna get anybody in coming from the ice ... to come in and eat, you know. It’s gonna be a little bit difficult and a little bit slower but we’ll manage.”

Businesses like Waverly Beach in Sherwood are pushing forward with sturgeon fishing festivities off the ice. Waverly Beach Marketing Director Samantha Scott says people should still come celebrate.

“It’s disappointing that it’s not gonna be a traditional season like we’re used to, but we still want to have fun this weekend. We know a lot of people have been looking forward to it, so we’re still gonna go on business as usual.“

Even with fun planned off of the ice, Waverly Beach and others hope temps dip enough to freeze the lake over. Until then, caution is key when you're near the water.