Ice bridges propped up on Lake Winnebago

Posted at 6:48 PM, Feb 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-05 19:48:27-05

Ice bridges were put into place out on Lake Winnebago today. And just in the nick of time with two events scheduled on the lake this weekend and sturgeon spearing right around the corner. NBC26 has an ice update for you to help plan your weekend.

Anglers and their shanties lined up on the shore in Oshkosh today.

"People are a little anxious to get out there and we're just making everything safe," says Don Herman of the Ottertail Fishing Club.

Word spread fast that the bridges were going out on Friday after weeks of wondering if it would happen at all.

"This stretch about of a mile was the last to freeze so we've been waiting for this to freeze. And we didn't even think we were gonna get out this year," adds Herman.

Darrel Gehrke of Oshkosh was one of the first to bring his truck out here.

"They can't tell ya where or how to catch the fish but they can tell you if it's safe to do it," says Gehrke describing how he always waits for the bridges to go up before he goes out.

 Three miles down the fresh packed snowy road later, he popped his first hole on Winnebago of the season.

"We got about 15 inches of good solid ice," says Gehrke as he checks the ice at his fishing spot.

Most spots checked by local fishing clubs were 12-16 inches. But as anyone who comes out to Winnebago knows, the bridges could come down as fast as they went up.

"You know this could be out in two weeks and we could get some 50 degree weather and we would have to pull them back off again," adds Herman.

Getting the ice bridges out in early February is at least 3 weeks behind our typical schedule of the installation of those bridges. Judging by the lineup of cars and shanties, it’s safe to say all fishermen are ready for it.

So enjoy the luxury of bringing your truck out here while you can, because the fishing just ramped up once again on Lake Winnebago.

"You gotta love it or you wouldn't be doing it," says Gehrke after describing how he has been fishing this lake since the late 1940’s.

No ice is safe according to those in the know. Especially once you get off of the beaten path. If you are venturing out on Lake Winnebago it's always a good idea to follow the tracks and keep some neighbors nearby.