Ice conditions could be tricky this weekend

Posted at 4:17 PM, Feb 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-19 19:33:02-05

Warm temperatures Friday afternoon had Sturgeon spearers and other fishermen on Lake Winnebago leaving their shanties as cracks began to form on the ice. Many telling NBC26 they'd rather be safe then sorry.

The Upriver Lakes Sturgeon season came to an end Friday afternoon after reaching the anticipated quota. But out on Lake Winnebago many fishermen are calling it quits too, at least for a couple of days until a cold snap hits again.

With nearly 50 degree weather and matching 50 mile per hour winds it was a hard go on Lake Winnebago.

“You gotta anchor it down pretty good with the wind the way it’s blowing," says Mike Books of Hartland Wisconsin who made it to Oshkosh for the Battle on the Bago.

 Simply put, it wasn’t the best day to be on the lake.

"People are pulling their Sturgeon shacks off," says Don Herman of the Otter Street Fishing Club.

One shanty after another, the houses made their way off of the lake. But with the Sturgeon spearing season underway, it’s expected that most will make it back out eventually.

"I don't think they'll call it quits because there's a lot of lifers out here. They'll be out here come Monday again they'll probably take off maybe Sunday," says Scott Goltz of West Bend, Wisconsin.

And in the shanties old spots, now there's a risk if you’re not looking for it.

"You gotta be careful now when you're driving. Just drive slow and keep an eye for Sturgeon holes," adds Herman.

"You don't know where you're going to drop your tires in and it's gonna be a heck of a stop," adds Goltz.

And it's not just Sturgeon holes that you need to watch out for according to fisherman on the lake Friday.

"The heaves, you can see that they are opening up by flexing a little bit with that high wind like this," adds Books.

But the wind and the warmth doesn't mean the ice conditions have diminished, in a matter of a quick 24 hours.

"If this were to stay going for the next 4-5 days it's probably going to take a pretty good toll on the lake. But hopefully it's only a couple of days," adds Herman.

So if you do plan on hitting Lake Winnebago this weekend prepare for a mess. Most boat launches that are used as entrances to the ice have standing water at them and if the weather continues to be warm this weekend, you can expect more of that.



Original story....

Ice conditions on Lake Winnebago could change rapidly as warmer weather moves into Northeast Wisconsin. Sturgeon spearers are starting to take their shanties off the lake as wind and nearly 50 degree temperatures sweep across the lake. But, some are die-hards and plan to stick it out. "I don't think they'll call it quits because there's a lot of lifers hour here," Scott Goltz explained. "They'll be out here come Monday again and probably take off maybe Sunday. "

Experts say with the unpredictability of the ice spearers should keep their eyes open. "You've got to be careful now when you're driving," Don Herman tells us. "Drive slowly and keep an eye for Sturgeon holes."

See more of this story on NBC26 Live at 5:00 & 6:00.