WISCONSIN — Every year tens of thousands of tourists come to northeast Wisconsin to witness the sturgeon spearing season. As of Tuesday the latest reports from the Otter Street Fishing Club reports that the ice on Lake Winnebago is only 4 to 6 inches thick in most places, which is far from safe to bring vehicles on. But as NBC26 reports the ice thickness won't impact two other outdoor events that are planned in northeast Wisconsin.
In the last 13 years the Battle on Bago ice fishing tourney has only had to cancel fishing activities once. Comforting news for many, considering 12-thousand people are expected to show up once again to the Oshkosh region for the tournament in just one month.
"A lot can change between now and the time of the event," says Todd Reuss the founder of Battle on Bago.
Reuss says with 4 to 6 inches of ice on Lake Winnebago today he's optimistic ice conditions could continue improving. He hopes that can happen in time for ATV's or snowmobiles to help anglers get out there for his tourney. But if the ice doesn’t thicken up in time for trucks to travel on the ice, he says there are still a couple of other options his team will suggest to get anglers out of Lake Winnebago’s bays.
"Our event is open to the upper pool lakes which would include Lake Butte de Morts, Lake Winneconne, and Lake Poygan. There’s a lot of great fishing on those lakes," adds Reuss.
Another event that is playing out just south of Oshkosh in Fond du Lac, in just two and a half weeks time, would also like to see Lake Winnebago's ice to thicken up a bit before they welcome 20 to 40 thousand people to town as well.
"This will be our fifth year celebrating winter and those really big and ugly fish called sturgeon," says Craig Molitor the President of Destination Lake Winnebago Regions Visitor Bureau.
Molitor says Fond du Lac is once again hosting their Sturgeon Spectacular, which is going down the same weekend as spearing starts. But fortunately for them, they tend to lean on multiple activities that aren't reliant on having a thick base of ice on Lake Winnebago.
“We've built this festival to be sort of weather proof. You never know what's gonna happen in the middle of winter time so we've got event's inside, outside, on the ice and off the ice," says Molitor.
So whether or not the ice on Lake Winnebago is ready for truck traffic or not, at least two outdoor winter activities are slated to kick off, regardless.
To check out more information about the Battle on Bago you can check out this link.
For additional details on what the Sturgeon Spectacular entails click here.