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Warmer weather brings treacherous conditions to some Wisconsin waterways

Posted at 7:11 PM, Dec 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-30 20:11:18-05

OSHKOSH — As the temperature warms, much of the ice that covers Wisconsin waterways has begun to weaken. Local experts say some places are still OK, but the ice in other spots might be unsafe.

Oshkosh Fire Department Captain Scott Krauze says the ice conditions on Lake Winnebago—especially along the shoreline—-are "really starting to deteriorate.”

Krauze says that many of the local waterways saw significant freezing around Christmas, but he estimates that ice levels have since dropped to the very edge of what he considers a safe thickness.

“I would say that we went from a good solid four-inches to six-inches on many of the channels and bays...[now] we’re probably down to two- or three-inches,” Krauze said.

Scott Engel owns Jerry’s Bar and serves on the Otter Street Fishing Club board of directors. He said many Oshkosh waterways are OK…but recommends inexperienced anglers avoid Lake Winnebago.

“I would stay on bays and inlets, especially if you’re not familiar," Engel said.

"To most people that are thinking about going out I’d say, 'Wait a few weeks and see what we’ve got.'”

Krause urges those who do decide to go out to travel in groups, and bring cell phones and ice picks in case of emergency - and to be very careful.

“It’s very, very unpredictable right now. As I mentioned, almost spring conditions, so use extreme caution if you’re going to venture out," Krause said.