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Vehicle bridges pulled off Lake Winnebago

Posted at 7:33 PM, Feb 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-25 20:33:19-05
Kevin Obiala has competed in the Battle on Bago for nine years and says ice conditions right now are the worst he's seen. 
 
"This year the shorelines really are taking a beating, as you can see out here a lot of melting."
 
Don Herman of the Otter Street Fishing Club says, "The vehicle traffic here, it could be up to 2,000 or 3,000 vehicles. The ice around the bridges won't hold up."
 
Ice in the middle of Lake Winnebago is 12 to 16 inches thick, but there's no snow cover, which could lead to honey combing. Experts say that's when the ice melts and air pockets form which poses a safety threat.
 
"You can have 18 inches of ice, but if it's all honeycombed, it won't even hold a vehicle," said Herman.
 
That's why they're pulling the vehicle bridges and advising fishermen to use snowmobiles or ATVs to get on the ice.
 
These conditions are affecting registration for the Battle on Bago.
 
Tournament President Glenn Curren says, "We're probably down 30% from last year which is fine. I think because of the ice conditions and the warmer weather last weekend and this weekend, we were expecting that."
 
Organizers are telling fishermen, if you venture out on Lake Winnebago this weekend, you'll do it at your own risk.