Warm weather has high school fishing...

Posted at 6:29 PM, Feb 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-19 19:29:33-05

SHAWANO, Wis.- More than 500 high school students will be out on Shawano Lake Saturday for the Wisconsin Interscholastic Fishing Association (WIFA) State Championship.

However, Friday's warm weather and 30 mile per hour wind gusts has event organizers making sure the ice is safe for the event while students scout the lake for good fishing spots.

Quinn Larson is a senior at Prairie Farm High School and he's trying to find the perfect fishing spot.

"If there's a lot of shacks we'll check that out because hopefully there's fish there because there's a ton of people," said Larson.

He also says where the shacks are, there's usually safe ice.
"Just want to make sure there's enough ice when you drill the hole," said Larson.
His coach, Wendy Dallmann, who also is president of the WIFA tournament, says they're not taking chances when it comes to ice conditions.
"Hopefully the rains hold off, I think that with the winds is going to be the biggest factor," Dallman explained.
Dallman is relying on local experts who are familiar with Shawano Lake for insight, like Phil Morgan who fishes the lake often.  Morgan is also the WIFA assistant tournament director.
"I'm worried that the ice is going to shift and mess up the landing at the County Park," said Morgan.
He says the high winds could push ice to shore, making it hard for people to get out on the lake.
"I'm also a little worried that there are some cracks on the western end here with the west wind it could push those cracks apart," said Morgan.
Morgan spending Friday afternoon drilling holes to check the ice depth on the lake, he says for the most part it's in pretty good shape, even 20 inches deep in some spots.
"Stay away from the southwest corner where the channel leaves the lake," warns Morgan.
Dallmann says they'll check the ice again before the tournament to make sure every one is safe.  This is the first year for the WIFA tournament on Shawano Lake.