Oshkosh, WI, United States (4E Sports) – Ice fishing season has already started on Lake Winnebago waters but the lack of snow on the ground raised safety concerns for local officials.
At Asylum Bay near Oshkosh, the ice was about four inches thick – the minimum thickness to be considered safe to walk on — across most of the bay.
However, there were parts of the bay where water isn’t too deep while the risk is even greater in places like the Fox River and Green Bay.
Don Herman, who has been checking ice depths for local anglers for years, told Fox11 that the situation was a departure from recent history.
“Actually in the last 10 years, this is pretty early. Normally it’s been the third week of December, last week of December, something like that,” he said. “I’ve already seen it where during deer hunting they’ve been out, but this is kind of early this year”.
With the situation, the Coast Guard is discouraging anglers from taking the risk.
“I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t recommend that at all yet. A lot of the ice that’s forming is very suspect and thin,” according to Wayne Spritka, senior chief with the Sturgeon Bay Coast Guard.
Spritka said it’s probably best to think twice about the ice anywhere you go this early in the year.
“Even though the best fishing can be early in the season, no fish is worth a life,” he said.