Lake Winnebago Ice Conditions

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LAKE WINNEBAGO, Wis. (WBAY) - Some anglers are wasting no time hitting the ice on Lake Winnebago. And with Christmas just days away and more people itching to get on the ice.

Ice shanties on Lake Winnebago
Ice shanties on Lake Winnebago (WBAY photo)

It's beginning to look a lot like ice fishing season on Lake Winnebago.

"I caught a couple of fish so it wasn't that bad," says Matthew Vanoss from Shiocton.

In the bay areas, there's about five to six inches of ice, so people are cautiously walking out to fishing spots, hauling their gear behind them.

Vanoss was one of them. He says, "The ice did shift when I was out there. It kind of was a little freaky, but it wasn't anything major. I don't know, this big lake moves around a lot, especially this time of year."

From above, it's clear there is a coating of ice on the entire lake. But, according to ice expert Don Herman, looks can be deceiving.

He says, "The ice is pretty early this year with the cold weather we've already had, but Lake Winnebago has only about three inches yet."

Certainly not enough ice for anything heavier than foot traffic. Herman says the scaled back snow forecast for Thursday coupled with next week's really cold temperatures will only mean good things for the ice.

He adds, "If it doesn't get above zero in a 24 hour period, we can gain 2 inches in that 24 hour period, especially if there isn't any snow on the lake which there's not much snow right now."

For now, Herman recommends people stick to the bays, give the rest of the lake more time, and remember no matter how much ice cover the lake, it's never 100 percent safe.

"It's going to be another week. I'm pretty sure by New Year's Eve, New Year's Day, there's going to be people going out on 4-wheelers on Lake Winnebago," says Herman.

And as always, check with those who know the lake before venturing out.

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