Standing on the side of Shawano Lake, it's difficult to tell what ice conditions are, but the Shawano County Sheriff's Department offers a different perspective.
About ten years ago and after a number of people fell through the ice, the Sheriff's Department started sending a member of its team 2,000 feet up along with a pilot from the Shawano Municipal Airport to capture aerial images of all the bodies of water in the area.
"When you look at it from the air, it's altogether different," said pilot Clarence Schampers. "So rather than talking to them (ice anglers) until you're blue in the face, show them a picture, it's worth a thousand words.
Today, Action 2 News joined them in the single-engine plane. Our video shows about 50 ice anglers, some with portable shanties, on mostly frozen lakes. Some areas have ice as thick as four to six inches.
The video also shows a fair amount of white, or the snow that fell last Thursday. It now covers parts of the lake that froze beforehand.
The darker areas are the newly frozen areas of the lake and the most dangerous.
"Ice has to be thin, it's only been there for about three days," said Schampers.
Open water is clearly visible, too, anyplace there's a channel.
That's why even anglers like Jim Marquardt, who has more than a half a century of experience, takes caution.
"I didn't go until this last weekend and that's just to put my feet on the ice to make sure I didn't go through," says Marquardt. "I've got a permanent shack I want to put on, but it's way too soon."
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