Lake Winnebago ice conditions not ready for vehicle traffic

Published: Jan. 18, 2021 at 4:07 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) - A mild start to the winter isn’t great for the ice fishing season that is starting to heat up. A decent base has formed on Lake Winnebago. The hope now is for an extended cold snap.

We may still be waiting on subzero temperatures, but the cold weather has done enough to the bays, out on Lake Winnebago, that anglers are starting to get out onto the ice.

“Even if it’s for a half hour or hour, I just like to go out here and relax and try to not worry about so much stuff, and it’s nice and I just really enjoy fishing,” says Bryce Rennert from Pickett.

David Brooker of De Pere adds, “I’ve always fished down here, so I love it, fun action. So, just really enjoy just coming down here and had the day off so I figured I might as well come down and see if I can get some.”

Anglers say there’s anywhere from 7 to 12 inches close to shore, where the water is only a few feet deep. Further out on the lake, however, it’s not as thick.

According to ice expert Don Herman, “Lake Winnebago has about 6 to 8 inches. Lake Poygan has around 8 to 10. We have a good base, but it’s not enough for vehicle travel.”

Herman says none of the fishing clubs around the lake has even considered putting its vehicle bridges out yet; there’s not enough ice for that kind of travel. He adds, “People are venturing out with side-by-sides and 4-wheelers, but don’t take your side-by-side out and load it up with four people, because they weigh 1,200 pounds anyways loaded up and loaded with equipment - take two out and have two people in it.”

Once out on the ice, though, Herman says conditions are smooth, which will make for nice travel if we can get the temperatures to drop well below freezing.

“Lake Winnebago and Lake Poygan and Butte des Morts, they need below zero weather, about a week of below zero weather,” says Herman.

If and when temperatures do drop, making more ice, it’s important to remember ice is never 100% safe.

Copyright 2021 WBAY. All rights reserved.