Ice shoves on Lake Winnebago could become a problem

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OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) - A weekend warm-up could be good news in the long run for ice conditions on Lake Winnebago. Above freezing temperatures could help to melt some unwanted ice shoves.

Aerial view from SkyView 2 shows cracks and gaps on Lake Winnebago on Dec. 14, 2018 (WBAY photo)

There are plenty of anglers out at Asylum Bay.

"It's nice out today. It's beautiful, sunny, it's warm," says John Prestigiacomo from Neenah.

And even though it's been a pretty chilly December, and there is ice on the lake, they know not to venture out too far from shore.

Another angler adds, "This is actually all pretty decent ice. You get down by Merritt Street and it looks pretty nasty out there."

According to ice expert Don Herman from Sunk? Dive and Ice Service, there's anywhere from 4 to 6 inches of ice on the bays. The lake itself is a different story.

Herman says, "We only have two inches of ice out there, and there's some open holes on Lake Winnebago, and the wind picks up and until we get some frigid cold weather, stay off of Lake Winnebago."

Herman says strong 20 mile per hour winds out of the northeast, caused the 2 to 3 inches of ice in the middle of the lake to break up, leading to not only holes but also large ice shoves.

Because those shoves could become problematic for the fishing clubs that groom the ice for things like sturgeon spearing, Herman is hoping this weekend's warm-up helps to melt them a bit and he'd take some rain on top of that, too.

He adds, "If it stays the way that it is, I think we're going to have to have a lot of chopping to get out onto Lake Winnebago, like Otter Street, the plows, it's going to be really rough on the plows this year."

While a warm-up this weekend would be good in the long run, and probably attract anglers to the ice, taking to it with temperatures nearing 40 might not be a good idea.

Herman adds, "I know the fishing is the best right now, but the lake is the most dangerous right now."

And he stresses that ice is never 100% safe.

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