Ice shanty removal challenging this year


OSHKOSH - The ice is causing some issues for anglers in our area. Some shanties on inland waters will need to be off the ice by Monday - anything south of Highway 64 that runs from Marinette west to Antigo.

But as we found out from Lake Winnebago, it may be easier said than done.

By this time of year, the ice on Lake Winnebago is usually starting to melt, making it easy to get shanties off, but this winter it's a different story.

"With the weight of the snow, the ice sinks, the water comes up and they're frozen.  They go back out there and go, 'oh, my shanty's under water!'  And now with this cold we have they're frozen in," explained Don Herman, owner of SUNK? Dive and Ice Service.

And in a normal year if your shanty was on the ice past the DNR-regulated date you'd face a fine of more than $200, but this year there will be leniency.

"If they work with us and notify us of the problem, notify us who they are and notify us of where the shanty is, we'll give them some additional time to get that shanty off," explained Todd Schaller, chief conservation warden.

The sooner you can check on your shanty the better, because if it is frozen, it will take some serious time and man power to get it back out.

"Drilling and chopping, the ice saw, probably takes about three to four hours.  You need to have a couple guys and take breaks," Herman explained.

He told FOX 11 he and his crew are planning to start chopping out some shanties next week.

"We're waiting for the weather to break a little bit," said Herman.

And if the weather gets warm fast, the ice will start to melt fast, making it dangerous.

"It's still important folks make an effort to get it off, because as you know, living in Wisconsin conditions can change rapidly," Schaller explained.

For now, however, there are still 30 inches of ice on Lake Winnebago.

"I've been doing this 40 years and I don't remember when we've had this good of ice this late in the season," said Herman.

It's a phenomenon he's hoping is once in a lifetime.

Here are the statewide removal dates from the DNR:

  • Wisconsin-Minnesota boundary waters by March 1

  • Inland waters south of Highway 64 by March 3

  • Inland waters north of Highway 64 and from Lake Michigan, Green Bay and Lake Superior by March 17

  • Wisconsin-Michigan boundary waters by March 15

  • Wisconsin-Iowa boundary waters by February 20

If you can't remove your shanty by the deadline, the DNR says call the hotline at 1-800-847-9367.