Shanty removal deadline

A sturgeon spearing shanty on Lake Winnebago, Feb. 9, 2014. (WLUK/Pauleen Le)
A sturgeon spearing shanty on Lake Winnebago, Feb. 9, 2014. (WLUK/Pauleen Le)

OSHKOSH - Spring may be a few weeks and many degrees away, but the season is on its way.

And heading into spring shanties now have to be off the ice in many parts of our area. The order covers all lakes south of Highway 64. That includes Lake Winnebago and Lake Butte des Morts.

Jeff Berholtz is using his portable shanty to fish on Lake Butte des Morts. He told FOX 11 it's one way to avoid getting his regular shack stuck, like one a few yards away.

"Well, I dunno, he should've gotten it out sooner! I know it happens though. I'm glad mine's off, that's why I come with this," explained Berholtz.

Don Herman with SUNK? Dive and Ice Service has pulled a few frozen shanties out already, but he says told us the one on Lake Butte des Morts takes the cake.

"This is probably the worst for this year," said Herman.

The shanty is frozen about a foot deep in the ice.

"It's frozen right into the 32 inches of ice. So there isn't any water in between. It's gonna take a lot of sawing and chopping," said Herman.

According to Herman the weather is to blame. When we got a warm up and rain last month, the ice melted a little, the shanty sank into the water, then it froze solid.

But this isn't the only shanty in a predicament. So the DNR is giving anglers more time.

"Just give our hotline a call and let us know and we're willing to work with these folks understanding the conditions they're dealing with," explained chief conservation warden Todd Schaller.

If a shanty is stuck and the owner reports it to the DNR hotline (1-800-TIP-WDNR), the owner can get an extension. Schaller told us as of Monday morning about 20 people had called in.

That's exactly what this shanty's owner did.

Herman told us he and his crew will have to cut a nearly 10,000 pound block of ice out to get the shanty out. They won't be able to do it until later this week.

"We want it to be about 15 to 20 degrees so we're not freezing up all our equipment," Herman explained.

But, Herman said, this is a cautionary tale.

"All he had to do was come out the day it was raining, hook onto it and pull it out of here. That's all he had to do, but people get busy and that's what happens," he explained.

Anglers are still allowed to bring portable shanties on the ice during the day to fish. They must remove the structures by nightfall.