Ice bridges installed on Lake Winnebago

Ice bridge over Lake Winnebago crack, January 2, 2018 (WLUK/Eric Peterson)

OSHKOSH (WLUK) -- The deep freeze in Northeast Wisconsin means conditions are optimal for making ice on area lakes.

Truck traffic is moving on Lake Winnebago in Oshkosh. Vehicle bridges were installed Tuesday afternoon.

With temperatures in the single digits, crews from the Otter Street Fishing Club in Oshkosh were building bridges. Don Herman says on average there are about 12-16 inches of ice on Lake Winnebago.

"We normally put the bridges out somewhere around January 12th, or the 15th. So we're a couple weeks ahead. And I think everybody's happy," said Herman, a member of the Otter Street Fishing Club.

A 75-foot-long steel structure is designed to allow vehicles to travel safely across a crack in the Lake Winnebago ice. Herman says a crack usually forms close to the Merritt Avenue landing, but this year, the line is three quarters of a mile off shore.

"It just cracks at the weakest point, is where it does. It's got to flex somewhere," he said.

Otter Street Fishing Club installed an earlier bridge on Monday. By Tuesday afternoon, dozens of vehicles were out and about on the giant sheet of ice near Oshhosh.

"I don't think there's a lot of people fishing right now, with sub-zero weather, but maybe. There's some die-hards that go out," said Herman.

"It's a little brutal. But once you're set up, and in a shack, it's not too bad. Coming and going is the hard part. But once you're inside, it's nice," said Arik Kohman of Beaver Dam.

Kohman says this is the first time he's been out this year.

"The fishing's pretty good. I got into some perch, and some walleyes. I didn't keep anything, but I'll be back tomorrow," he said.

Back to the bridges, The five-ton Otter Street pick-up truck crept across the newly installed span. The fishing club will likely have to move the bridges as conditions change throughout the season.

On Saturday, the Otter Street Fishing Club plans to meet up across the lake, with the Quinney Fishing club, to install a tree line. Vehicles use that line as a guide when crossing the lake.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off