Weather changes ice conditions on Lake Winnebago

Shanties in water on Lake Winnebago Jan. 22, 2018. (WLUK image)

OSHKOSH, Wis. (WLUK) -- The warmer temperatures and rain have had a noticeable effect on the ice on Lake Winnebago.

Trucks splashed on and off Lake Winnebago Monday afternoon.

"Right now there's a lot of water sitting on top of the ice," said Don Herman of SUNK? Dive and Ice Service, who told FOX 11 News some places have up to two feet of standing water.

He told us much of the water will flow into holes and cracks in the ice, which can make those bigger, creating hazards.

"Hopefully the wind, or it gets cold tonight and it freezes on top of the ice, but it's going to get cold and get warm again so we'll have to see what goes on," Herman explained.

Herman told FOX 11 he hopes drivers try to stay off the ice in the next few days.

"If they go out in the morning they'll bust it all up and it just makes it difficult for plowing when we do get snow and that stuff," he said.

The wind is also causing concern and some issues for shanties on different parts of the lake.

"There's a couple guys that lost their shanties today. They don't know where they are yet, I think," Herman told us.

We got video from Friendship Fishing Club that shows shanties bobbing around on Lake Winnebago.

"When it gets windy and they're not anchored down, once it gets the snow off they're just like a sail. I've already seen them go 20 miles," Herman explained.

We ran into Adrian Veach Monday who wasn't taking any chances.

"Just moving my shack -- because a lot of water is out there right now," Veach told FOX 11.

Veach told us he's more worried about his shanty getting stuck.

"The shack will freeze in. It becomes a fish crib!" he explained.

Luckily, Herman said, at this point the ice itself is still solid, about 22 inches thick.

"And it's really good ice," he told us.

But, he also said, with the weird winter weather, that could always change.

"You just don't know! Rain one day, below zero the next," Herman explained.

Since no ice is ever considered totally safe, Herman advises you to check with the local fishing club before going out.

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