Warm temperatures could make ice dangerous for anglers
WAUSAU (WAOW) -- Warmer temperatures are on the way and Wisconsin Department Natural Resources officials are warning ice anglers to be careful on lakes and rivers.
Fishermen have already been driving trucks and setting up ice shanties on lakes in Wausau.
"I don't like to be the first one. Someone else has to make the first tracks," explained Jeffrey Flaminio, a fisherman from Mosinee.
Fishermen said they checked the thickness of the ice and felt safe driving on it.
The ice is a foot deep on parts of Lake Wausau. According to the DNR, that's thick enough to drive a truck on.
Lieutenant Chris Barber from the Wausau Fire Department says the ice isn't always as thick as it looks.
"Most of the lakes have froze over with 6-8 inches on them," explained Barber. "The river still has a lot of open spots."
Barber advises people to drill a hole and check the thickness of ice before driving out or setting up a shanty. He says even if ice is thick, it doesn't mean the ice is safe.
"There are spots on Lake Wausau where there will be a foot of ice and then you go a hundred yards and there are two inches," explained Barber.
Hilmar Baulmann from Wausau says he was out fishing several years ago when a truck broke through.
"He was driving out on the lake and the truck dropped through and he got out," explained Baulmann.
Baulmann says he learned a lesson that day.
"You need to really be careful. Everybody thought it was fine there. The guy had driven out and on his way back is when the truck dropped through and he was driving the very same track," said Baulmann.
Forecasters say temperatures are expected to rise above freezing in Wausau this weekend.
The Wausau Fire Department says warm temperatures and currents can cause weak spots in the ice.
Safety officials also recommend going out in daylight and where other people are fishing. They say people should stay off the ice if there is any sign of open water.