Don’t Go Walking on Thin Ice

Winter weather is making the annual grand entrance with
snow, slick roads, and freezing temperatures – but it is not introducing ice
fishing conditions just yet. Most areas around Fond du Lac County
still only have an inch or two of ice covering the surface, and Captain Bill Tadych
with the Sheriff’s Office tells us it’s not a good time to head out onto the

Tadych points out that “right now
there are really no ice conditions in Fond du Lac County
that are worth going out on right now. I typically recommend that you have at
least two to four inches – I know people walk out there at two inches, but I’d
say more like four inches before you go out onto the ice where you can really
safely say there are no bad spots.”

When it comes to safety on the ice, Tadych also credits local fishing clubs for the work they do during
the winter months. 

He says especially on Lake Winnebago, “a lot of them
will actually plow roads during the winter, especially during the season when
they know it’s pretty much uniformly safe ice conditions. But they’re
constantly going back and taking measurements to make sure that – there might
be bridges that they put out where there’s a crack that forms and you can
traverse over those cracks with the use of these fishing clubs. So they’re a
very important source of information for us when we venture onto the ice.”

Tadych also reminds people to pay attention to all conditions before
hitting the ice for the day. 

He asks anyone hitting the ice to “use due regard
when you go out there because it’s just a very dangerous scenario. You’re going
out on the lake and a lot of things that contribute to it is warming
conditions, strong winds are going to blow cracks much wider – we’ve had
recoveries where they went out at 7:00am and there was about a two-foot crack
that they were able to jump over, and by mid-afternoon there was a couple
hundred feet of open water between them and the shoreline. So look at the
weather conditions, is another very important scenario.”

The Sheriff’s Office has a specialized boat that can travel on both ice and open water that is used for rescues. They also utilize their special unit dive team for any incidents that may require them to go under the ice.