Tips for ice fishing in the Winnebago system

By Product Expert | Posted in Community Events & Information on Friday, December 14th, 2018 at 8:00 am
snowy pond surrounded by trees

When is the ice thick enough for fishing Winnebago?

The first thing to remember is that ice is never 100% safe. When is the ice thick enough for fishing Winnebago? Lake Winnebago isn’t like other lakes. Its size means it can often take longer to freeze than other area lakes. You want a minimum thickness of 4 inches if you are going to go out on foot. A small recreational vehicle like a snowmobile or ATV should have 7 inches. Cars and trucks should have at least 12 inches or more.

Car side view in the snowTips for measuring ice thickness

Always use a measuring stick or tape measure to check thickness. Relying on sight, or even how far your auger went in, is unreliable at best. You should take your safety into your own hands, and check ice thickness every 150 feet. Even if it has only been a week or two since you last went out, things can change fast especially when the weather starts warming up.

Be aware that the packed snow on top of the ice, isn’t ice. Don’t include that in your measurements. If you are driving, remember to park vehicles at least 50 feet apart. Don’t treat the ice like a parking lot, or it may become an aquatic parking lot.


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ice fishing with a fish next to the holeAreas to always avoid ice fishing on Lake Winnebago

You want to avoid any inlets, streams, or rivers. Strong currents can actually prevent ice from thickening or even forming in the first place. Give these areas a wide birth as their currents can expand hundreds of feet or farther into the body of water making them especially treacherous. If you don’t see people in the area, maybe there is a reason.


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Man ice skating on a lakeThe Fox River is the biggest river to avoid. It has multiple mouths along the system and it produces some extremely strong currents year round. You should also avoid the Fond du Lac River, the Neenah Channel, the Menasha Channel, and any other inlets you see. Use your best judgment, and if you are unsure, cut test holes.

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Luckily, there are no major springs in Lake Winnebago, but if you do go out to another body of water that you are unfamiliar with, do your research and ask the locals. If there are no rivers and streams, there could still be warm springs, and these can weaken the ice above tremendously. Knowing where these springs are ahead of time will keep you safe.

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