ice fishing

Wisconsin's winter Free Fishing Weekend is set for this coming this Saturday and Sunday.

Similar to the weekend the DNR sets aside in summer, this weekend focuses on getting people out of the house and onto the ice to see what hard water fishing is all about. Fishing is free for Wisconsin residents and visitors this weekend. No fishing license or stamprs are needed to fish all inland waters the Great Lakes and Mississippi River and other boundary waters.

Spring trout ponds are not open, however. All other fishing rules apply.

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There have been reports of early ice anglers going through the ice in the Northwoods and a DNR warden says be very careful, even with the recent cold temperatures.

Northern Regional Conservation Warden Dave Zebro in Spooner says whatever snow we've had has affected the build up of ice on lakes...

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This week's colder weather forecast gives folks who like to ice fish an itch to go out on the hard water.

DNR recreation safety warden Mark Little of Spooner says be extra careful.

Little also ice fishes, and says even though the early season can be some of the best ice fishing, safety on the ice should always be on your mind....

Twice each year, the DNR offers a weekend of fishing where licenses are NOT required, called the Free Fishing Weekend.

Saturday and Sunday are the designated days for 2016 winter season.

Among the many events, families of school-age youth are invited to Lake Julia boat landing, just south of Rhinelander, to learn about ice fishing from a DNR biologist. Equipment will be provided says Lynn Feldman, UW-Extension 4-H Youth Development Educator....

Oneida County Sheriff's Department officials  say a 58-year-old Rhinelander man has died after his snowmobile went through the ice covering Lake Mildred in the township of Newbold.

The call came in at 11:18 Friday morning.

Russell A. Johnson was found near the machine in shallow water. He was taken to Ministry-St. Mary's Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is working with the Oneida County medical examiner's office on the investigation.

Following the deaths of two men north of Chippewa Falls last weekend, a DNR official is again asking eager ice fishers to wait for the soft water to turn hard.

A man fell through very thin ice on Glen Loch Flowage, a second man tried to rescue him and both drowned.

DNR Conservation Warden Scott Thiede in Eau Claire says ice is never 100 percent safe, especially with this unusually mild early winter weather...

A Mercer ice fisherman fell through the ice on Squirrel Lake in the Minocqua area Thursday.

The Minocqua Police Department says it got the call just after 1 pm, reporting that 56-year-old Jay Taylor had fallen through about 100 yards from shore. 

While emergency rescuers were on their way, another man pushed aluminum boat out to Taylor and pulled him out of the water. 

But the two needed help from the Minocqua fire department to get the boat back to shore. 

Taylor was transported by ambulance to the Howard Young Medical Center.  

Prime Ice Fishing Time Is Here

Jan 6, 2015

The Department of Natural Resources is hoping you get out on the ice and try out some ice fishing in the next few weeks.

 DNR Spokesman Ed Culhane says if it's your first time ice fishing, starting small with panfish like crappies and perch is a great way to learn.

".....smaller, shallower lakes, like bluegill lakes, panfish lakes can be very good as long as you have enough ice to walk out on them....."

Culhane says you should find a popup tent or clamshell fishing shack on a shallow lake to fish for panfish....

Wisconsin Historical Society

It’s May and we’re still waiting for the ice to melt on most lakes in the Northwoods.  Lake Superior is still about halfway iced over.  But even when it’s thoroughly covered with ice, conditions can be treacherous.

In today’s History Afield essay, we hear the story of Vern Frechette’s memorable trip out on the ice…one morning in March 1933.

The state is adding another weekend of free fishing and it happens this Saturday and Sunday.

The state waives fees and allows anyone...residents and non-residents to hit the frozen water.

DNR Northern Regional Director John Gozdzialski says a free fishing weekend happens in June each year, but instead of boats, you have ice augers...


"...this is an opportunity to enjoy fishing but with with frozen conditions not the open water....

Gozdzialski says it's a great way to get kids involved with the outdoors.

Beware the Perils of Thin Ice

Dec 3, 2013
Joisey Shawaa

Intrepid ice fishermen are already hitting the frozen lakes.  But unstable conditions can make it dangerous. 

Antigo DNR Recreational safety warden Jeff Dauterman says ice thickness can vary even within the same lake…and visual checks are not reliable. 

“You got ice out there, once there’s some snow on it you don’t know if it’s once inch thick or two feet thick.  It can vary that much within a single lake. So you’ve always got to remain cautious.”