Free ice fishing weekend underway

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ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) -- Many traded the warm comfort of their living room couch for a slab of ice and an ice shack on Saturday.

With no fishing license required on Wisconsin waters January 18th and 19th, enthusiasts and newbies alike came out to the thick ice to discover what ice fishing is all about.

“It's pretty much a good family time to talk with each other,” said Devon Atter.

Jason and Devon Atter, who were enjoying the free ice fishing weekend on Lake Altoona Saturday, say for them it is a way to escape the distraction of the busy world and enjoy some quality time together.

“We talk about school and different things that are going on in his life,” said Devon’s dad, Jason Atter.

“It's just that one-on-one time I think that every parent needs with their kid.”

Atter introduced Devon to ice fishing about four years ago and the boy was instantly hooked.

“It kind of gets your adrenaline pumping when you get bites from fish, and once you start railing them up and you realize that it's big; it’s fun,” shared Devon.

Even with the fishing sonar equipment the Atters used for the first time this winter, the fish weren't cooperating.

“They're not biting very well today (Saturday), but we're still having a good time,” said Atter.

12-year-old Devon does not need a license to fish with his dad right now,
but says it is definitely something he's getting one when he's 16.

“For the small investment of a license it's well worth the entertainment factor and the sport factor,” explained Atter.

Atter says for those who don't have one free ice fishing weekend is a great way to test out the waters.

“It gets people out that normally would not give it a try and that might find out that It's something they enjoy, they'll invest in a license and will fish more often,” explained Atter.

Before you go ice fishing, here are some tips from the Wisconsin DNR:

Make sure you have what you need to be safe, including knowledge of ice conditions.

4-inches is thick enough for ice fishing on foot. 8-12-inches for a small car or pickup and 12-15-inches for a medium truck

The free ice fishing weekend will continue into Sunday Jan. 19th as well.

If you would like to participate but have no fishing gear some DNR officer provide rentals. You can find the link to their page on the side of this story.

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