Going fishing? Stay safe on the ice

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ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) -- "I've been coming out here in the car since I was a little kid," said Zach Manny, who was out on Wednesday ice fishing on Lake Altoona.

He is hoping to get some last minute nibbles before temps heat up and the ice goes down.

It is this time of year he really starts paying attention. Not just to what is below the water, but who is on top of it.

"Usually look on the ice to see if there are other vehicles out there but otherwise I wouldn't drive out there until one person goes out," Manny said.

He says he has gone out on the ice since he was five and is not worried about bringing his car out on the ice.

"Always been positive for me, but there is that one chance possibly," he said.

But it is that one chance that Ed Culhane with the DNR hopes people can prevent.

"I'm sure there's ice out there where we could drive a truck on it and other ice where if we took a snowmobile we would break through and have a problem," Culhane said.

He says this time of year there is no magic formula to predicting the ice conditions. It depends on location, weather, and how deep the lake is.

He recommends anglers bring a life jacket, have something to pull you out of the water, and do not go alone.

"It is always a good idea to go to the local bait and tackle shop to get information about the local conditions, talk to the people there and get information," Culhane said. "That's what I would always do when I go ice fishing."

"The last few years I've been fishing Lake Wissota, so this is the first time I've been out here today," said Adam Askland, who was also out on the lake.

He is not worried about ice either. He measured the ice at 25 inches thick.

And in the end he says it is worth it. It is the small victories that make it worthwhile.

Ice fishing houses need to be removed from lakes each night beginning this month. The DNR says that rule goes into effect for ice houses south of Highway 64 on March 3rd and ice houses north of Highway 64 on March 17th.

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