OSHKOSH - Warm weather conditions caused problems Saturday during an ice fishing tournament in Oshkosh.
The fish were biting on Lake Winnebago as thousands of fishermen took part in Battle on Bago, a tournament offering big money and prizes.
"The walleye fishery out there is awesome and people coming in with tons of walleye and white bass," said Art Dumke, tournament co-organizer.
But the biggest catch of the day were more along the lines of Fords and Chevys, when the 12 inches of ice couldn't handle the weight of so many vehicles parked side by side.
"To have 150 to 200 cars out there all in the same area, obviously, something bad was going to happen," said Andy Waranka, tournament fisherman.
By 9 a.m., several vehicles had already gone through the ice near Menominee Park Beach, with their owners out fishing. Tournament organizers had tried to discourage parking on the ice, but the large turnout left many people opting for a spot on the frozen lake near shore.
"It was a surprise that many people chose to park there but not a surprise what happened," said Dumke.
Dumke says fishermen jumped in to the help clear vehicles from the ice once a few vehicles took the plunge.
"It was amazing the spirit of kindness of all different fishermen," said Dumke. "Some of the cars we were able to pull out before they got into too much trouble."
For others, not so lucky, Don Herman, owner of Sunk? Dive and Ice Service, was called to do his job: rescue sunken vehicles.
"Everybody came out here and parked next to each other and there wasn't enough ice. All it takes is a hole or crack and you see what happens," said Herman.
Herman charges from $500 to $2,000 to fish a car out. Some fishermen might have been focused more on the $100,000 in tournament prize money.
"They were driving out and their front tire would go in and they'd keep going and park anyways," said Richard Moe, tournament fisherman.
Some fishermen might need to use any money they won to buy a new car. Officials say several appeared to be totaled.
"When you park that many cars on that thin of ice, it's going to be a party wrecker," said Dumke.
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