OSHKOSH - Ice fishermen we spoke with on Lake Winnebago Sunday say a couple found unresponsive in a shanty this weekend is a reminder of the dangers of being out on the ice.
The thickness of the ice has been the main concern for most fishermen on Lake Winnebago this year.
"We need to have 12 inches to put our bridges out. Most clubs need that around the lake," said Don Herman with the Otter Street Fishing Club in Oshkosh.
But those who sit in shanties for hours say there's a silent danger out on the ice.
"Carbon monoxide is going to get you," said Dan Henning.
Experienced ice fishermen say many people use heaters to stay warm in their shanties.
Those heaters give off carbon monoxide, which can be deadly.
"You can't see it or smell it, it just happens. When you have a heater, you have to vent it properly," said Herman.
Fisherman coming off from a good day on the ice say they try to stay as safe and warm as possible.
"These are one-man portable clams. They have vents built in on top where you can't close them off and also they're not exactly airtight," said Jeremy Kraus.
"I just have a portable shack. And I don't have any heat. I don't put any heat in my shack. I just dress nice and warm like I do," said Hennings.
The sturgeon spearing season starts next Saturday, which means the number of shanties on Lake Winnebago will grow daily this week.
While the cold temperatures seemed to be the makings of a great season, the 70-mile-an-hour winds a few weeks ago have left the west side of the lake messy.
"There's still open water in spots. It's kind of scary for guys thinking of getting out there with their trucks it's absolutely no way," said Henning.
"When you go from right off this crack, there's 15 inches of ice. Here there's eight," said Herman.
Ice fishing clubs want to remind those eager to enjoy the winter pastime to think before they venture out. It's best to check in with the club in the town near your fishing spot. Ice conditions vary across the Winnebago system, and can change daily.
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