DOOR COUNTY - Those looking to go ice fishing are running into problems throughout Northeast Wisconsin.
The frigid waters of the bay of Green Bay often yield great results for fishermen in January. But those who know these tricky waters well say right now, you could find yourself literally on thin ice.
"Due to the warm and cold conditions we've been having it's causing ice to break off and leave open water out in the bay where most of the people want to go out fishing. Some ice out there is thick but other areas have become thin," said Petty Officer Anthony Botte of the U.S. Coast Guard.
It has been cold enough lately to make ice, but the strong winds have been making a mess of things out here on the bay of Green Bay. The strong winds make ice shoves and large pressure cracks.
"Because it is a large body of water the ice can move around and if you're on the cake and you get blown off shore, you're going to go for a little ride," said Captain J.J. Malvitz.
Malvitz runs an ice fishing tour guide company. He says it's his first day out here this season on a more open section by Little Sturgeon Bay.
"The ice thickness varies in points but we found some pretty good safe ice," said Malvitz.
So what makes for good ice?
"No ice is ever really safe. Going out for foot traffic you want five to six inches. When you bring out ATV's or four wheelers you want at least eight to twelve inches. And more than that for having a vehicle out, but I never recommend having a vehicle on the ice," said Malvitz.
The quickly changing ice conditions became apparent in Saturday afternoon's thaw. Trucks sat in several inches of water after they had parked on solid ice in the morning.
But the fishing faithful find hope in the forecast--colder temperatures are on the way.
"It's the Christmas present I've been waiting all season for. Hopefully, with those colder temps we will be able to get out further in the bay and get some fish," he said.
The Coast Guard tells us it received a report for a possible missing person on the ice Friday.
A search began after fishing gear washed up on an ice flow near Brussels in southern Door County.
With no reports of any missing persons in Door or Brown Counties, the search was suspended.
Three Republican lawmakers are calling on the state Department of Natural Resources to cancel the four-day antlerless deer hunt in northern Wisconsin scheduled to begin Thursday because of a depleted herd.
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