Rough winter has some anglers finding ice shanties frozen to lake

MARATHON COUNTY (WITI) -- Ice fishers in Wisconsin have until Monday, March 3rd to remove their ice shanties from the frozen surface of Lake Wausau. There's just one problem: Many of the small shanties are frozen to the lake!

"Everybody was getting stuck," Josh Blackburn of Wausau said.

"Stuck" -- trying to remove their ice shanties from the frozen lake. It took three people to get Blackburn's shanty out!

"There's a lot more snow, which causes there to be a layer of ice, then a layer of slush, then a layer of snow," Randy Dunkel, a conservation warden at the Department of Natural Resources said.

And making it worse is the wind.

"The main drag coming out here is pretty rough. Just take it easy and take your time," Blackburn said.

The deadline to get shanties off of Lake Wausau and all others south of Highway 64 isi Monday.

"The weather in March is very unpredictable and could change very quickly and create unsafe conditions for the ice," Dunkel said.

DNR wardens say the DNR has received calls to push the deadline back, but the law doesn't allow that.

"The DNR put the time frame out there for a reason, and it's actually a good scenario that we have adequate ice to where people can get machinery out there and get their ice shanties off," Dunkel said.

Some anglers don't have to worry, because they have a portable shanty.

"We don't have the permanence, but we have the mobility," Patricia Hendrickson of Wausau said.

Still, they say they feel badly for those who have to make a big move this weekend.

"Right now, with all the ice that melted and froze, and melted and froze, I don't know how some of these people are going to get their shacks off the ice," Hendrickson said.

DNR wardens expect a tough weekend too -- especially with the cold, but they say the law is the law.

Here are the statewide ice shanty removal dates:

    According to the DNR, once the ice removal dates arrive, anglers can continue to use portable ice fishing shelters daily as long as they feel the ice is safe for travel -- and if they remove their shelters daily and when not actively being used. Permanent shelters, meaning those normally not removed daily from the ice, must be removed from the ice no later than the specified removal date for that water body.

    The DNR does offer some tips to anglers struggling to remove ice shanties:

      CLICK HERE for additional information on ice shanty removal via the Wisconsin DNR's website.