Dense fog advisory in effect for northern parts of our viewing area until 8 a.m Thursday

“Good and safe:” Wisconsin fisherman itching for ice following mild start to winter

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WAUKESHA COUNTY -- The warm month of December sure did put a freeze on ice fishing. But with the new year, local fisherman are hoping for a new weather pattern.Ice fishing

Ice slowly begins to form on Pewaukee Lake.

"Last year, we had ice opening weekend of deer season. This year, we are not getting until after the New Year," said Jeff Hellman, fisherman.

Like many other areas lakes, Old Man Winter has taken its time freezing them up.

"We travel to find the fish where the fish are biting, where the ice is good and safe," said Vince Hellman, fisherman.

So this father-son duo is hitting the road headed north.

"Up the Wisconsin Dells some back waters off the river there's frozen bays," said Vince.

But first they stopped at Dick Smith's Live Bait & Tackle in Delafied.

Dick Smith's Live Bait & Tackle

Dick Smith's Live Bait & Tackle

"We have minnows, live bait, tackle," said Owner of Dick Smith's Bait & Tackle, Mike Smith.

Owner Mike Smith, knows a thing or two about the winter sport.

"We're located in Lake Country, we have 35 lakes within a 15-mile radius," said Smith.

Mike Smith

Mike Smith

He says ideal ice fishing conditions are on the horizon.

"Right now we are turning the corner, it's cold and the future looks good for making ice," said Smith.

Some of the smaller lakes may have ice. While fisherman are eager to get out, Smith urges folks to do so with caution and make sure to utilize safety tools.

"The most important tool on early ice is a spud bar, this you can use if you're going out on the ice to test it. If you give it a good whack and it goes through right away, there's not enough ice," said Smith.

Grab this must-have item.

"These are called picks of life if they did happen to fall through, they have a way to grip onto the ice to pull themselves out," said Smith.

Grab a jacket made of floating material, and if a mishap were to occur...

"A boat cushion -- tie a piece of rope to it approximately 50-feet in length. Just have it handy if a buddy or someone else you see go in you can throw them the seat cushion," said Smith.

boat cushion

boat cushion

Smith says fisherman shouldn't have to wait too long to get out on area lakes. With this week's forecast, there's a good stretch of single-digit nights which should lock up the waters pretty soon.

If you'd like more information on Dick Smith's Bait & Tackle -- visit their Facebook.

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