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Free ice fishing weekend starts Saturday

Published: Jan. 15, 2021 at 4:52 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE CO., Wis. (WEAU) -Ice fishing shanties are starting to line the horizon on Lake Altoona for a weekend full of fishing.

Theresa Stabo who works in fishing outreach for the DNR said it’s a way to get people out in nature.

“These free fishing weekends, these are teasers to whet the appetite for doing more fishing,” Stabo said. “Our state really depends on people purchasing a license because that’s the revenue that we take in to help manage our resources.”

Stabo said with a mild winter so far, it’s especially important to test the ice before going out.

She also recommends wearing a summertime staple.

“People don’t really think about wearing a life jacket when they go out on the ice,” Stabo said. “It’s a good idea especially if you’re heading out beyond shore, you know, when you know you are going to be over your head.”

As people head out to fish, tackle and bait shops are expecting a busy weekend.

Mike Buroker has been running Buroker’s Taxidermy, Bait and Tackle on Birch Street in Eau Claire for almost 36 years.

He’s seen an uptick in business the last three weeks--a change from how things were going before the pandemic.

“This COVID thing and being outdoors to feel safe have gotten people outside and indirectly that’s a wonderful thing because for years it’s been trending the other way,” Buroker said. “People are getting away from outdoor activities.”

Buroker is hoping to find time to get out one the lake himself soon.

The DNR is expecting many Wisconsinites will hit the ice this weekend.

They recommend those planning to do some fishing take a look at which fish are in season right now.

For more information on the free fishing weekend, click HERE. To see a list of fish you can catch, click HERE.

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