UNDATED (WSAU) -- It may be cold outside right now, but the Department of Natural Resources is hoping you get out on the ice and fish.
The DNR's Free Fishing Weekend is coming up, and Fisheries biologist Skip Sommerfeldt says it's a good promotion for the sport. "It has become very popular in the last few years, and it gives anglers a chance to get out and enjoy ice fishing without buying a license that weekend." You'll be able to fish on any Wisconsin lake on January 18 and 19.
But you also need to be careful out on the ice. Sommerfeldt says while ice conditions are generally good, some lakes do have soft spots yet. "The best thing to do before venturing out onto any lake is to check with locals or a sports shop and check out what kind of ice conditions there on the particular body of water the person's heading out on."
You should also be careful about using heaters in your ice shanty. While it may help keep you warm on cold days, Sommerfeldt says carbon monoxide poisoning is a real concern for anglers. "Make sure a shack as good ventilation and a good heater that is working correct and periodically take a walk outside as well. Not only to check your tip ups and ice gear, but just to get a breath of fresh air."
You can learn more about the Free Fishing Weekend online on the DNR's Website.