The 2017 Battle on Bago fishing tournament has been canceled. The celebration at Menominee Park will go on as planned. Click here for the updated story.
OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) – A winter warm up is on the way as we expect to see temperatures in the fifties this weekend. And while some people are happy about the unseasonably warm weather, the weather is putting the largest ice fishing tournament in the Midwest in jeopardy.
There’s still vehicle traffic out on Lake Winnebago, but as trucks were coming off the ice today, many where hauling shanties behind them calling it quits for the season. Even though there’s still about twenty inches of ice on the lake, the warm temperatures over the next several days will change that.
According to Don Herman from Sunk? Dive and Ice Service, “The season is going to be ending for vehicle travel, coming Saturday. Just about everyone I talk to, the fishing clubs, including Otter Street will have their vehicle bridges off Saturday at two o’clock.”
That’s a week ahead of schedule and before next weekend’s Battle on Bago, the largest ice fishing tournament in the Midwest.
The event, which has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for youth and conservation efforts in its nine years, draws nearly ten thousand people to the Oshkosh area, including many from out of town. And with ice conditions expected to deteriorate as the temperatures rise, Battle on Bago organizers are considering canceling the event.
“We understand there’s a portion of the fisherman in the area that would be able to navigate out on the ice, all three lakes safely next weekend, we can say that now for sure. But we have a lot of people coming from out of state that are unsure of ice conditions, they’re not familiar with the lake and how the river system runs through it,” say Battle on Bago organizer Glenn Curran.
If Battle on Bago officials decide to cancel the event, it will only affect the fishing tournament, the on-shore activities will still take place.
Curran adds, “They can transfer their tickets to 2018. They can come to the event next weekend and trade in their fishing tickets for raffle tickets, we’re moving a number of the fishing prizes over to the raffle and then the third option is, we’re going to give a full refund”
A final decision on the fishing tournament’s status for next week will be announced on Friday.