Ice Bridge in Ashland Provides Better Fishing Access

Example of ice bridge currently being built in Ashland, WI. Example of ice bridge currently being built in Ashland, WI. | 

Updated: January 18, 2019 05:12 PM

One thing that Chequamegon Bay area ice anglers can always count on is the massive pressure crack which develops every winter off of Second Landing east of Ashland. It often makes this key lake access point impossible by vehicle and challenging by snowmobile, and hapless anglers can find themselves trapped on the ice.


Wood planks and pallets have been used in the past with some success, but a system currently in use in Oshkosh looks to be the real solution.

They're called ice bridges, and they have been used on Lake Winnebago since the mid-1960s. The bridges are strategically placed as part of plowed roadways every winter and creating an access network across the lake in all directions.

These bridges consist of at least two steel sections per track, joined together with a hinge which allows it to flex with the movement of the ice. Volunteers monitor the bridges on a daily basis and as ice conditions change – cracks closing and new ones developing, or ice shelves heaving – the bridges are moved and leveled as needed.

The North Wisconsin Rod and Gun Club has contracted a local fabricator to construct one bridge system based on the Lake Winnebago model. Construction should be completed by the end of this week, and the bridge will be ready to implement as soon as that pressure crack makes its annual appearance.

The new bridge will be on display at a fundraiser Saturday, January 19th. The bridge itself costs about $10,000 to construct. In addition, the NWRGC would like to establish a "slush fund" to ensure operational and maintenance costs are covered. The "indoor fishing tournament" will be at the Neighborly Bar in Ashland. There will be raffles and a walleye fish fry. The event goes from 1-7 p.m., and fish will be served from 4-6 p.m.

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