Missouri River Water Management News

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Garrison (N.D.) Project sets winter access policy

Published Jan. 10, 2019

RIVERDALE, N.D. -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Garrison Project announced this week their 2018-2019 winter access policy.  This year there will be 116 areas/points of entry to Lake Sakakawea and 21 areas/points of entry to Lake Audubon. The areas/points of entry are a combination of boat ramps, shoreline access sites, and freeways located in Limited Development areas.  Only a couple of these points will be foot traffic only mainly due to terrain.

Entry points defined in the policy are available for the period of the calendar year in which Lake Sakakawea and Lake Audubon freeze over until April 1 of each calendar year or until the lake becomes ice free, whichever occurs first.

The Corps of Engineers doesn’t encourage or recommend driving on the ice at any time.  For those that do recreate on the ice, the Omaha District urges extreme caution as any winter activity performed on the ice can be hazardous.  For instance, thin ice or open water may exist near springs and pressure ridges throughout the winter.

Fishermen are encouraged to use only licensed, motorized vehicles and existing authorized public roads for entering and leaving ice fishing access areas. Some public roads often drift closed with snow and will not be plowed open. In these instances, operating a motor vehicle off-road to obtain access is not allowed. Additionally, the public is reminded that access is for ice fishing purposes only.  Restrictions are in place to preclude using the ice to cross the reservoir, which has occurred in some areas in the past few years.

All Title 36 Regulations apply to the Ice Fishing Access Sites. North Dakota Game and Fish WMA Regulations apply within all Wildlife Management Areas located on Corps lands around the reservoir. Additionally, North Dakota Game and Fish has specific regulations pertaining to the use of ice/fish/spearing houses within the State of North Dakota.

Have fun this winter and be safe; “ALWAYS, KNOW BEFORE YOU GO”. Check in with someone who is near the particular body of water where you are accessing. Bait shops, outfitters, game wardens, and public land managers are all valuable sources for ice condition updates.

Please See the Omaha District website and Facebook page for future updates pertaining to Ice Access. This includes but is not limited to closures/openings of access areas.

The policy indicating the designated areas on Lake Sakakawea is available here.

For additional information contact: the Corps of Engineers Office in Riverdale (701-654-7411) or Williston (701-572-6494) or North Dakota Game & Fish Office in Riverdale (701-654-7475) or Williston (701-774-4320).

Corps of Engineers Office

Release no. 19-003