Missouri River Water Management News

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Winter Access policy for Corps recreation areas in North Dakota now available

Published Dec. 17, 2012
Each winter, as the temperatures drop and the ice thickens, fisherman set up temporary structrues on Lake Sakakawea to support fishing on the ice.

Each winter, as the temperatures drop and the ice thickens, fisherman set up temporary structrues on Lake Sakakawea to support fishing on the ice.

RIVERDALE, N.D. - The 2012-2013 winter access policy for western and central North Dakota including Lake Sakakawea and Lake Audubon is now available.

Ryan Newman, lake manager, said, "The lake has not yet frozen over, but with the recent cold weather it won’t be long. We urge everyone to exercise extreme caution. Thin ice or open water may exist near springs and pressure ridges throughout the winter."

Newman encouraged fishermen to use only licensed, motorized vehicles and existing authorized public roads for entering and leaving ice fishing access areas. He said if conditions do not allow immediate access onto the ice from the road or ramp, vehicles are permitted to travel along the frozen shoreline within 100 feet of the edge of the ice for a distance not to exceed 1/4 mile either direction of the access point.  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. 

The following are prohibited:

  • Operating motorized vehicles in a negligent manner. This includes, but is not limited to, operating the vehicle in a manner other than transportation directly to and from the lake. Driving away from the shoreline except on authorized public access roads creates unauthorized trails and adversely impacts wildlife habitat and cultural resources.
  • Collecting, destroying, altering and/or removing vegetation, cultural or other natural resources. Except a natural object to mark a hole greater than 10 inches that must be visible from a minimum of 150ft required by state law.
  • Unattended property (other than ice/fish houses that have the required information based on regulations from the North Dakota Game & Fish, i.e. name and address or phone number. In addition, they are required to remove fish houses from all waters by midnight March 15 and only can use fish houses after March 15, if they are removed daily, as required by state law).

Have fun this winter and be safe, Newman said. But “always know before you go,” he cautioned. He recommended to check 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, he said.

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

Ryan Newman

Release no. 20121214-001