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North Dakota Urges Anglers to Move Ice Houses Early

Tom Stromme/The Bismarck Tribune

With weather conditions warmer than average, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department (GFD) is asking anglers to move ice houses from lakes.

“It is always important to check ice thickness, especially this time of year,” Brian Schaffer, Department Education Coordinator, says. “We have heard recent reports of several vehicles breaking through the ice, and anyone going on the ice should be extra careful.”

March 15 is the traditional move-off deadline for permanent ice houses, but the ice is thinning rapidly, according to the GFD. Ice conditions in the southern and western parts of North Dakota is deteriorating quickly.

The GFD says that it understands anglers want to keep fishing, but safety needs to be of paramount concern. Ice conditions can vary from region to region, even on different areas of the same lake.

The desire to fish as much as possible is understandable, since the state has more of a history of drought than flood, according to the GFD.

North Dakota Game and Fish Department
North Dakota Game and Fish Department

Since 2009, older lakes have been seen resurgence of water, and new lakes have formed. However, with the state’s drought history, anglers know these lakes can dry up quickly.

In addition, snow accumulation can make access to ice-fishing lakes almost impossible.”We know people want to keep fishing, but given the current conditions it’s good for anglers to keep safety in mind,” Shaffer says.

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North Dakota Urges Anglers to Move Ice Houses Early