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Dakota Recreation Report

Outdoor notes

- Ice is never completely safe. Avoid areas with vegetation, moving water, pressure ridges, and springs. Check with local bait shops for any ice condition information.

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- Remember to register with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department before darkhouse spearfishing.

- Remember that trappers need written permission from private landowners in possession while trapping.

- Dec. 7: High Plains Duck Unit and merganser seasons re-open.

- Dec. 7: Pretty Rock Mule Deer Foundation Chapter banquet, Elgin.

- Dec. 9: NDGF Department rescheduled advisory board meeting from Dec. 2, Scranton Town Hall, 7 p.m.

- Dec. 14: Future of Hunting in North Dakota conference, Ramada Inn, Bismarck, 8 a.m. Open for all hunters and wildlife enthusiasts.

- Dec. 15: Deer muzzleloader season closes.


- NDGF Department District game wardens: Fair walleye success on Lake Audubon.

- Bismarck, Dakota Tackle, Missouri River/area lakes: OK success on Sweetbriar Dam but watch the springs. Missouri River quiet. 18th Annual Sportsmen’s Swap Meet in the parking lot Saturday.

- Dickinson, Andrus Outdoors, Lake Sakakawea/area lakes: Increasing numbers of anglers on area lakes with Tobacco Garden on Lake Sakakawea producing walleye in 5 to 8 feet. Work 20 feet for sauger. Indian Creek producing nice walleye and perch but success is on-and-off. Patterson Lake fair for 12- to 17-inch walleye with a mix of perch and crappie.

- Dickinson, Runnings Farm and Fleet, Lake Sakakawea/area lakes: Ice conditions are improving over area lakes with some activity but limited reports yet. Some activity on Lake Sakakawea at Tobacco Garden.

- Garrison, Cenex Bait and Tackle, Lake Sakakawea: Some activity on Lake Audubon around 9-Mile Bay and the east end. Use extreme caution.

- Glen Ullin, Fitterer’s Inc., Lake Tschida: A few anglers on Sweetbriar Dam but no reports of activity on Lake Tschida yet.

- Pick City, Scott’s Bait and Tackle, Lake Sakakawea/Missouri River: Little activity on the Missouri River tailrace but those shore-fishing are finding some walleye and salmon at night. No activity on Lake Sakakawea. Lake Audubon has walk-on activity in the back bays with fair numbers of small walleye. Some keepers and a few perch mixed in. Try small area lakes for early season perch.

- New Town, Scenic 23, Lake Sakakawea: Ramps iced in at the Van Hook Arm and ice isn’t safe enough for walk-on access yet.

- Watford City, One-Stop, Lake Sakakawea: Anglers are starting to get onto Lake Sakakawea at Tobacco Garden. Look for some pike activity.

- Williston, Scenic Sports, Lake Sakakawea/Missouri River: Lots of early season ice-fishing activity on small area lakes with some anglers walking onto the back bays of Lake Sakakawea.


- NDGF Department: Properly dispose of game carcasses. Good Canada goose numbers along the Missouri River.

- Northwest N.D.: Some waterfowl linger around the open water of the midsection of Lake Sakakawea. Some ongoing pheasant activity around the Williston area.

- Southwest N.D.: A few hunters starting to coyote hunt. Look for good coyote number throughout the area. Continued fair pheasant success.

- West-central N.D.: Weather could move ducks out along the Missouri River System but look for continued Canada goose hunting opportunities unless there’s too much snow for birds to feed. Pheasants are getting flighty.

Numbers to know

- NDGF Department main Bismarck office: 701-328-6300; website (

- NDGF Department Dickinson office: 701-227-7431.

- Report All Poachers: 800-472-2121.

- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bismarck, website: (

Patricia Stockdill