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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.

- Don’t harass wildlife, including coyotes, with snowmobiles.

- Mountain lion Zone 1 closed.

- Dec. 21: Canada goose season closes except Missouri River Zone.

- Dec. 22: Theodore Roosevelt National Park Christmas Bird Count, Medora Visitor Center, 8 a.m.

- Dec. 27: Missouri River Canada Goose Zone closes.

- Dec. 29: High Plains Duck Unit, tundra swan, light goose, merganser seasons close.


- North Dakota Game and Fish Department District game wardens: Lake Audubon fair to good for small walleye.

- Dickinson, Andrus Outdoors, Lake Sakakawea/area lakes: Tobacco Garden on Lake Sakakawea remains good for walleye in 5 to 8 feet and 20 to 24 feet for sauger using jigs and minnows. Skunk Bay starting to have more walleye activity but ice conditions aren’t as good yet. Some darkhouse spearing success for pike. Try other areas on the lake with generally good success throughout much of the midsection. Lake Ilo producing 4- to 15-pound pike. Patterson Lake continues producing small walleye with some perch and crappie mixed in. Indian Creek good for perch.

- Dickinson, Runnings Farm and Fleet, Lake Sakakawea/area lakes: Tobacco Garden on Lake Sakakawea producing walleye with increasing activity farther south on the lake. Watch ice conditions, however. Indian Creek Dam and Lake Tschida fair for walleye and perch. Patterson Lake fair for small pike and walleye.

- Garrison, Cenex Bait and Tackle, Lake Sakakawea: Lake Audubon has lots of activity for both angler numbers and walleye. Sort through small walleye for the keepers, though. Move around with no one location out-producing another. A few anglers working the back bays of Lake Sakakawea but ice conditions vary greatly.

- Glen Ullin, Fitterer’s Inc., Lake Tschida: Limited reports.

- Pick City, Scott’s Bait and Tackle, Lake Sakakawea/Missouri River: Lots of anglers on Lake Audubon but limited reports. Missouri River is quiet. Limited activity on Lake Sakakawea, as well, other than a few people darkhouse spearfishing in the back bays for pike. Ice depth varies greatly, use extreme caution.

- New Town, Scenic 23, Lake Sakakawea: The lake iced over and is producing walleye around the islands in the Van Hook Arm. Best success is in the early morning and late evening. Ice depth varies with pressure ridges and it’s too early for vehicle access.

- Watford City, One-Stop, Lake Sakakawea: Continued success at Tobacco Garden on Lake Sakakawea.

- Williston, Scenic Sports, Lake Sakakawea/Missouri River: Missouri River and Lake Sakakawea producing good walleye success. Some increase in elevation in the river so it could dirty for a little bit. Trenton Lake producing walleye and crappie. Look for some activity at McGregor Dam.


- NDGF Department game wardens: Little waterfowl activity along the Missouri River.

- Northwest N.D.: Not much hunting around the midsection of the lake with snow cover limiting access. A few more pheasant hunters out in the Williston area with less snow on the ground than other areas.

- Southwest N.D.: Pheasant activity but more predator hunters are out.

- West-central N.D.: Fair pheasant numbers remain in areas. Lots of geese below the tailrace.

Downhill skiing

- Big Sky Resort, Big Sky, Mont.: 26- to 39-inch machine groomed, packed powder base with 30 Terrain Park runs, 10 jumps, 102 rails, and the ski area open.

- Bridger Bowl, Bozeman, Mont.: 45-inch machine groomed, packed powder base with all runs and trails open.

- Huff Hills Ski Area, Mandan: 12- to 18-inch base with 5 runs, Blue Lift, and Bunny Tow open.

- Red Lodge Resort, Red Lodge, Mont.: 35- to 39-inch machine groomed base.

- Terry Peak, Lead, S.D.: 16- to 24-inch machine groomed base with 17 runs and all lifts open.

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