Dakota Recreation Report
By: Patricia Stockdill, The Dickinson Press
- Sunday: Fall turkey season closes.
- Ice is never completely safe. Use caution, especially around bridges and areas with vegetation. Check local conditions before venturing onto ice. Let someone know your location and estimated return time.
- Lake Sakakawea elevation, Wednesday: 1,841.5 feet above mean sea level; 22,000 cubic feet per second Garrison Dam average daily releases.
r North Dakota Game and Fish Department District Game Wardens: Reminder that it’s illegal to chase or harass any wildlife when snowmobiling. Tree stands must be removed from wildlife management areas by Jan. 31. Boats fishing the open water of the tailrace must have current boat registration. Lake Audubon fair for occasional walleye, however, ice depth is inconsistent and water is coming up through holes at times. Missouri River tailrace remains fair for walleye. Anglers starting to venture onto Lake Sakakawea but no reports.
- Bismarck, Dakota Tackle, Missouri River/area lakes: Most Bismarck-Mandan activity is still around Cattail and Beaver bays on Lake Oahe for northern pike and walleye. Occasional perch mixed in. Limited reports from small area lakes.
- Dickinson, Andrus Outdoors, Lake Sakakawea/area lakes: A few reports from Lake Sakakawea where there is limited access. However, anglers can get to Telephone Island with snowmobiles and getting walleye and sauger using jigs and minnows. Skunk Bay fair for northern pike using smelt. Some activity accessing Tunnel Point from Mel’s Marina with snowmobiles where anglers are finding walleye and sauger in 10 to 22 feet. Camels Hump Dam remains good for trout using plain jigs. Indian Creek Dam continues producing good numbers of small perch and walleye. Lake Tschida has nice-sized walleye activity accessing from Crappie Creek using jigs and minnows. Depth varies. Larson Lake producing 2- to 3-pound northern pike using smelt.
- Dickinson, Runnings Farm & Fleet, Lake Sakakawea/area lakes: Indian Creek Dam continues producing small perch and walleye with occasional keepers mixed in. Try Swedish pimples with minnow heads or buckshot rattle spoons in 16 to 21 feet. Small lake access is OK but conditions can change rapidly. Lake Tschida producing decent walleye success. Try 20 to 35 feet using buckshot spoons, Cast Masters or tip-ups. Occasional northern pike mixed in. Tobacco Garden on Lake Sakakawea slow. Try buckshot rattle spoons in 35 to 40 feet for sauger.
- Garrison, Cenex Bait & Tackle, Lake Sakakawea: Access continues hampering fishing activity on Lake Sakakawea and Lake Audubon.
- Glen Ullin, Fitterer’s Inc., Lake Tschida: Not much activity.
- Mandan, Southside MVP, Missouri River/area lakes: Limited reports but some anglers are venturing south to Lake Oahe.
- Pick City, Scott’s Bait & Tackle, Lake Sakakawea/Missouri River: Not much activity on Lake Audubon and Lake Sakakawea. Look for more activity with warmer weather. Missouri River remains fair to good for small walleye, weather permitting, using jigs and minnows. Sort through the numbers of small fish for the keepers. Wing walls froze in but continue producing walleye when not iced over. Some walleye activity off the rocks at night but cold weather is limiting the number of anglers.
- New Town, Van Hook Bait & Tackle, Lake Sakakawea: A few anglers went out on the Van Hook Arm with little success, otherwise there’s little activity.
- Watford City, One-Stop, Lake Sakakawea: Limited activity on Lake Sakakawea with heavy snow cover on the ice.
- Williston, Scenic Sports, Lake Sakakawea/Missouri River: Some sauger success on the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers. Lake Sakakawea also producing a few sauger around White Earth Bay and Tobacco Garden.
Snowmobile trails report
- Cattail (Steele, Cass, and Traill counties): 7- to 8-inch snow depth. Trail is in the process of opening and will be groomed when weather permits.
- East Central Valley (Fargo, Casselton area): Trails open and good condition. 9-inch snow depth. Grooming will take place, weather permitting.
- Lake Region (Devils Lake area): 13-inch snow depth. Trails open and in good condition. Grooming will take place, weather permitting.
- May-Port (Mayville, Portland area): 6-inch snow depth. Trail closed due to lack of snow.
- Missouri Valley (Bismarck, Linton area): 7-inch snow depth. Trails open and in good condition. Grooming will take place, weather permitting.
- North Central (Leeds, Rugby area): 12-inch snow depth. Western portion of the system is open and groomed with good conditions. Eastern portion closed due to trail preparation.
- Northeast (Cavalier, Langdon, Edinburg area): 5-inch snow depth. Sections of the southwest trail are open. The northern portion is closed for trail preparation. The eastern portion is closed due to lack of snow.
- Peace Garden (Bottineau, Rolla area): 7-inch snow depth. Closed for trail preparation.
- Red River North (Grafton): 5-inch snow depth. Trails open and in good condition but won’t be groomed until more snow is received.
- Red River South (Grand Forks, Fordville, Manvel area): 5-inch snow depth. Northern portion is in the process of opening. Grand Forks area trails are open and groomed Dec. 23. Additional grooming will take place, weather permitting.
- Sargent County (Sargent and Richland counties): 7-inch snow depth. Trails are in the process of opening. Grooming will take place, weather permitting.
- Sheyenne Valley (Jamestown, Valley City, Lisbon, Oakes area): 6-inch snow depth. Trails are in the process of opening and are being groomed.
- Sno-Trails (McHenry and Ward counties): 18-inch snow depth. Trails opened and in good condition. Grooming will take place, weather permitting.
- Southern Valley (Wahpeton, Mooreton area): 7-inch snow depth. Trails are open. Grooming will take place, weather permitting.
Downhill skiing report
- Big Sky, Big Sky, Mont.: 43- to 55-inch base with packed powder and machine-groomed conditions. All 150 runs open with 19 lifts operating.
- Huff Hills, Mandan: 20- to 28-inch base with 14 runs, 2 lifts, and the Bunny Tow open. Trace of new snow early in the week. Open Saturday and Sunday.
- Red Lodge, Red Lodge, Mont.: 23- to 25-inch base with machine-groomed, packed powder conditions. 52 runs open with 5 lifts operating.
- Terry Peak, Lead, S.D.: 12- to 24-inch base with machine-groomed, packed powder conditions. 10 runs open with 4 lifts operating.
Cross-country skiing trail report
- Annual or day use pass needed.
- Cross Ranch, Hensler: 4 inches new snow over past week with trails groomed, tracked, open, and in excellent condition. Snow depth about 20 to 24 inches. Warming house/visitor center open Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Fort Lincoln, Mandan: Trails open with about 12 to 17 inches of snow but ungroomed.
- Fort Stevenson, Garrison: All 3 miles of trails groomed and in good condition.
Numbers to know
- North Dakota Game and Fish Department main Bismarck office: 701-328-6300, website gf.nd.gov.
- N.D. Game and Fish Department Dickinson office: 701-227-7431.
- Report poachers: 800-472-2121.
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bismarck, website: www.fws.gov/northdakotafieldoffice.