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Ice fishing underway

Hard water season underway in North Dakota

Kim Fundingsland/MDN The ice fishing season is underway at Lake Audubon, including a few locations where ice thickness allows the setting up of permanent ice houses. As always, precaution when venturing onto the ice is necessary. Lake Audubon is one of the state’s most popular ice fishing destinations.

Somebody’s got to be first. Many just can’t wait for the hard water season – ice fishing.

Small bodies of water tend to be the first to freeze and the first to attract eager ice anglers, those hearty souls whose love of fishing knows no bounds. They are eager to get the “second season” underway, transitioning from boat and shore fishing in open water to drilling holes through the ice and jigging away the day.

Ice fishermen are a necessarily cautious bunch too. They have to be if they want to avoid tragic accidents on the ice, namely falling through thin ice into frigid and life-threatening water. Frequent checks of the ice is done to limit personal risks and protect vehicles and today’s fancy and fully equipped ice houses.

Stories of thin ice episodes travel quickly among frequenters of frozen lakes and ponds. Recently a woman met her death when the ATV she was riding fell through the ice on a lake in northern Minnesota. She was airlifted to a Fargo hospital where she was pronounced dead, a ghoulish reminder that ice conditions can vary greatly from one location to another, sometimes within a few feet, making caution imperative when on the ice.

North Dakota ice fishing generally picks up about Jan. 1 each year. As always, a few eager anglers will find favorable ice conditions very early in the hard water season, a time when most fishermen prefer to wait until a cold snap that results increasing ice thickness.

Ice anglers have already begun their annual pilgrimage to Lake Audubon, one of the most popular ice fishing destinations in the state. It is also a lake that requires some familiarity to avoid known areas where ice thickness can be an issue.

While a few vehicles have already ventured onto selected locations on Lake Audubon, some fishermen are choosing to utilize four-wheelers or simply walking out onto the ice to set up portable ice fishing shelters. Some large ice houses were on Lake Audubon Saturday, Dec. 26. The number will increase as ice conditions permit, especially if fishermen are having success.

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