Corps announces Lake Sakakawea winter access policy

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Garrison Project, announced its 2019-2020 winter access policy this week. This year there will be 113 points of entry to Lake Sakakawea and 20 points of entry to Lake Audubon.

The points of entry are a combination of boat ramps, shoreline access sites, and roadways located in limited development areas. A few points are foot traffic only, mainly due to terrain. Entry points, defined in the policy, are available for the period of the calendar year in which Lake Sakakawea and Lake Audubon freeze over until April 1 of each calendar year, or until the lake becomes ice free, whichever occurs first.

Three ice access locations have been removed from the approved list. The first of which is the Red Mike Mid Gate Shoreline Access, located just east of Lund’s Landing. This access crosses through private property and may be opened at a later date. There are also two areas near Riverdale that are no longer approved ice access locations. The Lake Sakakawea State Park east of cabin area and Old Highway 83 South access locations, due to severe erosion in 2019. These areas are currently unsafe and should not be used for accessing the ice.

The Corps of Engineers updates and maintains an interactive web application pertaining to ice access locations. The web application displays all approved ice access locations and their status. There are two ways that users can access the data. Users can download the ESRI application on either iPhone or Android. The ESRI application is free. Open the application and search “Lake Sakakawea Ice Access.

The Corps of Engineers does not encourage or recommend driving on the ice at any time. For those that do recreate on the ice, the Omaha District urges extreme caution as any winter activity performed on the ice can be hazardous. For instance, thin ice or open water may exist near springs and pressure ridges throughout the winter.

Anglers are required to use only licensed, motorized vehicles and existing authorized public roads for entering and leaving ice fishing access areas. Some public roads often drift closed with snow and will not be plowed open. In these instances, operating a motor vehicle off-road to obtain access is not allowed. Additionally, the public is reminded that access is for ice fishing purposes only. Restrictions are in place to preclude using the ice to cross the reservoir.