DEVILS LAKE - It is one of a kind, at least in North Dakota. The City of Devils Lake, along with several other agencies, recently opened a fish cleaning station south of the city.
It is not just another fish-cleaning station, though, it is unique in that it is completely enclosed. That means ice fishermen can comfortably clean fish inside a heated building and open water fishermen will be able to do so in cool air conditioning.
"It's the first one in the state, a year-round fishing cleaning station open free to the public," said Suzie Kenner, executive director, Devils Lake Convention and Visitor's Bureau. "We have fish grinders, tables, video surveillance, heat and air conditioning."
This is the new four-season fish cleaning station owned by the City of Devils Lake. The facility is open for free public use.
The fish cleaning tables inside the new Devils Lake public building can accommodate several fishermen at one time. The facility is heated in the winter and air conditioned in the summer.
The 20 x 32 foot building sits immediately south of Ed's Bait Shop on Highway 20. It is a central location for fishermen utilizing boat landings on one of the busiest sections of Devils Lake. The entry code for access can be obtained by stopping in at Ed's Bait.
"People are just starting to realize it is open," explained Kenner. "We think it'll get more use in the winter because other outdoor cleaning stations will still be open around the lake this summer."
The new facility opened for operation Jan. 9. It includes a handicapped accessible bathroom, a large parking lot and is well-lit. The building is available for use from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
"It is really nice for all of our hotels in town. None of our hotels have their own fish-cleaning facilities," said Kenner.
Kenner said the new cleaning station should be able to handle up to 15 anglers at one time. There is ample table space, overhead water lines and central grinding stations.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department played a major role in sponsoring the cleaning station. Along with the City of Devils Lake, other agencies contributing to the project possible were the Lake Region Angler's Association, Garrison Diversion Conservancy District, Devils Lake Access Committee, Devils Lake Convention and Visitor's Bureau and the Greater Ramsey Water District.