A near ice fishing tragedy on a central North Dakota lake Tuesday night has caused the North Dakota Game and Fish Department to issue a stern warning about ice on lakes.
Two Bismarck anglers were rescued from Round Lake near Pettibone in Kidder County, about halfway between Bismarck and Jamestown, after they couldn’t get back to shore because the ice had heaved and melted away from the shoreline.
Officials had to use an airboat to reach the stranded anglers.
“This was a serious situation where everything turned out OK,” said Game and Fish enforcement chief Robert Timian, “and it’s also a critical warning that ice conditions can vary from lake to lake, and can even change during the day, depending on the weather. Anglers need to use extreme caution before venturing out on the ice right now.”
Game and Fish Department district game warden Greg Hastings, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service warden Ben Cleghorn, and Stutsman County sheriff’s deputy Damian Hoyt used the airboat in the rescue.
Hastings had received a call from state radio at about 7:45 p.m., with information that the men were stranded on the ice. Hastings contacted Cleghorn, who picked up the airboat at Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuge near Pingree.
Hastings periodically spoke by mobile phone with one of the anglers, letting him know they were on the way, and that the anglers shouldn’t move from their location.
The law enforcement officers arrived at the lake about 9 p.m., and the anglers were safely back on shore about 9:30 p.m.