Published December 13, 2012, 12:00 AM

Dakota Recreation Report

By: Patricia Stockdill, The Dickinson Press

Outdoor notes

- Ice is never completely safe. Avoid areas with vegetation, moving water, pressure ridges, and springs. Check with local bait shops for any ice condition information.

- Saturday: Bismarck-Mandan Christmas Bird Count. Meet at Hardees, 7:30 a.m.

- Sunday: Muzzleloader deer season closes.

- Sunday: Medora Christmas Bird Count. Meet at Theodore Roosevelt National Park South Unit headquarters, 8 a.m.

- Thursday: Canada goose season closes, except for the Missouri River Zone.

- Dec. 22: TRNP North Unit Christmas Bird Count. Meet at headquarters, 8:30 a.m.

- Dec. 28: Missouri River Canada goose zone closes.


- North Dakota Game and Fish Department District game wardens: Fair amount of activity on the west end of Lake Tschida but no report on success. Ice depth varies. Missouri River wing walls fair to good on warm days when people can get out. Boat traffic slowed dramatically. Anglers are starting to venture onto small northwestern area lakes.

- Bismarck, Dakota Tackle, Missouri River/area lakes: Lake Audubon fair for walleye from Nelson Bay. Limited activity on Lake Oahe with low water levels.

- Dickinson, Andrus Outdoors, Lake Sakakawea/area lakes: Indian Creek fair for perch. Lake Tschida starting to produce walleye but ice conditions aren’t good yet with pockets of open water. Camels Hump Dam fair for trout. Lake Ilo fair for pike using smelt. Some perch mixed in. Lake Sakakawea has walleye and sauger activity at Tobacco Garden.

- Dickinson, Runnings Farm and Fleet, Lake Sakakawea/area lakes: More activity on area lakes. Tobacco Garden on Lake Sakakawea producing a mix of walleye and sauger. Try 25 to 35 feet using buckshot spoons and minnow heads on the main lake. Good numbers of pike in the bay. Indian Creek Dam producing lots of perch with some walleye mixed. Sort through the smaller perch for some nice-sized fish. Lake Tschida has activity but limited reports.

- Garrison, Cenex Bait and Tackle, Lake Sakakawea: Lake Audubon is gaining ice but caution is still advised. Continued fair walleye success with some perch mixed in. Good numbers of small walleye but sort through for the keepers. Most activity remains on the east end in a variety of depths. Lake Sakakawea back bays continue gaining ice but the main lake is still open.

- Glen Ullin, Fitterer’s Inc., Lake Tschida: Limited activity.

- Mandan, Southside MVP, Missouri River/area lakes: Not much activity on small area lakes yet. Lake Oahe producing a few small walleye around the casino.

- Pick City, Scott’s Bait and Tackle, Lake Sakakawea/Missouri River: Limited activity on the Missouri River, although look for fair success from shore using crankbaits in the evening as well as jigging from boats during the day. However, weather is limiting overall activity.

- New Town, Scenic 23, Lake Sakakawea: Some fishing in the river north of New Town. Work deep for sauger. No activity on the Van Hook with the Arm just starting to make ice.

- Watford City, One-Stop, Lake Sakakawea: Continued good sauger success around Tobacco Garden. Watch ice conditions.

- Watford City, Tobacco Garden Resort, Lake Sakakawea: Good numbers of anglers on the ice with most working in 10 to 12 feet using minnows for walleye and pike.

- Williston, Scenic Sports, Lake Sakakawea/Missouri River: Lake Sakakawea gaining ice with more anglers going out. Fair to good sauger success with some walleye mixed in at Tobacco Garden and Lund’s Landing. Springbrook-Epping and McGregor dams producing panfish.


- NDGF Department game wardens: Limited muzzleloader activity in the northwest with fewer licenses this year. Northwestern area pheasant hunters bagging a few birds with hunting becoming tougher. Canada geese remain along the open water of the Missouri River System.

- Northwest North Dakota: Continued fair pheasant success.

- Southwest North Dakota: Lots of predator hunting with continued good pheasant success with birds bunching more.

- West-central North Dakota: Geese still remain on Lake Sakakawea and the Missouri River with continued fair to good pheasant numbers.

Downhill skiing

- Big Sky, Big Sky, Montana: 32-inch base with several inches new snow early in the week.

- Bridger Bowl, Bozeman, Montana: 38-inch base with machine made, groomed powder and variable early season conditions. All runs and lift open.

- Red Lodge, Red Lodge, Montana: 14- to 31-inch base with groomed powder. 9 runs open.

- Terry Peak, Lead, South Dakota: 15- to 20-inch base with 1 run and 1 lift open.

North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department cross-country ski trails

- Lake Metigoshe, Bottineau: Trails open with 2 inches new snow on groomed track.

Numbers to know

- NDGF Department main Bismarck office: 701-328-6300; website (

- NDGF Department Dickinson office: 701-227-7431.

- Report All Poachers: 800-472-2121.

- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bismarck, website: (

Patricia Stockdill