Ice Fishing: is it still too warm?

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North Dakota is known for freezing temperatures and tons of snow, but this year seems to be quite the opposite. We’ve had very little snow so far and its looking like we’ll hit 50 degrees this weekend, in late November. So how in the world are anglers supposed to get out and ice fish?

“In terms of looking at a prolonged cold spell that will sustain ice formation across the state, it could be a little while. It might be another few weeks especially looking at the climate prediction centers outlook for the next two weeks there’s pretty high confidence that temperatures will stay above average through the beginning parts of December,” KX Meteorologist Dave Holder said.

Despite the up and down temperatures, Game and Fish officials are seeing a different picture.

“We actually had reports, believe it or not, around maybe October 20th of some ice fishing going on then, which is very thin ice. That ice eventually melted but its really frozen here in the last 10 days here in November, we’ve got some pretty good ice conditions out east of us,” said Greg Power, Chief of Fisheries for North Dakota Game and Fish.

But remember, this is North Dakota, and the weather can change on a dime.

“It does look like its taking its sweet time to do so, but perhaps by the time we get to late December into January we’ll be looking at much more typical North Dakota winter weather here,” said Holder.

When it comes to actually being out on the ice 4 to 6 inches is what’s recommended for walking on the ice. 12 to 15 inches for driving a vehicle on the ice.

“Right now we’re on track for a normal ice fishing season and with the lack of snow access should be good and the fish are certainly out there in the lakes,” said Power.

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