The relatively mild temperatures this winter are making it difficult for popular ice fishing sites to freeze over.

By this time of year, Lake Sakakawea is usually frozen over. But right now, there is a lot of open water. That has some fishers setting up shop on neighboring Lake Audubon.

Or, like in the case of this man’s friends, not at all.

“I don’t think they’ve really got going too much yet,” said Tom Aisenbrey, fisherman. “They were waiting till it gets a little thicker ice to start.”

Lake Sakakawea is home to more than 100 access points for ice fishing, but many of those areas aren’t considered safe enough yet.

The ice needs to be between 12 and 14 inches thick before it’s considered safe.

“People along the river do need to be cautious, especially when we get into this next cold, sub-zero temperatures again and ice starts to form,” said Todd Lindquist, operations project manager of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “We could see some varying stages on the river again.”

And, even if the ice looks good, any experienced angler knows it’s better to be safe than sorry.

“Walk on and check the ice with a spud bar and be very cautious,” said Carey Gieser, fisherman. “Don’t drive on until you’ve tested all the way to where you want to go.”

If the ice on your favorite spot is still too thin for your ice house, you may not be missing much.

“Well, they’re catching them deep, when they catch one or two of them,” said Francis Borts, bait shop employee. “Some guys come in here, and you know how fisherman tell stories, some guys come in here and say they’re just catching them left and right. And other guys come in and say they ain’t catching nothing.”

Whether you’re looking to fish, ice skate or just take a walk, the KX Storm Team said prolonged cooler temperatures are on the way and should help the ice form.