NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — In Monday’s Destination Dakota, deer gun season just closed on Sunday.

But our November cold snap has many anglers eager to try ice fishing, even before the official start of winter.

As their boots hit the frozen water for the first time of the season, one thing is certain for early ice anglers, it won’t be crowded.

“It’s ice. You’re literally walking on water,” ND Game and Fish fisheries division chief Greg Power said. “As always, be careful, as winter progresses, you start getting pressure ridges.”

Around two weeks of below-freezing temps have iced over most lakes across North Dakota.

“I know they’ve already ice-fished a fair amount on Lake Audubon,” Power said.

“Those thoughts about destination fishing trips start to brew a bit for people,” Dane Heid said. “There have been people going out on the ice. They’re a little bit braver than I am.”

Heid creates custom ice-fishing bait from his home workshop.

“I’ve always been the guy who’s never satisfied with one thing,” Heid said.

Normally, his project doesn’t get rolling until well after deer season. But one blizzard and several single-digit temperature nights mean Heid is waking up his paint shop now.

“Usually, it’s not until the second week of December where I actually start painting pretty hard,” Heid said. “But I started in early November.”

“We’re almost a month ahead with making ice opportunity,” Power said.

With over four inches of ice on several lakes, North Dakota anglers are starting the season early. One challenge is navigating through the snow.

“Anybody who lives in North Dakota knows it’s rags to riches, riches to rags,” Power said. “And we could be talking in a month or two and it’s incredibly warm out.”

Game and Fish leaders are advising anglers to use caution, don’t try to drive or bring any hard-sided ice houses out just yet.

If you plan to dark house spearfish in North Dakota, you’re required to register with the North Dakota Game and Fish.

It’s free and you’ll be given a registration number that you must provide if you’re stopped in the field.