The Game and Fish Department is closing access to West Arroda Lake in Oliver County, effective immediately, due to dangerous ice conditions caused by rapidly receding water levels. The wildlife management area surrounding the lake remains open.
During a routine inspection conducted April 10, Game and Fish staff observed some soil erosion around the outlet of the dam, which is formed by North Dakota Highway 200-ALT about 20 miles west of Washburn. In cooperation with the North Dakota State Water Commission and the North Dakota Department of Transportation, Game and Fish started releasing water from the lake on April 10.
Game and Fish biologists estimate the lake level is down around 4 feet already, and sloping ice along the shoreline is slippery and there may be areas where there is no longer any water under the ice.
The water release will eventually remove most of the water from West Arroda so an inspection can be made to determine the extent and cause of the erosion and any possible effect on the integrity of the dam and highway. The lake level will remain low throughout the coming spring and summer months, and possibly even longer if repairs are necessary. The low water will make the boat ramp unusable and make shore-fishing difficult as well.
The draw-down will not affect nearby East Arroda Lake.