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North Dakota Department of Natural Resources - News

December 30, 2007
Press Release

Fish Houses must be Made of Floatable Material

Winter anglers are reminded that fish houses placed on North Dakota waters must be made of floatable materials.

Robert Timian, enforcement chief for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said that old car bodies or campers, including pull types, fifth wheelers or pop-ups, do not qualify as legal fish houses.

ìThere are some who think they can use a camper as a fish house,î Timian said. ìThat is not the case.î

That is not to say a camper canít be taken on the ice, Timian said. ìThey can, but they canít be left on the ice unoccupied,î he added.

Other fish house regulations include:

  • Fish houses are not required to be licensed.
  • Fish houses can be constructed of any size.
  • Occupied structures do not require identification. However, any unoccupied fish house must have the ownerís name, and either address or telephone number, displayed on its outside in readily distinguishable characters at least three inches high.
  • Fish houses may not be placed closer than 50 feet in any direction to another house without consent of the occupant of the other fish house.
  • Fish houses shall be removed from all waters by midnight, March 15, of each year.
  • Portable fish houses can be used after March 15 if they are removed daily.

Anglers should refer to the 2006-08 North Dakota Fishing Guide for winter fishing regulations.

Ice Safety Tips

Winter anglers and trappers need to study ice conditions before marching out on any of North Dakotaís frozen waters. The Game and Fish Department offers this advice:

  • Be aware on snow-covered ice as snow insulates ice, hampering solid ice formation, and it makes it difficult to check thickness. Snow also hides the blemishes, such as cracked, weak and open water areas.
  • Avoid cracks, pressure ridges, slushy or darker areas that signal thinner ice. The same goes for ice that forms around partially submerged trees, brush, embankments or other structures.
  • Remember, ice thickness is not consistent and can vary significantly with a few inches. Ice shouldnít be judge by appearance alone. Anglers should drill test holes as they make their way out on the lake, and an ice chisel should be used to check ice thickness while moving around.
  • Daily temperature changes causes ice to expand and contract, affecting its strength.
  • Visit with locals ñ other anglers and people at local bait shops ñ before going on an unfamiliar lake.
  • The following minimums are recommended for travel on clear-blue lake ice formed under ideal conditions. However, early in the winter itís a good idea to double these figures to be safe: 4 inches for a group walking single file; 6 inches for a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle; 8-12 inches for an automobile; and 12-15 inches for a pickup/truck.
  • These tips could help save a life:
  • Wear a personal flotation device and carry a cell phone.
  • Carry ice picks or a set of screwdrivers to pull yourself back on the ice if you fall through.
  • If someone breaks through the ice, call 911 immediately. Rescue attempts should employ a long pole, board, rope, blanket or snowmobile suit. If thatís not possible, throw the victim a life jacket, empty water jug or other buoyant object. Go to the victim as a last resort, but do this by forming a human chain where rescuers lie on the ice with each person holding the feet of the person in front.
  • To treat hypothermia, replace wet clothing with dry clothing and immediately transport victim to a hospital.

Tentative 2008 Season Opening Dates Announced

To help North Dakota hunters prepare for hunting seasons in 2008, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department annually provides its best estimate for opening dates for the coming year.

Dates become official when approved by governor's proclamation. Tentative opening dates for 2008 include:

Season Opening Dates
Spring Crow March 15
Spring Turkey April 12
Paddlefish Snagging May 1
Fall Crow August 9
Deer and Pronghorn Bow August 29
Dove, September Goose September 1
Sharptail, Hun, Ruffed Grouse, Squirrel September 13
Youth Deer September 19
Youth Waterfowl, Sandhill Crane September 20
Early Resident Waterfowl September 27
Pronghorn  Gun October 3
Youth Pheasant, Regular Waterfowl October 4
Pheasant, Fall Turkey October 11
Deer Gun November 7
Deer Muzzleloader November 28

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