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Winter Anglers Reminded to be Courteous

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Winter Anglers Reminded to be Courteous
A year ago, much of North Dakota was covered with four feet of snow, a prelude to record depths that prevented ice fishing access to many lakes throughout the state. And now, with above average snow cover, some areas are beginning to experience access problems similar to last year.

Greg Power, fisheries chief for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said ice fishing is a popular pastime in North Dakota, and when access is a problem some try to create their own trail.

"When commonly used roads to access fishing lakes are blown shut, anglers often try to find alternative routes where the snow drifts are not as high," Power said. "With that in mind, anglers are encouraged to be mindful of private property."

Last winter, the department received several complaints from landowners regarding people driving through fields in order to access a lake. Power said simple common courtesy can prevent this.

"If ice anglers access a lake by a new trail that crosses private land, they should first talk to a landowner," Power said. "Often times the local landowner are the first to open access to a fishing lake by using their tractor or front-end loader."

Once on the ice, anglers are reminded it is illegal to leave fish behind. When a fish is caught, anglers must either immediately release the fish back into the water unharmed, or reduce them to their daily possession.

For anglers who fillet fish on the ice, entrails and sides should be placed in a trash bag and properly disposed of upon returning home.

The Game and Fish Department encourages all anglers to pick up after themselves as litter left on the ice will eventually end up in the lake, Power said.