The 2022-23 USACE Garrison Project Winter Access Policy for Lake Sakakawea and Lake Audubon is now available. This year there will be 107 areas/entry points to Lake Sakakawea and 20 areas/entry points to Lake Audubon.
These areas/points of entry are a combination of boat ramps, shore access points and highways located in areas of limited development. Some of these points will be for foot traffic only, mainly on the ground. The entry points, as defined in the policy, are available during the period of the calendar year when Lake Sakakawea and Lake Audubon freeze, and until April 1 of each calendar year, or until the lake is free of ice.
The US Army Corps of Engineers continues to update and maintain an interactive web application related to ice access locations: The web application displays all approved ice access locations and the status to which users can easily access from any computer or smartphone. Users can also download the ESRI app to an iPhone or Android; the ArcGIS Explorer app is free. Open the ESRI app and search for “Lake Sakakawea Ice Access”.
Important information to consider:
- Lewis and Clark Magnum Point (will open on December 12, 2022, after muzzleloading season closes).
- Hofflund Bay WMA: New gate through WMA to the lake (will open December 12, 2022, after muzzleloader season closes).
- Woodpecker Bay will remain closed for grounds safety.
USACE does not encourage or recommend driving on ice at any time. For those recreating on the ice, the Omaha District urges extreme caution, as any winter activity performed on the ice can be dangerous. For example, there may be thin ice or open water near springs and pressure ridges throughout the winter.
Anglers are required to use only licensed motorized vehicles and existing authorized public roads to enter and exit ice fishing access areas. Some public roads are often closed due to snow and will not open. In these cases, it is not allowed to drive a motor vehicle off the road to access it. In addition, the public is reminded that access is for ice fishing only and that there are restrictions in place to prevent the use of ice to cross the reservoir.
All Title 36 regulations apply to ice fishing access sites. North Dakota Game and Fish WMA regulations apply to all wildlife management areas located on USACE lands around the reservoir. Additionally, North Dakota Game and Fish has specific regulations regarding the use of ice houses and fish in the state of North Dakota and the spread of nuisance aquatic species.
Have fun this winter and remember to be safe: “ALWAYS, KNOW BEFORE YOU GO”. Check in with someone who is near the body of water you’re accessing. Bait shops, outfitters, game wardens and public land managers are all valuable sources for ice status updates.
Visit the District of Omaha and Lake Sakakawea websites and Facebook pages for updates related to ice access. This includes, but is not limited to, access zone closures and openings.
For additional information, contact the USACE Riverdale office (701) 654-7411 or Williston (701) 572-6494; or North Dakota Game & Fish, Riverdale office (701) 654-7475 or Williston (701) 774-4320.