Published December 21, 2023

Free Ice Fishing Weekend

Written by
The Dakotan
| The Dakotan

ND Game and Fish release

North Dakota’s free ice fishing weekend is Dec. 30 and 31. Resident anglers may fish those two days without a license. All other winter fishing regulations apply.
The weekend provides a great opportunity to try ice fishing for the first time or take someone new. Share your story for a chance to win a fish house.
Information on regulations, where to fish and what equipment is needed to ice fish is available on the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s website at gf.nd.gov.

Darkhouse Spearfishing Registration
Individuals required to possess a valid fishing license (age 16 and older) to darkhouse spearfish must first register online at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov.
Darkhouse spearing is allowed for all anglers with a valid fishing license and for youth under age 16.
Northern pike and nongame fish are the only legal species statewide, while walleye can be speared at Stump Lake and the Devils Lake complex south of U.S. Highway 2 and the Missouri River System (including lakes Oahe and Sakakawea and the Missouri River) up to the first tributary bridge.
Spearers and anglers are reminded that materials used to mark holes must be in possession as soon as a hole greater than 10 inches in diameter is made in the ice.
All waters open to hook and line fishing are open to darkhouse spearing except:
• East Park Lake, West Park Lake, Lake Audubon – McLean County
• Heckers Lake – Sheridan County
• Lake Ashtabula – Barnes and Griggs counties
• Larimore Dam – Grand Forks County
• McClusky Canal
• New Johns Lake – Burleigh County
• Red Willow Lake – Griggs County
• Whitman Dam – Nelson County
• Wood Lake – Benson County
Anglers and spearers should refer to the 2022-24 North Dakota Fishing Guide for more information.

Fish House Regulations
Any fish house left unoccupied on North Dakota waters must be made of materials that allow it to float. In addition, fish houses do not require a license.
Other fish house regulations include:
• Occupied structures do not require identification. However, any unoccupied fish house must have an equipment registration number issued by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, or the owner’s name, and either an address or telephone number, displayed on its outside in readily distinguishable characters at least 3 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.
• All unoccupied fish houses must be removed from all waters after midnight, March 15.
Anglers should refer to the North Dakota 2022-24 Fishing Guide for other winter fishing regulations.

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