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Published January 10, 2012, 05:16 PM

Warm Temps Make For Nice Ice Fishing, But Cold Snap Means Better Ice

DEVILS LAKE (WDAZ-TV) - Warm weather has cooled the plans for ice fishermen in the Lake Region. But, they say the warm temperatures definitely have an upside.

By: Adam Ladwig, WDAZ

DEVILS LAKE (WDAZ-TV) - Warm weather has cooled the plans for ice fishermen in the Lake Region.

But, they say the warm temperatures definitely have an upside.

Ice levels are so thin on Devils Lake, you can still see the water in some places.

"With the mild temperature we've been having, we are a little behind where we're normally at with ice thickness," Randy Hiltner, with North Dakota Game and Fish, said.

Hiltner, a fisheries expert, says ice that has formed is here to stay, even in the face of record high temperatures last week.

"It's kind of holding its own now. It's not really increasing or going down much," Hiltner said.

Angler Brandon Wade was fishing Monday in the East Bay of Devils Lake. He says the fishing has been good this year, even if it wasn't his luckiest day.

"Nothing real big, a couple of 14 inchers. Keeper, good eater," Wade said.

He says he sees a lot of people taking advantage of the weather by hitting the lake.

"There's been a lot more people that I noticed that just come out and fish on a bucket, end up staying outside," Wade said.

One thing that helps ice thickness is the relatively dry winter in North Dakota. Snow acts as an insulator, and prevents more ice from forming on the lake.

"But the good news is, there's not much snow cover at all out there, so if we get some cold weather the ice will thicken up pretty rapidly," Hiltner said.

And with a cold snap expected later this week, fisherman should be able to fish on Devils Lake for several more months.

"Well if the weather cools down like we know it's going to, the ice should improve rapidly in late January," Hiltner said.

The ice fishing season usually runs until about the first week in April.

It's not recommended to take a car or truck out onto the ice, but smaller vehicles like snowmobiles and ATV's should be ok.

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