Subscribe to the JMO Newsletter
The Hunting & Fishing Magazine of the Dakotas!

Lake Audubon Production Solid

by Dakota Country Magazine Staff

If Jason Lee could look into a crystal ball for Lake Audubon this winter, it might show walleyes, including nice numbers of 13- to 14-inch fish.

Lee, North Dakota Game and Fish Department Central District Fisheries Manager, said fisheries biologists found a slight increase in length for walleyes caught during 2016 summer netting, which helps determine how a lake’s fish population is faring. The number of fish in netting samples was similar to long-term averages, Lee continued, and many were about 14 inches long.

That correlates nicely with results from the 2015-2016 winter creel survey on Lake Audubon: Many walleye harvested during last year’s ice-fishing season were in that 15- to 16-inch range. The longest was 26 inches, and “There was a bunch of fish in that 13 1/2 - to 14/ 1/2-inch range,” Lee described.

Winter creel surveys are conducted on Lake Audubon every three years.

The amount of angling activity on Lake Audubon tends to be fairly consistent, anglers spending 65,000 to 70,000 hours ice-fishing, except when heavy snow limits access on the ice.

Anglers heading out on Lake Audubon this winter could find some nice success, especially early in the season after safe ice

A reminder, though... Lake Audubon is closed to darkhouse spearfishing because the lake has muskie. In addition, Lee reminds anglers all muskie less than 48 inches must be released.

While Lake Audubon has winter creel surveys every three years, winter creel surveys aren’t conducted on Lake Sakakawea. Anglers are spread far and wide and effort is much less than summer, Missouri River Fisheries Supervisor Dave Fryda explained. However, the Game and Fish Department conducts annual angler questionnaire surveys, which reveals that Lake Sakakawea ranked second in ice-fishing effort behind only Devils Lake in the years from 2003 through 2015, with Lake Audubon third.