Things can slow down during the Winter months here in North Dakota. Cold temps, snow, and ice can mess with a lot of people's outdoors plans. But not everyone turns away when the thermometer moves towards zero. We head to Granville to check out one of North Dakota's most popular Winter Sports.
The sound of ice augers were abundant in the air. “It's a beautiful day to ice fish. It's maybe almost 20 degrees out, not very windy. It's a beautiful day,” said fisherman Tom Rafferty.
That nice weather was a perfect reason for Winter Sports enthusiasts to head out to Buffalo Lodge Lake for some Ice Fishing. It was Granville's 20th Annual Ice Fishing Tournament. And it's was all for a good cause. “We use the money to finance scholarships and other things around the community, so it all goes towards good things. We got a lot of donations for door prizes from all the businesses in Granville, and any number of them in Minot too,” said Fishing Derby Coordinator Myron Allen.
One hundred eighty fisherman hit the ice with their shacks, poles, and other gear. Just about every ice fishing technique was on display Saturday afternoon. “With the tip-ups, it's the big huge hook, and the big huge schmelt. We're going after the big fish with that. The other ones we've got smaller jigs. Some rattle, some are different colors. We try a little bit of everything and see what bites,” added Rafferty, who was competing in the tournament.
Walleye, Northern and Perch are the fish of choice in Buffalo Lodge Lake, and competitors were have a successful day. “We've caught some nice fish. The best one so far is a six pound, eleven ounce Walleye. It was big enough the guy was holding it with both hands. It was a nice fish,” said Allen.
North Dakota Winters can sometimes get a bad rep. Bitterly Cold temperatures and blizzard like conditions can be typical weather in the Peace Garden State. But on nice days like this, it's good to get outside, drop a line, and enjoy the fresh air. Allen, a California native says it took him some time to adjust, “It took me a while too to get to where you enjoy the Winter as much as the you do the Summer. There's a lot to do. Anything from cross country skiing to ice fishing.” Rafferty added, “You've got to make yourself get out. And ice fishing is one of those things to do. It's fun, it gets you outside. If you cooped up in the house all Winter that's no good. So you've got to get out and try to have some fun.”
But if you've never been ice fishing before, don't be intimidated. Start slow and find someone else with some experience. These guys love to share their tips and tricks. “You can start out small and simple and if you really enjoy it, then go for it and buy all the gear. It's a lot of fun,” stated Rafferty.
For a full list of North Dakota Ice Fishing Tournaments for the 2014-2015 Winter Season, log onto the North Dakota Fish and Game website, and click the fishing tab.