Category Archives: Winter Fun

Fishing – no ice, no waiting – in North Dakota

I’ve posted before about my husband – a Minnesotan who has become one of North Dakota’s biggest promoters because of the accessible (and pretty fabulous) hunting and fishing here.  Well this guy LOVES his Missouri River.  It’s no secret that this has been the warmest winter on record in North Dakota.  Most of the state had little to no snow all season and now the daytime highs have consistently been in the 50s, 60s and even 70s from border-to-border.  So what does that have to do with my dear hubby and fishing?  As I was being informed of the boat ramps that have opened in Bismarck and Mandan he also reminded me that in some states, there’s a season opener that’s still weeks away. Here in North Dakota, our walleye/pike season never “closes” or “opens.”  And as many anglers know – that spring bite can be awesome.  HOW awesome?  Just last week a new state record lake trout was caught.

Royce Johnston of New Town reeled in the 16-pound, 6-ounce lake trout from the Garrison Dam Tailrace (on the Missouri River). The 33.5-inch fish broke the old record by more than two pounds. The previous record of 14 pounds, 4 ounces was taken from the Tailrace in 1982.

Fishing North Dakota is easy! Just visit the Game and Fish Department for licensing, waterways and boat ramps. You can also get the latest with the North Dakota Outdoors on Facebook.  Follow @OutdoorsND on Twitter for great information around the state because, not only is the fishing open, golf courses are opening too! The first we’ve heard of are Heart River in Dickinson, Pebble Creek in Bismarck and the Edgewood and Rose Creek courses in Fargo. Several others have told us that they could be opening in the coming weeks!

And if you happen to be going out tomorrow on the Missouri River – it’s expected to be 80-degrees and you can look for my hubby in a green Fisher.


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Happy Holidays!

If you’re coming home for the holidays or taking a little of your Christmas break to travel this season, our travel counselors at North Dakota Tourism will be available during office hours from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. CST.  Our office will be closed on Monday, Dec. 26 and Monday, Jan. 2.

This year you won’t find much snow in North Dakota, but our ski area remain open and there’s still LOTS to do, including hiking and biking the Maah Daah Hey Trail during these 40-degree days.  The Missouri River has open-water fishing and some smaller lakes and bays are frozen for ice fishing.  Great destinations like the North Dakota Heritage Center, the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center and the International Peace Gardens are open.  Tour through Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  See Fort Mandan and hear stories of the Corps of Discovery from the winter of 1804-1805.  Take in a hockey game and cheer for North Dakota State University as they travel to the FCS Championship!  It’s a great time to enjoy North Dakota.

Happy holidays!

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Posted by on December 23, 2011 in Fishing, History, Just for Fun, Winter Fun


Winter in North Dakota

Snowmobile trails in North Dakota were supposed to open over the weekend.  However, we have one big problem here.  No snow.  Downhill ski areas Huff Hills near Bismarck-Mandan, Bottineau Winter Park in the Turtle Mountains near Bottineau and Frost Fire Ski and Snowboard Area in the Pembina Gorge near Walhalla have all been making snow and have runs open.

While we might be a little low on snow, the balmy-temps give a new diversity in activity options for the adventurous! For instance – snowboard in the morning and wakeboard the Missouri River in the afternoon – like this group did!

Until the snow flies and the ice thickens, there’s still miles to enjoy on the Maah Daah Hey Trail.  Open-water fishing on the Missouri River is gangbusters and the Missouri River Zone remains open for Canada goose hunting through Dec. 30.

And if your kind of adventure is more that “last-minute-shopping-and-bargin-finding” variety – we’ve got that too!

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Posted by on December 19, 2011 in Winter Fun


Lights, Snow, Action!

The sparkle of the season will soon surround us as the first of winter’s snowfalls cover the ground and reflect the twinkling of holiday lights. There are great options to enjoy light tours in North Dakota. Pack up the family and a thermos of hot chocolate!  And for a truly memorable experience, consider a horse-drawn sleigh ride – available from the Dakota Carriage Company in Fargo.

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Posted by on December 1, 2011 in Events, Winter Fun


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The Frozen Four and more!

North Dakota hockey fans everywhere (and especially in my living room) are cheering for the University of North Dakota men’s hockey team’s 20th foray into the Frozen Four.  The 32-8-3 Fighting Sioux have won the MacNaughton Cup, the WCHA Championship and look to face Michigan in the first round of the Frozen Four, April 7 in St. Paul.  Can’t make the journey?  Consider watching the broadcast live in Grand Forks.  Details and plans for fans are being put together in hockey’s hometown.  Stay tuned to and on Twitter @TravelND for news and announcements.

The USHL Fargo Force and the NAHL Bismarck Bobcats are also post-season bound in their hockey ranks.  The Force host Des Moines this Thursday at Scheels Arena.  Tickets are available, so keep that hockey high going!

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Posted by on March 28, 2011 in Sports, Winter Fun


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Get Some March Madness in ND

You know that saying, “March comes in like a lion“?  I’m curious if there’s a connection to the roar of crowds during playoffs and tournaments?  It’s March Madness month and that certainly doesn’t leave out North Dakota.  There’s still time to catch some slam-dunk fever court-side at a Dakota Wizards game or at this weekend’s Summit League Quarterfinal round – let’s go Bison!

And with the Final Five just around the corner it’s time to cheer on #1 ranked University of North Dakota.  The Fargo Force and Bismarck Bobcats are both defending titles this season as well.

Let your roar out in North Dakota this March!

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Posted by on March 4, 2011 in Events, Sports, Winter Fun


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Like unique camping?

This weekend one member of the North Dakota Tourism staff is trying out a yurt at Cross Ranch State Park.  So you’re asking yourself – what’s a yurt?  This unique type of camping is a cross between tenting it and renting a cabin.  Two yurts are now available at Cross Ranch State Park.  Comfortably furnished, a yurt is a portable, canvas-covered, wood-lattice-framed structure traditionally used by nomads in the steppes of Central Asia.  It’s more home-like than tent and have propane heaters.  They can accommodate four to six people and reserved by calling 1-800-807-4723.

The second question you might be asking is: Camping?  In the winter?  You betcha!  Cross Ranch State Park has 10 miles of groomed trails perfect for cross-country skiing, plus more backcountry and beautiful areas for snow shoeing.  The ND State Parks offer more than 50 miles of cross-country ski trails.  Check out trail conditions online.

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Posted by on January 28, 2011 in Winter Fun


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I love winter!

Sundogs photographed at the University of Mary, Bismarck - photo by Erica Hager

The headline is 100% completely true in my case. Winter is my favorite season. I love the snow. I love the sparkle. I love the cold. “What?!!” you ask, “You love cold?” Yes – I love the cold. North Dakota was making some headlines this week for being colder than some places in Antarctica. Here in Bismarck this morning it was -25°. (As I write this at noon, it’s already warmed up to 11°. A 30/40/50-degree temperature shift is not uncommon here.)

You might wonder how anyone could love the cold. This morning on my way to a workshop, I drove over the Missouri River.  The River hasn’t completely iced over, so a thick fog was rising from the open water (which was obviously warmer than the air temperature). That fog is cool. The crispness of the air – literally cool. It makes your senses alert, and you hear how loud the crunch of footsteps become. There’s a sharpness to your breath. The air is so clean that the sun dogs around the sun seem to make it twice as bright.

Without winter there wouldn’t be snowmobiling, sledding, outdoor skating rinks, ice fishing, snowkiting, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, dog sledding and much more. What’s your favorite winter activity? Where do you find the beauty of this season?


Posted by on January 19, 2011 in Winter Fun


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Lots of Theodore Roosevelt related news

This weekend, enjoy free entrance and camping at Theodore Roosevelt National Park (entrances in Medora and near Watford City).  The scenic drives are open, weather permitting, and backcountry skiing and snowshoeing is permitted.

January 15 is Winter Fun Day at the Chateau de Mores in Medora.  Bring sleds, skis, snowshoes and enjoy activities with hot chocolate and cookies to be served.  There will be a fire pit bonfire on the patio and all activities are free including admission to the Chateau de Mores and its interpretive center. 

Theodore Roosevelt Documentary to Air

“Theodore Roosevelt: A Cowboy’s Ride to the White House” will run on 175 Public Broadcast stations over the next few months.  The documentary details Roosevelt’s life as a cowboy and his time in the Badlands of North Dakota, which he said was responsible for him becoming president.  For more information and copies of the film visit

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Posted by on January 14, 2011 in History, TRNP / Badlands, Winter Fun


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See you next year!

Zoo Year's Eve Run in Bismarck, photo by the Bismarck Tribune

While you’re planning ways to celebrate the New Year, all of us at North Dakota Tourism would like to wish you a very Happy New Year and invite you to celebrate your new year in North Dakota style!  Vacationers will find North Dakota to be a very active state – some of our top activities include hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, fishing, hunting, bird watching and wildlife viewing.  New Years Eve, you can join the Zoo Year’s Eve fun run at Dakota Zoo in Bismarck.  OR, join the New Year’s Day 5K in Fargo on January 1.

If a weekend jog isn’t in the plans, maybe snowmobile or cross-country ski trails fit-the-bill?  There are also four recreational (downhill) ski areas in North Dakota.  We provide a weekly winter activities report for the latest on trail and snow conditions!

Have fun this new year and all year in North Dakota!

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Posted by on December 29, 2010 in Events, Winter Fun


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