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Walking on thin ice

Posted 3/25/20 (Wed)

Walking on thin ice

By Ashleigh Plemper
Farmer Staff Writer

If you thought the only way to self-quarantine to avoid the coronavirus was inside of your home, a couple of fisherman at Tobacco Gardens on Lake Sakakawea last weekend said think again.
“You get tired of sitting around and self-isolating,” says Ray Billing, a local fisherman. “So we’re self-isolating right here.”
Fresh air with no one else around was enough to have Billing and his fishing buddies sold on the idea of linking up and hitting the ice on a cold, but sunny afternoon at the area’s favorite ice fishing spot.
“Not many people get to experience this,” Billing said as he expressed his appreciation for the outdoors of North Dakota.
While ice fishing season was officially over earlier this month, it’s not a crime for fisherman to continue hitting the ice on their own terms. And it’s after March 15, when permanent ice houses must be pulled off the lake that die-hards will continue to trickle onto the ice. But it’s the stories from Billing’s ultra diehard friends that keeps him ever vigilant this time of year.
“We’re only fishing seven feet deep,” Billing said. “You don’t want to go out on the ice too far because if the shoreline cracks, and you can’t get back on, you’re in trouble.”

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