Technology gives ice anglers access to 200 lake contour maps


BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The North Dakota Game and Fish Department says new technology is allowing ice fishing enthusiasts to access more than 200 lake contour maps.

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Anglers have access to two free smartphone mobile apps on the Game and Fish website, both of which provide interactive functionality and work with a phone’s GPS system, said Jerry Weigel, the department’s fisheries production and development section supervisor.

“Back when we first started mapping in the early 2000s, anglers pretty much had to print a paper lake contour map at home and take it with them to help navigate and find the underwater features,” Weigel said.

One of the apps, Weigel said, is ESRI ArcGIS Explorer, which requires cellular service to work in the field. Considering cellular service is iffy on about 30% of North Dakota’s fishing waters, there are benefits to downloading maps to your mobile device before leaving home using the Avenza Geospatial PDF app, Weigel said.

“With this electronic fishing map information and you see there’s a sunken island out there, you can literally drive right to it on the ice using either of the two technologies,” Weigel said.

Weigel said the fish populations have “never been stronger” in North Dakota and the number of fishing lakes have gone up dramatically in recent years.

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