Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

Anglers Should Keep Fish Caught in Deep Water

North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries personnel encourage anglers to keep fish caught from depths of more than 25 feet, rather than practice catch-and-release.

Scott Gangl, Game and Fish fisheries management section leader, said while catch-and-release is often encouraged under the right conditions, fish reeled in from this depth will likely die if released.

“Fish caught from deep water have a lower chance of surviving after you release them because of the extreme change in water pressure,” Gangl said.

Change in water pressure will cause the swim bladder to expand, Gangl said, which means fish can no longer control balance. In addition, he said other internal injuries are likely, such as ruptured blood vessels or internal organs. Because of these other internal injuries, biologists discourage fizzing, the practice of deflating the swim bladder.

This can happen in any deep water body such as Devils Lake, Lake Oahe and Lake Sakakawea, Gangl said, but it is especially noteworthy for this time of year in Lake Sakakawea.

180516 walleye

“As water warms during summer, fish tend to move to deeper, cooler water,” he added. “This is particularly true for walleye in the big lake, where walleye follow their primary forage of rainbow smelt to deeper depths as summer progresses.”

Anglers fishing at least 25 feet deep should make the commitment to keep what they catch, and once they reach their limit to stop fishing at that depth.

“Our simple message is for anglers to keep fish that are caught from these depths, or to fish in shallower water when practicing catch-and-release,” Gangl said.

Put Garbage Where it Belongs

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department reminds outdoor recreationists to keep it clean this summer by packing out all trash.

 

All garbage, including used fireworks, should be placed in a proper trash receptacle. If trash cans aren’t available, or are full, take the trash and dispose of it at home.

 

It is not uncommon to see garbage piling up around full trash containers. Styrofoam containers are not biodegradable, but are often found wedged in cattails, drifting or washed up on shore.

 

Tires, mattresses and kitchen appliances have found their way to public use areas. This illegal dumping is costly to clean up and takes a significant toll on the environment. Not only does it spoil the beauty of the land, it destroys habitat, has the potential to pollute North Dakota waters and can injure wildlife.

 

Littering violations should be reported by calling the Report All Poachers at 701-328-9921.

WMA Regulations Prohibit Fireworks, Camping Restriction Lifted for Holiday

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department reminds citizens that possession or use of fireworks on state wildlife management areas is prohibited.

 

The primary objective of a wildlife management area is to enhance wildlife production, provide hunting and fishing opportunities, and offer other outdoor recreational and educational uses that are compatible with these objectives. Only activities that would not disrupt the intentions of how these areas are managed are encouraged, and a fireworks display is not compatible.

 

In addition, the Game and Fish Department will lift the Tuesday-Wednesday no-camping restriction for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday week, which will allow overnight camping June 30 and July 1 on those WMAs that otherwise have this two-day restriction in place.

 

A complete list of WMA regulations is available on the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov.

Watchable Wildlife Photo Contest

While contest guidelines for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Watchable Wildlife Photo Contest have change little from previous years, photographers are reminded to follow the guidelines for submitting their work.

Photographers who want to submit photos to the contest should go the Department’s website at gf.nd.gov/photo-contest. Then it is a matter of providing some pertinent information about the photo and uploading it.

Doing so helps both with ease of submitting photos for the photographer and managing those images for Department staff.

The contest is now open and the deadline for submitting photos is October 2. For more information or questions, contact Patrick Isakson, Department conservation biologist, at pisakson@nd.gov.

The contest has categories for nongame and game species, as well as plants/insects. An overall winning photograph will be chosen, with the number of place winners in each category determined by the number of qualified entries.

Contestants are limited to no more than five entries. Photos must have been taken in North Dakota.

By submitting an entry, photographers grant permission to Game and Fish to publish winning photographs in North Dakota OUTDOORS, and on the Department’s website.

Practice Patience at Boat Ramps

Boaters are reminded to exercise patience, practice physical distancing and plan accordingly when heading to a lake or river this summer.

 

The state Game and Fish Department receives a number of complaints every year about overly aggressive behavior at boat ramps. A few simple reminders will help ensure a fluent transition when launching and loading a boat.

 

Launching

  • Don’t pull onto the ramp until your boat is ready to launch.
  • Prepare for launching in the parking area. Remove covers, load equipment, remove tie downs, attach lines and put in drain plug, before backing onto the ramp.
  • When ready, pull into line to launch. Wait your turn. Be courteous.

Loading

  • Don’t block the loading area with your boat until your tow vehicle is ready to load. Wait until you are clear of the launch area to unload gear.
  • As soon as your trailer is in the water, load and secure your boat to the trailer.
  • Remove boat and trailer from the water as quickly as possible.
  • Get clear of the ramp. Pull into the parking area to finish securing your boat, unloading gear, draining all water and inspecting for and removing any vegetation. Remember to leave plugs out when transporting boat.

Boat North Dakota Course

North Dakota state law requires youth ages 12-15 who want to operate a boat or personal watercraft by themselves with at least a 10 horsepower motor must first pass the state’s boating basics course.

 

Two commercial providers offer the course online, and links to those sites are found on the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s website at gf.nd.gov. The online provider charges a fee for the course.

 

Upon completion of the online test, students can print a temporary certification card, and within 30 days a permanent card will be mailed.

 

The course covers legal requirements, navigation rules, getting underway, accidents and special topics, such as weather, rules of the road, laws, life saving and first aid.

 

All boaters are encouraged to take the course. Some insurance companies give adult boat owners who pass the course a discount on boat insurance.

 

For more information contact Game and Fish at ndgf@nd.gov; or 701-328-6300.

Public Reminded of Administrative Rules Hearing

Those planning to attend the public hearing to address proposed rule changes to North Dakota Administrative Code Title 30 are asked to contact the North Dakota Game and Fish Department prior to 5 p.m., Tuesday, June 16.

 

The hearing is scheduled for 1:15 p.m., Thursday, June 18 at the agency’s main office in Bismarck. Attendees can call 701-328-6305, or email ndgf@nd.gov.

 

The purpose and explanation of the proposed rule changes, along with the proposed rule language, may be reviewed on the Department’s website at gf.nd.gov. Written or oral comments on the proposed rules must be received by June 28, 2020 for consideration.

 

Anyone planning to attend the public hearing and needs special facilities or assistance relating to a disability should contact the Game and Fish Department, at the above phone number, at least seven days before the public hearing.

Game and Fish to Open Offices by Appointment Only

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will open offices June 8 to public access by appointment only, and under guidelines established by North Dakota Smart Restart. Facility occupancy must remain below 50%, therefore most Game and Fish staff will continue to work remotely.

Under moderate risk phase I, COVID-19 wellness screening will be required upon entering the building, and wearing a mask or cloth face covering is encouraged. Physical distancing must be followed. Personal appointments will only be available for those who can’t receive help by phone or online.

Hunters, anglers and water recreationists are reminded that all hunting and fishing license purchases, boat registrations and lottery applications are conducted online. Anyone needing help with buying a license, a boat registration or lottery application can receive assistance by calling 701-328-6300, or emailing ndgf@nd.gov.

Walleye Tagging Studies

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department continues to conduct walleye tagging studies across the state.

 

At Lake Sakakawea, the state’s largest fishery, Department fisheries biologists are in the second year of a four-year walleye tagging study. The goal on Sakakawea is to tag about 3,000 walleyes per year, a target fisheries biologists more than met this year when they fit 3,188 fish with metal jaw tags.

 

Another project was conducted at Lake Josephine in Kidder County where nearly 500 walleye were tagged.

 

In both waters, the respective tagging studies will provide Department fisheries biologists with several pieces of information, including angling mortality, that will help to properly manage the fisheries and maintain good fishing into the future.

 

Anglers can help both tagging studies by reporting any tagged fish they catch on the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov, or by calling 701-328-6300.