Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

have you read?

The January 2019 North Dakota Outdoors magazine is available FREE online right now here.

You’ll find ND Game and Fish Director Terry Steinwand’s column Matters Of Opinioninside the cover

When we talk about wildlife habitat in North Dakota, I think most people envision grasses and other cover that benefit upland game, deer and nesting waterfowl. But water for fish, and many species of birds, is also a critical part of that conversation.

For the most part, we’ve been water-blessed for a number of years, which has been a good thing for the state’s fisheries. Today, we have roughly 450 recreational fishing lakes, many of which were dry 30 years ago.


You can also see the results of the 2018 Watchable Wildlife Photo Contest:

The overall winning photograph in the 2018 contest, chosen from three categories – game, nongame and plants and insects – is a Western grebe taken by Dale Rehder of West Fargo.

And, Ron Wilson spends time Talking Furbearers with Stephanie Tucker

North Dakota OUTDOORS staff sat down with Stephanie Tucker, Game and Fish Department game management section leader, to talk about North Dakota’s furbearers, the focus of many hunters and trappers this time of year. Tucker is a furbearer biologist who, when time allows, actively hunts and traps those animals she helps manage.

Watchable Wildlife Tax Checkoff on State Tax Form

North Dakota citizens with an interest in supporting wildlife conservation programs are reminded to look for the Watchable Wildlife checkoff on the state tax form.

 

The state income tax form gives wildlife enthusiasts an opportunity to support nongame wildlife like songbirds and birds of prey, while at the same time contributing to programs that help everyone enjoy all wildlife.

 

The checkoff – whether you are receiving a refund or having to pay in – is an easy way to voluntarily contribute to sustain this long‑standing program. In addition, direct donations to the program are accepted any time of year.

 

To learn more about Watchable Wildlife program activities, visit the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website at gf.nd.gov.

Keep Fish Caught in Deep Water

A push to encourage open-water anglers to keep fish caught from deep waters should carry over into the ice fishing season, according to the State Game and Fish Department.

 

Catch-and-release fishing, no matter the time of year, is discouraged for fish caught in 25 feet or more of water because fish reeled in from those depths have a greater chance of dying if released.

 

Fish caught in deep water won’t likely survive because of the extreme change in water pressure, which causes the swim bladder to expand. Fish can no longer control their balance in the water column when this happens. Other internal injuries, such as rupturing of organs and bleeding, are also likely for fish hauled from deep waters.

 

Devils Lake ice anglers commonly catch yellow perch in 30-45 feet of water during the winter months. This practice also translates to other deep water bodies around the state.

 

Game and Fish recommends that anglers targeting fish at 25 feet or more should make the commitment to keep what they catch. And once they reach their limit, anglers should stop fishing at that depth to avoid killing more than their limit of fish.

Winter Anglers Reminded to Clean Up Ice

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department reminds winter anglers to clean up the ice after fishing. This not only applies to trash, but fish as well.

It is not only unsightly, but it is illegal to leave fish, including minnows used for bait, behind on the ice. According to state fishing regulations, when a fish is caught, anglers must either immediately release the fish back into the water unharmed, or reduce them to their daily possession.

It is common practice for some anglers to fillet fish on the ice, which is allowed, as long as fish entrails and other parts are removed from the ice and properly disposed of at home.

In addition, all trash, including aluminum cans, cigarette butts and Styrofoam containers, must be packed out and taken home.

North Dakota ANS Plan on Web

The North Dakota Aquatic Nuisance Species Management Plan, an update of the original version prepared in 2005, has been signed by Gov. Doug Burgum and is available for viewing on the state Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov.

Completed and revised by the North Dakota Aquatic Invasive Species Committee, the goal of the 25-page plan “is to prevent the introduction and spread of ANS into and within North Dakota while mitigating ecological, economic and social impacts of existing populations where feasible.”

NDAISC is comprised of state, tribal, local and private stakeholders to guide ANS efforts across the state.

Hunting, Fishing Legislation

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will once again track hunting and fishing issues during the 2019 legislative session.

Interested outdoor enthusiasts can follow proposed outdoors-related bills by visiting the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov.

A brief description of each bill will be included, along with the bill sponsor and hearing schedule. To view each bill in its entirety, click on the linked bill number.

Free Ice Fishing Weekend

North Dakota’s free ice fishing weekend is Dec. 29-30.

Resident anglers may fish that weekend without a license. All other ice fishing regulations apply.

Those interested in darkhouse spearfishing that weekend must register with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department prior to participating. Registration is available by visiting the Department’s website, gf.nd.gov, or through any Game and Fish office. Legal fish are northern pike and nongame species.

Jerad Bluem Named Wildlife Officer of the Year

Jerad Bluem, North Dakota Game and Fish Department district game warden stationed in Steele, is the state’s 2018 Wildlife Officer of the Year. Bluem was honored recently by the Shikar-Safari Club International, a private conservation organization that annually recognizes outstanding wildlife officers in each state.

In a nomination letter sent to Shikar-Safari, chief warden Robert Timian said Bluem’s district has many lakes, wetlands and public use areas that draw hunters, anglers and water recreationists to the area.

“Warden Bluem’s communication efforts with landowners, hunters and anglers is outstanding,” Timian said. “He is often mentioned for assisting those in need – whether it is helping load an angler’s boat in less than ideal weather conditions, to providing a helping hand to a rancher in in search of escaped cattle. He has a caring attitude who consistently makes a positive impression on others.”

Sandra Johnson Named Game and Fish Employee of the Year

Sandra Johnson, conservation biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Bismarck, received the agency’s Director’s Award for professional excellence during the Department’s annual meeting Dec. 6 in Bismarck.

 

Terry Steinwand, Game and Fish director, said Johnson was instrumental in the development and implementation of North Dakota’s state wildlife action plan; in determining and providing technical advice on the status of the state’s nongame species, including the rare and declining species of conservation priority and federally listed threatened and endangered species; and in coordinating select projects that have been awarded state wildlife grants funding.

 

“Sandra accomplishes these roles in an effective, efficient, comprehensive and professional manner,” Steinwand said. “She continually looks for new and innovative ways and opportunities to fulfill her duties.”