Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

Paddlefish Snagging Season Opens May 1

North Dakota’s paddlefish snagging season opens May 1 and is scheduled to continue through May 21. However, depending on the overall harvest, an early in-season closure may occur with a 24-hour notice issued by the state Game and Fish Department.

 

Legal snagging hours are from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. One tag per snagger will be issued. Snagging is legal in all areas of the Yellowstone River in North Dakota, and in the area of the Missouri River lying west of the U.S. Highway 85 bridge to the Montana border, excluding that portion from the pipeline crossing (river mile 1,577) downstream to the upper end of the Lewis and Clark Wildlife Management Area (river mile 1,565).

 

If the season closes early because the harvest cap is reached, an extended snag-and-release-only period will be allowed for up to four days immediately following the early closure, but not to extend beyond May 21. Only snaggers with a current season, unused paddlefish snagging tag are eligible to participate. Only a limited area at the confluence of the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers is open to this extended season snagging opportunity.

 

Mandatory harvest of all snagged paddlefish is required on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. On these days, all paddlefish caught must be kept and tagged immediately. All paddlefish snagged and tagged must be removed from the river by 7 p.m. of each snagging day. Any fish left at the Confluence fish cleaning caviar operation after 8 p.m. the day they were snagged will be considered abandoned and the snagger is subject to a fine. The use or possession of a gaff hook within one-half mile in either direction of the U.S. Highway 200 bridge on the Yellowstone River is illegal at any time during the snagging season.

 

Snag-and-release of all paddlefish is required on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays. Participants during snag-and-release-only days need to have in their possession a current season, unused paddlefish snagging tag. Use or possession of gaffs is prohibited on snag-and-release-only days, and, if it occurs, during the snag-and-release extension period.

 

All paddlefish snaggers must possess a paddlefish tag in addition to a valid fishing license. Cost of a paddlefish tag is $10 for residents and $25.50 for nonresidents.

 

Addresses and phone numbers of vendors selling tags:

 

Bismarck Game and Fish Office

100 N. Bismarck Expressway

Bismarck, ND 58501

701-328-6300

 

Sportsman’s Warehouse

925 32nd Ave. W.

Williston, ND  58801

701-572-2500

 

Scenic Sports

1201 E. Broadway

Williston, ND 58801

701-572-8696

 

Wal-Mart, Inc.

4001 Second Ave. W.

Williston, ND 58801

701-572-8550

Runnings Farm and Fleet

2003 Third Ave. W.

Dickinson, ND 58601

701-483-1226

 

Rosie’s Food and Gas
204 S. Main
Dickinson, ND 58601
701-483-7860

 

J Sports Sporting Goods

100 Fourth Ave. NE

Watford City, ND 58854

701-260-5228

Game and Fish Sponsors Earth Day Project

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is once again celebrating Earth Day by sponsoring clean-up days on publicly owned or managed lands.

 

With Earth Day recognized April 22, each member of a school, Girl Scout, Boy Scout, 4-H club or youth organization who participates in cleaning up public lands through May will receive a specifically designed conservation patch.

 

Last winter the Game and Fish Department sponsored a contest for students ages 6-18 to design a North Dakota Earth Day Patch. Winners in the three age categories were Brooke Livingston of Kenmare (6-9), Abbey Peterson of Velva (10-13), and Deanna Rose of Grand Forks (14-18). Rose’s design was chosen as the contest winner, and will be used on this year’s Earth Day patch.

 

Groups participating in the Earth Day project are encouraged to take the following precautions to ensure safety: keep young people away from highways, lakes and rivers; and only allow older participants to pick up broken glass.

 

Interested participants are asked to contact Pat Lothspeich at 328-6332 to receive a reporting form for their project.

Hunting Guide and Outfitter Test Set

The next guide and outfitter written examination is May 12 at 1 p.m. at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department office in Bismarck. The test is given periodically to anyone interested in becoming a hunting guide or outfitter in the state.

In addition to passing a written exam, qualifications for becoming a guide include a background check for criminal and game and fish violations; certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and standard first aid; and employment by or contract with a licensed hunting outfitter.

Hunting outfitter eligibility requirements include the guide qualifications, as well as an individual must have held a hunting guide license for two years; and must have proof of liability insurance.

Interested individuals are required to preregister by calling the Game and Fish Department’s enforcement office at 328-6604.

Advisory Board Meetings Announced

Outdoor enthusiasts are invited to attend a North Dakota Game and Fish Department spring advisory board meeting in their area.

These public meetings, held each spring and fall, provide citizens with an opportunity to discuss fish and wildlife issues and ask questions of their district advisors and agency personnel.

The governor appoints eight Game and Fish Department advisors, each representing a multi-county section of the state, to serve as a liaison between the department and public.

Any person who requires an auxiliary aid or service must notify the contact person at least five days prior to the scheduled meeting date.

 

District 3 – Counties: Benson, Cavalier, Eddy, Ramsey, Rolette and Towner

Date: April 9 – 7 p.m.

Location:

Host:

Contact:

Advisory board member: Tom Rost, Devils Lake, 662-8620

 

District 4 – Counties: Grand Forks, Nelson, Pembina and Walsh

Date: April 9 – 7 p.m.

Location: American Legion, 108 5th St. E., Park River

Host: Walsh County Gun Club

Contact: Doug Hove, 360-0709

Advisory board member: Joe Solseng, 317-5009

 

District 1 – Counties: Divide, McKenzie and Williams

Date: April 10 – 7 p.m.

Location: Library Meeting Room, 1302 Davidson St., Williston

Host: Upper Missouri United Sportsmen

Contact: Wayne Aberle, 770-6902

Advisory board member: Beau Wisness, Keene, 675-2067

 

District 5 – Counties: Cass, Ransom, Richland, Sargent, Steele and Traill

Date: April 10 – 7 p.m.

Location: City Hall, 701 First St. N., Casselton

Host: Cass County Wildlife Club

Contact: Doug Madsen, 238-3087

Advisory board member: Duane Hanson, West Fargo, 367-4249

 

District 6 – Counties: Barnes, Dickey, Foster, Griggs, Logan, LaMoure, McIntosh, Stutsman and Wells

Date: April 16 – 7 p.m.

Location: Farmers Union Insurance, 1415 12th Ave. SE, Jamestown

Host: Stutsman County Wildlife Federation

Contact: Matt Opsahl, 368-9907

Advisory board member: Cody Sand, Ashley, 357-7011

 

District 8 – Counties: Adams, Billings, Bowman, Dunn, Golden Valley, Hettinger, Slope and Stark

Date: April 16 – 7 p.m.

Location: Research Extension Center, 102 Highway 12 W., Hettinger

Host: Hettinger Rod and Gun Club

Contact: Bill Ecker, 567-2149

Advisory board member: Dwight Hecker, Dickinson, 483-4952

 

District 2 – Counties: Bottineau, Burke, McHenry, Mountrail, Pierce, Renville and Ward

Date: April 17 – 7 p.m.

Location: Verendrye Electric Cooperative, Highway 2 Bypass E., Minot

Host: Souris River Basin Long Beards

Contact: DJ Randolph, 720-2134

Advisory board member: Robert Gjellstad, Voltaire, 338-2281

 

District 7 – Counties: Burleigh, Emmons, Grant, Kidder, McLean, Mercer, Morton, Oliver, Sheridan and Sioux

Date: April 17 – 7 p.m.

Location: Game and Fish Department, 100 N. Bismarck Expressway, Bismarck

Host: Lewis and Clark Wildlife Club

Contact: Dave Dewald, 471-1046

Advisory board member: Dave Nehring, Bismarck, 214-3184

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New Licenses Needed April 1

North Dakota anglers, trappers and hunters are reminded that new licenses for the 2018-19 season are required starting April 1.

 

Licenses can be purchased online at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov. Once the license is processed, users will have the option to print a hard copy and/or download the license to a smart phone or mobile device, which is helpful when asked to show proof of license while hunting or fishing in rural areas that lack cellular service.

 

Licenses can also be purchased at more than 140 vendor locations throughout the state, or by calling 800-406-6409.

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In addition, spring turkey hunters are reminded that the spring turkey license will be mailed after hunters purchase a valid 2018-19 hunting license. All spring turkey hunters regardless of age are required to have a general game and habitat license in addition to their spring turkey license. Hunters age 16 and older must also have a small game license, or a combination license.

 

The 2018-19 small game, fishing and furbearer licenses are effective April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019.

2018-20 Fishing Regulations Set, New License Required

North Dakota’s 2018-20 fishing proclamation is set, with regulations effective April 1, 2018 through March 31, 2020.

 

Fishing licenses for the 2018-19 season can be purchased online at the state Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov, or at license vendors that are linked to the department’s online licensing system. Anglers are reminded that new fishing licenses are required April 1.

 

Licenses may also be purchased by calling the department’s instant licensing telephone number at 800-406-6409. A service charge is added for this option.

 

The 2018-20 North Dakota Fishing Guide is available at Game and Fish offices and license vendors throughout the state.

 

Noteworthy regulation changes include:

  • The season for taking of nongame fish with a bow will now be open year-round. 
  • The transportation of live white suckers, other than within Richland, Cass, Traill, Grand Forks, Walsh and Pembina counties, is now illegal. 
  • The beginning of the darkhouse spearfishing season changes from December 1 to whenever ice-up occurs. When ice-up occurs in North Dakota is unpredictable. However, whenever it does occur, ice conditions continue to improve with no significant melting, thus safety concerns such as opening large holes in the ice are reduced. This is not true in the spring, when warm weather can create unsafe conditions … therefore the closing date of March 15 will remain in place.
  • Paddlefish snagging days will begin at 7 a.m. (was 8 a.m.) and close at 7 p.m. (was 9 p.m.). Also, the season length will be shortened to 21 days (May 1 – May 21). These changes are an effort to both extend the paddlefish season to more than a few days – most years the season lasts only 4-6 days, as an early in-season closure occurs due to the harvest reaching the cap of 1,000 paddlefish – and to improve safety conditions due to snagger congestion at the Confluence area. A daily closure at 7 p.m. will allow for a more orderly and safe situation for snaggers backed up at the cleaning station. Also, in the past 17 years, only twice was a full season reached. Effective this year, the overall season length is reduced to 21 days.
  • The statewide daily and possession limit for bluegill is reduced to 10/20 respectively (was 20/40). The number of quality bluegill fisheries in North Dakota is limited. Reducing the harvest somewhat, should help maintain the size of bluegill in some lakes. Bluegill populations are more in line with crappie where populations can be managed over a longer time, versus yellow perch populations which are tied closely to weather patterns and fluctuations in water levels.
  • Walleye length restrictions are eliminated on North and South Golden, Alkali (Sargent Co.), Lueck and West Moran lakes, and Tosse Slough. While minimum length restrictions for these species have been in place for a number of years, all biological data collected from angler use and population surveys indicates the restrictions have not yielded positive results. Therefore, these regulations are no longer necessary.

March 15 Deadline to Remove Permanent Fish Houses

Anglers have until midnight, March 15 to remove permanent fish houses from North Dakota waters, and from any state wildlife management area or federal refuge land.

 

Fish houses may be used after March 15 if they are removed daily.

 

Anglers are advised to use caution while accessing area lakes because mild weather conditions can quickly result in unstable ice conditions that can make removing a fish house with a vehicle difficult or dangerous.

 

Even on lakes where ice remains solid away from shore, anglers should watch the weather and adjust activities accordingly. Ice conditions can vary from region to region, between lakes in the same region, and even on the same lake.

Youth Grant Program Application Deadline

Wildlife, shooting, fraternal and nonprofit civic organizations are urged to submit an application for the Encouraging Tomorrow’s Hunters program, a North Dakota Game and Fish Department grant program developed to assist recruitment of the next generation of hunters and shooters.

 

The maximum grant allowed is $3,000. The program currently helps fund approximately 40 club and organizational events and projects each year, with an average grant of $1,550.

 

Grant funds help cover event expenses, including promotional printing; event memorabilia such as shirts, caps or vests; ammunition and targets, and eye and ear protection.

 

Past funding has enabled groups to conduct youth pheasant and waterfowl hunts, or sponsor trap and other shooting events, including archery and rifle shooting.

 

One change from previous years is that grants related to the high school clay target league will now come out of a separate fund, and these will be for newly formed teams in 2018 only. All other shooting events, including summer youth trapshooting leagues, are still eligible for Encouraging Tomorrow’s Hunters grants.

 

Any club or organization interested in conducting a youth hunting or shooting event can get more information, including a grant application, from the Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov, or by contacting outreach biologist Pat Lothspeich at 701-328-6332.

 

The deadline to apply for a 2018 grant is April 10.

Register to Darkhouse Spearfish

All individuals, regardless of age, who participate in darkhouse spearfishing are reminded to register with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department prior to participating.

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Free registration is available at the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov, or through any Game and Fish Department office.

North Dakota’s darkhouse spearfishing season closes March 15. Legal fish are northern pike and nongame species.

Spearers must have a valid fishing license, except for those under the age of 16.

All waters open to hook-and-line fishing are open to darkhouse spearing except:

  • East Park Lake, West Park Lake, Lake Audubon – McLean County
  • Heckers Lake – Sheridan County
  • Larimore Dam – Grand Forks County
  • McClusky Canal
  • New Johns Lake – Burleigh County
  • Red Willow Lake – Griggs County
  • Wood Lake – Benson County

Anglers should refer to the 2016-18 North Dakota Fishing Guide for more information.