Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

Governor Proclaims Sept. 22 Hunting and Fishing Day

Gov. Doug Burgum has signed a proclamation establishing Sept. 22 as Hunting and Fishing Day in North Dakota.

Gov. Burgum’s proclamation highlights the rich and storied tradition of hunting and angling in North Dakota, and that hunters and anglers, through their license fees, have helped fund state efforts to provide for healthy and sustainable natural resources.

 

The proclamation highlights a “user pays – public benefits” approach – widely recognized as the most successful model of fish and wildlife management in the world – which shows that last year North Dakota’s 100,000 resident hunters and 150,000 resident anglers generated more than $30 million to support the conservation efforts of the Game and Fish Department.

 

“We do not get any general tax dollars from the state of North Dakota,” said Scott Peterson, North Dakota Game and Fish Department deputy director, “all of our income that we use is self-generated.”

 

The Hunting and Fishing Day proclamation is published on the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov.

North Dakota’s Hunting and Fishing Day coincides with National Hunting and Fishing Day, an event held for more than 40 years to highlight the role hunters and anglers play in supporting conservation and scientific wildlife management.

have you read?

The 2018 August/September  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 Opinion inside the cover. Last year at this time there were a number of unknowns heading into the fall hunting season.

The unknowns centered around the fallout for North Dakota’s wildlife, pheasants and other upland game birds in particular, following difficult, snowy conditions in early winter and drought in spring and summer.

 

2018 Hunting Season Outlook

A year ago, and for good reason, talk centered mostly on the return of drought conditions to North Dakota.

While the spigot seemed to turn on a bit in August, it was too late for much of the state’s small grains and pastures. The lack of precipitation early in spring and summer left its mark. It was pretty clear what the dry conditions meant for agriculture producers, yet the uncertainty was the influence drought would have on North Dakota’s most popular upland game bird, the ring-necked pheasant.

Ron Wilson PLOTS Program Update  Private Land Open To Sportsmen, the Game and Fish Department’s well-known walk-in access program turned 20 in 2017. With that considerable milestone in the rearview mirror, Kevin Kading, Game and Fish private land section leader, addresses the status of the program today, and possible changes to make the program more attractive to landowners and hunters in the future.

 

Anglers Should Fish Responsibly, 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 likely won’t survive 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 will likely happen, such as ruptured blood vessels or internal organs.

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

“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.

Walleye Fingerlings Stocked

North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries personnel stocked nearly 10 million walleye fingerlings in more than 140 waters across the state.

“Considering not many went into Lake Sakakawea, this was one of the largest stockings of more than 8 million fingerlings into the smaller fishing waters across the state,” said Jerry Weigel, fisheries production and development supervisor.

With more than 50 new walleye lakes in North Dakota, Weigel said the demand to stock these waters, along with the larger, traditional fisheries, has greatly increased the demand from the hatcheries.

“Valley City and Garrison Dam national fish hatcheries contributed to make this happen,” Weigel said. “Both hatcheries have been outstanding in helping address our demand for walleye fingerlings.”

The unusual spring and progression into summer caused variable fish sizes. “We had some of the largest and smallest fish ever shipped, even though all were about the same age,” Weigel said.

Conditions at the lakes were very good with cool water temperatures and in some cases, Weigel said, newly flooded vegetation from recent rainfall.

“They should find lots of food and good survival conditions, which bodes well for future fishing opportunities,” Weigel added.

Later this fall, fisheries personal will sample walleye lakes to assess success of this year’s walleye stocking, as well as what Mother Nature provided.

One common observation fish haulers noted while traveling across the state, Weigel said, was the amount of fishing taken place, both from shore and from boats.

“It’s a great time to fish for walleye,” he added. “Statewide, there are a lot of opportunities, and a good chance of success.”

For a complete list of all fish stockings, visit the fishing link at the Game and Fish Department’s website,gf.nd.gov/fishing.

Conditions Right for Blue-Green Algae

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department cautions outdoor enthusiasts that conditions are right for lakes, ponds and wetlands to become contaminated by toxins produced by blue-green algae.

Warm temperatures, and shallow, stagnant water, with moderate to high nutrient content, provides an optimum environment for blue-green algal growth. Water or wind movements often concentrate blue-green algae along the shoreline, and eventually the bloom appears as a blue-green “scum” floating on the surface. The threat diminishes, but is not completely eliminated, once the weather cools.

Dogs shouldn’t drink or swim in discolored water or where algal blooms are apparent. If dogs practice retrieving in these conditions, they should be rinsed off immediately and shouldn’t be allowed to lick their coat.

For additional information about the effects of blue-green algae blooms visit the North Dakota Department of Health website at ndhealth.gov, the North Dakota Department of Agriculture’s Animal Health Division at 701-328-2655, or a local veterinarian.

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 yet 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 hotline at 701-328-9921. 

Have you read? June ND Outdoors magazine

The 2018 June 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 Opinion inside the cover. In past column’s I’ve written for this space, I’ve often encouraged people to simply get outdoors and enjoy what North Dakota offers. The plants, animals and scenic overlooks that are featured in these pages are the reasons why I’ve long cheered for readers to venture outside, no matter the time of year.

The special  North Dakota Outdoors-June 2018 Photo Edition leads off a great visual experience with a look at the evolution to digital imagery. Fifteen years ago this summer, this photo of a juvenile rooster pheasant, taken at Audubon National Wildlife Refuge, was the first native digital image to earn a space on the cover of North Dakota OUTDOORS. We say “native” because at the time slides and black-and-white prints were scanned into digital files for use in the magazine, but this photo was taken with a digital camera.

Ron Wilson Back Cast explains this edition’s special meaning to him

To say that I anticipated decades ago that I’d be in a position to help serve readers with these images of North Dakota’s outdoors 10 times a year would be a lie. To come completely clean, I didn’t anticipate a place so once unfamiliar, so alien from where my roots were initially planted, to completely become what it has.

Anglers May Not Bring Aquatic Bait into North Dakota

Anglers are reminded that it is illegal to import all forms of live aquatic bait into North Dakota. This includes minnows, suckers, leeches, waterdogs (salamanders) and frogs.

 

Anglers should buy bait from a licensed North Dakota retail bait vendor. Bait vendors can properly identify species and have taken steps to ensure all bait is clean of any aquatic nuisance species.

 

For more information, refer to the 2018-20 North Dakota Fishing Guide, available at license vendors or online at the state Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov.

Be Courteous at Boat Ramps

North Dakota boaters are reminded to exercise patience 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.
  • It takes at least two people to efficiently and courteously launch a boat: one to handle the boat and one to take care of the tow vehicle.

 

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.