Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

Have You Seen? North Dakota Outdoors Webcast – 07/20/2017

Watch the video right here on a North Dakota  salmon update

Lake Sakakawea has some very deep, cold water that is unused by most fish, so in 1970 the Department began stocking salmon in the lake. Now, each year from about mid-July through August, anglers can enjoy some great salmon fishing in Lake Sakakawea. Learn more about the lake’s salmon and the salmon stocking program in this week’s webcast.

Sand, Wisness Named to Advisory Board; Hanson Reappointed

Governor Doug Burgum has appointed Cody Sand of Forbes and Beau Wisness of Keene to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s advisory board.


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.

Sand fills the expiring term of Joel Christoferson, Litchville, in District 6, which includes Barnes, Dickey, Foster, Griggs, Logan, LaMoure, McIntosh, Stutsman and Wells counties.

Wisness fills the expiring term of Jason Leiseth, Arnegard, in District 1, which includes Divide, McKenzie and Williams counties.

In addition, the governor recently reappointed District 5 advisory board member Duane Hanson, West Fargo, to another term.

Four members of the advisory board must be farmers or ranchers and four must be hunters/anglers. Appointments are for a term of four years. No member can serve longer than two terms.

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

Aquatic Vegetation Deserves Attention


Extensive vegetation growth along docks and boat ramps serves as a good reminder for anglers and boaters to follow aquatic nuisance species regulations.


North Dakota Game and Fish Department ANS coordinator Jessica Howell said the Department has received reports of increased vegetation in local waters.


“Aquatic plants can be the most abundant in the warmer months due to a combination of available nutrients, light and steadily increasing water temperatures,” Howell said.


State regulations require all aquatic vegetation be removed from boats, personal watercraft, trailers and fishing equipment such as fishing rods, bait buckets, lures and waders before leaving a body of water. Howell said that means “vegetation free” when transporting watercraft and/or equipment away from a boat ramp, landing area or shoreline. She said time out of the water needed to remove aquatic vegetation at the immediate water access area is allowed.


“Some plant species are highly invasive, and other ANS can hitch a ride in vegetation as well,” Howell said.


In addition to removing vegetation, other ANS regulations require:


  • All water must be drained from boats and other watercraft, including bilges, livewells, baitwells and motors before leaving a water body. Anglers can transport fish on ice in a separate container.
  • All drain plugs that may hold back water must be removed, and water draining devices must be open, on all watercraft and recreational, commercial and construction equipment bilges and confined spaces, during any out-of-water transport of same.
  • All legal live aquatic organisms used by anglers, including legal baitfish (fathead minnows), amphibians (salamanders and frogs), invertebrates (crayfish and leeches) and insects must be purchased and/or trapped in North Dakota. Anglers can transport live bait in water in containers of five gallons or less in volume. The only exception is that anglers may not transport live bait in water away from the Red River (Class I ANS infested waters). At Class I ANS infested waters, all water must be drained from bait buckets as anglers leave the shore, or remove their boat from the water. Anglers must properly dispose of unused bait away from the river, as dumping bait in the water or on shore is illegal.

clean under boat

Game and Fish at State Fair



The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will host thousands of visitors to its free Conservation and Outdoors Skills Park July 21-29 at the State Fair in Minot.

Visitors will be treated to an array of activities, exhibits and useful information as the park is open from 1-7 p.m. daily. Pathways to Hunting, Fishing, Trapping and Archery are major attractions where interested kids and adults participate in each outdoor activity.

In addition to hands-on outdoor learning opportunities, the area offers a live fish display, furbearer exhibit and native prairie plantings. Two information centers staffed by Game and Fish Department personnel bookend the Conservation and Outdoors Skills Park, which is located on the north end of the fairgrounds near the State Fair Center.



Conditions Right for Blue-Green Algae

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department advises outdoor enthusiasts to be cautious with their dogs around water this time of year, due to potential health hazards associated with blue-green algae.

Wildlife veterinarian Dr. Dan Grove said it only takes a few hot days for blue-green algae to bloom. “We have experienced many days like this already this summer, and with warmer temperatures yet to come, conditions are right for lakes, ponds and wetlands to become contaminated by toxins produced by blue-green algae,” he said.

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, Grove said 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.


Record Number of Walleyes Stocked

North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries personnel are wrapping up a record-stocking of walleye fingerlings to more than 130 waters across the state.

fish stocking for 12-6-11 column

Jerry Weigel, fisheries production and development supervisor, said more than 12 million fingerlings were stocked, besting the previous high by more than 1 million fish.

“Considering not many went into Lake Sakakawea, this included an unprecedented stocking of nearly 7 million fingerlings into the smaller fishing waters across the state,” Weigel said.

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 National Fish Hatchery produced more than 3 million walleye this year, the most in the hatchery’s 77-year history. In addition, Garrison Dam National Fish Hatchery will ship a near-record number again this year.

Stocking conditions were optimal, Weigel said, with cooler weather at the time most of the fish were shipped. The 30-day-old fingerings averaged about 1.25 inches in length.

“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. “There has never been a better time to fish for walleye,” he added. “Statewide, there are a lot of great 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 at gf.nd.gov/fishing.



Have You Seen?



North Dakota Outdoors Webcast  is online now this weeks webcast features:

Fish Stocking in North Dakota

Fish stocking is critical for recreational fishing in North Dakota. The North Dakota Game and Fish Department stocked almost 250 lakes last year. Find out more about the stocking program in this week’s webcast with fisheries division chief Greg Power.

Related Links:

have you read?


The 2017 July  North Dakota Outdoors magazine is available FREE online right now here.


North Dakota Game  and Fish biologist  Sandra Johnson writes  on North Dakota Grassland Birds  Grassland dependent birds, such as Baird’s and grasshopper sparrows, Sprague’s pipit and chestnut-collared longspurs, have declined more than other guilds of birds. One obvious reason is loss of grassland habitat, particularly native prairie in the breeding grounds



North Dakota Outdoors editor Ron Wilson wrote  Channeling Angler Efforts Toward Catfish


“The channel catfish fishery is truly unexploited, especially in the Missouri River System,” Power said. “I make a point in public presentations to tell anglers that if North Dakota was located 500 miles south, most anglers would be tapping into this wonderful resource and likely spending much less time walleye fishing.”

Fisheries biologist Scott Gangl explains in depth the biology behind Eastblishing New Fishing Lakes in North Dakota


The first step in establishing a new lake is to ensure that the public has access. Wild fish are considered a public resource in North Dakota, and the Game and Fish Department will not stock a lake unless there’s some public benefit from the stocking.


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 800-472-2121.