Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

have you read? The 2018 October  North Dakota Outdoors

have you read?

The 2018 October  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

You’ve heard us here at the Game and Fish Department talk time and again about the importance of having quality wildlife habitat on the landscape.
Without adequate habitat on the landscape, for example, animals struggle to battle the harsh winter conditions that are often familiar in North Dakota. Without good habitat, animals take much longer to rebound after months of snow and cold.

 

Ron Wilson wrote:  Program Improves Deer Habitat

In 2015, following back-to-back deer gun seasons when fewer than 50,000 licenses were made available to hunters – something not seen in North Dakota in about 35 years – lawmakers made it possible for hunters to help improve wildlife habitat that would favor the state’s deer population.

In a bill that unanimously passed in both the House and Senate during the 2015 legislative season, unsuccessful applicants in North Dakota’s deer gun lottery could for the first time in 2016 donate their refunds to the Game and Fish Department’s Private Land Open To Sportsmen program.

Ron Wilson, Scott Gangl, Dave Fryda and Russ Kinzler collaborate to answer  Questions about Sakakawea’s Salmon Program  Chinook salmon were stocked in Lake Sakakawea in 1976, less than a decade after the reservoir filled, to inhabit the deep coldwater environment not used by other fish species. This nonnative species, like other fish in the Missouri River System, has ridden the ups and downs of low- and high-water years, times of abundant forage and times when prey was tougher to come by.

It hardly seems that back-to-back years are nearly the same. The same goes for fishing for salmon in the state’s biggest reservoir.

Order 2019 OUTDOORS Calendars

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is taking orders for its North Dakota OUTDOORS calendar, the source for all hunting season and application dates for 2019. Along with outstanding color photographs of North Dakota wildlife and scenery, it also includes sunrise-sunset times and moon phases.

 

To order online, visit buy and apply at the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov., or  send $3 for each, plus $1 postage, to: Calendar, North Dakota Game and Fish Department, 100 N. Bismarck Expressway, Bismarck, ND 58501-5095. Be sure to include a three-line return address with your order, or the post office may not deliver our return mailing.

 

The calendar is the North Dakota OUTDOORS magazine’s December issue, so current subscribers will automatically receive it in the mail.

Fall Fish Survey Completed

North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries biologists have completed fall reproduction surveys and most waters fared as good as or better than expected.

 

Scott Gangl, Department fisheries management section leader, said Lake Sakakawea had the eighth highest catch of young-of-the-year walleye on record.

 

“There was good reproduction of most game species in the big lake, as we saw healthy numbers of pike, perch, smallmouth bass, white bass, crappies and walleye,” Gangl said. “And it’s the second year in a row of good walleye reproduction, which isn’t a surprise considering the high water is resulting in an abundance of food and habitat for the young fish.”

 

Lake Oahe showed good reproduction of walleye this year, which Gangl said is not necessarily a good thing. “This is the fourth good year class out of the last five years, leaving a lot of small fish out there right now,” he added. “Lake Oahe is lacking forage which causes fish to grow slower than they should.”

 

Gangl said while there was some indication of gizzard shad reproduction in Lake Oahe in 2017, there wasn’t much this year. “The cold winter didn’t allow for much survival with this forage fish,” he said.

 

Devils Lake saw fair to good numbers of walleye, with the catch close to average even though Game and Fish didn’t stock any walleye in the fishery this year. “The end result was all from natural reproduction,” Gangl said.

 

Sampling results on smaller lakes generally vary from lake to lake. The common theme mentioned this year from fisheries personnel across the state is that the young-of-the-year fish were larger than normal. “This is significant because bigger fish generally have a better chance of surviving through the first winter,” Gangl said, “and that’s an important step in getting to a catchable size in the future.”

 

Reproduction surveys evaluate natural reproduction, stocking success and forage abundance.

Teddy Roosevelt Family Day Scheduled Sept. 30

Families looking for a fun afternoon filled with outdoor activities are invited to attend Teddy Roosevelt Family Day on Sunday, Sept. 30 at McDowell Dam just east of Bismarck.

 

The free event runs from 1-4 p.m. and families can come and go at any time. It features many hands-on activities including archery, BB gun shooting, fishing, animal identification, prizes and more.

 

The first 900 kids who attend also receive a free Teddy Roosevelt patch.

 

Organized by area Boy Scout, Girl Scout and 4-H organizations, Teddy Roosevelt Family Day is sponsored by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, North Dakota Chapter of the Wildlife Society, Mule Deer Foundation, Scheels All Sports, Ducks Unlimited, Delta Waterfowl, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and AMVETS.

 

McDowell Dam is 3.5 miles east of Bismarck on ND Highway 10, then one mile north.

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.