Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

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.

Fishing for Free June 2-3

North Dakotans who want to give fishing a try are reminded they can fish for free June 2-3.

 

That is the state’s Free Fishing Weekend, when all residents age 16 and over can fish any North Dakota water without a license. Residents age 15 and under do not need a fishing license at any time of year.

 

“Most North Dakotans fish with family or friends, so it’s a great time for anglers to take someone new who otherwise might not have the chance,” said Greg Power, fisheries chief for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. “And you don’t have to travel far, as our state continues to offer real quality fishing opportunities in all corners of the state.”

 

Fishing regulations and information on fishing waters is available on the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov, and in the current regulations guide available at license vendor locations.

Some Lakes Suffer Winterkill

North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries biologists investigated winterkills at 13 lakes this spring, and some were considered significant enough to affect the quality of fishing.

 

Popular fishing lakes that appear to have suffered a significant kill include Spring Lake (Bowman County), Davis Dam (Slope County), Round Lake (Kidder County), Wentz WPA (Logan County), School Section Lake (Rolette County), Cavanaugh Lake (Ramsey County), Matejcek Dam (Walsh County), Casselton Reservoir (Cass County) and Bisek Slough (Richland County).

 

Fisheries biologists sample suspected winterkill lakes to assess the severity of the die-off, and make plans to restock fish where needed. Some lakes that were sampled and still have good populations of fish include Coal Lake (McLean County) and Island Lake (Rolette County).

 

Minor winterkills in some other lakes were not significant enough to affect fishing.

 

Anglers can contact fisheries biologists at local Game and Fish Department district offices to get more information on lake status, or to report fish kills that may not be on the list.

Catchable Trout Stocked

More than 50 local fisheries throughout North Dakota now have a fresh supply of catchable trout, as state Game and Fish Department personnel are wrapping up their annual spring trout stocking efforts.

 

Fisheries production and development section leader Jerry Weigel said while the number of fisheries statewide is at a historic high, many are not as easily accessible to youngsters, older adults and disabled anglers.

 

“The majority of these recently stocked waters are community fisheries that have fishing piers, and provide a great opportunity for first-time anglers to catch fish,” Weigel said. “These stockings put catchable fish in waters that are accessible.”

 

The trout were larger this year, with many averaging more than one-half pound, Weigel said. More than 60,000 11-inch rainbow trout were stocked, along with 1,000 1- to 3-pound cutthroat and rainbow trout.

 

Weigel emphasized that trout are kid friendly and bite aggressively in spring before temperatures rise, so the best time to catch them will be in the next few weeks.

 

“On late springs like this one, these catchable trout provide enjoyment as soon as they are stocked,” Weigel said.

 

Daily updates are listed on the Game and Fish Department’s Facebook page, and a complete stocking report is available on the department’s website, gf.nd.gov.

  • Adams – North Lemmon
  • Barnes – Blumers Pond, Hatchery Kids Pond
  • Bottineau – Strawberry Lake
  • Bowman – Lutz Dam
  • Burleigh – McDowell Dam, OWLS Pond, Wilton City Pond
  • Burke – Northgate Dam
  • Cass – Brooks Harbor, Casselton Pond, North Woodhaven Pond
  • Cavalier – Langdon City Pond
  • Divide – Baukol-Noonan Dam, Baukol-Noonan East Mine
  • Golden Valley – Beach City Pond, Camels Hump Lake
  • Grand Forks – Ryan Park Pond, Turtle River
  • Grant – Sheep Creek Dam
  • Hettinger – Castle Rock Dam, Mott Watershed Dam
  • McIntosh – Blumhardt Dam
  • McKenzie – Watford City Park Pond
  • McLean – Custer Mine, Lightning Lake, Riverdale City Pond
  • Mercer – Harmony Lake, Hazen Creek
  • Morton – Gaebe Pond, Harmon Lake, Krieg’s Pond, Little Heart Pond, Nygren Dam, Porsborg Dam
  • Mountrail – Stanley Pond
  • Oliver – Oliver County Sportsmen’s Pond
  • Ransom – Mooringstone Pond
  • Renville – Glenburn Pond
  • Richland – Mooreton Pond
  • Rolette – Hooker Lake
  • Slope – Davis Dam
  • Stark – Belfield Pond, Dickinson Dike
  • Stutsman – Streeter Lake
  • Ward – State Fair Pond, Velva Sportsmen’s Pond
  • Williams – Kettle Lake, Kota-Ray Dam, McGregor Dam, West Spring Lake Pond

The 2018 May North Dakota Outdoors magazine is available FREE online right now here.

 

Ron Wilson explains how the extended winter resulted in a Northern Pike Spawn Delayed

When North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries biologists set trap nets in Lake Oahe in spring for the northern pike spawn, they were as late to the game as they’d been in years.

 

Ron also authored the story on Deer Gun Applications go Electronic  A law passed by the North Dakota Legislature requiring the Department to develop an all-electronic licensing system, and phase out the old paper license books, actually went into effect April 1, 2016.

 

The North Dakota State Water Commission explains the history and transition of lowhead dams and how State Agencies Work Together To Eliminate “Drowning Machines”

 

One of the unintentional consequences that materialized is that these lowhead dams created dangerous conditions that recreational river users may not be aware of or may underestimate.

 

Drain Water from Boats

North Dakota anglers and water recreationists are reminded that all water must be drained from boats before leaving a water body.

 

This regulation, intended to help prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species, includes all watercraft and associated bilges, livewells, baitwells and motors. However, anglers can transport fish on ice in a separate container.

 

In addition, 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.

 

Other ANS regulations require:

  • All aquatic vegetation must 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. That means “vegetation free” when transporting watercraft and/or equipment away from a boat ramp, landing area or shoreline. Time out of the water needed to remove aquatic vegetation at the immediate water access area is allowed.
  • 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.
  • Transportation of live white suckers, other than within Richland, Cass, Traill, Grand Forks, Walsh and Pembina counties, is illegal.