Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

Keep Fish Caught in Deep Water

A push to encourage open-water anglers to keep fish caught from deep waters should carry over into the ice fishing season, according to the State Game and Fish Department.

 

Catch-and-release fishing, no matter the time of year, is discouraged for fish caught in 25 feet or more of water because fish reeled in from those depths have a greater chance of dying if released.

 

Fish caught in deep water won’t likely survive because of the extreme change in water pressure, which causes the swim bladder to expand. Fish can no longer control their balance in the water column when this happens. Other internal injuries, such as rupturing of organs and bleeding, are also likely for fish hauled from deep waters.

 

Devils Lake ice anglers commonly catch yellow perch in 30-45 feet of water during the winter months. This practice also translates to other deep water bodies around the state.

 

Game and Fish recommends that anglers targeting fish at 25 feet or more should make the commitment to keep what they catch. And once they reach their limit, anglers should stop fishing at that depth to avoid killing more than their limit of fish.

Nonresident Any-Deer Bow Applications

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will have 607 any-deer bow licenses available to nonresidents in 2019.

 

Applicants must apply online at the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov. Paper applications are not available. The deadline for applying is March 1.

 

Up to five hunters can apply together as a party. A lottery will be held if more applications are received than licenses available. Any remaining licenses after March 1 will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis.

 

The number of nonresident any-deer bow licenses available is 15 percent of the previous year’s mule deer gun license allocation. The Game and Fish Department issued 4,050 mule deer licenses in the 2018 deer gun license lottery.

 

Winter Anglers Reminded to Clean Up Ice

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department reminds winter anglers to clean up the ice after fishing. This not only applies to trash, but fish as well.

It is not only unsightly, but it is illegal to leave fish, including minnows used for bait, behind on the ice. According to state fishing regulations, when a fish is caught, anglers must either immediately release the fish back into the water unharmed, or reduce them to their daily possession.

It is common practice for some anglers to fillet fish on the ice, which is allowed, as long as fish entrails and other parts are removed from the ice and properly disposed of at home.

In addition, all trash, including aluminum cans, cigarette butts and Styrofoam containers, must be packed out and taken home.

North Dakota ANS Plan on Web

The North Dakota Aquatic Nuisance Species Management Plan, an update of the original version prepared in 2005, has been signed by Gov. Doug Burgum and is available for viewing on the state Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov.

Completed and revised by the North Dakota Aquatic Invasive Species Committee, the goal of the 25-page plan “is to prevent the introduction and spread of ANS into and within North Dakota while mitigating ecological, economic and social impacts of existing populations where feasible.”

NDAISC is comprised of state, tribal, local and private stakeholders to guide ANS efforts across the state.

Hunting, Fishing Legislation

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will once again track hunting and fishing issues during the 2019 legislative session.

Interested outdoor enthusiasts can follow proposed outdoors-related bills by visiting the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov.

A brief description of each bill will be included, along with the bill sponsor and hearing schedule. To view each bill in its entirety, click on the linked bill number.

Chronic Wasting Disease Detected in New Area of North Dakota

Three deer taken during the 2018 North Dakota deer gun season have been confirmed positive for chronic wasting disease, according to Dr. Charlie Bahnson, wildlife veterinarian for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. While two of the positive deer were taken in unit 3F2, an area of North Dakota known to have CWD, the third was taken from Divide County in deer unit 3A1, previously considered free of CWD.

“Unfortunately, the positive deer in Divide County doesn’t come as a big surprise, since CWD was found in Saskatchewan just a few miles north of Portal, N.D. last spring,” Bahnson said. “Our focus needs to now shift to taking measures to limit the spread of CWD within Divide County and to reduce the chances of it being introduced to new parts of the state.”

CWD is a fatal disease of deer, moose and elk that can cause long-term population declines if left unchecked. Since 2009, 14 CWD-positive deer have been found in North Dakota, and all previous cases were from within hunting unit 3F2, which includes parts of Sioux, Grant, Morton, Hettinger and Adams counties in southwestern North Dakota.

“Our experience with CWD in 3F2 over the past 10 years has shown that you can still have good hunting opportunities after CWD is discovered in an area, but you have to be proactive in managing it,” Bahnson said. “Over the last several years, we have found it in less than 1 percent of the deer tested from 3F2. That’s a number that we can live with, but if that number starts to climb, there will be real impacts to our deer herd.”

Special regulations previously put in place in 3F2 have included prohibiting hunting deer over bait. “There is no treatment or vaccine for CWD and once it’s in an area, it’s there indefinitely,” said Bahnson. “The very few options that we have available are aimed at reducing the number, duration, and intensity of unnatural congregations of deer – that is a major risk factor for spreading any contagious disease.”

Additional regulations in 3F2 include transportation restrictions to reduce the likelihood of infected carcass parts being moved to new areas of the state and serving as a source of CWD.

The Department will consider implementing similar regulations in response to the CWD detection in Divide County in the coming months. “CWD is the most serious disease threat to the future of big-game hunting in North Dakota,” Bahnson said. “We owe it to our children and our grandchildren to do everything we can to combat it.”

More information about CWD and regulations regarding CWD are available on the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov.

Free Ice Fishing Weekend

North Dakota’s free ice fishing weekend is Dec. 29-30.

Resident anglers may fish that weekend without a license. All other ice fishing regulations apply.

Those interested in darkhouse spearfishing that weekend must register with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department prior to participating. Registration is available by visiting the Department’s website, gf.nd.gov, or through any Game and Fish office. Legal fish are northern pike and nongame species.

Jerad Bluem Named Wildlife Officer of the Year

Jerad Bluem, North Dakota Game and Fish Department district game warden stationed in Steele, is the state’s 2018 Wildlife Officer of the Year. Bluem was honored recently by the Shikar-Safari Club International, a private conservation organization that annually recognizes outstanding wildlife officers in each state.

In a nomination letter sent to Shikar-Safari, chief warden Robert Timian said Bluem’s district has many lakes, wetlands and public use areas that draw hunters, anglers and water recreationists to the area.

“Warden Bluem’s communication efforts with landowners, hunters and anglers is outstanding,” Timian said. “He is often mentioned for assisting those in need – whether it is helping load an angler’s boat in less than ideal weather conditions, to providing a helping hand to a rancher in in search of escaped cattle. He has a caring attitude who consistently makes a positive impression on others.”