Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

Fish House Regulations

Winter anglers are reminded that any fish house left unoccupied on North Dakota waters must be made out of materials that will allow it to float.

A popular question this time of year is if campers qualify as legal fish houses. The answer is the same for any structure taken on the ice – if it’s left unattended, it must be able to float; if it’s not able to float, it must be removed when the angler leaves the ice.

Other fish house regulations include:

  • Fish houses do not require a license.
  • Occupied structures do not require identification. However, any unoccupied fish house must have an equipment registration number issued by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, or the owner’s name, and either address or telephone number, displayed on its outside in readily distinguishable characters at least three inches high.
  • Fish houses may not be placed closer than 50 feet in any direction to another house without consent of the occupant of the other fish house.
  • All unoccupied fish houses must be removed from all waters after midnight, March 15.

Anglers should refer to the 2016-18 North Dakota Fishing Guide for other winter fishing regulations.

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Coyote Catalog Available for Hunters, Landowners

The Coyote Catalog, a statewide effort designed to connect coyote hunters and trappers with landowners who are dealing with coyotes in their areas, is open for the winter.

coyotephoto by Craig Bihrle, ND Game and Fish

A partnership between the North Dakota Department of Agriculture and the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, the Coyote Catalog can be a good way for hunters and trappers to locate new places to go, according to Game and Fish Director Terry Steinwand.

Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring encourages landowners, especially farmers and ranchers who have problems with coyotes, to sign up for the Coyote Catalog. “Hunting and trapping are some of the many tools available to mitigate predator risk,” Goehring said.

Last winter, nearly 30 landowners participated in the Coyote Catalog, along with more than 500 hunters and trappers.

Landowners can sign up on the Department of Agriculture website at https://www.nd.gov/ndda/livestock-development-division/coyote-catalog. County and contact information is required.

Hunters and trappers can sign up at the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov/hunting/hunter-landowner-contact.

Anyone who registered for the Coyote Catalog in the past must register again to activate their names on the database.

Throughout the winter, hunters or trappers may receive information on participating landowners, and they should contact landowners to make arrangements.

Goehring and Steinwand said landowners experiencing coyote depredation of livestock should first contact the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services.

The Coyote Catalog will remain active through March 31, 2018.

For more information, contact Stephanie Tucker at Game and Fish, 701-220-1871 or satucker@nd.gov; or Jamie Good, at the Department of Agriculture, 701-328-2659 or jgood@nd.gov.

 

Hunter Education Classes

Individuals or parents with children who will need to take a course in 2018 should monitor the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov, as classes that begin in January will be added as times and locations are finalized.

photo by Craig Bihrle, ND Game and Fish

After accessing the “Buy and Apply” link, click on the hunter education link and “list of hunter education courses.” Classes are listed by city, and can also be sorted by start date. To register for a class, click on “enroll” next to the specific class, and follow the simple instructions. Personal information is required.

Individuals interested in receiving a notice by email when each hunter education class is added can click on the “subscribe to news and alerts” link found below the news section on the Game and Fish home page. Check the box labeled “hunter education” under the education program updates.

In addition, SMS text notifications of new classes can be sent directly to a cell phone. Simply text “NDGF HunterClass” to 468311 to subscribe to this feature.

State law requires anyone born after December 31, 1961 to pass a certified hunter education course to hunt in the state. Hunter education is mandatory for youth who are turning 12 years old, and children can take the class at age 11.

Winter Fishing Regulations

 

North Dakota anglers are encouraged to refer to the 2016-18 North Dakota Fishing Guide or the state Game and Fish Department’s website for winter fishing regulations.

WindTU

In addition, anglers can visit the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov, for an extensive list of fishing questions and answers.

Some winter fishing regulations include:

  • A maximum of four poles is legal for ice fishing. However, when fishing a water body where both open water and ice occur at the same time, an angler is allowed a maximum of four poles, of which no more than two poles can be used in open water.
  • Tip-ups are legal, and each tip-up is considered a single pole.
  • Mechanical devices that set the hook are legal; however, the use of any device that automatically retrieves the fish is illegal.
  • There is no restriction on the size of the hole in the ice while fishing. Materials used to mark holes must be in possession of anglers and spearers as soon as a hole larger than 10 inches in diameter is made in the ice.
  • It is only legal to release fish back into the water immediately after they are caught. Once a fish is held in a bucket or on a stringer, they can no longer be legally released in any water.
  • It is illegal to catch fish and transport them in water.
  • It is illegal to leave fish, including bait, behind on the ice.
  • Depositing or leaving any litter or other waste material on the ice or shore is illegal.
  • The packaging of fish (including parts thereof) away from one’s permanent residence must be done in such a manner that the number of fish in each package may be easily determined.
  • The daily limit is a limit of fish taken from midnight to midnight. No person may possess more than one day’s limit of fish while on the ice or actively engaged in fishing. If a situation occurs when an angler engages in fishing overnight, the first daily limit must be removed from the ice by midnight prior to continuing to fish.
  • The possession limit is the maximum number of fish that an angler may have in his or her possession during a fishing trip of more than one day.
  • Licensing of fish houses is not required in North Dakota. However, any unoccupied fish house must have displayed on its outside in readily distinguishable characters at least three inches high, either a registration number issued by the department, or the owner’s name and address or name and telephone number.

Late-Season Hunting Opportunities End Soon

North Dakota waterfowl hunters are reminded the statewide duck and white-fronted goose seasons close Dec. 3. However, duck hunting in the high plains unit reopens Dec. 9 and continues through Dec. 31.

pheasant hunter

In addition, the season for Canada geese closes Dec. 21, except for the Missouri River Zone, which closes Dec. 29. Light goose hunting closes statewide Dec. 31.

Archery deer, fall turkey, sharp-tailed and ruffed grouse, partridge, pheasant and tree squirrel hunting seasons continue through Jan. 7, 2018.

 

OUTDOORS Calendar Available

 

The 2018 North Dakota OUTDOORS calendar is available for ordering online at the state Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov.

calendar

The calendar features outstanding color photographs of North Dakota wildlife and scenery, and includes season opening and application deadline dates, sunrise-sunset times and moon phases.

Calendars are also available via mail order. 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.

Darkhouse Spearfishing Opens Dec. 1

North Dakota’s darkhouse spearfishing season opens on most state waters Dec. 1 and continues through March 15. Legal fish are northern pike and nongame species.

All individuals who participate in darkhouse spearfishing must first register online at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov. In addition, anglers age 16 and older must possess a valid fishing license.

Spearers and anglers are reminded that materials used to mark holes must be in possession as soon as a hole greater than 10 inches in diameter is made in the ice.

North Dakota residents who do not have a fishing license may spear during the winter free fishing weekend Dec. 30-31, but they still need to register to spear.

All waters open to hook and line fishing are open to darkhouse spearing except:

  • East Park Lake, West Park Lake, Lake Audubon – McLean County
  • Heckers Lake – Sheridan County
  • Larimore Dam – Grand Forks County
  • McClusky Canal
  • New Johns Lake – Burleigh County
  • Red Willow Lake – Griggs County
  • Wood Lake – Benson County

Anglers and spearers should refer to the 2016-18 North Dakota Fishing Guide for more information.

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