The State Game and Fish Department reminds anglers that live white suckers are not legal baitfish anywhere in North Dakota, except for the Bois de Sioux and Red rivers.
Fisheries division chief Greg Power says that regulation has been in place for most water bodies in the state for more than 20 years, but every spring Game and Fish still gets questions from anglers who wonder if they can use live white suckers for early ice-out northern pike fishing.
“White suckers can and have caused a lot of problems when they get introduced into waters where they were not present,” Power said. “Since we adopted that regulation in 1993, the number of new lakes with introduced white suckers is near zero.”
Although anglers can use live white suckers on the Bois de Sioux and Red rivers and tributaries up to the first vehicular bridge, they are illegal elsewhere. Fathead minnows, sticklebacks and creek chubs are the only legal live baitfish outside of the Bois de Sioux and Red rivers. Dead white suckers which have been preserved by freezing, salting or otherwise treated to inactivate sexual products are legal bait.
Anglers are also reminded that live baitfish or other live aquatic bait such as leeches, cannot be transported from another state into North Dakota.