Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

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.

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.

Fall Fish Surveys Provide Insight

North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries biologists have completed fall reproduction surveys, which evaluate natural reproduction, stocking success and forage abundance in many waters across the state.

walleye release 3

Scott Gangl, Department fisheries management section leader, said there is good news from the survey efforts.

“We are seeing really good numbers of walleye and sauger in Lake Sakakawea, so we think those two had a pretty good year,” he said. “Devils Lake is seeing pretty good numbers of walleye, but the Missouri River and Lake Oahe are still really low in the production of anything.”

Gangl said the Missouri River flood of 2011 is still influencing this popular fishery.

“We’ve had some good walleye reproduction in the Missouri River System downstream of Garrison Dam over the last few years,” he said. “It is actually a good thing that we did not have a good walleye year-class again this year because there are a lot of small fish out there and they are going to start competing for limited forage.”

Gangl said that while biologists have not seen a lot of forage production in recent years in Lake Oahe, there was some indication of gizzard shad reproduction.

“The gizzard shad numbers are not what they were back in, say, 2008, but we did see quite a few fish down around the state line and we did catch some shad all the way up to Bismarck,” he said. “So there are shad in the system right now and they did reproduce, but I don’t think the numbers are there yet to provide a lot of forage.”

Considering summer drought conditions and other factors, Gangl said the results of the fall reproduction survey in district lakes scattered across the state vary.

“There are some good ones and some bad ones,” he said. “Department fisheries biologists are finding some good stocking success in a few lakes, but in some lakes, it wasn’t so good. It is all dependent on the different factors from lake to lake.”

From a statewide perspective, Gangl said North Dakota’s fisheries are sitting in pretty good shape.

“In our big lakes, Devils Lake has a pretty robust walleye population and Sakakawea is very good right now,” he said. “We may have lost some water in the more than 400 district lakes, but in the grand scheme of things, I think we are still riding high with all the adult fish and whatever young fish we had this year. I think we are sitting really well going into winter. We’ll just see what Mother Nature gives us in terms of moisture for the coming year.”

 

 

 

 

 

Have You Seen?

https://youtu.be/Bri53jYDsns

 

North Dakota Outdoors Webcast  is online now this weeks webcast features:

Fish Stocking in North Dakota

Fish stocking is critical for recreational fishing in North Dakota. The North Dakota Game and Fish Department stocked almost 250 lakes last year. Find out more about the stocking program in this week’s webcast with fisheries division chief Greg Power.

Related Links:

Have you seen this week’s North Dakota Outdoors video? Ice Fishing Regulations

 

https://youtu.be/ygbuv1hR1qY

Ice is starting to form on our lakes and ponds, and soon it will be time to break out the ice fishing gear. This webcast discusses some of the regulations currently in place for ice fishing in North Dakota.

Find out more ice fishing regulations right here: https://gf.nd.gov/fishing

More video’s are available right here or http://gf.nd.gov/video

Fall Fish Surveys Completed

North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries biologists have completed fall reproduction surveys, which evaluates natural reproduction and stocking success across the state.

Fisheries management section leader Scott Gangl said Lake Sakakawea produced the fourth highest young-of-the-year catch of sauger since 1970. In addition, walleye numbers were relatively good due to natural reproduction and stocking efforts.

“We are seeing a lot of young-of-the-year smelt in the stomachs of other fish, which is an indication of good smelt reproduction in Lake Sakakawea this year,” Gangl said.

The Missouri River is still recovering from the flood of 2011, Gangl said. “But this year we did sample gizzard shad at all sites from the Garrison Dam down to Lake Oahe,” he said.

Gizzard shad in Lake Oahe saw the highest number since 2008. But overall, Gangl said forage is still lacking. “With good natural reproduction again in 2016, this is the third consecutive strong year class of walleye,” he added. “Which means the walleye catch will continue to be dominated by smaller fish.”

The Devils Lake basin reported relatively good catches of young-of-the-year walleye, after Game and Fish stocked 1.7 million fingerlings this spring.

Statewide, smaller lakes showed various levels of success. “We saw good walleye survival on the newer lakes, with more variable success on the established lakes,” Gangl said. “In addition, we saw good reproduction of bluegills in many of our lakes statewide.”

Have You Seen? Free Fishing Weekend June 4-5

This week’s North Dakota Outdoors video covers the June 4-5 Free Fishing

Free Fishing Weekend Video

Weekend in North Dakota. North Dakota residents can fish without a license those two days, so grab a pole and try your luck fishing at one of the state’s many fishing waters.Find a place to fish near you at http://gf.nd.gov/fishing/where-to-fish.

North Dakota residents do not need a license to fish June 4-5, but all other fishing regulations still apply. See the regulations guide at http://gf.nd.gov/fishing/fishing-regulations-guide.

 

First Fish Certificate

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is reminding parents to capture their little angler’s first catch on a specially designed First Fish certificate.

firstfish

First Fish has no qualifying weights or measurements. The only requirement is the successful landing of a North Dakota fish. Certificates are available to all who request them, and have ample room for all the important information, such as name, age, lake and a short fish story, plus a blank space for a photograph big enough to contain the smile of the happiest little angler.

Free certificates are available by contacting the Game and Fish Department at 701-328-6300, or send an email to ndgf@nd.gov.