Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

Bighead Carp Caught in James River

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department recently collected and verified bighead carp in the James River near LaMoure during silver carp monitoring efforts. Bighead carp, an exotic species, are established in the lower Missouri River and in the James River in South Dakota. This is the first report of this aquatic nuisance species in North Dakota waters.

Jessica Howell, Game and Fish aquatic nuisance species coordinator, said department personnel are disappointed but not surprised that bighead carp have entered the state.

“High water levels in the James River this year have facilitated their movements upstream, providing an opportunity for them to enter the state from the South Dakota portions,” Howell said.

Game and Fish staff will continue to sample the James River on a regular basis to monitor the silver and bighead carp populations as well as to detect any new potential species that migrate during high flows.

“Once established in a large river system they are virtually impossible to eliminate,” Howell said.

Like the closely related silver carp that showed up in 2011, bighead carp can out-compete native and other game fish in large river systems. They eat phytoplankton, a food item used by zooplankton, which in turn are eaten by small game fish. They concentrate below dams and in confluence areas and can drive out desirable fish.

Traveling Boaters Take Note of ANS Regulations

North Dakota boaters who are traveling to or through other states or Canadian provinces, are reminded to check the aquatic nuisance species regulations of their destination, to make sure they are in compliance.

 

Mandatory boat inspections may be required along highways or at lakes based on destination or route taken. In general, to ensure compliance, boaters are encouraged to clean, drain and dry equipment.

  • Clean: remove plants, animals and excessive mud from trailers, hulls, motors and other equipment such as fishing rods.
  • Drain: drain all water, including bilges, livewells and bait buckets.
  • Dry: allow all equipment to dry completely, as an inspection might be failed in a neighboring state if any standing water is present. If necessary, use sponges or towels to remove excess water and leave compartments open to dry.

More information on bordering state and provincial ANS regulations is available at the following web addresses.

Hunting Guide and Outfitter Exam Scheduled

The next guide and outfitter written examination is Aug. 17 at 1 p.m. at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department office in Bismarck. The test is given periodically to anyone interested in becoming a hunting guide or outfitter in the state.

 

In addition to passing a written exam, qualifications for becoming a guide include a background check for criminal and game and fish violations; certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and standard first aid; and employment by or contract with a licensed hunting outfitter.

 

Hunting outfitter eligibility requirements include the guide qualifications, as well as an individual must have held a hunting guide license for two years; and must have proof of liability insurance.

 

Interested individuals are required to preregister by calling the Game and Fish Department’s enforcement office at 328-6604.

Anglers May Not Bring Aquatic Bait into North Dakota

Anglers are reminded that it is illegal to import minnows and other forms of live aquatic bait into North Dakota.

 

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.

Fishing for Free June 1-2

North Dakotans who want to give fishing a try are reminded they can fish for free June 1-2.

 

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.

 

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.

 

This weekend (June 1-2) is North Dakota’s Free Fishing Weekend. During those two days, all North Dakota residents can fish any state water without a license. Anglers, share your love of fishing by taking a neighbor, a friend, or handful of kids to a nearby water. Introduce them to a slice of North Dakota’s wonderful natural resources that may be common to you, but often overlooked by them.

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.

White Suckers Only Legal in Bois de Sioux, Red Rivers

The state Game and Fish Department reminds anglers that live white suckers are not legal baitfish anywhere in North Dakota, except in the Bois de Sioux and Red rivers.

 

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 reproductive capabilities are legal bait.

 

The transportation of live white suckers, other than in Richland, Cass, Traill, Grand Forks, Walsh and Pembina counties, is illegal.

 

Anglers are also reminded that live baitfish, or other live aquatic bait such as leeches, cannot be transported from another state into North Dakota.

Reminders to Prevent the Spread of ANS

North Dakota anglers, water recreationists and anyone working in lakes or streams are reminded to follow these simple regulations to help prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species.

 

Know the laws, as each state and province have their own rules and regulations. North Dakota regulations include:

  • Do not import live aquatic bait.
  • Use only legal bait species.
  • Transport live bait in containers of five gallons or less.
  • Properly dispose of unused bait.
  • Drain water and remove vegetation from all equipment when leaving a waterbody.
  • Remove drain plugs and keep out or open during transport.

 

Clean, drain and dry any equipment (recreational or commercial) that is used in any waterbody.

  • Clean: remove plants, animals and excessive mud from trailers, hulls, motors and other equipment such as fishing rods.
  • Drain: drain all water, including bilges, livewells and bait buckets.
  • Dry: allow all equipment to dry completely or disinfect before using again. If necessary, use sponges or towels to remove excess water and allow compartments to dry.

 

Report any plant or animal that seems out of place.

  • Visit the online reporting form at the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov.
  • Call Jessica Howell, Game and Fish ANS coordinator, 701-368-8368.

Catchable Trout, Catfish, Pike Stocked

North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries personnel have already stocked 30 local fisheries with catchable trout, catfish and pike, with additional lakes still to be stocked in early May.

 

Approximately 10,000 11-inch rainbow trout, 600 2- to 4-pound rainbow trout, 1,200 adult catfish, 1,100 adult pike and 1,100 1- to 3-pound cutthroat trout were recently stocked in community fisheries around the state.

 

Fisheries production and development section leader Jerry Weigel said these stockings put catchable fish in waters that are easily accessible.

 

“Many have fishing piers and are a great opportunity for a first-time angler to catch fish,” Weigel said.

 

  • Adams – Mirror Lake (catfish)
  • Barnes – Hatchery Kids Pond (rainbow)
  • Burleigh – Cottonwood Park Pond (pike), OWLS Pond (cutthroat, rainbow), Wilton City Pond (rainbow)
  • Cass – Brooks Harbor Pond (rainbow, cutthroat), Casselton Pond (rainbow), North Woodhaven Pond (rainbow)
  • Eddy – New Rockford Pond (pike)
  • Golden Valley – Beach City Pond (rainbow)
  • Grand Forks – Turtle River (rainbow)
  • McKenzie – Arnegard Dam (catfish), Watford City Park Pond (catfish, rainbow)
  • McLean – Camp Loop Pond (rainbow, pike), Custer Mine (rainbow), Painted Woods Pond (rainbow), Riverdale City Pond (rainbow)
  • Morton – Gaebe Pond (catfish, rainbow), Krieg’s Pond (catfish), Porsborg Dam (cutthroat, rainbow)
  • Mountrail – Stanley Pond (catfish)
  • Ransom – Mooringstone Pond (rainbow)
  • Renville – Glenburn Pond (catfish)
  • Richland – Mooreton Pond (cutthroat)
  • Stark – Belfield Pond (catfish, rainbow), Dickinson Dike (catfish, rainbow)
  • Stutsman – Little Britches Pond (rainbow, cutthroat)
  • Ward – State Fair Pond (rainbow)
  • Williams – East Spring Lake Pond (pike), Kettle Lake (rainbow), West Spring Lake Pond (catfish, rainbow)

In addition to these fisheries, Game and Fish personnel will continue stocking numerous trout lakes the next few weeks, including Ryan Park Pond (Grand Forks), Little Heart Pond (Morton), Langdon City Pond (Cavalier), Hazen Creek (Mercer) and Oliver County Sportsmen’s Pond (Oliver).