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.

 

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.

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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Fishing Tournaments Require 30-Day Notice

Organizers planning fishing tournaments, including ice fishing contests this winter, are reminded to submit an application along with fishing tournament regulations to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department at least 30 days prior to the start of the event.

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The 30-day advance notice allows for review by agency staff to ensure the proposed tournament will not have negative consequences or conflicts with other proposed tournaments for the same location and/or time.

Tournaments may not occur without first obtaining a valid permit from the department.

In addition, the number of open-water tournaments on lakes Sakakawea and Oahe, the Missouri River and Devils Lake are capped each year, depending on the time of the year and location.

have you read? November Outdoors Magazine

The 2017 November North Dakota Outdoors magazine is available FREE online right now here.

North Dakota Game  and Fish Director Terry Steinwand  writes Matters of Opinion  

Over the last 10 years I’ve been involved in an event called Hunting Dakota with Roosevelt. The event was created by some very civic-minded individuals who loved to hunt and also had a goal in mind to honor those who served, or do serve, in the military, while at the same time raising funds for the much-deserving Bismarck Cancer Center.

Ron Wilson North Dakota Outdoors editor with a feature on the Partnership to Benefit Ruffed Grouse, Other Wildlife

Hunting ruffed grouse in North Dakota’s Turtle Mountains is as much about the gorgeous forested country that shoulders up against Canada as it is about the native birds.

The plan is to manipulate 15 acres of state forest land over the next two years.

In fall, when the grouse are in season and have long since moved on from an entertaining spring courtship initiated by drumming males, the woodlands transform from greens to head-turning reds and yellows. A hike in the woods, with or without a grouse in the game bag, is a treat as temperatures cool and the days shorten.

North Dakota Outdoors editor Ron Wilson highlights the coming winter fishing with  Prairie Walleye Lakes, Pike Highlighting Winter Fishing Forecast

There are no guarantees when it comes to ice fishing in North Dakota.

Considering the uncertainties of the weather, and how it influences freeze-up and access, anglers really never know how things are going to play out.

Last year, following a mild November, December bared its teeth in parts of the state with record snowfall and cold temperatures. Access to many waters was difficult or worse.

Special Allocation Lottery Apps due Jan. 1

Nonprofit organizations that are eligible to receive big game hunting licenses in 2018, must have the application submitted to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department no later than Jan. 1

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Deputy director Scott Peterson said as a result of a legislatively mandated study, Game and Fish worked closely with the 2017 state legislature on a strategy to allocate special big game licenses for fundraising purposes.

“House Bill 1025 was a result of that effort,” Peterson said.

The bill provides direction for the Game and Fish director to allocate big game hunting licenses to eligible organizations. Under this directive, up to two elk, moose and pronghorn licenses, and 10 white-tailed deer licenses, can be issued to organizations, which can then use them for fundraising.

Eligible organizations must be exempt from federal income taxation under section 501(c)(3), and must provide a copy of the letter from the Internal Revenue Service to that effect. In addition, organizations must be active and in good standing in the office of the North Dakota Secretary of State.

Successful lottery applicants must agree to donate at least 10 percent of the net proceeds of any license raffle to a conservation-related project, such as hunting access, conservation education, habitat development and shooting range management.