Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

Game and Fish Violations Tallied for 2019

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s enforcement division has tallied the number of hunting, angling and boating citations for 2019, and failure to carry a license was the number one violation.

Game wardens issued more than 2,300 citations last year. Counties with the most violations were Ramsey (227), Williams (215) and McKenzie (188).

The most common violations and number issued were:

  • Licensing (496): failure to carry license (240); and hunting/fishing/trapping without proper license (213).
  • Fishing (475): exceeding limit (158); aquatic nuisance species violations (153); and fishing with excessive lines (48).
  • Boating (422): inadequate number of personal flotation devices (206); failure to display boat registration (49); and use of unlicensed/unnumbered boat (49).
  • General (289): hunting on posted land without permission (67); loaded firearm in vehicle (54); littering (37); and use of motor vehicle in restricted area (37).
  • Small game (280): using shotgun capable of holding more than three shells (74); failure to leave identification of sex on game (33); and hunting in unharvested field (28).
  • Miscellaneous (160): minor in possession (40); criminal trespass (35); and possession of a controlled substance (28).
  • Big game (91): tagging violations (27); chronic wasting disease violations (19); and failure to wear fluorescent orange (17).
  • Wildlife management areas/refuge (76): failure to obey posted regulations (31); tree stand violations (17); and possession of glass beverage containers (14).
  • Furbearer (25): harassing with motor vehicle (5); hunting/trapping in a closed season (5); and untagged snares (4).

A synopsis of 2019 violations is printed in the February issue of North Dakota OUTDOORS, the Game and Fish Department’s official magazine.

Keep Fish Caught in Deep Water

North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries biologists are encouraging ice anglers to keep fish caught from deep waters.

 

Catch-and-release fishing, no matter the time of year, is discouraged for fish caught in 30 feet or more of water because fish reeled in from those depths have a greater chance of dying if released.

 

Fish caught in deep water won’t likely survive because of the extreme change in water pressure, which causes the swim bladder to expand. Fish can no longer control their balance in the water column when this happens. Other internal injuries, such as rupturing of organs and bleeding, are also likely for fish caught from deep waters.

 

Devils Lake ice anglers commonly catch yellow perch in 30-45 feet of water during the winter months. This practice also translates to other deep water bodies around the state.

 

Game and Fish recommends that anglers targeting fish in deeper water make the commitment to keep what they catch. And once they reach their limit, anglers should stop fishing at that depth to avoid killing more than their limit of fish.

Winter Anglers Reminded to Clean Up Ice

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department reminds winter anglers to clean up the ice after fishing. This not only applies to trash, but fish as well.

 

It is not only unsightly, but it is illegal to leave fish, including minnows used for bait, behind on the ice. According to state fishing regulations, when a fish is caught, anglers must either immediately release the fish back into the water unharmed, or reduce them to their daily possession.

 

It is common practice for some anglers to fillet fish on the ice, which is allowed, as long as fish entrails and other parts are removed from the ice and properly disposed of at home.

 

In addition, all trash, including aluminum cans, cigarette butts and Styrofoam containers, must be packed out and taken home.

Contour Lake Maps on Website

 

North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries personnel recently added new fishing waters to the list of available contour maps on the Game and Fish website.

In addition, Jerry Weigel, fisheries production and development section leader, said maps of existing waters have been reprocessed to improve detail and quality. “We have access to more tools and options to create a better map then we did back in the early 2000s when most contour mapping occurred,” Weigel said.

Contour maps recently added or improved are: Fox Lake, Barnes County; Bowman-Haley Dam, Bowman County; Powers Lake, Burke County; Crimmins Lake, Burleigh County; North Washington Lake, Eddy County; Rice Lake, Emmons County; Larimore Dam, Grand Forks County; Alkaline Lake and Lake Geneva, Kidder County; Buffalo Lodge Lake and Cottonwood Lake, McHenry County; Kislingbury Lake and Lehr Wildlife Management Area, McIntosh County; Arnegard Dam, McKenzie County; Coal Lake, McLean County; Clearwater Lake, Mountrail County; Buffalo Lake, Pierce County; Hinsz Lake, Sheridan County; Dickinson Reservoir, Stark County; North Golden Lake, Steele County; and Epping Springbrook Dam, Williams County.

All contour maps are available by accessing the fishing link at gf.nd.gov/fishing, then clicking on “where to fish.”

2020 North Dakota OUTDOORS Calendar Available

The 2020 North Dakota OUTDOORS calendar is available for ordering online at the state Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov.

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.

The calendar is the North Dakota OUTDOORS magazine’s December issue, so current subscribers should have already received it in the mail.

Free Ice Fishing Weekend

North Dakota’s free ice fishing weekend is Dec. 28-29.

 

Resident anglers may fish that weekend without a license. All other ice fishing regulations apply.

 

Those interested in darkhouse spearfishing that weekend must register with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department prior to participating. Registration is available by visiting the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov. Legal fish are northern pike and nongame species.

Winter Fishing Regulations

North Dakota anglers are encouraged to refer to the 2018-20 North Dakota Fishing Guide or the state Game and Fish Department’s website for winter fishing regulations.

 

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.
  • 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.
  • All aquatic bait, such as fathead minnows, must be purchased or trapped in North Dakota.
  • Depositing or leaving any litter or other waste material on the ice or shore is illegal.
  • 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 fishes overnight, the first daily limit must be removed from the ice by midnight prior to continuing to harvest 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.
  • It is illegal to introduce anything into the water for the purpose of attempting to attract fish (chumming, artificial light, etc.) that is not attached or applied to a lure.

Tentative 2020 Season Opening Dates

To help North Dakota hunters prepare for hunting seasons in 2020, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department annually provides its best estimate for opening dates for the coming year.

Dates become official when approved by governor’s proclamation. Tentative opening dates for 2020 include:

 

Spring Turkey April 11
Dove September 1
Deer and Pronghorn Bow, Mountain Lion September 4
Sharptail, Hun, Ruffed Grouse, Squirrel September 12
Youth Deer September 18
Youth Waterfowl September 19
Early Resident Waterfowl September 26
Pronghorn Gun October 2
Waterfowl, Youth Pheasant October 3
Pheasant, Fall Turkey October 10
Mink, Muskrat, Weasel Trapping October 24
Deer Gun November 6
Deer Muzzleloader November 27

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.

 

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 2018-20 North Dakota Fishing Guide for other winter fishing regulations.