Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

Advisory Board Meetings Announced

Outdoor enthusiasts are invited to attend a North Dakota Game and Fish Department fall advisory board meeting in their area.

These public meetings, held each spring and fall, provide citizens with an opportunity to discuss fish and wildlife issues and ask questions of their district advisors and agency personnel.

The governor appoints eight Game and Fish Department advisors, each representing a multi-county section of the state, to serve as a liaison between the department and public.

Any person who requires an auxiliary aid or service must notify the contact person at least five days prior to the scheduled meeting date.

District 6 – Counties: Barnes, Dickey, Foster, Griggs, Logan, LaMoure, McIntosh, Stutsman and Wells

Date: November 26 – 7 p.m.

Location: Civic Center, 33 Center Ave. E., LaMoure

Host: James River Sportsman’s Club

Contact: Bob Flath, 320-0194

Advisory board member: Cody Sand, Ashley, 357-7011

District 8 – Counties: Adams, Billings, Bowman, Dunn, Golden Valley, Hettinger, Slope and Stark

Date: November 26 – 7 p.m.

Location: Buffalo Gap Guest Ranch, 3100 Buffalo Gap Road, Sentinel Butte

Host: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

Contact: Shawn Kelley, 402-705-2298

Advisory board member: Dwight Hecker, Dickinson, 483-4952

District 3 – Counties: Benson, Cavalier, Eddy, Ramsey, Rolette and Towner

Date: November 27 – 7 p.m.

Location: Rural Fire District, 215 First St. E., Esmond

Host: Buffalo Lake Wildlife Club

Contact: Julie Groves, 214-0059

Advisory board member: Tom Rost, Devils Lake, 662-8620

District 4 – Counties: Grand Forks, Nelson, Pembina and Walsh

Date: November 27 – 7 p.m.

Location: American Legion, 208 Main St. N., Fordville

Host: Dakota Prairie Wildlife Club

Contact: Lynn Beyer, 331-1074

Advisory board member: Joe Solseng, 317-5009

District 2 – Counties: Bottineau, Burke, McHenry, Mountrail, Pierce, Renville and Ward

Date: December 3 – 7 p.m.

Location: Mountrail County South Complex, 8103 61st St. NW, Stanley

Host: Mountrail County Fowlers

Contact: Nick Gustafson, 629-1622

Advisory board member: Robert Gjellstad, Voltaire, 338-2281

District 5 – Counties: Cass, Ransom, Richland, Sargent, Steele and Traill

Date: December 3 – 7 p.m.

Location: Chahinkapa Park Hughes Shelter, 820 RJ Hughes Drive, Wahpeton

Host: North Dakota Wildlife Federation

Contact: Wayne Beyer, 642-2811

Advisory board member: Duane Hanson, West Fargo, 367-4249

District 1 – Counties: Divide, McKenzie and Williams

Date: December 4 – 7 p.m.

Location: Community Center, 1002 Second St. SE, Crosby

Host: Pheasants Forever Northern Ringnecks

Contact: Austin Demmick, 339-3535

Advisory board member: Beau Wisness, Keene, 675-2067

District 7 – Counties: Burleigh, Emmons, Grant, Kidder, McLean, Mercer, Morton, Oliver, Sheridan and Sioux

Date: December 4 – 7 p.m.

Location: Veterans Club, 114 First St. NW, Steele

Host: Kidder County Sportsman’s Association

Contact: Jim Simmers, 220-3251

Advisory board member: Dave Nehring, Bismarck, 214-3184

Salmon Spawn Completed

Fisheries crews completed their annual salmon spawning operation on the Missouri River System, collecting more than 2.2 million eggs.

North Dakota Game and Fish Department Missouri River System supervisor Dave Fryda said crews easily collected enough eggs to stock the 500,000 smolts planned for Lake Sakakawea in 2019.

“Salmon were very abundant throughout the run, resulting in one of the highest collection of eggs in the history of the salmon program,” Fryda said. “After Garrison Dam National Fish Hatchery was filled to capacity, crews were able to collect an additional 387,000 excess eggs that were provided to Montana.”

The majority of eggs were collected from Lake Sakakawea, with help from the Missouri River below Garrison Dam. Average size of Lake Sakakawea female salmon was 6 pounds. Fryda said once again there was an abundance of young male salmon, which typically forecasts a good run the next couple years.

Additional surplus eggs were provided to South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks to help with their Lake Oahe salmon program.

Chinook salmon begin their spawning run in October. Since salmon cannot naturally reproduce in North Dakota, Game and Fish Department and Garrison Dam National Fish Hatchery personnel collect eggs and transport them to the hatchery.

Once the eggs hatch, young salmon spend several months in the hatchery before being stocked in Lake Sakakawea.

Order 2019 OUTDOORS Calendars

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is taking orders for its North Dakota OUTDOORS calendar, the source for all hunting season and application dates for 2019. Along with outstanding color photographs of North Dakota wildlife and scenery, it also includes sunrise-sunset times and moon phases.

 

To order online, visit buy and apply at the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov., or  send $3 for each, plus $1 postage, to: Calendar, North Dakota Game and Fish Department, 100 N. Bismarck Expressway, Bismarck, ND 58501-5095. Be sure to include a three-line return address with your order, or the post office may not deliver our return mailing.

 

The calendar is the North Dakota OUTDOORS magazine’s December issue, so current subscribers will automatically receive it in the mail.

Fall Fish Survey Completed

North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries biologists have completed fall reproduction surveys and most waters fared as good as or better than expected.

 

Scott Gangl, Department fisheries management section leader, said Lake Sakakawea had the eighth highest catch of young-of-the-year walleye on record.

 

“There was good reproduction of most game species in the big lake, as we saw healthy numbers of pike, perch, smallmouth bass, white bass, crappies and walleye,” Gangl said. “And it’s the second year in a row of good walleye reproduction, which isn’t a surprise considering the high water is resulting in an abundance of food and habitat for the young fish.”

 

Lake Oahe showed good reproduction of walleye this year, which Gangl said is not necessarily a good thing. “This is the fourth good year class out of the last five years, leaving a lot of small fish out there right now,” he added. “Lake Oahe is lacking forage which causes fish to grow slower than they should.”

 

Gangl said while there was some indication of gizzard shad reproduction in Lake Oahe in 2017, there wasn’t much this year. “The cold winter didn’t allow for much survival with this forage fish,” he said.

 

Devils Lake saw fair to good numbers of walleye, with the catch close to average even though Game and Fish didn’t stock any walleye in the fishery this year. “The end result was all from natural reproduction,” Gangl said.

 

Sampling results on smaller lakes generally vary from lake to lake. The common theme mentioned this year from fisheries personnel across the state is that the young-of-the-year fish were larger than normal. “This is significant because bigger fish generally have a better chance of surviving through the first winter,” Gangl said, “and that’s an important step in getting to a catchable size in the future.”

 

Reproduction surveys evaluate natural reproduction, stocking success and forage abundance.

Governor Proclaims Sept. 22 Hunting and Fishing Day

Gov. Doug Burgum has signed a proclamation establishing Sept. 22 as Hunting and Fishing Day in North Dakota.

Gov. Burgum’s proclamation highlights the rich and storied tradition of hunting and angling in North Dakota, and that hunters and anglers, through their license fees, have helped fund state efforts to provide for healthy and sustainable natural resources.

 

The proclamation highlights a “user pays – public benefits” approach – widely recognized as the most successful model of fish and wildlife management in the world – which shows that last year North Dakota’s 100,000 resident hunters and 150,000 resident anglers generated more than $30 million to support the conservation efforts of the Game and Fish Department.

 

“We do not get any general tax dollars from the state of North Dakota,” said Scott Peterson, North Dakota Game and Fish Department deputy director, “all of our income that we use is self-generated.”

 

The Hunting and Fishing Day proclamation is published on the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov.

North Dakota’s Hunting and Fishing Day coincides with National Hunting and Fishing Day, an event held for more than 40 years to highlight the role hunters and anglers play in supporting conservation and scientific wildlife management.

have you read?

The 2018 August/September  North Dakota Outdoors magazine is available FREE online right now here.

You’ll find ND Game and Fish Director Terry Steinwand’s column Matters Of Opinion inside the cover. Last year at this time there were a number of unknowns heading into the fall hunting season.

The unknowns centered around the fallout for North Dakota’s wildlife, pheasants and other upland game birds in particular, following difficult, snowy conditions in early winter and drought in spring and summer.

 

2018 Hunting Season Outlook

A year ago, and for good reason, talk centered mostly on the return of drought conditions to North Dakota.

While the spigot seemed to turn on a bit in August, it was too late for much of the state’s small grains and pastures. The lack of precipitation early in spring and summer left its mark. It was pretty clear what the dry conditions meant for agriculture producers, yet the uncertainty was the influence drought would have on North Dakota’s most popular upland game bird, the ring-necked pheasant.

Ron Wilson PLOTS Program Update  Private Land Open To Sportsmen, the Game and Fish Department’s well-known walk-in access program turned 20 in 2017. With that considerable milestone in the rearview mirror, Kevin Kading, Game and Fish private land section leader, addresses the status of the program today, and possible changes to make the program more attractive to landowners and hunters in the future.

 

Anglers Should Fish Responsibly, Keep Fish Caught in Deep Water

North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries personnel encourage anglers to keep fish caught from depths of more than 25 feet, rather than practice catch-and-release.

Scott Gangl, Game and Fish fisheries management section leader, said while catch-and-release is often encouraged under the right conditions, fish reeled in from this depth will likely die if released.

“Fish caught from deep water likely won’t survive because of the extreme change in water pressure,” Gangl said.

Change in water pressure will cause the swim bladder to expand, Gangl said, which means fish can no longer control balance. In addition, he said other internal injuries will likely happen, such as ruptured blood vessels or internal organs.

This can happen in any deep water body, Gangl said, but it is especially noteworthy for this time of the year in Lake Sakakawea.

“As water warms during summer, fish tend to move to deeper, cooler water,” he added. “This is particularly true for walleye in the big lake, where walleye follow their primary forage of rainbow smelt to deeper depths as summer progresses.”

Anglers fishing at least 25 feet deep should make the commitment to keep what they catch, and once they reach their limit to stop fishing at that depth.

“Our simple message is for anglers to keep fish that are caught from these depths, or to fish in shallower water when practicing catch-and-release,” Gangl said.

Walleye Fingerlings Stocked

North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries personnel stocked nearly 10 million walleye fingerlings in more than 140 waters across the state.

“Considering not many went into Lake Sakakawea, this was one of the largest stockings of more than 8 million fingerlings into the smaller fishing waters across the state,” said Jerry Weigel, fisheries production and development supervisor.

With more than 50 new walleye lakes in North Dakota, Weigel said the demand to stock these waters, along with the larger, traditional fisheries, has greatly increased the demand from the hatcheries.

“Valley City and Garrison Dam national fish hatcheries contributed to make this happen,” Weigel said. “Both hatcheries have been outstanding in helping address our demand for walleye fingerlings.”

The unusual spring and progression into summer caused variable fish sizes. “We had some of the largest and smallest fish ever shipped, even though all were about the same age,” Weigel said.

Conditions at the lakes were very good with cool water temperatures and in some cases, Weigel said, newly flooded vegetation from recent rainfall.

“They should find lots of food and good survival conditions, which bodes well for future fishing opportunities,” Weigel added.

Later this fall, fisheries personal will sample walleye lakes to assess success of this year’s walleye stocking, as well as what Mother Nature provided.

One common observation fish haulers noted while traveling across the state, Weigel said, was the amount of fishing taken place, both from shore and from boats.

“It’s a great time to fish for walleye,” he added. “Statewide, there are a lot of opportunities, and a good chance of success.”

For a complete list of all fish stockings, visit the fishing link at the Game and Fish Department’s website,gf.nd.gov/fishing.

Have you read? June ND Outdoors magazine

The 2018 June North Dakota Outdoors magazine is available FREE online right now here.

You’ll find ND Game and Fish Director Terry Steinwand’s column Matters Of Opinion inside the cover. In past column’s I’ve written for this space, I’ve often encouraged people to simply get outdoors and enjoy what North Dakota offers. The plants, animals and scenic overlooks that are featured in these pages are the reasons why I’ve long cheered for readers to venture outside, no matter the time of year.

The special  North Dakota Outdoors-June 2018 Photo Edition leads off a great visual experience with a look at the evolution to digital imagery. Fifteen years ago this summer, this photo of a juvenile rooster pheasant, taken at Audubon National Wildlife Refuge, was the first native digital image to earn a space on the cover of North Dakota OUTDOORS. We say “native” because at the time slides and black-and-white prints were scanned into digital files for use in the magazine, but this photo was taken with a digital camera.

Ron Wilson Back Cast explains this edition’s special meaning to him

To say that I anticipated decades ago that I’d be in a position to help serve readers with these images of North Dakota’s outdoors 10 times a year would be a lie. To come completely clean, I didn’t anticipate a place so once unfamiliar, so alien from where my roots were initially planted, to completely become what it has.