Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

​North Dakota’s free ice fishing weekend is Dec. 30-31.

North Dakota’s free ice fishing weekend is Dec. 30-31.

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 Department’s website, gf.nd.gov, or through any Game and Fish office. Legal fish are northern pike and nongame species.

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Ice Awareness for Anglers, Hunters

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is urging winter anglers and late-season hunters to use extreme caution when venturing out on ice.

Ice thickness is never consistent, especially early in winter, and can vary significantly on the same body of water. Edges become firm before the center.

A few reminders include:

  • ·         Snow insulates ice, which in turn inhibits solid ice formation, and hides cracks, weak and open water areas.
  • Avoid cracks, pressure ridges, slushy or darker areas that signal thinner ice. The same goes for ice that forms around partially submerged trees, brush, embankments or other structures.
  • Ice thickness is not consistent and can vary significantly even in a small area. Ice shouldn’t be judged by appearance alone. Anglers should drill test holes as they make their way out on the lake, and an ice chisel should be used to check ice thickness while moving around.
  • Daily temperature changes cause ice to expand and contract, affecting its strength.
  • The following minimums are recommended for travel on clear-blue lake ice formed under ideal conditions. However, early in the winter it’s a good idea to double these figures to be safe: 4 inches for a group walking single file; 6 inches for a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle; 8-12 inches for an automobile; and 12-15 inches for a pickup/truck.

These tips could help save a life:

  • Wear a personal flotation device and carry a cell phone.
  • Carry ice picks or a set of screwdrivers to pull yourself back on the ice if you fall through.
  • If someone breaks through the ice, call 911 immediately. Rescue attempts should employ a long pole, board, rope, blanket or snowmobile suit. If that’s not possible, throw the victim a life jacket, empty water jug or other buoyant object. Go to the victim as a last resort, but do this by forming a human chain where rescuers lie on the ice with each person holding the feet of the person in front.
  • To treat hypothermia, replace wet clothing with dry clothing and immediately transport victim to a hospital.

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.

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It is not only unsightly, but it is illegal to leave fish behind on the ice. According to the fishing proclamation, 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 fine, as long as fish entrails and other parts are taken and properly disposed of at home.

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

Game and Fish urges early ice house removal

While the deadline for removing permanent fish houses from North Dakota lakes isMarch 15, the State Game and Fish Department is urging anglers to consider removing their houses early in areas of the state where ice conditions are deteriorating, especially in the southern and western portions.

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Given the current long range weather forecast predicting temperatures well above normal, coupled with a thin icepack in much of the state, department education coordinator Brian Schaffer says mild weather can quickly result in unstable ice conditions that can make removing a fish house with a vehicle difficult or dangerous.

Even on lakes where ice remains solid away from shore, specifically in the northeast where ice conditions are much better than the rest of the state, Schaffer said anglers should watch the weather and adjust activities accordingly. “It is always important to check ice thickness, especially this time of year,” Schaffer said. “We have heard recent reports of several vehicles breaking through the ice, and anyone going on the ice should be extra careful.”

Ice conditions can vary from region to region, between lakes in the same region, and even on the same lake, Schaffer added. “We know people want to keep fishing,” he said, “but given the current conditions it’s good for anglers to keep safety in mind.”

Have You Read? February North Dakota Outdoors Magazine

The February  issue of North Dakota Outdoors magazine is available FREE online right now. One of the features is  Managing Mountain Lions: A Look at the Past and Future by Ron Wilson. North Dakota held it first mountain lion hunting season in 2005, and it’s ran uninterrupted since. The Game and Fish Department in conjunction with researchers from South Dakota State University, launched the first part of a two phase research project in 2011.

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There’s some great information breaking down the deer lottery, and the Enforcement Division’s 2015 year in review.

 

Greg Freeman explains how All-Electronic Licensing Starts April 1Elimination of paper  licenses sold at vendors has been in the works since 2013, when the state legislature passed a law requiring each county auditor to implement a computerized online licensing system by March of last year, and each agent or vendor appointed by a  county auditor by March, 1, 2016.

 

Check these stories and more for free in the full February issue available right here or here http://gf.nd.gov/publications

District Game Warden Exam Set For March 18

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department has scheduled an examination to select candidates for the position of district game warden. The test is at 10 a.m., March 18, at the department’s main office in Bismarck.

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Applicants must register to take the exam no later than March 14 by submitting an online application through the North Dakota State Job Openings website.

Applicants must be at least 21 years of age and have a bachelor’s degree at time of hire (tentative hire date is June 1), have a valid driver’s license and a current North Dakota peace officer license, or be eligible to be licensed. Candidates must have excellent interpersonal skills in communications and writing, and must not have a record of any felony convictions.

District game wardens enforce game and fish laws and related regulations in an assigned district and other locations as determined by the department. Wardens normally work alone under varied conditions, at all hours of the day, night and weekends. In addition to law enforcement duties, wardens assist in the areas of public relations, education programs, and hunter and boat safety education.

Salary through training for a district game warden is $3,600 per month. Upon successful completion of training, the monthly salary ranges are $4,136 – $6,894. Wardens also receive the state benefits package, including travel allowance. Uniforms and other equipment are provided.

Mid-Winter Waterfowl Survey

 

Each January, Game and Fish Department biologists participate in the Mid-winter Waterfowl Survey.

 

This survey is a cooperative effort that surveys waterfowl populations in the US and parts of Canada and Mexico.

The survey, conducted since 1935, provides information on waterfowl population statuses and distribution.

Learn more about this survey from department migratory game bird management supervisor Mike Szymanski.

Watch the video by clicking here or here: http://gf.nd.gov/publications/television/outdoors-online-webcast

Mid-Winter Waterfowl Survey

2015 Eastern North Dakota Ice Fishing Preview

With winter finally here, a lot of folks are excited to get out and do some ice fishing. Find out what the fishing prospects are for the eastern part of the state this winter from North Dakota Game and Fish staff  BJ Kratz, Paul Bailey and Randy Hiltner.

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The video interview is right here. And if you missed if you didn’t catch last week’s program, check out ice fishing prospects for the western part of the state here.

 

To learn more about fishing in North Dakota – the regulations, buying a license, contour maps and more, visit the fishing portal on the Game and Fish Department website right here.