Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

have you read? FREE July ND Outdoors Magazine

The July 2019 North Dakota Outdoors magazine is available FREE online right now here.

You’ll find a great piece by editor Ron Wilson  The Value of Helping Hands You can hardly swing a gillnet at a North Dakota Game and Fish Department gathering without hitting a full-time staffer who was employed as a seasonal worker earlier in their career. By most counts, more than half of the 163 full-time Game and Fish Department employees hired on as seasonal staff during their college years.

 

Alicia Underlee Nelson takes a look at One of the longest trails in the nation which starts in North Dakota. The North Country National Scenic Trail will span more than 4,600 miles (more than twice the length of the Appalachian Trail) between Lake Sakakawea State Park and Crown Point, New York on the western shore of Lake Champlain.
Fisheries biologist Randy Hiltner shares his insight Managing Fish and Angling Opportunities in the Northeast The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s northeast fisheries management district encompasses all or parts of 16 counties. Included are several large natural lakes, such as Devils Lake, Stump Lake and the Lake Irvine complex.

have you read?

The June  2019 North Dakota Outdoors magazine is available FREE online right now here.

You’ll find a great piece by Editor Ron Wilson  Big Lake Walleye Spawn Fuels State Fisheries “Walleye spawning is driven by two things – water temperature and photoperiod (daylight),” said Dave Fryda, North Dakota Game and Fish Department Missouri River System fisheries supervisor. “Especially in Lake Sakakawea, which is a big body of water, there is warmer water in many of the bays, while the water is still cold out in the lake.”

Ron also shares thoughts from Greg Power, fisheries division chief, who revists the changes in fish spawning in 40 Years of Eggs and Change

“1979 – 40 years ago – was the first year I spawned fish at this location,” Power said. “At the time, there was a spawning shack here, but very few trees and there weren’t many anglers to speak of back in those days.”

 

Operation Dry Water takes a look at work by game wardens to keep boating safe this summer.

Boating under the influence is always a concern for law enforcement during North Dakota’s open-water season. With more than 64,000 registered watercraft in the state, it’s a certainty when the sun pops, weather warms and the wind dies, that not all water enthusiasts are playing it smart.

have you read? March-April ND Outdoors

The March/April  2019 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 Opinioninside the cover: While you’ll read and hear about a number of lakes winterkilling across North Dakota’s landscape, the fallout of snow covering our waters for such a long period of time was anticipated. This is simply the nature of things on the Northern Plains where Mother Nature reminds us often who is in charge.

 

Greg Power, Fisheries Division Chief, revisits  A Fishing Report Card

In the past 15 years, North Dakota has experienced characteristic extreme shifts in weather, which influence short- and long-term fishing opportunities in the state. Periodically during that time, I’ve provided a North Dakota fishing report card to assess how well the state’s fisheries are doing.

 

I think you’ll enjoy and appreciate Ron Wilson Back Cast

I worked with a newspaper reporter years ago who proudly hung his hat and young career on a two-word headline that warned readers of an impending winter storm that promised inches of snow, strong winds and falling temperatures.

The “Brace Yourselves” headline ran on the front page above the fold in large type that barked at passing readers through the windows of the yellow newspaper boxes. His two-word alarm was simple, to the point and, most importantly, accurate. Lots of snow fell, the wind blew, and it was cold.

have you read?

The February  2019 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 Opinioninside the cover: I’ve written more than once on this page how seriously many North Dakotans take their deer hunting. To repeat myself, the state’s deer gun season, or more so the opening weekend of the season, has a holiday feel to it. Sort of like Christmas.

 

Ron Wilson wrote:  Fishing Stories, Measuring Angler Success

Erica Sevigny has heard her share of fishing stories this winter.

As a winter creel clerk for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department on Lake Audubon, Sevigny knocks on ice house doors to ask ice anglers a few simple questions about their fishing trip.

Game Warden Corey Erck  takes you on a ride along with A Warden’s Story

I’m often asked what I like best about being a game warden. The answer is easy: No two days are the same and the job changes with the seasons.

Every time my phone rings, it’s only a guess if it’s a routine call about clarifying a hunting regulation or something you’d never expect. Maybe the best way to illustrate this is to relay the events of one day in November 2017.

cover

have you read?

The January 2019 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 Opinioninside the cover

When we talk about wildlife habitat in North Dakota, I think most people envision grasses and other cover that benefit upland game, deer and nesting waterfowl. But water for fish, and many species of birds, is also a critical part of that conversation.

For the most part, we’ve been water-blessed for a number of years, which has been a good thing for the state’s fisheries. Today, we have roughly 450 recreational fishing lakes, many of which were dry 30 years ago.


You can also see the results of the 2018 Watchable Wildlife Photo Contest:

The overall winning photograph in the 2018 contest, chosen from three categories – game, nongame and plants and insects – is a Western grebe taken by Dale Rehder of West Fargo.

And, Ron Wilson spends time Talking Furbearers with Stephanie Tucker

North Dakota OUTDOORS staff sat down with Stephanie Tucker, Game and Fish Department game management section leader, to talk about North Dakota’s furbearers, the focus of many hunters and trappers this time of year. Tucker is a furbearer biologist who, when time allows, actively hunts and traps those animals she helps manage.

have you read?

The 2018 November  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

The number of deer gun licenses made available to hunters this year (55,150) was more than 2017 (54,500). While that is not a big increase, we are heading in the right direction.

Here at Game and Fish, our deer management plan, which is reevaluated every five years, calls for making available 75,000 deer licenses to hunters.

Meeting this goal is no easy task because it depends greatly on how winter treats North Dakota’s animals and the amount of wildlife habitat on the landscape.

 

Ron Wilson wrote:  Ice Fishing Today, Looking at Tomorrow

In the past 25 years, North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries biologists have stocked millions of walleyes into 55 prairie fisheries that cover more than 61,000 acres.

In a state where both open-water and ice anglers place the greatest value on walleye over other fish species, this is good news.

But it gets better.

Ron Wilson takes a look at Shooting Ranges In North Dakota
Properly sighted rifles and shot placement are, for example, important elements to safe, ethical and proficient hunting.

“People need places shoot, to hone their skills and become proficient marksmen and hunters,” said Marty Egeland, Department education supervisor. “It’s our interest at Game and Fish to do what we can to make sure people have somewhere to shoot.”

have you read? The 2018 October  North Dakota Outdoors

have you read?

The 2018 October  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

You’ve heard us here at the Game and Fish Department talk time and again about the importance of having quality wildlife habitat on the landscape.
Without adequate habitat on the landscape, for example, animals struggle to battle the harsh winter conditions that are often familiar in North Dakota. Without good habitat, animals take much longer to rebound after months of snow and cold.

 

Ron Wilson wrote:  Program Improves Deer Habitat

In 2015, following back-to-back deer gun seasons when fewer than 50,000 licenses were made available to hunters – something not seen in North Dakota in about 35 years – lawmakers made it possible for hunters to help improve wildlife habitat that would favor the state’s deer population.

In a bill that unanimously passed in both the House and Senate during the 2015 legislative season, unsuccessful applicants in North Dakota’s deer gun lottery could for the first time in 2016 donate their refunds to the Game and Fish Department’s Private Land Open To Sportsmen program.

Ron Wilson, Scott Gangl, Dave Fryda and Russ Kinzler collaborate to answer  Questions about Sakakawea’s Salmon Program  Chinook salmon were stocked in Lake Sakakawea in 1976, less than a decade after the reservoir filled, to inhabit the deep coldwater environment not used by other fish species. This nonnative species, like other fish in the Missouri River System, has ridden the ups and downs of low- and high-water years, times of abundant forage and times when prey was tougher to come by.

It hardly seems that back-to-back years are nearly the same. The same goes for fishing for salmon in the state’s biggest reservoir.

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.

 

Have you read? July ND Outdoors magazine

The 2018 July  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 summer 1993, things changed. And as many of us in North Dakota remember, we were certainly ready for change.In July of that year, a month that still remains the wettest month in our state’s recorded history, the heavens opened up and kicked off what would be the end of a 5-year drought.

 

Communications Supervisor Craig Bihrle continues on with  Diary of a Wet Cycle

Priority Lakes came about after an honest assessment of what 5 years of drought had done to the state’s fishing resources. Of about 180 fishing waters in the state at the time, Game and Fish was going to focus its efforts on 60 of them, “…until water levels return to normal.”

Ron Wilson Back Cast gives his personal perspective on the change in North Dakota landscape from 25 years ago.

It’s been said that bashing the weather is a waste of words, considering many of us couldn’t start a conversation if it didn’t change now and again.