Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

Anglers Should 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 have a lower chance of surviving after you release them 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 are likely, such as ruptured blood vessels or internal organs. Because of these other internal injuries, biologists discourage fizzing, the practice of deflating the swim bladder.

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

180516 walleye

“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 Tagging Studies

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department continues to conduct walleye tagging studies across the state.

 

At Lake Sakakawea, the state’s largest fishery, Department fisheries biologists are in the second year of a four-year walleye tagging study. The goal on Sakakawea is to tag about 3,000 walleyes per year, a target fisheries biologists more than met this year when they fit 3,188 fish with metal jaw tags.

 

Another project was conducted at Lake Josephine in Kidder County where nearly 500 walleye were tagged.

 

In both waters, the respective tagging studies will provide Department fisheries biologists with several pieces of information, including angling mortality, that will help to properly manage the fisheries and maintain good fishing into the future.

 

Anglers can help both tagging studies by reporting any tagged fish they catch on the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov, or by calling 701-328-6300.

Walleye Tagging Studies at Sakakawea, Alkaline

North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries personnel recently tagged approximately 3,000 walleyes in Lake Sakakawea – 1,000 each in the upper, middle and lower regions of the lake.

Managers plan to continue tagging 3,000 walleye from Lake Sakakawea each year through 2022. This four-year study is aimed to help fisheries biologists assess walleye harvest by size, natural mortality, angling mortality and movements.

In addition to Sakakawea, crews tagged approximately 2,000 walleyes at Alkaline Lake in Kidder County. This one-year study will enhance the understanding of the proportion of fish that anglers harvest each year from Alkaline Lake.

Anglers who catch a tagged fish are encouraged to treat the fish like any other. Whether keeping or releasing the fish, anglers are asked to report tagged fish at the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov. If the fish is released, anglers are reminded not to remove the tag.

Signs posted around these lakes with ongoing tagging studies feature a QR code that will take anglers directly to the tagged fish report page on the department’s website.

Lincoln Angler’s Walleye Breaks Record

Tom Volk’s 16-pound, 9-ounce walleye caught on April 21 broke a record that was set nearly a year ago, and prior to that had gone untouched for nearly 60 years.

The Lincoln angler reeled in the 32 and one-half inch fish from shore along the Heart River in Mandan, besting the old record by three-quarters of a pound that was set last May by Neal Leier of Bismarck while fishing the Missouri River.

 

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.

Record Number of Walleyes Stocked

North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries personnel are wrapping up a record-stocking of walleye fingerlings to more than 130 waters across the state.

fish stocking for 12-6-11 column

Jerry Weigel, fisheries production and development supervisor, said more than 12 million fingerlings were stocked, besting the previous high by more than 1 million fish.

“Considering not many went into Lake Sakakawea, this included an unprecedented stocking of nearly 7 million fingerlings into the smaller fishing waters across the state,” Weigel said.

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 National Fish Hatchery produced more than 3 million walleye this year, the most in the hatchery’s 77-year history. In addition, Garrison Dam National Fish Hatchery will ship a near-record number again this year.

Stocking conditions were optimal, Weigel said, with cooler weather at the time most of the fish were shipped. The 30-day-old fingerings averaged about 1.25 inches in length.

“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. “There has never been a better time to fish for walleye,” he added. “Statewide, there are a lot of great 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 at gf.nd.gov/fishing.

 

 

Have You Seen? Transporting Fish Regulationis

 

Many are taking advantage of the open waters and beautiful spring weather to get outside and do some fishing. In this week’s North Dakota Game and Fish Department webcast, district game warden Corey Erck talks about some of the North Dakota fishing regulations and about how to properly transport the fish you catch.

Watch the video right here or here: http://gf.nd.gov/publications/television/outdoors-online-webcast
Full North Dakota Fish regulations can be found right here or here http://gf.nd.gov/fishing/fishing-regulations-guide