Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

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.

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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

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