A snagging season that lasted a few more days than last year led to a slightly higher number of citations during the recent paddlefish snagging season.
From opening day May 1 until the season closed May 22, North Dakota Game and Fish Department game wardens issued a record 190 citations as part of an annual saturation effort in Williams and McKenzie counties, according to enforcement chief Robert Timian. Last year the citation total was 177.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department has removed the open fire ban on the Oahe Wildlife Management Area effective immediately. However, the area still falls under any burn restrictions implemented by Morton and Burleigh counties.
Open fires, including campfires, were prohibited this spring on Game and Fish managed property south of Bismarck and Mandan along both sides of the Missouri River.
Oahe WMA covers more than 16,000 acres along Lake Oahe south of Bismarck-Mandan, in portions of Burleigh, Emmons and Morton counties.
The single most important reminder the North Dakota Game and Fish Department will issue to recreationists this summer is to be alert and safe near water.
Boat and water safety coordinator Nancy Boldt said safety on the water begins with wearing a personal flotation device.
“Failure to wear a personal floatation device is the main reason people lose their lives in water recreation accidents,” Boldt said.
Family fishing days return June 7 to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Outdoor Wildlife Learning Site. The catch-and-release only OWLS Pond is stocked with trout, bluegill, largemouth bass, catfish and other species.
Family fishing days will run Saturdays and Wednesdays through the end of August. Fishing equipment can be checked out at the OWLS Pond, located adjacent to the Department’s Bismarck office, on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Fishing rods and basic tackle are available for use free of charge.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department reminds anglers and others taking carp and other nongame fish that a license is required, and hook-and-line, archery equipment and spears are the only legal methods of take. Snagging nongame fish is illegal.
In addition, enforcement chief Robert Timian said anglers must properly dispose of the fish. “Leaving dead fish on the shoreline or in the water is considered a littering violation,” Timian said.
North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries biologists said despite colder-than-average winter temperatures, not many lakes experienced a fish kill.
Fisheries management section leader Scott Gangl said biologists investigated winterkills at 11 lakes so far this spring, with only a few considered significant enough to affect the quality of fishing this spring.
Lakes that appear to have suffered a significant kill include Leland Dam (McKenzie County), Island Lake (Rolette County) and the State Fair Pond (Ward County).
North Dakota anglers are reminded they can fish for free June 7-8.
That is the weekend North Dakota residents may fish without a license. All other fishing regulations apply.
Refer to the 2014-16 North Dakota Fishing Guide for season information.
North Dakota deer hunters are reminded the deadline for submitting applications for the 2014 gun season is June 4. Hunters are encouraged to apply online at the State Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov.
The deadline applies to muzzleloader, regular gun, gratis and nonresident landowner, and youth antlered mule deer applications (specifically for antlered mule deer in units 3B1, 3B2, and 4A-4F).
The State Game and Fish Department is lifting the Tuesday-Wednesday camping restriction on many wildlife management areas in the western and central part of the state for the week of Memorial Day, May 26-30.
This same waiver will allow camping on those WMAs on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during all state-recognized holiday weeks throughout the year, including 4th of July week (June 30-July 4), and Labor Day (Sept. 1-5).
All other public use regulations for state wildlife management areas still apply.
The MacLean shooting range located 15 miles southeast of Bismarck will be closed this summer for reconstruction and expansion. A closed sign will be posted at the entrance.
Improvements will include a shotgun range, handgun range, and a 100- and 200-yard rifle range. Construction is scheduled for June, July and August, with the range slated to open late summer.
MacLean Bottoms is 2 miles south of ND Highway 1804.
Two alternate public ranges that are open are Schmidt Bottoms and Wilton Mine Wildlife Management Area.
Outdoor water recreationists are once again reminded to help prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic nuisance species in North Dakota.
State Game and Fish Department ANS Coordinator Fred Ryckman said there are more than 400 recreational fishing waters across the state, making it imperative for watercraft owners to obey regulations.
Boaters are reminded to exercise patience and plan accordingly when heading to a lake or river this summer.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department receives a number of complaints every year about overly aggressive behavior at boat ramps. A few simple reminders will help ensure a fluent transition when launching and loading a boat.