The North Dakota Game and Fish Department has decided to wait at least a year before developing a lottery to issue tags for the paddlefish snagging season.
While legislation passed in 2013 allows the Department to use a lottery system to issue paddlefish tags if and when needed, Game and Fish Department fisheries chief Greg Power said that after full review of the 2013 paddlefish season, and considering ongoing research on the paddlefish population, biologists have determined that a lottery is not necessary in 2014.
“However, this ongoing paddlefish population assessment may still result in a number of changes to the 2014 paddlefish season,” Power said. “If there are pending regulation changes, we will solicit public input later this fall, including at Game and Fish advisory board meetings.”
Since the first snagging season was authorized in 1976, Power said Game and Fish has managed paddlefish snagging on the upper Missouri and Yellowstone rivers by allowing an unlimited number of participants. Because of growing interest and participation by snaggers, coupled with a declining paddlefish population, Game and Fish established an annual harvest cap to limit the harvest.
The first cap, set in 1996 with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, was 1,500 fish per year in each state. The two agencies reduced the cap to 1,000 fish per year in each state in 2003.