Although this past winter stretched beyond the norm, snowfall throughout most of the state was far from record-setting. Therefore, the number of lakes suffering a fish kill was not extreme.
Scott Gangl, fisheries management section leader for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said approximately 30 winterkills have been confirmed so far this spring. “Fortunately, the majority of these were considered minor/partial kills, meaning there are still desirable fish to catch in those lakes,” he said.
Even though Lake Sakakawea and Lake Oahe are approximately 10 feet lower than last year at this time, anglers shouldn’t have a problem finding public access points to launch a boat.
The Riverdale Wildlife Management Area shooting range will close Monday, May 20 for approximately one week due to construction of a berm and general improvements. A closed sign will be posted at the entrance.
Interested users can check the status of the range by accessing the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov.
Riverdale WMA is located two miles southwest of Riverdale.
Now that the ice has finally left North Dakota’s lakes and rivers, boaters and anglers are starting to enjoy summer recreation opportunities. With more than 400 water bodies covering the state, outdoor recreationists are once again reminded to help prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic nuisance species in North Dakota.
A public awareness campaign held annually in May emphasizes the need for boaters to wears life jackets.
Nancy Boldt, boat and water safety coordinator for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said the message reinforces the importance of personal flotation devices.
“Facts prove there is no safety substitute for wearing a life jacket while recreating on public waters,” Boldt said.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department announced today that the state's 2013 paddlefish snagging season will close to any additional harvest at 10 p.m. Central Daylight Time, Friday, May 17, to protect the population level of the fish. An additional seven-day snag-and-release season will begin Saturday, May 18 and run through Friday, May 24.
“Once again, high effort and participation by paddlefish snaggers and relatively low water levels concentrating the paddlefish are responsible for the early closure,” said Greg Power, Game and Fish Department fisheries chief.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will continue to implement camping restrictions established last year on some wildlife management areas in western North Dakota and along Lake Sakakawea.
Effective immediately, overnight camping is prohibited on the following WMAs: Antelope Creek, Lewis and Clark, Big Oxbow, Ochs Point, Neu’s Point, Overlook, Sullivan and Tobacco Garden in McKenzie County; Van Hook in Mountrail County; and Hofflund and Trenton in Williams County.
Results from North Dakota’s spring sage grouse survey indicate the number of strutting males observed remains well below management objectives. Therefore, the sage grouse hunting season will remain closed in 2013.
Aaron Robinson, North Dakota Game and Fish Department upland game bird biologist, said biologists counted a record low 50 males on 11 active strutting grounds earlier in May. Last year, 72 males were counted on 12 active leks in the southwest.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program is accepting registrations for the annual summer workshop Aug. 9-11 at Lake Metigoshe State Park, Bottineau.
Enrollment is limited to participants age 18 or older. Workshop fees of $135 cover instruction, program materials, use of equipment, all meals and lodging.
Participants can choose from more than 30 programs, including archery, canoeing, introduction to firearms, fly-fishing, kayaking, global positioning system, plant identification, and tracking and trapping.
North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries personnel recently stocked six lakes with 2-to-5 pound trout from Wyoming.
Jerry Weigel, fisheries production and development section leader, said each year Wyoming Game and Fish provides trout as part of a trade for walleye fingerlings. This year, Wyoming provided surplus brood stock.
A total of 800 rainbows with a combined weight of 2,100 pounds were stocked in Camels Hump Lake (Golden Valley County), Dickinson Dike (Stark County), North Woodhaven Pond (Cass County) and Mooreton Pond (Richland County).
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Save Our Lakes program is renovating 800 feet of shoreline along Danzig Dam in Morton County.
The SOL project includes lowering the water level to remove 15,000 cubic yards of sediment, which will deepen the shoreline and create better access for shore anglers. Additionally, a water control structure is being installed to enhance opportunities to address ongoing water quality issues.
Completion of the project is expected by June. However, it is anticipated the water level within the reservoir will remain low until next spring.
North Dakota’s 2013 deer season is set, with 59,500 licenses available to hunters this fall, 5,800 fewer than last year and the lowest since 1983.
Randy Kreil, wildlife chief for the State Game and Fish Department, said after a significant reduction in gun licenses in 2012, harvest and survey data revealed deer populations are still below management objectives in most units.