North Dakota’s darkhouse spearfishing season opens on most state waters December 1. The season extends through March 15. Legal fish are northern pike and nongame species.
Darkhouse spearing is allowed for all residents with a valid fishing license and for residents under the age of 16. Nonresidents may darkhouse spearfish in North Dakota if they are from states that offer the same privilege for North Dakota residents.
Organizers planning fishing tournaments, including ice fishing contests this winter, are reminded to submit an application along with fishing tournament regulations to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department at least 30 days prior to the start of the event.
The 30-day advance notice allows for review by agency staff to ensure the proposed tournament will not have negative consequences or conflicts with other proposed tournaments for the same location and/or time.
Tournaments may not occur without first obtaining a valid permit from the department.
Anglers are reminded that three North Dakota lakes are closed to ice fishing.
The State Fair Pond in Ward County, McDowell Dam in Burleigh County and Lightning Lake in McLean County are closed when the lakes ice over.
Anglers should refer to the 2012-14 North Dakota Fishing Guide for open water and winter fishing regulations.
North Dakota hunters are reminded that several national wildlife refuges open to late-season upland game bird hunting the day after the deer gun season closes.
Arrowwood, Audubon, Des Lacs, J. Clark Salyer, Lake Alice, Lake Zahl, Long Lake, Lostwood, Tewaukon (pheasants only), and Upper Souris NWRs open Nov. 26.
Aerial observations during the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s fall mule deer survey indicated production in 2012 was about the same as last year’s record low.
Biologists who accompanied pilots in fixed-wing planes counted 1,224 (1,055 in 2011) mule deer in the October survey. The buck-to-doe ratio of 0.37 (0.47 in 2010) was similar to the long-term average of 0.43 bucks per doe, and the fawn-to-doe ratio of 0.59 equaled the lowest fawn-to-doe ratio since the demographic survey began in 1954. The long-term average is 0.92 fawns per doe.
North Dakota’s muzzleloader deer season opens at noon Friday, Nov. 30 and continues through Dec. 16. Hunters with a lottery muzzleloader license can hunt white-tailed deer statewide.
Hunters should refer to the 2012 North Dakota Deer Hunting Guide for more information.
Outdoor enthusiasts are invited to attend a North Dakota Game and Fish Department advisory board meeting in their area.
These public meetings, held each spring and fall, provide citizens with an opportunity to discuss fish and wildlife issues and ask questions of their district advisors and agency personnel.
The governor appoints eight Game and Fish Department advisors, each representing a multi-county section of the state, to serve as a liaison between the department and public.
North Dakota’s deer gun season opens Nov. 9 at noon, and State Game and Fish Department officials are cautioning deer hunters to be wary of where they hunt. Late-season weather conditions can quickly cause North Dakota’s small and mid-sized waters to ice over, giving the appearance of safe ice.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department spent a record amount of time monitoring the state’s waterways looking for aquatic nuisance species in 2012. Despite these intense efforts only one new infestation was documented – curly leaf pondweed in Lake Elsie in Richland County.
Fisheries crews have completed their annual salmon spawning operation on Lake Sakakawea after collecting 1.5 million eggs, easily surpassing their goal of 900,000.
The State Game and Fish Department recently honored the Tuttle Wildlife Club for its ongoing efforts to develop and improve public use facilities at numerous lakes in northern Kidder County.
Each year the Department’s fisheries division presents a “Certificate of Appreciation” to an organization that has signed on as a cooperating partner in local projects. District fisheries supervisor Paul Bailey said the Tuttle group is “an outstanding example of the difference a small club can make on their local fisheries.”
Fire danger is not typically a concern during deer season, but this year could be an exception in the southwestern part of the state.
Jeb Williams, North Dakota Game and Fish Department assistant wildlife chief, said even though much of the state has received much-needed moisture the past few weeks, some areas are still dry. “With temperatures forecasted to be in the 40s on the Nov. 9 deer opener, we encourage hunters to use common sense and to exercise caution to prevent fires,” Williams said.