Matters of Opinion
We got another shot of rain today in our neck of North Dakota. It was long-awaited and certainly welcomed.
Precipitation plays such a vital role here on the Northern Plains for so many wildlife species. As R.J. Gross, North Dakota Game and Fish Department upland game management biologist, points out later in this issue of North Dakota OUTDOORS, we entered spring with a larger pheasant breeding population than last year, yet a lack of precipitation was a concern for this species so valued by hunters.
There’s concern because of drought conditions in the western part of the state, which harbors some of the best pheasant habitat, and its influence on insect populations critical to survival of young pheasants.
The weather in North Dakota is so seldom uniform. Here I am writing about drought conditions in the western part of the state and the hope for a good insect hatch, yet you only have to turn a few pages in this magazine to find a feature story that deals with too much water.
Rice Lake in Emmons County reached a historical high and started its natural, slow flow toward Lake Oahe in spring. Unfortunately, this opened the path for common carp, the state’s most common aquatic invasive species to point their noses upstream, as they naturally want to do, and invade Rice Lake.
Fortunately, with the cooperation of a willing landowner, Game and Fish Department crews in spring installed a structure to stop this unwanted upstream carp migration.
Like enhancing and protecting wildlife habitat on land, safeguarding the Rice Lakes of North Dakota is a priority. Anglers have come to appreciate and expect quality fishing in the state, and they ensure their trust in the Game and Fish Department to properly manage their natural resources.
Speaking of fishing. I was happy to read in the back of this issue of NDO about a local angler who caught what is certainly a fish of a lifetime.
The big channel catfish, originally stocked in Harmon Lake as a management tool to trim the black bullhead population, certainly provided one lucky angler with a fishing story he’ll never forget.
In the piece found in Buffaloberry Patch, Randall Gienger said that he’s not an avid angler and it had been a few years since he last wet a line.
If you’re like Gienger and haven’t fished in a while, I encourage you to get back on the water. North Dakota is blessed with many quality fisheries and now is a good time to see what your local waters have to offer.
If I’m preaching to the choir and you already fish at every turn, then consider taking someone who doesn’t to give them a taste of what North Dakota’s great outdoors have to offer.