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Alert: COVID-19 Related Closures and Information (Note: Department offices are open to public access by appointment only.)


The North Dakota Game and Fish Department reminds winter anglers to clean up the ice after fishing. This not only applies to trash, but fish as well.

It is not only unsightly, but it is illegal to leave fish, including minnows used for bait, behind on the ice. According to state fishing regulations, when a fish is caught, anglers must either immediately release the fish unharmed, or…

North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries biologists are encouraging ice anglers to keep fish caught from deep waters.

Catch-and-release fishing, no matter the time of year, is discouraged for fish caught in 30 feet or more of water, because fish reeled in from those depths have a greater chance of dying if released.

Fish caught in deep water won’t likely survive because…

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for its voluntary Conservation Reserve Program. Private landowners can sign up at their local USDA Farm Service Agency office through Feb. 12.

This popular USDA program provides options for environmentally sensitive land by reducing soil erosion and improving water quality, but it also provides significant benefits to…

Hunter success during last fall’s pronghorn hunting season was 76%, according to statistics provided by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

Game and Fish issued 1,782 licenses (1,108 lottery and 674 gratis), and 1,572 hunters took 1,199 pronghorn, consisting of 1,044 bucks, 137 does and 18 fawns. Each hunter spent an average of three days afield.

The 2021 pronghorn…

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will once again track hunting and fishing issues during the 2021 legislative session.

Interested outdoor enthusiasts can follow proposed outdoors-related bills by visiting the Game and Fish website,

A brief description of each bill will be included. To view the bill in its entirety, click on the linked bill number.

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department urges winter anglers to use extreme caution when venturing on the ice.

Jackie Lundstrom, operations supervisor for the enforcement division, said ice conditions are some of the worst she has seen for this time of the year.

“Especially thickness varying over a short distance,” she said. “Ice thickness is never consistent and can vary…

Advancements in technology, easily retrieved on the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s website, allow ice anglers access to more than 200 lake contour maps, providing yet another tool in the angler’s tackle box.

“Back when we first started mapping in the early 2000s, anglers pretty much had to print a paper lake contour map at home and take it with them to help navigate and find…

Mike Anderson, video project supervisor for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Bismarck, received the agency’s Director’s Award for professional excellence.

Terry Steinwand, Game and Fish director, said COVID-19 did not stop him from missing a weekly assignment or deadline.

“From traveling to every corner of the state to take his next photo, film his next video,…

Kylor Johnston, North Dakota Game and Fish Department district game warden stationed in Hazen, is the state’s 2020 Wildlife Officer of the Year. Johnston was honored recently by Shikar-Safari Club International, a private conservation organization that annually recognizes outstanding wildlife officers in each state.

In a nomination letter sent to Shikar-Safari, chief warden Scott…

North Dakota Game and Fish Department Director Terry Steinwand recently honored employees with performance-based awards. 

Ashley Peterson, photographer/videographer, Bismarck, was recognized for her efforts in livestreaming the spring and fall advisory board meetings.

Bob Frohlich, fisheries development supervisor, Bismarck, was recognized for fisheries development projects,…

North Dakota’s free ice fishing weekend is Dec. 26-27.

Resident anglers may fish that weekend without a license. All other winter fishing regulations apply.

Fishing regulations and information on fishing waters is available on the North Dakota Game and Fish Department's website at

The 2021 North Dakota OUTDOORS calendar is available for ordering online at the state Game and Fish Department website,

The calendar features outstanding color photographs of North Dakota wildlife and scenery, and includes season opening and application deadline dates, sunrise-sunset times and moon phases.

Calendars are also available via mail order. Send $3 for each…

Winter anglers are reminded that any fish house left unoccupied on North Dakota waters must be made of materials that will allow it to float.

Other fish house regulations include:

Fish houses do not require a license. Occupied structures do not require identification. However, any unoccupied fish house must have an equipment registration numberissued by the North Dakota Game and…

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department annually provides its best estimate for opening dates to help hunters prepare for hunting seasons.

Dates become official when approved by governor’s proclamation. Tentative opening dates for 2021 include:

2021 Tentative Season Opening Dates Season Tentative Open Date Spring Turkey April 10 Dove September 1 Deer and…

Can’t find a gift for your waterfowl hunter? You might want to check out the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s, “The Duck Factory – A History of Waterfowl in North Dakota.”

Authored by Mike Jacobs and Erik Fritzell, the 213-page, soft-cover publication in full color traces the history of waterfowl species and their habitats in North Dakota.

Migratory game bird program…

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department and North Dakota Department of Agriculture are once again opening the Coyote Catalog, a statewide effort designed to connect committed coyote hunters and trappers with landowners who are dealing with coyotes in their areas.

Landowners can sign up on the Department of Agriculture website, 

Hunters and trappers can sign up…

Anglers are encouraged to refer to the North Dakota 2020-22 Fishing Guide or the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s website for winter fishing regulations, plus fishing questions and answers.

Some winter fishing regulations include:

A maximum of four rods is legal for ice fishing. Tip-ups are legal, and each tip-up is considered a single rod. Mechanical devices that set the…

North Dakota’s darkhouse spearfishing season opens on most state waters whenever ice-up occurs. Legal fish are northern pike and nongame species.

Individuals who are required to possess a valid fishing license (age 16 and older) to darkhouse spearfish must first register online at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website,

Spearers and anglers are reminded…

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 biological…

North Dakota’s river otter trapping season is closed immediately. The statewide season’s predetermined harvest limit of 20 has been reached.

Only North Dakota residents were eligible to participate, with a season limit of one otter per trapper.