Author Archives: dougleier

this is not an official ND Game & Fish blog. This is from Doug Leier not the NDGF

have you seen?

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This week’s North Dakota Game and Fish Department webcast, Outdoors Online, is now online at This is the third of our annual fishing reports. District fisheries supervisors Fred Ryckman and Todd Caspers give overviews of the fishing prospects in the northwest fishing district and the Red River. Click here to Watch! For complete access to North Dakota fishing information visit the Game and Fish website’s fishing portal right here!

anglers asked to report winterkill

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North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries biologists are asking anglers for help in documenting lakes that may have experienced winter fish mortality.

Fisheries management section leader Scott Gangl said some winterkill is expected every year, with the severity depending on winter weather. With this year’s conditions, he doesn’t anticipate major widespread fish kills.

“Statewide, water quality was good due to the relatively mild winter and lack of snow cover,” Gangl said. “However, some local lakes may have had poor conditions which could lead to winterkill. Anglers can help by notifying us of any lakes where they encounter dead fish.”

Biologists will begin sampling suspected winterkill lakes later this spring once fish spawning operations are completed to document the severity of any die-offs.

Anglers should report fish mortality in any North Dakota water by contacting the Game and Fish Department’s main office in Bismarck, or the local Game and Fish district office.

youth grant deadline

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Wildlife, shooting, fraternal and nonprofit civil organizations are urged to submit an application for the Encouraging Tomorrow’s Hunters program, a State Game and Fish Department grant program developed to assist recruitment of the next generation of hunters and shooters.

The maximum grant allowed is $3,000. The program currently helps fund approximately 40 club and organizational events and projects, with an average grant of $1,550.

Grant funds help cover event expenses, including promotional printing; event memorabilia such as shirts, caps or vests; ammunition and targets, and eye and ear protection.

Past funding has enabled several groups to conduct youth pheasant and waterfowl hunts, while others have sponsored trap and other shooting events, including archery and rifle shooting.

Any club or organization interested in conducting a youth hunting or shooting event can get more information, including a grant application, from the Game and Fish Department website,, or by contacting outreach biologist Pat Lothspeich at 701-328-6332.

The deadline to apply for a 2015 grant is April 19.

2015 paddlefish snagging season

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North Dakota’s paddlefish snagging season opens May 1, and the season is scheduled to continue through the end of May. However, depending on the overall harvest, an early in-season closure may occur with a 24-hour notice issued by the state Game and Fish Department.

Paddlefish tags are available over-the-counter-only in Bismarck at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s main office; in Williston at the Williams County auditor’s office, Scenic Sports and Wal-Mart; and in Dickinson at Runnings Farm and Fleet.

Snaggers should be aware that mandatory harvest of all snagged paddlefish is required on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. On these days, all paddlefish caught must be tagged immediately.

All paddlefish snagged and tagged must be removed from the river by9 p.m. of each snagging day. The use or possession of a gaff hook within one-half mile in either direction of the Highway 200 bridge on the Yellowstone River is illegal at any time during the snagging season.

Snag-and-release of all paddlefish is required on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays. Those planning to participate during snag-and-release-only days need to have in their possession a current season, unused paddlefish snagging tag. Use or possession of gaffs is prohibited on snag-and-release-only days, and, if it occurs, during the snag-and-release extension period.

Legal snagging hours are from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. One tag per snagger will be issued. Snagging is legal in all areas of the Yellowstone River in North Dakota, and in the area of the Missouri River lying west of the U.S. Highway 85 bridge to the Montana border, excluding that portion from the pipeline crossing (river mile 1,577) downstream to the upper end of the Lewis and Clark Wildlife Management Area (river mile 1,565).

If the season closes early because the harvest quota is reached, an extended snag-and-release-only period will be allowed for up to four days immediately following the early closure, but not to extend beyond May 31. Only snaggers with a current season, unused paddlefish snagging tag are eligible to participate. Only a limited area at the confluence of the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers is open to this extended season snagging opportunity.

All paddlefish snaggers must possess a paddlefish tag in addition to a valid fishing license and certificate that may be required. Cost of a paddlefish tag is $10 for residents and $25.50 for nonresidents.

Addresses and phone numbers of vendors selling tags:

Bismarck Game and Fish Office

100 N. Bismarck Expressway

Bismarck, ND 58501


Williams County

Williams County Auditor

PO Box 2047

Williston, ND 58802


Scenic Sports

1201 East Broadway

Williston, ND 58801


Wal-Mart, Inc.

4001 2nd Avenue West

Williston, ND 58801


Runnings Farm and Fleet

2003 3rd Avenue West

Dickinson, ND 58601


2015 North Dakota spring turkey season

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The 2015 spring turkey season in North Dakota is open from Saturday April 11 and continues through May 17. Full details on the season are right here!

2015 North Dakota turkey season

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The 2015 spring turkey season in North Dakota is open from Saturday April 11 and continues through May 17. Full details on the season are right here!
or here

have you seen?

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This week’s North Dakota Game and Fish Department webcast, Outdoors Online, is now online at This is the second of our annual fishing reports. District fisheries supervisors Jeff Hendrickson and Jason Lee give overviews of the fishing prospects in the north central and southwest fishing districts. For complete access to Game and Fish fishing information visit the website here and then

Click here to Watch!

have you read?

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The March-April issue of North Dakota Outdoors magazine is the special fishing issue. It’s highlighted by a statewide overview by Fisheries Division Chief Greg Power. A detailed look at last years stocking and this years fishing and boating access are also featured. Check these stories and more for free in the full March-April issue available right here: or here

2015 Earth Day

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The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is once again celebrating Earth Day by sponsoring clean-up days on public-owned or managed lands.

With Earth Day recognized April 22, each member of a school, Girl Scout, Boy Scout, 4-H club or youth organization who participates in cleaning up public lands through May will receive a specifically designed conservation patch.

Last winter the Game and Fish Department sponsored a contest for students ages 6-18 to design a North Dakota Earth Day Patch. Winners receiving a pair of 8×42 binoculars in the three age categories were Dakota Skaro of Bismarck (6-9), Alexis Golberg of Bismarck (10-13), and Ayana Kovash of Manning (14-18). Kovash’s design was chosen the contest winner, and will be used on this year’s Earth Day patch.

Groups participating in the Earth Day project are encouraged to take the following precautions to ensure safety: keep young people away from highways, lakes and rivers; and only allow older participants to pick up broken glass.

Interested participants are asked to contact Pat Lothspeich at 328-6332 to receive a reporting form for their project.

waterfowl deaths caused by avian cholera

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More than 600 waterfowl carcasses discovered at Nelson Lake in Oliver County in March are a result of avian cholera, a bacteria that is readily spread in areas where waterfowl congregate in large numbers.

Dr. Dan Grove, wildlife veterinarian for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said the initial inspection on March 10 revealed the presence of primarily mallards and Canada geese, already in varying states of decay. “Based on carcass decomposition, it looked like the onset was likely weeks earlier,” Grove said.

Whole carcasses were shipped March 11 to the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wis., for necropsy and disease testing. The lake was surveyed a second and third time on March 11-12, when carcasses were again collected and shipped.

“Birds were tested for multiple diseases, including avian influenza, which came back negative,” Grove said. “Typically we do not see die-offs in wild birds from AI.”

A midwinter survey in early January had indicated 23,000 mallards and 30,675 geese on Nelson Lake, which serves as the outflow for the Minnkota Power Plant and has open water year-around.

Dead birds on the lake have been reported at some degree over the last several years, Grove said, with several local anglers indicating it is a frequent occurrence.

“This is one of two areas in the state with open water in winter, so waterfowl will congregate in this area,” Grove added. “Whenever large numbers are in a confined area, the chances of a disease outbreak increase.”

Grove encourages anyone seeing dead wildlife in large quantities to report it to the Game and Fish Department. “We are concerned when more than a few deaths are observed in one area within a short period of time,” he said.

Doug Leier