Author Archives: dougleier

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

snow goose migration update

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Plenty of activity happened over the weekend, with mild temperatures causing birds to be on the move. We have received reports that snow geese are beginning to make their way into Canada, while most of the geese that remain in the state are north of Interstate 94. Birds will continue to trickle through the state over the next couple weeks.

 

 

Some Notes on the Spring Migration Route

Snow goose migration in spring tends to occur farther east than in the fall. Birds generally arrive in the southeastern corner of the state and spread north and northwest through the Valley City, Jamestown, Devils Lake, Rugby and Kenmare areas. However, scattered flocks may be found anywhere in the state during spring.

Birds normally move through the state quickly, their arrival and stay depending on weather and availability of open water and food.

Spring snow melt progression.

Light Goose Hotline Provides Migration Updates

Migration updates available at 701-328-3697, until season ends or geese have left the state.

coming soon…paddlefish snagging season!

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Anglers and boat owners are reminded to review their licenses for the 2014 fishing and boating season.

 

Anglers must have a 2014-15 fishing license. Fishing licenses can be purchased online at the Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov. A new state law requires residents age 18 or older to prove residency on the application by submitting a valid North Dakota driver’s license number or a North Dakota nondriver photo identification number.

 

The 2013 state legislature established new fees for several licenses, including resident individual fishing ($16), resident husband and wife ($22) and combination ($50). The combination license includes fishing, general game and habitat, small game and furbearer.

 

Boat owners are reminded that 2014 is the first year of a new three-year registration period. The new boat registration cycle runs through Dec. 31, 2016.

 

The price to register motorboats under 16 feet in length, and all canoes, is $18, motorboats from 16 feet to less than 20 feet in length $36, and motorboats at least 20 feet in length $45.

 

Renewal notices were mailed to boat owners last December. Those who did not receive a renewal notice should contact the Game and Fish Department at 701-328-6335, or emailndgf@nd.gov. Many renewals were returned because some owners who moved within the last three years did not notify the department with their new address.

 

Boat registrations can be renewed online at the department’s website, by clicking the online services link, and “watercraft registration and renewals” under the watercraft heading.

 

Also, anyone buying a new or used watercraft can register online and generate a 10-day temporary permit that is valid until the registration is processed.

 

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is self-funded and only receives revenue from license sales and federal funds.

 

 

 

Paddlefish Snagging Season Opens May 1

 

North Dakota’s paddlefish snagging season opens May 1 and is scheduled to continue through the end of the month. 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.

 

Potential snaggers are reminded that opening day, May 1, falls on a Thursday. Snag-and-release of all paddlefish is required on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays, so opening day is snag-and-release only.

 

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 by 9 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.

 

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.

new license needed

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Anglers and boat owners are reminded to review their licenses for the 2014 fishing and boating season.

 

Anglers must have a 2014-15 fishing license. Fishing licenses can be purchased online at the Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov. A new state law requires residents age 18 or older to prove residency on the application by submitting a valid North Dakota driver’s license number or a North Dakota nondriver photo identification number.

 

The 2013 state legislature established new fees for several licenses, including resident individual fishing ($16), resident husband and wife ($22) and combination ($50). The combination license includes fishing, general game and habitat, small game and furbearer.

 

Boat owners are reminded that 2014 is the first year of a new three-year registration period. The new boat registration cycle runs through Dec. 31, 2016.

 

The price to register motorboats under 16 feet in length, and all canoes, is $18, motorboats from 16 feet to less than 20 feet in length $36, and motorboats at least 20 feet in length $45.

 

Renewal notices were mailed to boat owners last December. Those who did not receive a renewal notice should contact the Game and Fish Department at 701-328-6335, or emailndgf@nd.gov. Many renewals were returned because some owners who moved within the last three years did not notify the department with their new address.

 

Boat registrations can be renewed online at the department’s website, by clicking the online services link, and “watercraft registration and renewals” under the watercraft heading.

 

Also, anyone buying a new or used watercraft can register online and generate a 10-day temporary permit that is valid until the registration is processed.

 

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is self-funded and only receives revenue from license sales and federal funds.

snow goose migration update

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Update Date: April 11

As expected with the recent mild weather conditions, a major movement of snow geese is occurring in the state. Birds have been observed from the Canadian border to South Dakota. Temperatures for the weekend call for highs near 50 with lows around 30.

 

 

Some Notes on the Spring Migration Route

Snow goose migration in spring tends to occur farther east than in the fall. Birds generally arrive in the southeastern corner of the state and spread north and northwest through the Valley City, Jamestown, Devils Lake, Rugby and Kenmare areas. However, scattered flocks may be found anywhere in the state during spring.

Birds normally move through the state quickly, their arrival and stay depending on weather and availability of open water and food.

Spring snow melt progression.

Light Goose Hotline Provides Migration Updates

Migration updates available at 701-328-3697, until season ends or geese have left the state.

RAP auction

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Confiscated hunting and fishing equipment will be sold Saturday, May 3 at the North Dakota Wildlife Federation’s Report All Poachers auction in Minot. The auction is scheduled for 2 p.m. at the North Dakota State Fair Center’s 4-H hall.

 

Auction items can be viewed between 12-2 p.m. Items include more than 70 rifles, shotguns and handguns; fishing equipment; bows; knives; spotlights; coolers and other miscellaneous merchandise.

 

More information, including a comprehensive list of items for auction, is available by visiting the wildlife federation’s website at ndwf.org.

 

Proceeds from the auction fund the RAP program. The RAP line, 800-472-2121, offers monetary rewards for information that leads to conviction of fish and wildlife law violators. The RAP line is available 24 hours a day, and callers can remain anonymous.

Open fires banned on Oahe WMA

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The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is prohibiting open burning this spring on property managed south of Bismarck and Mandan, as a means to reduce potential for wildfires on a heavily wooded recreation area along the Missouri River.

 

Bill Haase, wildlife resource management supervisor, said all open burning, including campfires, is banned until further notice on theOahe Wildlife Management Area along both sides of the Missouri River. Haase said these woodlands are prone to wildfires prior to spring green-up.

 

“The combination of mild temperatures and a high fuel load in the river bottoms is of concern,” Haase said. “In addition, it is an area of high use by anglers, campers and other outdoor recreationists.”

 

Oahe WMA covers more than 16,000 acres along Lake Oahe south of Bismarck-Mandan, in portions of Burleigh, Emmons, and Morton counties. Burning restriction signs are posted at all entrances to the WMA.

snow goose update

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Snow geese have been steadily moving into North Dakota, and the main push of the migration through the state should begin this week. Temperatures for the week are expected to be in the 60s with lows in the 30s.

 

 

Some Notes on the Spring Migration Route

Snow goose migration in spring tends to occur farther east than in the fall. Birds generally arrive in the southeastern corner of the state and spread north and northwest through the Valley City, Jamestown, Devils Lake, Rugby and Kenmare areas. However, scattered flocks may be found anywhere in the state during spring.

Birds normally move through the state quickly, their arrival and stay depending on weather and availability of open water and food.

Spring snow melt progression.

Light Goose Hotline Provides Migration Updates

Migration updates available at 701-328-3697, until season ends or geese have left the state.

good news on bighorn sheep

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The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s annual bighorn sheep survey revealed a minimum of 293 bighorn sheep in western North Dakota, virtually unchanged from the previous count of 297.

In total, biologists counted 85 rams, 159 ewes and 49 lambs. Not included are 24 bighorn sheep introduced from Alberta in February, and approximately 30 bighorns in the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Big game biologist Brett Wiedmann said the count in the northern badlands was the highest on record, beating the previous record set in 2012, but the southern badlands population declined 15 percent.

“Rams and lambs showed a slight decline, but adult ewes increased,” Wiedmann said. “About 75 percent of lambs counted during last summer’s survey survived the winter, which is about average, but the recruitment rate of 37 percent was above average.”

Game and Fish Department biologists count and classify all bighorn sheep in late summer, and then recount lambs the following March, as they approach one year of age, to determine recruitment.

Wiedmann is encouraged by another year of healthy numbers of lambs because it is indicative of a healthy population. “Adult mortality was also low last winter, so we expect another good crop of lambs to begin hitting the ground within a few weeks,” he said.

Game and Fish allocated five bighorn sheep hunting licenses for 2014, one more than 2013.

weekend snow goose insight

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As a former game warden, biologist and sometimes hunter since the 1999 birth of the spring hunt the best snow goose advice I can give you going into the weekend is use the snowline and your gut as a guide. I’ve put the snow line link in here, but check the date/current conditions as the air temperature will change it daily. While the massive snow/storms caught some birds off guard hunters right now in Dakota are looking for the belly of the migration and it stands to be on the South Dakota side of of the border as I type this.
Beyond that be prepared to drive and don’t forget to stop, shut off the truck and listen. You never know what you might be missing in the air and on the ground.

Snow goose migration in spring tends to occur farther east than in the fall. Birds generally arrive in the southeastern corner of the state and spread north and northwest through the Valley City, Jamestown, Devils Lake, Rugby and Kenmare areas. However, scattered flocks may be found anywhere in the state during spring.

Birds normally move through the state quickly, their arrival and stay depending on weather and availability of open water and food.

Spring snow melt progression.

Light Goose Hotline Provides Migration Updates

Migration updates available at 701-328-3697, until season ends or geese have left the state.

Devils Lake say’s it’s still ice fishing

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‘Very Good’ Devils Lake Winter Ice Fishing
Set to Change Seasons: Spring is Coming

Devils Lake fishing runs 12 months of the year-the only difference being the amount of clothing a person needs. Anglers are transitioning now from one of the best winter ice fishing seasons to what experts predict as a stellar spring “bite,” on one of North Dakota’s jewels.

Todd Caspers, Devils Lake area fisheries biologist said creel surveys this winter indicate a very good season. He said,“Depending on the weather and continued good lake drive-ability, if the perch continue biting like they have been, we could approach harvest numbers of the early 2000′s.” Like so many winter-weary anglers, Caspers is looking forward to spring fishing. “We will probably be ice fishing well into April, but everybody is ready for open water.”

The biologist said last summer produced a good walleye and perch bite; the good fishing continued all winter and he anticipates another good walleye and perhaps perch spring and summer. “Walleye populations are at very good levels with lots of keeper-size fish in the lake,” he said. “Pike are under-utilized and anglers should consider taking home limits.” Research shows many pike between 20 and 30 inches with top-end pike in excess of 40 inches.

Early open water depends on Mother Nature, but predictions from the guy with his finger on the pulse of flowing water, Jeff Frith said, “Usually, ice-off is about the third week of April, but based on the ‘cool’ National Weather Service forecast plus 40-inches of ice, it will likely be later this year,” the manager of the Devils Lake Basin Joint Water Resources board said. The snow level is normal to slightly below normal, and his best guess is for a nominal rise in water levels of 12 to 18 inches and a light in-flow. “But, we know how March and April can be here in North Dakota,” he said. Boaters will again be able to travel under all bridges in 2014.

Lake observer and avid Devils Lake angler Al Freidig counts the first open water as his favorite time to be on the lake. Despite the anticipation, he figures it will probably occur towards the end of April. Pike will show up first in current areas, eventually running to the ends of Six-Mile and Pelican Bays. Walleyes will not be far behind, and their movements will stretch into early May. “All about the same time, incoming water creates openings by bridges and culverts. Fishermen on foot have a bonanza there,” he said. “Pike and walleyes travel 40 miles up the coulee system to reach their  spawning destinations, creating dozens of shoreline hot spots to ambush them.”

Caspers enjoys early season in the Six-Mile Bay Channel A and along Highway 19 where the road intersects twice with the lake. “These current areas are tops, and anglers know it,” he said.

 

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Like late ice?

There’s still time!

We are still drilling through 40 inches of ice and cold temperatures mean we will be at it for a while. Guiding services are done for the season, but the opportunity to ice fish on Devils Lake will extend well into April. If your group is planning a self-guided trip, check out the resources below and take the lake! Don’t forget your ice cleats and auger extension!

 

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Know where to go & how to catch ‘em…

[Fishing Reports]

Click here for the latest updates from local guides plus five years of archived fishing reports.


Devils Lake fishing guides target perch, walleyes, white bass and northern pike. Click herefor guide service information. Open water trips are booking now!

[Lodging] 

Click here for comfortable accommodations at Devils Lake area hotels, motels, resorts, bed & breakfasts, and campgrounds.

 

[Public Access & Fish Cleaning] 

Click here for a map of the convenient public accesses. Visiting anglers will appreciate thefish-cleaning station located next door to Ed’s Bait Shop (on Hwy 20 south of the City of Devils Lake). The 20 x 32 station, like the Devils Lake fishing season, is open all year. The heated (and air conditioned) building has two grinders, a clean-up sink, regular and handicapped bathrooms, and is free to the public.

 

Click here for information on obtaining a North Dakota fishing license.