Author Archives: dougleier
this is not an official ND Game & Fish blog. This is from Doug Leier not the NDGF
This week’s North Dakota Game and Fish Department webcast, Outdoors Online, is now online athttp://gf.nd.gov.
Ice has been forming for several days now across North Dakota and anglers are eager to get out for this winter time hobby. But there’s plenty of safety considerations to take into account.
NDGF water safety coordinator Nancy Boldt talks about Safety on the Ice. Click here to Watch! . This week’s North Dakota Game and Fish Department webcast, Outdoors Online, is now online at http://gf.nd.gov.
Winter anglers and late-season hunters are reminded to consider ice conditions before traveling onto and across North Dakota lakes, as most small and mid-sized waters currently give the appearance of safe foot travel.
State Game and Fish Department boat and water safety coordinator Nancy Boldt said ice thickness is never consistent, especially this time of the year, and can vary significantly within a few inches. “The edges become firm before the center,” Boldt said. “So, with your first step the ice might seem like it is strong enough, but it may not be anywhere near solid enough once you progress away from the shoreline.”
This was apparent last weekend as one hunter experienced this while trying to retrieve a duck that had landed on ice. “He went through up to his neck and his waders filled with water, and the freezing temperature instantly took his breath away,” Boldt said. “He was extremely fortunate to be able to pull himself out, as most people would not have been able to with the extra water weight.”
Boldt said some tips include:
- Avoid cracks, pressure ridges, slushy or darker areas that signal thinner ice. The same goes for ice that forms around partially submerged trees, brush, embankments or other structures.
- Ice thickness is not consistent and can vary significantly even in a small area. Ice shouldn’t be judged by appearance alone. Anglers should drill test holes as they make their way out on the lake, and an ice chisel should be used to check ice thickness while moving around.
- Daily temperature changes cause ice to expand and contract, affecting its strength.
- The following minimums are recommended for travel on clear-blue lake ice formed under ideal conditions. However, early in the winter it’s a good idea to double these figures to be safe: 4 inches for a group walking single file; 6 inches for a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle; 8-12 inches for an automobile; and 12-15 inches for a pickup/truck.
These tips could help save a life:
- Wear a personal flotation device and carry a cell phone.
- Carry ice picks or a set of screwdrivers to pull yourself back on the ice if you fall through.
- If someone breaks through the ice, call 911 immediately. Rescue attempts should employ a long pole, board, rope, blanket or snowmobile suit. If that’s not possible, throw the victim a life jacket, empty water jug or other buoyant object. Go to the victim as a last resort, but do this by forming a human chain where rescuers lie on the ice with each person holding the feet of the person in front.
- To treat hypothermia, replace wet clothing with dry clothing and immediately transport victim to a hospital.
Hunters are reminded that several North Dakota 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. 24.
However, portions of each refuge are closed to hunting. Hunters should contact refuge headquarters for map leaflets designating closed areas and other restrictions: Arrowwood 701-285-3341; Audubon 701-442-5474; Des Lacs 701-385-4046; J. Clark Salyer 701-768-2548; Lake Alice 701-662-8611; Lake Zahl 701-965-6488; Long Lake 701-387-4397; Lostwood 701-848-2722; Tewaukon 701-724-3598; and Upper Souris701-468-5467.
National wildlife refuges are managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Hunters are reminded that use of nontoxic shot is required on all USFWS lands. State regulations found in the North Dakota 2014-15 Small Game Guide apply. Seasons for pheasant, sharp-tailed grouse, Hungarian partridge and ruffed grouse close statewide on Jan. 4, 2015.
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.
In addition, the number of open-water tournaments on lakes Sakakawea and Oahe, the Missouri River and Devils Lake are capped each year, depending on the time of the year and location. Sponsors for tournaments on these water bodies must submit their application to the department prior to Jan. 1 to ensure full consideration.
Fisheries crews have completed their annual salmon spawning operation on the Missouri River System after collecting roughly 1.3 million eggs.
Dave Fryda, North Dakota Game and Fish Department Missouri River System supervisor, said about two thirds of the eggs came from Lake Sakakawea and the remainder from the Missouri River below Garrison Dam.
The average size of Lake Sakakawea females was 8.5 pounds, almost 3 pounds larger than 2013 and among the highest weights documented since the inception of the salmon program. The Missouri River females, which are typically larger than the lake fish, averaged 10.4 pounds.
“The 2014 salmon spawning run was successful in obtaining enough eggs to meet next year’s stocking goals.” Fryda said. “However, contrary to recent years, we might not be able to provide excess eggs to Montana and South Dakota to meet their egg goals.”
Fryda said the number of salmon in the 2014 spawning run was greatly reduced throughout the Missouri River reservoirs due to the lingering effects of the 2011 flood. “Salmon stocked during the 2011 flood would have been a major component of this year’s spawning run,” he said. “Unfortunately, large numbers of juvenile and adult salmon were entrained through the dams during the record flows of 2011.”
Plans for 2015 are to stock Lake Sakakawea with 400,000 salmon, with none scheduled for the river below Garrison Dam, Fryda said.
Chinook salmon begin their spawning run in October. Since salmon cannot naturally reproduce in North Dakota, Game and Fish Department and Garrison Dam National Fish Hatchery personnel collect eggs and transport them to the hatchery.
Once the eggs hatch, young salmon spend several months in the hatchery before being stocked in Lake Sakakawea.
Have you seen?
The next round of Game and Fish Department Advisory Board meetings are set and NDGF deputy director Scott Peterson talks about the 2014 fall advisory boardmeetings on this week’s exclusive webcast. Click here to watch! This week’s North Dakota Game and Fish Department webcast, Outdoors Online, is now online athttp://gf.nd.gov.
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.
Any person who requires an auxiliary aid or service must notify the contact person at least five days prior to the scheduled meeting date.
District 1 – Counties: Divide, McKenzie and Williams
Date: Nov. 24 – 7 p.m.
Location: Civic Center, Watford City
Host: McKenzie County Pheasants Forever
Contact: Rick Pokrzywinski, 770-2736
Advisory board member: Jason Leiseth, Arnegard, 586-3714
District 5 – Counties: Cass, Ransom, Richland, Sargent, Steele and Traill
Date: Nov. 24 – 7 p.m.
Location: Community Center, Cogswell
Host: Southeast Sportsmen’s Club
Contact: Kevin Dockter, 680-8008
Advisory board member: Duane Hanson, West Fargo, 367-4249
District 4 – Counties: Grand Forks, Nelson, Pembina and Walsh
Date: Nov. 25 – 7 p.m.
Location: American Legion Club, Fordville
Host: Dakota Prairie Wildlife Club
Contact: Lynn Baier, 229-3665
Advisory board member: Ronald Houdek, Tolna, 262-4724
District 6 – Counties: Barnes, Dickey, Foster, Griggs, Logan, LaMoure, McIntosh, Stutsman and Wells
Date: Nov. 25 – 7 p.m.
Location: Gladstone Inn, Jamestown
Host: James Valley Pheasants Forever
Contact: Curt Francis, 799-0120
Advisory board member: Joel Christoferson, Litchville, 973-4981
District 2 – Counties: Bottineau, Burke, McHenry, Mountrail, Pierce, Renville and Ward
Date: Dec. 1 – 7 p.m.
Location: City Hall, Bowbells
Host: Stony Run Sportsmen Club
Contact: Tami Chrest, 339-2117
Advisory board member: Robert Gjellstad, Voltaire, 338-2281
District 3 – Counties: Benson, Cavalier, Eddy, Ramsey, Rolette and Towner
Date: Dec. 1 – 7 p.m.
Location: Research Center, Langdon
Host: Cavalier County Gun Club
Contact: Rodney Howatt, 370-9988
Advisory board member: Tom Rost, Devils Lake, 662-8620
District 7 – Counties: Burleigh, Emmons, Grant, Kidder, McLean, Mercer, Morton, Oliver, Sheridan and Sioux
Date: Dec. 2 – 7 p.m.
Location: Game and Fish Department, Bismarck
Host: Dakota Chapter Pheasants Forever
Contact: Rob Stenehjem, 400-8106
Advisory board member: Dave Nehring, Bismarck, 214-3184
District 8 – Counties: Adams, Billings, Bowman, Dunn, Golden Valley, Hettinger, Slope and Stark
Date: Dec. 2 – 7 p.m.
Location: American Legion, Killdeer
Host: North Dakota Fur Takers
Contact: Gary Jepson, 863-6535
Advisory board member: Dwight Hecker, Fairfield, 575-4952
Trappers using cable devices must register with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department prior to trapping this year.
Registration is available through the Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov, or through any Game and Fish office. Upon completion, a registration number will be provided. The number must be written on the back of the furbearer or combination license.
Information collected during registration will be used to conduct voluntary education efforts, in addition to create a mailing list for post-season surveys.