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Matters of Opinion

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Article By 
Terry Steinwand

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I can’t remember a spring this windy. As I understand it, April is one of the windiest months of the year, but what we’ve experienced thus far seems to be over the top. Even so, when you compare it to the long, cold winter we endured, we should still appreciate the warmer weather.

Wind does tend to interfere with early season pike fishing, though. Just when you think you have a good spot picked out, the wind changes direction and the ice tends to blow toward the shore from which you’re fishing.

Wind can also play a detrimental role when I’m working up new loads for my guns, as crosswinds tend to make it difficult to see if I’ve fine-tuned a load or just messed it up.

Terry Steinwand
 

We’re heading into what looks to be another good open-water fishing season. While I didn’t get to experience ice fishing this past winter, I heard it was nothing short of fantastic. And we expect good fishing to continue into this spring and summer.

As I write this piece, Game and Fish Department fisheries crews are waiting for water temperatures to warm enough for walleye spawning, while having just finished collecting eggs from northern pike.

I can’t thank the fisheries staff enough. Over the last couple weeks they’ve worked in some pretty dodgy and uncomfortable conditions to help provide the quality fishing opportunities North Dakota anglers have come to expect.

Just imagine fighting 40 mile per hour winds, water temperatures around 38 degrees, bundled up to protect yourself from the elements, and then lifting extremely heavy nets to empty them of fish. Fisheries crews put in some pretty long days under difficult conditions, so next time you see one of those “fish guys,” give them a big thanks. They deserve it.

In this issue of North Dakota OUTDOORS you’ll also find the annual review on our law enforcement activity across the state. I just spoke of the dangerous nature of spring spawning activities for our fisheries crews, but our wardens are in high risk situations on a frequent basis. They’re well trained for this type of activity, but it can still be dangerous at times.

The public often thinks of game wardens as just going out and checking fishing licenses or catching poachers, but they are true law enforcement officers across the board. Game and Fish wardens receive calls for help from other law enforcement agencies across the state, and are always on call and quick to respond. They deal with domestic disputes, highway accidents and everything in between. Their main job is fish and wildlife law enforcement, but they are always ready to help out when and where they are needed.

Finally, this issue also contains information on the different applications that can be accessed or downloaded from the Game and Fish Department website. These are great tools, and even if I haven’t fully used them, they’re valuable for lots of people.

My recommendation is for everyone to get outside and enjoy spring in North Dakota. It might be a little windy at times, but there’s still plenty to do, whether it’s fishing, hiking the prairies, walking the dog, or just watching a great North Dakota sunset.