State law requires permanent fish houses to be removed from North Dakota waters by midnight March 15.
Nancy Boldt, water safety coordinator for the State Game and Fish Department, said anglers should exercise caution because mild weather conditions can quickly result in unstable ice conditions.
“It is always important to check ice thickness, as warm temperatures with a high sun will rapidly deteriorate ice conditions this time of the year,” Boldt said.
Anglers are reminded that North Dakota’s darkhouse spearfishing season closes March 15.
Individuals who would still like to get out for the first time this year must register with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. Registration is available through the department’s website, gf.nd.gov, or through any Game and Fish Department office.
March 15 is also the deadline for anglers to remove permanent fish houses from state waters.
Chris Rick’s catch on Jan. 19 tied a state record for crappie that’s been on the books for nearly 15 years.
The Jamestown angler reeled in a 3-pound, 4-ounce crappie from the Jamestown Reservoir.
The record was established in 1998 by Don Newcomb, a Mandan angler who was fishing Lake Oahe.
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 behind on the ice. According to the fishing proclamation, when a fish is caught anglers must either immediately release the fish back into the water unharmed, or reduce them to their daily possession.
Adults and children looking to take a hunter education class in 2013 are reminded to enroll now as the majority of all classes are held by the end of May.
Zach Peterson, hunter education coordinator for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said classes held early in the year fill up quickly because of the deer application deadline. “There is a major demand for classes held before June because they will qualify students for submitting a deer application,” Peterson said.
Volunteer instructors for North Dakota’s hunter education program were recognized Feb. 9 for their contributions of teaching students the importance of hunter safety and ethics.
Instructor of the year and years of service awards were presented at the annual hunter education workshop and awards banquet held in Bismarck.
Joe Lautenschlager of Berthold and Rod Hubbard from Fargo were named instructors of the year.
Honored for 40 years of service was Lorne Sterner of Casselton.
North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries personnel continue to update or add new fishing waters to the list of available contour maps on the department’s website.
Jerry Weigel, fisheries production and development section leader, said each year data is collected on a few new waters or existing waters that have experienced significant change. Contour fishing maps are developed from this data to show the layout of the lake, public access and local facilities.
Harvest statistics released by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department show overall hunter success during the 2012 season for bighorn sheep was 100 percent, 93 percent for moose and 62 percent for elk.
The department issued three bighorn sheep lottery licenses and one auction license. All four hunters harvested a bighorn ram.
The department issued 143 moose licenses last year. Of that total, 139 hunters harvested 129 animals – 80 bulls and 49 cows/calves. Harvest for each unit follows:
Volunteer instructors for North Dakota’s conservation education program were recognized Feb. 9 at the annual banquet held in Bismarck.
Honored for 20 years of service was Robert Haglund, Garrison.
Ten-year service awards were presented to Jill Christensen, Valley City; John Gorman, Larimore; Jeff Kapaun, Valley City; Kathy King, Bismarck; Kevin Manock, Wahpeton; Janice Nelsen, Beulah.
The North Dakota Game Wardens Association has a $300 scholarship available for a graduating high school senior entering college in fall 2013 who enrolls in fisheries or wildlife management with an emphasis on law enforcement.
Applicants must be North Dakota residents and have maintained a 3.25 grade point average. The scholarship will be awarded to the student upon proof of enrollment in college.
Light goose hunters planning to hunt during North Dakota’s spring season can purchase a license online at the state Game and Fish Department’s website. The season opens Feb. 16 and continues through May 5.
Residents can hunt during the spring season by having last fall’s 2012-13 bird licenses. Otherwise, hunters will need to purchase either a 2013-14 combination license; or a small game, and general game and habitat license.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s annual midwinter waterfowl survey in early January indicated 159,000 birds were still hanging around the state.
Mike Szymanski, migratory game bird biologist, said an estimated 123,000 Canada geese were observed on the Missouri River, and another 2,100 were scattered on Nelson Lake. Lake Sakakawea, declared frozen over on Dec. 26, had only about 100 geese near the Garrison Dam intake structure. Szymanski said after summarizing the numbers, a total of 127,000 Canada geese and 31,700 mallards were tallied statewide.