The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s annual spring breeding duck survey showed an index of 4.8 million birds, up 16 percent from last year and 112 percent above the long-term average (1948-2011). The 2012 index is the third highest on record.
All species were well above the long-term average. Wigeon (+88 percent) and green-winged teal (+221 percent) were at record highs. Mallards, gadwall, blue-winged teal, shovelers, redheads and ruddy ducks exceeded the long-term average by more than 100 percent.
Charlie Vang’s catch on June 10 is the latest entry added to the list of North Dakota state record fish. The Brooklyn Park, Minn. angler reeled in a 4-pound, 10-ounce white bass from Devils Lake.
The 19-inch fish broke the old record of 4 pounds, 8 ounces taken at Devils Lake in 2000.
North Dakota’s fall turkey season is set with 4,145 licenses available to hunters, a decrease of 10 percent from last year.
Stan Kohn, upland game management supervisor for the state Game and Fish Department, said harvest and population data from hunting units in the southwest and in some units in the central part of the state indicate poor production and chick recruitment from 2008-2011.
Failure to wear a personal flotation device is the main reason people lose their lives in boating accidents.
The National Safe Boating Council warns boaters that most drowning victims had a life jacket available, but were not wearing it when they entered the water. “It is difficult to put a life jacket on once you are already in the water,” said Nancy Boldt, boat and water safety coordinator for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. “The single most important part of safety on the water is wearing a personal flotation device.”
Boat owners are reminded to display a blue and white validation sticker with an expiration year of “13” on their watercraft.
The current three-year registration cycle runs through Dec. 31, 2013. All boat registrations with an orange decal expired Dec. 31, 2010.
For information on how to attach the number and validation sticker to a boat, refer to page 10 of the 2011-13 North Dakota Boat and Water Safety Guide.
The Schmidt Bottoms shooting range south of Mandan will close for approximately one month beginning Monday, June 11 due to reconstruction. A closed sign will be posted at the entrance.
The public shooting facility currently consists of one 100-yard range. Upon completion of the project, the new site will include a pistol, 200-yard and shotgun range.
Schmidt Bottoms is located 13.4 miles south of Mandan on ND Highway 1806.
North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries personnel, along with staff from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fish hatcheries, recently stocked 2.3 million pike fingerlings in 69 lakes and rivers across the state.
Jerry Weigel, fisheries production and development section leader for the Game and Fish Department, said this year’s goal was to stock 2 million fingerlings, not as many as in recent years due to the incredible success pike have had the last several years.
North Dakota anglers are reminded to have a current license in possession while fishing state waters.
The 2012-13 fishing license is effective April 1, 2012 through March 31, 2013. Anglers fishing without a current license are subject to a fine.
In addition, anglers are reminded this is the first year of a new two-year fishing proclamation. Refer to the 2012-14 North Dakota Fishing Guide for regulations.
Family fishing days return this month to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Outdoor Wildlife Learning Site.
The catch-and-release only fishery is stocked with trout, bluegill, largemouth bass, catfish and other fish species.
Family fishing days are Saturdays and Wednesdays through the end of August. Fishing equipment can be checked out at the OWLS Pond, located adjacent to the Department’s Bismarck office, on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Fishing rods and basic tackle are available for use free of charge.
Game and Fish Department biologists stocked roughly 225 adult gizzard shad in Lake Oahe’s Beaver Bay in May to help jumpstart a limited forage base.
A good share of Oahe’s young-of-the-year rainbow smelt were flushed through the dam during flooding in 2011, drastically thinning what game fish have to eat. In addition, high flows and sediment-laden water reduced production of other forage fish.
North Dakota deer hunters are reminded the deadline for submitting applications for the 2012 gun season is June 6. Hunters are encouraged to apply online at the State Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov.
The deadline applies to muzzleloader, regular gun, gratis and nonresident landowner, and youth antlered mule deer applications (specifically for antlered mule deer in units 3B1, 3B2, and 4A-4F).
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is reminding parents to capture their little angler’s first catch on a specially designed First Fish certificate.
First Fish has no qualifying weights or measurements. The only requirement is the successful landing of a North Dakota fish. Certificates are available to all who request them, and have ample room for all the important information, such as name, age, lake and a short fish story, plus a blank space for a photograph big enough to contain the smile of the happiest little angler.