Paddlefish Snagging Season

2019 Season Information

Update - 05/16/2019

The 2019 Paddlefish season is closed.

Update - 05/13/2019

The Department closed the state's 2019 regular paddlefish snagging season Saturday, May 11.

The 2018-20 fishing proclamation allows for the Game and Fish director to close the snagging season early if it appears the harvest will exceed 1,000 paddlefish.

“All things considered, the 2019 snagging season has gone well with good numbers of both females and males taken,” said Greg Power, fisheries chief. “Perhaps most importantly, a number of small paddlefish have been harvested which may bode well for the future.”

An additional four-day snag-and-release season will begin Sunday, May 12 and run through Wednesday, May 15. Paddlefish snaggers with an unused paddlefish tag can continue snagging during the additional snag-and-release season, but must release all fish immediately.

Snag-and-release is legal only in that area of the Missouri River starting on the north shore from the Confluence boat ramp then east (downstream) one-half mile, and that area of the Missouri River starting on the south shore from the Confluence with the Yellowstone River then east (downstream) one-half mile (both areas will have boundary signs).

Paddlefish snagging is allowed only from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central Time during each day of the additional four-day season. The use or possession of a gaff on snag-and-release days is illegal.

2019 Season Information

North Dakota’s paddlefish snagging season opens May 1 and is scheduled to continue through May 21. 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. (Note: The season closed May 11. See notes above.)

Legal snagging hours are from 7 a.m. to 7 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 cap 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 21. 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.

Mandatory harvest of all snagged paddlefish is required on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. On these days, all paddlefish caught must be kept and tagged immediately. All paddlefish snagged and tagged must be removed from the river by 7 p.m. of each snagging day. Any fish left at the confluence fish cleaning caviar operation after 8 p.m. the day they were snagged will be considered abandoned and the snagger is subject to a fine. 

Snag-and-release of all paddlefish is required on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays. Participants 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.

All paddlefish snaggers must possess a paddlefish tag in addition to a valid fishing license. Cost of a paddlefish tag is $10 for residents and $25.50 for nonresidents.

Tags may be purchased at one of the vendors listed below or at the Bismarck office.

Snagging Area Maps (updated prior to each season)

Note: If you are viewing this on a mobile device, learn more about our mobile mapping apps and services here.

Species Information

Tagging Paddlefish

All harvested paddlefish must be tagged with the snagger’s own tag. The tag should be placed through the skin at the base of the dorsal fin (see picture) and locked so that it cannot fall out. If a fish is cut up, the tag must accompany the meat, with that por?on of the back and dorsal fin necessary to maintain the tag as sealed to the fish.

Paddlefish Tag Vendors

Bismarck Game and Fish Office
100 N. Bismarck Expressway
Bismarck, ND 58501

Rosie's Food and Gas
204 South Main
Dickinson, ND 58601

Runnings Farm and Fleet
2003 3rd Avenue West
Dickinson, ND 58601

Big Boy’s Toys
300 North Main Street
Watford City ND 58854

J Sports Sporting Goods
1100 4th Ave NE
Watford City ND 58854

Scenic Sports
1201 East Broadway
Williston, ND 58801

Sportsman's Warehouse
925 32nd Ave West
Williston ND 58801