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Paddlefish Snagging Season

2024 Season Information

News Release (5/13/2024) - Paddlefish Snagging Season to Close to Additional Harvest

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department announced today that the state's 2024 paddlefish snagging season will close May 15 to any additional harvest to provide long-term protection of the paddlefish population.

An additional snag-and-release extended season will begin May 16 and run through May 21. Paddlefish snaggers with unused tags can continue snagging during the additional snag-and-release season but must release all fish immediately. If a snagger has already used their tag on a harvested paddlefish, they are not allowed to participate in the additional snag-and-release period.

Snag-and-release will be open in that area of the Missouri River starting on the north shore from the Confluence boat ramp, then east (downstream) to the pipeline crossing (river mile 1577), and on the south shore from the Confluence with the Yellowstone River, then east (downstream) to the pipeline crossing (river mile 1577).

Paddlefish snagging is allowed from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Central time during each day of the additional seven-day season. The use or possession of a gaff on snag-and-release days is illegal.

Dates: Snagging of paddlefish is legal May 1 through May 21 (see updated closing in news release above) for those with a valid paddlefish tag. Paddlefish snagging is legal only from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Central Time) during each day of the paddlefish snagging season. Select days are set aside for harvest and release only.

Depending on overall harvest, an “in-season” closure may occur, with a 24-hour notice issued by the Game and Fish director. If this occurs, there will be no refunds for unused tags.

If there is an early closure, snag-and-release-only will still be allowed for a seven-day period immediately following the harvest closure, but not to extend beyond May 21.

Notice of an early closure and subsequent days set aside for snag-and-release-only will be announced by the Department. Once a snagger harvests a paddlefish, they can no longer snag for paddlefish at any subsequent time during the current season (including snag-and release-only and extended snag-and-release-only days).

Location: The open area includes the Yellowstone River in North Dakota, and the Missouri River 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 WMA (river mile 1,565).

Required tag and license: A paddlefish snagger must obtain and have in their possession a valid paddlefish tag, in addition to a valid fishing license that may be required.

Only one tag per snagger will be issued and the tag is not transferable to another individual.

Any paddlefish tag locked shut prior to attachment, altered or modified shall be voided and will not be replaced.

View Regulations

More Paddlefish Information

View Regulations

Purchase a License

Snagging Area Maps

(updated prior to each season)

Interactive Map

Printable Map (pdf)

Species Information

Frequently Asked Questions

Species Information

Tagging Paddlefish

  • All harvested paddlefish must be tagged with the snaggers own tag.
  • The tag should be placed through the skin at the base of the dorsal fin and locked so that it cannot fall out.
  • If a fish is cut up, the tag must accompany the meat, with that portion of the back and dorsal fin necessary to maintain the tag as "sealed to the fish."

Paddlefish with tag