All individuals who participate in darkhouse spearfishing must first register online at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov, or through any Game and Fish Department office.
Two notable changes from last year related to spearing are that materials used to mark holes must be in possession of anglers and spearers as soon as a hole greater than 10 inches in diameter is made in the ice.
In addition, Sweet Briar Dam and Braun Lake are now open to darkhouse spearfishing, while Larimore Dam and Wood Lake are closed to darkhouse spearers.
North Dakota’s darkhouse spearfishing season opens on most state waters Dec. 1. The season extends through March 15. Legal fish are northern pike and nongame species.
Darkhouse spearing is allowed for all residents with a valid fishing license and for residents under age 16. Nonresidents may darkhouse spearfish in North Dakota if they are from states that offer the same privilege for North Dakota residents.
North Dakota residents who do not have a fishing license may spear during the winter free fishing weekend Dec. 31 and Jan. 1, but they still need to register to spear.
Last year, a record 4,328 participants registered to darkhouse spearfish, an increase of nearly 1,000 from 2014.
All waters open to hook and line fishing are open to darkhouse spearing except:
- East Park Lake, West Park Lake, Lake Audubon – McLean County
- Heckers Lake – Sheridan County
- Larimore Dam – Grand Forks County
- McClusky Canal
- New Johns Lake – Burleigh County
- Red Willow Lake – Griggs County
- Wood Lake – Benson County
Anglers and spearers should refer to the 2016-18 North Dakota Fishing Guide for more information.