Paddlefish

Paddlefish Snagging Season

2018 Season Information

The 2018 season has closed.

-- The information below is from the 2018 season and is for reference only. This information will be updated prior to the 2019 season. --

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.

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
701-328-6300

Rosie's Food and Gas
204 South Main
Dickinson, ND 58601
701-483-7860

Runnings Farm and Fleet
2003 3rd Avenue West
Dickinson, ND 58601
701-483-1226

J Sports Sporting Goods
1100 4th Ave NE
Watford City ND 58854
701-260-5228

Scenic Sports
1201 East Broadway
Williston, ND 58801
701-572-8696

Sportsman's Warehouse
925 32nd Ave West
Williston ND 58801
701-572-2500