ND Fishing Reg Changes

March 31, 2010 by  

By Doug Leier

Rather than wholesale changes on a yearly basis, the bulk of North Dakota’s fishing rules and regulations are implemented every two years, and 2010 is one of the years when we get a new fishing proclamation. The new regulations begin April 1 and are in place until March 31, 2012.

ndfishingregulationsBy no means does this mean the face of fishing is overhauled every couple of years. That’s not the case at all. It’s just different than most states where season adjustments are made yearly.

While new regulations are implemented every two years, the State Game and Fish Department, through governor’s proclamation, can make adjustments if emergency situations arise. Otherwise, anglers have a couple of years to get used to the new rules, and fisheries biologists have a longer period of time to consider potential law changes and assess their need.

From Game and Fish Director Terry Steinwand, who previously served as fisheries division chief, to current fisheries chief Greg Power the philosophy is to make fishing regulations as user-friendly and biologically and socially responsible as possible. Essentially, rules for the sake of rules aren’t on the table or in the books for long.

Of course, North Dakota does add and subtract from regulations from time to time, and not every rule change is simple. Even streamlined regulations such as those for Red River border water fishing, or reducing the number of lakes with live bait or fish size restrictions, are still more complicated than having no special rules.

Sometimes, however, special rules like bait restrictions or measures to prevent movement of aquatic nuisance species are jnecessary. Game and Fish biologists follow the same philosophy when anglers suggest some type of fish size restriction. If the regulation doesn’t meet the appropriate biological criteria, then the Department’s philoslophy is to not add a restriction simply because some anglers want it.

This year’s edition of the fishing proclamation contains a few new restrictions of regulations, and also removal of previous rules. Here’s a synopsis of the additions and subtractions you’ll find in the new fishing guide.

*Added Harmon Lake and Crown Butte Dam, both in Morton County, to the list of lakes where cannot use live baitfish.

* The State Fair Pond in Ward County is added to the list of waters closed to all fishing from November 1 through March 31.

* Several new lakes were added to the list of those open for darkhouse spear fishing. They are: North and South Carlson lakes in Ward County; Gravel Lake, Rolette County, West Napoleon Lake, Logan County, and all waters open to public fishing in Ramsey County. On the other hand, Patterson Reservoir in Stark County is now closed to darkhouse spearfishing following a major kill of game fish last winter.

* Lake Metigoshe, Bottineau County, now has a daily and possession limit for bluegill of 10 and 20 respectively. The statewide bluegill limit is 20 daily and 80 in possession. The 10 and 20 special regulation is designed to protect the lake’s population of quality sized adult bluegill.

* The 14-inch-minimum walleye size limit on Spiritwood Lake in Stutsman County and Lake Ashtabula in Barnes County has been eliminated. After years of evaluation, fisheries biologists found no evidence that these length restrictions provided any benefits to walleye populations in these waters.

While not new for this year, anglers and boaters should also remember the regulations established two years ago designed to prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species. Remove all vegetation from boats, motors, trailers and other equipment when leaving the water, and also drain bilges, livewells, baitwells and other water.

For more information on fishing in North Dakota, visit the Game and Fish Department website at gf.nd.gov.


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