North Dakota fishing regulation changes: more angler-friendly paddlefish snagging regs
North Dakota’s 2018-20 fishing proclamation is set, with regulations effective April 1, 2018 through March 31, 2020.
Noteworthy regulation changes include:
- The season for taking of nongame fish with a bow will now be open year-round.
- The transportation of live white suckers, other than within Richland, Cass, Traill, Grand Forks, Walsh and Pembina counties, is now illegal.
- The beginning of the darkhouse spearfishing season changes from December 1 to whenever ice-up occurs. When ice-up occurs in North Dakota is unpredictable. However, whenever it does occur, ice conditions continue to improve with no significant melting, thus safety concerns such as opening large holes in the ice are reduced. This is not true in the spring, when warm weather can create unsafe conditions … therefore the closing date of March 15 will remain in place.
- Paddlefish snagging days will begin at 7 a.m. (was 8 a.m.) and close at 7 p.m. (was 9 p.m.). Also, the season length will be 21 days (May 1 – May 21). These changes are an effort to both extend the paddlefish season to more than a few days – most years the season lasts only four to six days, as an early in-season closure occurs due to the harvest reaching the cap of 1,000 paddlefish – and to improve safety conditions due to snagger congestion at the Confluence area. A daily closure at 7 p.m. will allow for a more orderly and safe situation for snaggers backed up at the cleaning station. Also, in the past 17 years, only twice was a full season reached.
- The statewide daily and possession limit for bluegill is reduced to 10/20 respectively (was 20/40). The number of quality bluegill fisheries in North Dakota is limited. Reducing the harvest somewhat, should help maintain the size of bluegill in some lakes. Bluegill populations are more in line with crappie where populations can be managed over a longer time, versus yellow perch populations which are tied closely to weather patterns and fluctuations in water levels.
- Walleye length restrictions are eliminated on North and South Golden, Alkali (Sargent Co.), Lueck and West Moran lakes, and Tosse Slough. While minimum length restrictions for these species have been in place for a number of years, all biological data collected from angler use and population surveys indicates the restrictions have not yielded positive results. Therefore, these regulations are no longer necessary.
Fishing licenses for the 2018-19 season can be purchased online at the state Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov, or at license vendors that are linked to the department’s online licensing system. Anglers are reminded that new fishing licenses are required April 1.
Licenses may also be purchased by calling the department’s instant licensing telephone number at 800-406-6409. A service charge is added for this option.
The 2018-20 North Dakota Fishing Guide is available at Game and Fish offices and license vendors throughout the state.