Archive of News

November2010

Current Ice Conditions Unsafe

Posted: November 24, 2010

North Dakota Game and Fish Department water safety coordinator Nancy Boldt advises winter anglers to remain patient this Thanksgiving weekend because current ice conditions are not safe enough to support much weight.

With temperatures expected to reach the upper 20s this weekend, anglers will be enticed to venture out on an area lake. But Boldt says it is too early.

“We’ve only had about a week of temperatures that are conducive to formulating ice, and that is not enough time,” Boldt said. “We need a consistent stretch of several more days of freezing temperatures to form solid ice.”

Boldt recommends anglers and trappers study ice conditions before accessing any of North Dakota’s frozen waters, and strongly suggests visiting with locals, including other anglers and people at local bait shops, before going on any lake, especially one that is unfamiliar.

Some tips to be aware of are:

  • Snow insulates ice, hampering solid ice formation, and makes it difficult to check thickness. Snow also hides the blemishes, such as cracked, weak and open water areas.
  • Avoid cracks, pressure ridges, slushy or darker areas that signal thinner ice. The same goes for ice that forms around partially submerged trees, brush, embankments or other structures.
  • Ice thickness is not consistent and can vary significantly even in a small area. Ice shouldn’t be judged by appearance alone. Anglers should drill test holes as they make their way out on the lake, and an ice chisel should be used to check ice thickness while moving around.
  • Daily temperature changes cause ice to expand and contract, affecting its strength.
  • The following minimums are recommended for travel on clear-blue lake ice formed under ideal conditions. However, early in the winter it’s a good idea to double these figures to be safe: 4 inches for a group walking single file; 6 inches for a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle; 8-12 inches for an automobile; and 12-15 inches for a pickup/truck.

These tips could help save a life:

  • Wear a personal flotation device and carry a cell phone.
  • Carry ice picks or a set of screwdrivers to pull yourself back on the ice if you fall through.
  • If someone breaks through the ice, call 911 immediately. Rescue attempts should employ a long pole, board, rope, blanket or snowmobile suit. If that’s not possible, throw the victim a life jacket, empty water jug or other buoyant object. Go to the victim as a last resort, but do this by forming a human chain where rescuers lie on the ice with each person holding the feet of the person in front.
  • To treat hypothermia, replace wet clothing with dry clothing and immediately transport victim to a hospital.

 Courtesy of  North Dakota Game and Fish Department

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North Dakota Game and Fish newsletter – Nov. 22

Posted: November 22, 2010

Darkhouse Spearfishing Opens Dec. 1, Anglers Must Register. Additional opportunities highlight this winter’s darkhouse spearfishing season, as more lakes have been added to open waters. However, Patterson Reservoir (Dickinson Reservoir) in Stark County has been removed.

Carlson Lakes (Ward County), Gravel Lake (Rolette County), West Napoleon Lake (Logan County) and all waters open to public fishing in Ramsey County have been added to the list of lakes open for darkhouse spearfishing.

North Dakota’s darkhouse spearfishing season opens on most state waters Dec. 1, with the exception of Spiritwood Lake which opens Jan. 1. The season runs 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 the age of 16. Nonresidents may darkhouse spearfish in North Dakota if they are from states that offer the same privilege for North Dakota residents.

All individuals who participate in darkhouse spearfishing must register with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department prior to participating. Registration is available at the department’s website, gf.nd.gov, or through any Game and Fish Department office.

Winter access difficulties in 2009-10 were reflected in the number of darkhouse spearfishing participants. Although the number of registrants remained relatively stable, overall harvest last winter, when nearly 700 participants speared more than 2,300 pike, was the second lowest on record. Lake Laretta (Nelson County), Devils Lake (Ramsey/Benson County) and Buffalo Lodge Lake (McHenry County) were the top three lakes for harvest.

Lakes open to darkhouse spearing are:
Barnes County – Eckelson Lake Complex
Benson County – Devils Lake, Silver Lake
Bowman County – Gascoyne Lake, Kalina Dam, Spring Lake
Burke County – Powers Lake
Emmons County – Rice Lake
Foster County – Juanita Lake
Grant County – Heart Butte Reservoir (Lake Tschida)
Griggs County – Sibley Lake
Hettinger County – Blickensderfer Dam
Kidder County – Alkaline Lake, Cherry Lake, Etta/Alkaline Complex, Fresh Lake, Helen Lake, Horsehead Lake, Lake Josephine, Lake Williams, Round Lake
LaMoure County – Diamond Lake, Flood Lake
Logan County – Beaver Lake, West Napoleon Lake
McHenry County – Buffalo Lodge Lake
McIntosh County – Clear Lake, Coldwater Lake, Dry/Goose Lake
McLean County – Crooked Lake, Long Lake
Mountrail County – Stanley Reservoir
Nelson County – Lake Laretta, Stump Lake
Ramsey County – All waters open to public fishing
Renville County – Lake Darling
Richland County – Grass Lake
Rolette County – Carpenter Lake, Gravel Lake, Island Lake, School Section Lake
Sargent County – Buffalo Lake
Steele County – North Tobiason Lake
Sheridan County – Coal Mine Lake
Stutsman County – Mallard Marsh, Spiritwood Lake, Sunday Lake
Ward County – Carlson Lakes
Williams County – Cottonwood Lake, Tioga Reservoir
Lake Oahe – South Dakota border to MacLean Bottoms boat ramp and all tributaries upstream to the first vehicular crossing
Lake Sakakawea – Garrison Dam to U.S. Highway 85 bridge at Williston and all tributaries upstream to the first vehicular crossing

Workshop to Focus on Hunting AccessHunters looking for suggestions on how to gain more access to private land are invited to attend a hunter-landowner relations workshop Monday, Dec. 13 in Bismarck.
The workshop is free, and is scheduled from 6:30 – 9 p.m. at the Career Academy Conference Center (1221 College Drive) on the campus of Bismarck State College.
North Dakota Game and Fish Department personnel will provide tips for hunters on how to approach landowners and ask permission to hunt on private land. Private landowners and representatives from the North Dakota Landowner-Sportsman Council will assist with the presentation.

Pat Lothspeich, Game and Fish Department outreach biologist, said land access is the main issue facing hunters today. “There might be more private land that is posted now than when I was a kid, but that doesn’t always mean a landowner doesn’t allow hunting, and it shouldn’t prevent a hunter from seeking permission,” Lothspeich said. “This workshop will help hunters gain the confidence to knock on a door or make a phone call, and provide other tips to improve the experience for both the hunter and landowner.”

The primary sponsor of the workshop is BSC’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math program. Co-sponsors are Delta Waterfowl, NDLSC, and Game and Fish.

For more information, contact Scott Terning, Delta Waterfowl, at (701) 222-8857 or Lothspeich at (701) 328-6332.

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Jason Mitchell Outdoors

Posted:

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Jason Mitchell, host of Jason Mitchell Outdoors recently filmed several waterfowl hunting episodes for his television show near Devils Lake this past week.  Mitchell filmed with Rick Darling from Leeds, North Dakota for one segment.  Mitchell was also joined by Joel Brice of Delta Waterfowl along with several other retail partners through out the week.  Mitchell believes that his film crew hit the peak of the migration and they were fortunate to capture some of the best hunting of the season on film.  In four days of filming and hunting, over two hundred birds were harvested with the bulk of the harvest being snow geese.  Besides some incredible snow goose hunting footage, the film crew was also able to film some spectacular mallard hunting.  “Hands down, some of the best waterfowl hunting on the continent takes place right around this Devils Lake region of North Dakota.  Hunters are lucky to live here or travel here because  this is some of the best of the best in my opinion,” added Mitchell.  Mitchell’s production crew was headquartered out of Woodland Resort located on Devils Lake. These segments will air this upcoming fall and winter of 2011.  Jason Mitchell Outdoors airs on FSN North and FSN Midwest, along with several regional broadcast stations covering North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska, reaching over nine million households.  During 2010, Jason Mitchell Outdoors boasted one of the highest ratings for outdoor programming on FSN North.               

           

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Ducks numbers are the highest they’ve ever been!

Posted: November 5, 2010

Duck numbers are the highest they’ve been all fall, reports Cami Dixon, biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Devils Lake. Find a harvested cornfield, she said, and you’ll likely find some birds. Much of the corn harvest now is complete.

Dixon said plenty of snow geese, Canada geese and swans also are in the area, and scaup numbers seem to have increased. “You can see them bobbing around as you drive around Devils Lake and other big water,” she said.

Dixon said hunters should be wary of whooping cranes, which are in the area, and know their target before pulling the trigger.

A few wetlands frozen up last weekend, but everything is open again after the recent rise in temperature, Dixon said.

Meanwhile, fishing reports are hard to come by as most outdoors enthusiasts gear up for Saturday’s North Dakota deer opener.

Taken from the Grand Forks Herald

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