Archive of Fishing reports

October2012

Game and Fish Continues Intensive ANS Efforts

Posted: October 29, 2012

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department spent a record amount of time monitoring the state’s waterways looking for aquatic nuisance species in 2012. Despite these intense efforts only one new infestation was documented – curly leaf pondweed in Lake Elsie in Richland County.

Fred Ryckman, ANS coordinator, said one of the biggest surprises in 2012 was no detection of zebra mussel in the Otter Tail and Red rivers at Wahpeton, where young zebra mussels were found in both 2010 and 2011. However, Ryckman said the recent announcement by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources that adult zebra mussels have become established and continue to move downstream in Minnesota’s Otter Tail drainage is discouraging. “Thankfully we haven’t found any adult zebra mussels anywhere in North Dakota,” Ryckman added. “The news coming from Minnesota emphasizes the need for us to be vigilant in our monitoring efforts and to continue to stress public participation in following ANS regulations.”

Statewide monitoring efforts also indicated known populations of ANS in existing North Dakota water bodies are stable. A few adult silver carp were again observed in the James River below Jamestown Dam, after having moved upstream into the James during extremely high flows in 2011.

This year, Game and Fish continued both an intensive and extensive information and education campaign regarding concerns with ANS, and the need for the public to be fully compliant with existing rules and regulations. In part, these efforts included updating ANS posters and brochures and distributing them to numerous outlets across the state, having a far greater ANS presence at the North Dakota State Fair, increasing the number of water bodies monitored for ANS and continuing to place ANS information signs at all public boat ramps throughout the state.

In addition, game wardens continued to check angler/boater compliance regarding ANS in 2012, and chief warden Robert Timian said the Department’s educational efforts are paying dividends. “Checkpoints were done throughout the year, and boater and angler compliance was good,” Timian said. “However, there are still some individuals who are unaware, or don’t care, how important this issue is. We will continue to have checkpoints and will issue citations to individuals who are in violation of the rules.”

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ND Game and Fish Outdoors Online Webcast

Posted: October 18, 2012

This week’s North Dakota Game and Fish Department webcast, Outdoors Online, is now online at http://gf.nd.gov

NDGF wildlife division chief Randy Kreil previews the upcoming deer gun season.  Click here to Watch!

The webcast can be seen on the following community access channels:

Grand Forks

•             GFTV Channel 2 – Saturday, 10 p.m.

•             UND Studio One Channel 3 – Monday, 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Dickinson

•             Consolidated Channel 18 – Monday, 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Fargo

•             TV Fargo Channel 12 – Thursday, noon, and Sunday, 7 p.m.

Bismarck

•             Community Access Cable Channel 12, Thursday, 9:30 p.m.

Jamestown

•             Cable Services, The Replay Channel, CSi Channel 10

Minot

•             Cable Channel 19, Thursday, 6 p.m

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Fisheries Biologists Complete Fall Reproduction Survey

Posted: October 15, 2012

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s annual fall survey shows low numbers of young-of-the-year fish in the Missouri River System, while Devils Lake once again showed exceptional numbers of young-of-the-year walleye.

Scott Gangl, fisheries management section leader, said the catch at Lake Sakakawea was poor for most species including walleye, especially considering 4 million were stocked this year. “We actually captured some 1-year-old fish that were only slightly bigger than this year’s young-of-the-year,” Gangl said. “The reservoir wasn’t very productive this year given its rapid rate of elevation loss.”

However, Gangl said production of forage fish in Lake Sakakawea has been fairly good over the last few years. “Our size structure and growth rate of our older game fish improved from a decade ago when there was a prolonged period of drought years,” he said.

The Missouri River from Garrison Dam to Lake Oahe showed few young game fish or forage fish. “Fish populations in this stretch of the river are all based on natural reproduction, which was good in 2009-10,” Gangl said. “We have an abundance of adult walleye and pike, but they are on the smaller side because they are only 2-3 years old. In addition, we lost a lot of forage in 2011, and poor reproduction again in 2012 continues to depress the forage base, leaving our game fish on the skinny side and growing slower than we would like.”

This past spring Game and Fish personnel, along with South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks, stocked adult gizzard shad at eight sites throughout Lake Oahe. Gangl said the intent was for adult shad to reproduce and provide young-of-the-year for forage and a seed stock to rebuild the population. “We did detect some reproduction, but it will not be an overnight success,” he added. “We need a few more mild winters like last year before we see a rebuilding of the shad forage base like we had in the early 2000s.”

The rapid loss of water that was witnessed this year in lakes Sakakawea and Oahe is alarming, Gangl said, but decreased system flows this fall will provide some recovery assistance.

Devils Lake showed the second highest young-of-the-year walleye catch rate on record, second only to 2009. “Devils Lake continues to be a walleye factory,” Gangl said. “The high water levels on Devils Lake have improved natural reproduction for most fish species, and there is an abundance of young fish in the system.”

A total of 367,000 walleye were stocked in East Bay and East Devils Lake where natural reproduction tends to be less. However, Gangl said abundant young walleye were seen throughout the lake.

Fall reproduction sampling provides biologists with an index that measures natural reproduction and stocking success. Survey nets are designed for small, young fish which allows biologists to assess reproduction and status of both game and forage fish species. All large and mid-sized reservoirs are sampled every year, and many small lakes are targeted as well.

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Fall is Trophy Time for Devils Lake Walleyes

Posted:

AlFreidig_fallwalleye

“Walleye dreams become a reality every fall here on Devils Lake,” said North Dakota guide and professional angler Johnnie Candle.  “All my biggest fish have come in the fall; it’s what I call trophy walleye time.”

Open water fishing usually runs until mid-November, with all areas of the lake becoming very productive.  “The many year-classes of fish are equally distributed, but the 26 to 30 inchers show up now,” the world champion said.  Devils Lake has expanded in the past 30 years to some 200,000 acres, consisting of many “lakes within lakes.”  He urged anglers to select an area and stick to it, “Launch and fish that piece of Devils Lake. The fish will be there.”

When compared to the heydays of summer, Candle said the typical 100-fish days might drop to 35 walleyes in a day, with most measuring more than 20 inches.  “The fish profile changes in fall,” he emphasized.  That’s why he breaks ice many mid- to late-November mornings to pound away at the fish.

Candle’s fall walleye fishing has been narrowed down to a few simple points:

** Fish the steepest drops nearest deep water;
** Many of these are flooded road beds;
** 14 to 22 feet of water are good depths;
** Where the steep break meets the mud basin, expect walleyes;
** Roadbeds and main-lake points with rocks can be the best;
** Use a GPS map to locate roads (or watch the shoreline);
** Troll crankbaits – Salmo Hornets, Rapala Shad Raps and Berkley Flicker Shads are tops.

Candle trolls straight behind the boat, trying to keep lures in the exact zone where the steep break transitions to the bottom.  “Walleyes love to eat ‘em, and we cover water,” he said.  Some of the roadbeds and “spots” run for miles.  Watching sonar units helps anglers concentrate and circle back on active schools of trophy walleyes.

Candle also fishes the many bridges, especially when any breeze creates a current flow.  He works the downstream side of bridges, vertical jigging with Gulp! or minnows, much like he would in a river.  Deep-water jigging and rigging major points and mid-lake rock humps and transitions (rock to mud) are also popular.  “Fall is trophy time,” he said.  While fishing for walleyes, he expects to contact numerous pike, with many of the “teeners” eating everything in sight in late October and November.

Al Freidig, past president of the Lake Region Anglers fishing club agreed with Candle and said most of his biggest walleyes come every fall.  He favors trolling leadcore with crankbaits on rock piles and ridges of roadbeds.  He was instrumental in a community wide effort to create one of the few 4-seasons fish cleaning stations in the country.  “This effort involved many organizations, with anglers benefiting tremendously,” he said.

The fish-cleaning station will be open by Christmas, in time for the famous Devils Lake perch ice fishing season.  “Hey, walleye and pike anglers flock to Devils Lake when it’s hard, also,” Freidig said.  Located just south of Ed’s Bait Shop on Hwy 20 (south of the city of Devils Lake), the 20 x 32 building will be able to handle 15 anglers at one time.  It has two grinders, a separate clean-up sink, a handicapped bathroom, will be heated (A/C for summer), plenty of parking for trucks and trailers, will be well-lit, and be accessed with a coded entry.

The code will be available at Ed’s Bait Shop between 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.  “Best aspect of the new cleaning facility is that it’s free for all to use!” he said.  The Lake Region anglers donated 25 percent of the cost; the North Dakota Game and Fish department added the remainder of the money.  The Greater Ramsey Water District did the sewer and water connections.  Assistance also came from the Devils Lake Chamber of Commerce, the City of Devils Lake, Ramsey County and the Park Board.

For information on Devils Lake conditions, ramps and/or winter ice conditions and roads, the Jan. 27, 2013 ice fishing tournament, activities, guides, lodging, resorts and restaurants, check www.devilslakend.com, or call 701-662-4903.

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Public Asked to Report Violations

Posted: October 7, 2012

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department encourages hunters, anglers and landowners who witness a fish or wildlife violation to file a report with the Report All Poachers program.

RAP is a cooperative project between the Game and Fish Department, State Radio Communications and the North Dakota Wildlife Federation. The RAP line offers rewards – from $100 to $1,000 depending on the nature and seriousness of the crime – for information that leads to conviction of fish and wildlife law violators. Reports can also go directly to game wardens or other law enforcement agencies. Callers can remain anonymous.

Witnesses should note vehicle description, including make, color, license plate number and state issued. Description of the violator should also be considered.

Witnesses should report a violation by calling the RAP telephone number at (800) 472-2121. RAP will then contact the local game warden immediately. If the witness gives the RAP operator a phone number, the witness will be contacted right away.

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Public Fish Cleaning Stations are Closed on Devils Lake

Posted: October 5, 2012

The public fish cleaning stations are closed on Devils Lake at Six Mile Bay, Lakewood and Henegar Landing. The new four-seasons fish cleaning station located on south Highway 20 (next to Ed’s Bait Shop) should be open sometime in November. We will post details once it is open.

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ND Game and Fish Outdoors Online

Posted: October 4, 2012

This week’s North Dakota Game and Fish Department webcast, Outdoors Online, is now online at http://gf.nd.gov

NDGF conservation and communications division chief Greg Link talks about Hunting Ethics and why it’s important to have good Hunter-Landowner Relations.  Click here to Watch!

The webcast can be seen on the following community access channels:

Grand Forks

•             GFTV Channel 2 – Saturday, 10 p.m.

•             UND Studio One Channel 3 – Monday, 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Dickinson

•             Consolidated Channel 18 – Monday, 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Fargo

•             TV Fargo Channel 12 – Thursday, noon, and Sunday, 7 p.m.

Bismarck

•             Community Access Cable Channel 12, Thursday, 9:30 p.m.

Jamestown

•             Cable Services, The Replay Channel, CSi Channel 10

Minot

•             Cable Channel 19, Thursday, 6 p.m

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