By Doug Leier
It was mid-March when the first open water fishing reports from the Missouri River started feeding the spring fishing frenzy of anglers. Some anglers have two months of fishing behind them, while others wait for Memorial Day weekend, signaling the kickoff of summer fishing.
First things first. There’s always time to review fishing rules and regulations. While it may be convenient to ask your fishing buddies, bait shop or fishing equipment experts, the best advice is to check the regulations yourself. Anglers can find the 2022-24 North Dakota Fishing Guide online at the state Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov, or at Game and Fish Department offices and license vendors throughout the state.
Noteworthy regulation changes for this year include:
● Increased the statewide smallmouth/largemouth bass daily limit from 3 to 5 and possession
limit from 6 to 10.
● Allow for the taking of walleye during the darkhouse spearfishing season for the Missouri
River System, Devils Lake and Stump Lake.
● Allow for the use of legal live baitfish at Crown Butte, Kettle Lake, Nygren Dam and Sather
A new license was required as of April and if you’ve not been fishing the 2022-23 fishing
licenses can be purchased online by visiting the Game and Fish website.
If you have ever wondered about some of the specific definitions for North Dakota anglers and waters, here’s a few of the more important:
Game fish are bluegill, burbot, channel catfish, chinook salmon, crappie (black and
white), largemouth bass, muskellunge (pure and hybrid), northern pike, paddlefish,
sauger, saugeye, smallmouth bass, sturgeon (pallid, shovelnose and lake), trout (brown,
lake, rainbow and cutthroat), walleye, white bass, yellow perch and zander.
Legal live baitfish are fathead minnows, creek chubs, sticklebacks, white suckers and
Some of the more common rules and regulations include:
● Depositing or leaving any litter (including refuse, bottles, cans, etc.) or other
waste material in the water, on shore or on the ice is illegal.
● It is illegal to introduce anything into waters of the state for the purpose of
attempting to attract fish (e.g. chumming, artificial light, acoustic equipment, etc.)
that is not attached or applied to a lure.
● Stocking of any live fish, live fish eggs, live amphibians, or other live aquatic
organisms into any waters of the state is illegal except with the appropriate
license or permit issued by the Game and Fish director.
● Transportation of any live fish, live fish eggs, live amphibians or other live aquatic
organisms is illegal.
Fish may be filleted for transport, unless size limits apply, under the following conditions:
● Each individual portion of the meat removed from a fish is considered a fillet.
● Two fillets are counted as one fish, and
● The packaging of fish must be done in a manner so that the fillets can be readily
separated and counted. If fillets are frozen, they must be packaged so that the
fillets are separated and thus can be easily counted without thawing.
- Gifted fish, including packages of fish, must be accompanied with the following
information from the individual gifting the fish: name, fishing license number,
phone number, date, species and number of fish gifted.
● Except for legally gifted fish, it is illegal to possess or transport another
individual’s game fish or parts thereof without the license holder accompanying
or as otherwise permitted.
Leier is an Outreach Biologist with the North Dakota Game & Fish Department.
Featured Photo: Anglers have new fishing regulations to be aware of this spring as they set out on the state’s waters. NDG&F Photo.