2019 Small Game, Waterfowl & Furbearer Regulations Set

NDG&F Press Release North Dakota’s 2019 small game, waterfowl and furbearer regulations are set and most season structures are similar to last year. Noteworthy items include: Opening day for ducks, geese, coots and mergansers for North Dakota residents is Sept. 21. Nonresidents may begin hunting waterfowl in North Dakota Sept. 28. The daily limit on…

Figuring Out Followers

By Nick Simonson It’s a jungle out there.  Every man for himself.  Greed is good.  These mantras aptly describe the competitive drive in the world around us; natural laws that even mankind hasn’t rid from our collective psyche after millennia of becoming civilized.  Whether it is in big business or the food web, one thing…

Capital City Lady Birds are ND’s First All-Female PF Chapter

By Nick Simonson There’s a new Pheasants Forever (PF) chapter in North Dakota, and it’s capitalizing on the excitement and involvement of the growing population of female hunters.  The Capital City Lady Birds are the first all-female chapter of the Habitat Organization in the Peace Garden State, and with 25 charter members gaining official recognition…

Baits for Both Bass

By Nick Simonson Bass are beginning to make their moves across the region and as warm days ebb and flow, both largemouth and smallmouth can be found staging for the spawn.  As they stake out their nesting sites, they’ll be on the lookout for food as well and offerings from stickbaits to soft plastics will…

Good Netmen Save the Day

By Nick Simonson It’s playoff hockey season and while the Minnesota Wild may be out of competition, some great goalies are keeping their teams in the mix as Lord Stanley’s Cup awaits after a long, cold road.  Truly memorably hockey teams are anchored by excellent goaltenders, just like a truly great fishing experience is sealed…

Tackle & Tactics for Springtime Slabs

By Nick Simonson One fish that is synonymous with fast springtime angling is the crappie.  Once they are found in the back of some warmwater bay getting ready for the spawn, the fishing can be fast and some of the biggest specks of the season can be caught with a few of the simplest presentations. …

Spring Selections for Smallies

By Nick Simonson As ice breaks loose from area lakes and rivers and those stretches of two-to-three days of clear, warm conditions start spurring fish movement, smallmouth bass wake from a near-dormant winter state and start staging to head into the shallows and beget the next generation. While they won’t spawn until water temperatures typically…

Paddlefish Snagging Starts May 1

NDG&F Press Release North Dakota’s 2018 paddlefish snagging season opens May 1 and is scheduled to continue through May 21. However, depending on the overall harvest, an early in-season closure may occur with a 24-hour notice issued by the state Game and Fish Department. Legal snagging hours are from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily….

ND PF Looks to Women for Future of Conservation

By Nick Simonson With upcoming events targeting women hunters and conservationists, the ladies at the helm of the North Dakota Pheasants Forever (ND PF) organization are looking to tap into a growing demographic of outdoors enthusiasts and launch a women-only chapter in the Peace Garden State to reflect the growing dynamic not only in the…

Common Licensing Questions

By Doug Leier, NDG&F Dept. In 2015, the North Dakota Legislature passed a law that required the State Game and Fish Department to develop an all-electronic licensing system and phase out the old paper license books. That went into effect April 1, 2016. Another part of that plan was to eventually phase out paper applications…

Devils Lake Walleye Population Strong Headed into Spring

By Doug Leier, NDG&F Dept. The days continue to add minutes of sunlight, the spring turkey application deadline is past, and before you know it spring open-water fishing will be the hot topic.   Before the first email or call regarding some form of question or suggestion on special regulations for Devils Lake, here’s insight…

Winter Spares ND Wildlife Thus Far

By Nick Simonson Halfway through winter, sportsmen are keeping their fingers crossed that the relatively temperate conditions and low snow totals will continue into spring after a 2017 that taxed many species of game in the state both with a cold, snowy winter and a drought-stricken summer.  With very little snow cover coming into February,…

Improved Ice Conditions Set Up in N.D.

By Nick Simonson With the cold snap over the holiday season, ice anglers around the region were delighted with the improvement in ice conditions and thickness, but the sub-zero highs on some days kept many of them off the water during that stretch.  With last weekend’s warm-up, anglers were able to get back out and…

Ride the Wave of CTL

By Nick Simonson In the heat of the June sun, the wave of noise sounding up and down the cement walkway at the Alexandria shooting park sounds surreal.  It’s a constant roll of bap-bap-bap-boom-boom-bap-bap-bap as the surge of shotgun blasts, muffled by earplugs, rolls by a person’s vantage point during the Minnesota State High School…

Respotting a Spot-on-a-Spot

By Nick Simonson No location in the outdoors is quite as legendary as the spot-on-a-spot. You know the place, it’s that one big boulder on a reef, the rock pile in a mud-bottom reservoir, or that place on the sunken hump that just has a heavier summer weedbed that hangs on all winter and holds…

The On-Ice Odd Couple

By Nick Simonson Fishing – and particularly ice fishing – is a fun amalgamation of old and new, fast and slow, low-tech and cutting edge.  From new-age augers that run on lithium ion batteries like an on-ice Tesla, to tip-up models that have stood the test of time and continue to be top sellers, the…

Top Spoon Tactics

By Nick Simonson Lift-fall-pause-jiggle.  Nothing. Lift-fall-paaaaause-jiggle.  Nothing. Lift-fall-paaaaaaaause-jiggle.  Nothing. Lift-fall-WHAM! Fish On! It’s hard to tell exactly what part of a spoon jigging sequence, and the slight adjustments worked in, that will set a fish off.  Sometimes, they’ll rise right up and smack that shiny piece of metal as it makes its way down from…

Ice Conditions Remain Challenging in Early Season

By Nick Simonson With recent winds and warm temperatures, what ice was formed by the cold start to November has disappeared in most parts of the state in December, leaving anglers uncertain as to many bodies of water.  From Devils Lake to Lake Sakakawea and other points in between, it’s a mixed bag of ice…

Tip-Up Tactics for Pike

By Nick Simonson Upon my return to North Dakota, while sorting through bins, chests and buckets full of odds and ends from the move, I found a black mesh cylinder with a zipper top. I opened it and turned it over, and three orange tip-ups slid out of the container, each still with leaders and…

Shift In Weather Gives Time to Assess Ice Safety

By Nick Simonson With Thanksgiving Day temperatures touching 70, and much of the region forecast to be well above average for the next few days with both highs and lows above freezing, hardwater anglers will have to wait it out for good ice, after many experienced a successful first foray following a cold start to…

A Warden’s Perspective on a Changing Landscape

By Nick Simonson For North Dakota Game & Fish Department (NDG&F) District Game Warden Corey Erck of Bismarck, the job of patrolling, investigating and assisting hunters and anglers throughout his area is an extension of his love of hunting, fishing and the outdoors.  The job, and the gear that goes with it, along with outdoors…

Starting a CTL Team – Part 3, Recruitment & Readiness

By Nick Simonson With community support and the green light from the affiliated high school, the real fun of setting up a North Dakota State High School Clay Target League (ND CTL) team begins.  Beyond the point-and-click and fill-in-the-blank processes of getting started at the ND CTL website, there are a number of tasks to…

Fall Advisory Board Meetings Set

NDG&F Press Release Outdoor enthusiasts are invited to attend a North Dakota Game and Fish Department fall advisory board meeting in their area. These public meetings, held each spring and fall, provide citizens with an opportunity to discuss fish and wildlife issues and ask questions of their district advisors and agency personnel. The governor appoints…

History of the Half Day

By Nick Simonson Like most states in the upper Midwest, North Dakota’s firearms deer season is designed to span the most likely stretch of the rutting period, which usually happens during the month of November.  However, unlike a lot of those states, North Dakota’s season is 16-and-a-half-days long.  In Minnesota, the season is 16 days,…

Starting a CTL Team – Part 2, School Sponsorship

By Nick Simonson With the funding and conservation club support in place to start a Clay Target League (See Part 1 of this Series) team for youth in your area, the next task in our series can often seem to be the most challenging.  Whether it’s concerns with public presentation, or not being able to…

What Is Dead May Never Die

By Nick Simonson The chill of the near Halloween night had left a layer of ice on the small feeder creek which led down to the lake at the center of a small Wildlife Management Area.  The cold, still air amplified the crackle and snap of each footstep of my young lab, Ole and I…

ID Number Required on Equipment

NDG&F Dept. Press Release Hunters, trappers and anglers are reminded that an equipment registration number, or the individual’s name, address and telephone number, must be displayed on all equipment requiring identification. Identification must be attached to cable devices that are set on either private or public land, and on fish houses left unattended on the…

Starting a CTL Team – Part 1, Funding

By Nick Simonson As the fall season of the North Dakota State High School Clay Target League (ND CTL) draws to a close, the excitement for the sport is only beginning to ramp up.  Over the past four years, participation in the neighboring Minnesota league has nearly tripled, from 3,600 shooters in 2013 to 11,400…

Bighorn Hunters Beat the Odds

By Doug Leier, NDG&F Dept. Thousands of North Dakota big game hunters are starting to count the days until their season opens in the coming weeks. Most have their sights set on the annual unofficial holiday that is opening day of deer gun season on Nov. 10, but a handful have perhaps a bit more…

Pheasants in a Pinch

By Nick Simonson Leading up to this weekend’s North Dakota Pheasant Opener, targeting classic areas will be key to bagging birds and producing a memorable hunt. The winding creek bottoms common throughout the state provide repeated and alternating pinch points that concentrate birds, and with the right pressure, force them into the air.  Knowing how…