New North Dakota, fish, bait transport law takes effect Friday
Beginning Friday, anglers in North Dakota will be required to drain their live wells and bait wells before leaving a body of water. According to Greg Power, fisheries chief for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Bismarck, an administrat...
Beginning Friday, anglers in North Dakota will be required to drain their live wells and bait wells before leaving a body of water.
According to Greg Power, fisheries chief for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Bismarck, an administrative rules hearing Sept. 14 cleared the way for the new rule, which aims to reduce the spread of aquatic nuisance species throughout North Dakota. The change means anglers no longer will be able to transport fish or bait in a live well or bait well containing water.
Power said anglers have been encouraged to abide by the policy since April 1, when the state's 2010-2012 fishing regulations took effect, and so the new law shouldn't come as any surprise.
"We have been stressing this since early spring and have mentioned several times this will likely be instituted in October," he said.
Lynn Schlueter, special projects biologist for the Game and Fish Department in Devils Lake, said anglers still can transport live bait away from the water in a separate container, as long as it's 5 gallons or smaller.
"The exemption used to be if you had fish, you were allowed to have water" in the live well, Schlueter said. "But with the concerns of zebra mussels, VHS (viral hemorrhagic septicemia) and other problems, we've gone to no water on board."
Schlueter said no one testified against the rule change during the administrative hearing.
With live wells no longer an option, anglers should consider transporting their fish on ice, Power said.
"Many will clean their fish right at a cleaning station or will make other arrangements if a station isn't immediately nearby," he said. "Placing fish on ice is the logical way for those who wait to clean their fish at a campsite or until they get home."
With waterfowl seasons now under way in North Dakota, the Game and Fish Department is reminding hunters of existing laws requiring them to clean boats, decoys, waders and other hunting equipment before leaving a body of water.
Hunters also must drain hunting equipment before leaving the water and are encouraged to brush their hunting dogs free of mud and seeds.
Hunters still can transport cattails, phragmites, bulrushes and terrestrial plants as camouflage on boats, but they must clean all other aquatic vegetation from boats before leaving the access.
Minnesota also prohibits anglers from transporting fish in live wells containing water. And earlier this summer, a new law went into effect requiring boaters in Minnesota to remove plugs from bilges or live wells before transporting the boat on a public highway.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has placed signs at public accesses of lakes and rivers that now have invasive species. Anglers and boaters on such "infested waters" must drain the boat, bilge, motor and all live wells and bait containers, in addition to removing vegetation from the boat and trailer.
For more information on North Dakota's ANS regulations and how to reduce the risk of transporting unwanted species, check out the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov. In Minnesota, check out the DNR website at mndnr.gov or refer to the sections on aquatic invasive species in the fishing regulations booklet.
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