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Outdoors notebook: Fishing and boating draw diversity of participants, North Dakota and Minnesota rank among top states for fishing participation etc.

Compiled by recreational boating site boatsafe.com, the data puts North Dakota at No. 5 nationally, with more than 27,000 fishing licenses sold per 100,000 residents. Minnesota was No. 6, with 25,267 fishing licenses sold per 100,000 residents.

Pink lady's slippers – also known as showy lady's slippers – bloom along a township road in northern Roseau County of northwest Minnesota on Friday, July 18. One of 43 orchid species in Minnesota, the showy lady's slipper is Minnesota's state flower and blooms from early June to mid-July, according to the Department of Natural Resources. The species is considered uncommon in Minnesota, the DNR said, and favors spruce and tamarack bogs, swamps, wet meadows, wet prairies and cool, damp woods. (Photo/ Brad Dokken, Grand Forks Herald)

Fishing, boating see more diversity

Recreational fishing and boating continues to reach new and diverse audiences according to a new industry study from the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation .

Highlights from the 2021 Special Report on Fishing include:

  • 19.7 million females went fishing in 2020, a 10% increase from 2019.

  • Youth and adolescent fishing skyrocketed last year, with 13.5 million youth ages 6 to 17 hitting the water.

  • 5 million Hispanic Americans went fishing in 2020, the highest recorded volume in 14 years.

  • Overall participation continues to increase, with nearly 55 million Americans fishing at least once last year.

  • African Americans have had the highest participation rate in the last three years, with a 7.4% increase in participation and 14.6% growth since 2019.

  • More than 55% of people who have tried fishing intend to continue the activity this year.

“Last year was definitely unique, but this increased interest in fishing is a trend we've seen in the making for a while,” said Stephanie Vatalaro , senior vice president of marketing and communications for RBFF. “First time fishing participants climbed to 4.4 million in 2020. This 42% increase is phenomenal, and as the data shows these new participants are more diverse than ever, helping to confirm that the water is open to everyone.”

The full report is available at https://annualreports.takemefishing.org .

– Herald staff report



ND, MN rank among top fishing states

North Dakota ranks among the top five states in paid fishing licenses per 100,000 residents and Minnesota isn’t far behind, according to data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Compiled by recreational boating site boatsafe.com, the data puts North Dakota at No. 5 nationally, with more than 27,000 fishing licenses sold per 100,000 residents. Minnesota was No. 6, with 25,267 fishing licenses sold per 100,000 residents.

Alaska leads the country at 58,683 fishing licenses sold per 100,000 residents.

The top 10 fishing states, based on paid fishing licenses per 100,000 residents, are as follows:

1. Alaska: 58,683.

2. Wyoming: 42,124.

3. Montana: 39,408.

4. Idaho: 29,106


5. North Dakota: 27,340

6. Minnesota: 25,267

7. South Dakota: 25,129

8. Maine: 25,101.

9. Wisconsin: 22,358.

10. Vermont: 18,183.

– Herald staff report

NDGF launches ‘Earth Day, Every Day’

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department for years has encouraged students to design Earth Day patches to bring greater awareness to the environment in the state and elsewhere.


Yet, like Earth Day, which began in 1970 and kick-started the environmental movement, the concern for outdoor places isn’t simply a once-a-year-thing, but ongoing.

Understanding this, Game and Fish has initiated “Earth Day, Every Day” to promote continual awareness about the environment.

Groups that engage in environmental clean-up projects, landscaping or other efforts that promote environmental awareness will receive an Earth Day patch for all participants.

The patches are used to recognize groups that work to celebrate the Earth Day concept, and everyone is encouraged to participate in the Earth Day, Every Day awareness campaign.

For more information about Earth Day, Every Day, or to request patches for your project, contact Sherry Niesar, Earth Day coordinator, at (701) 527-3714 or sniesar@nd.gov.

– Herald staff report

Operation Dry Water set for July 4 weekend

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department again this year will participate in Operation Dry Water over the Fourth of July long weekend as part of a nationally coordinated effort to increase knowledge about the dangers of boating under the influence. Operation Dry Water weekend, set for Friday, July 2, through Sunday, July 4, is the national weekend of heightened enforcement effort directed at boating under the influence laws and recreational boater outreach.

With the July 4 holiday on the horizon, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department has issued a reminder that possession or use of fireworks on state wildlife management areas is prohibited. Game and Fish will lift the Tuesday-Wednesday no-camping restriction for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday week, which will allow overnight camping July 6-7 on those WMAs that otherwise have the two-day restriction in place. A complete list of WMA regulations is available on the The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s annual aerial pronghorn survey will begin Thursday, July 1, and is scheduled to be completed within two weeks. The survey determines pronghorn abundance, herd demographics and fawn production. Game and Fish then uses the data to set license numbers for the fall hunting season.

– Herald staff report

DNR: Report fish die-offs

Recent hot weather may be contributing to fish die-offs in lakes across Minnesota, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

“Spring and summer fish die-offs happen occasionally, but we are getting widespread reports of dead fish following the recent prolonged stretch of hot weather,” said Tom Burri, DNR limnology consultant.

The DNR asks the public to report fish die-offs. People should call the state duty officer – available 24 hours a day, seven days a week – at (651) 649‐5451 or (800) 422‐0798 if they encounter a large group of dead fish in a lake or a stream.

An early report also allows timely water sampling or other response actions, if needed. It’s especially helpful to know what fish types and sizes people see in a fish die-off.

In mid-spring and summer, fish die-offs are often the result of warming water and opportunistic infections that spread in fish populations that are already stressed after the spawning season. Species commonly observed in these die-offs include sunfish, crappies and bullheads, and, occasionally, largemouth bass and northern pike.

More information on fish kills is available on the DNR website .

– Herald staff report

Minimize conflicts with bears this summer

The Minnesota DNR continues to ask landowners and campers to be especially “bear aware” this summer because of dry conditions that likely will reduce natural food supplies for the animals.

Bears traditionally rely on small, scattered patches of natural foods: specific types of young green vegetation in spring, certain species of ants and ant pupae in June, berries in summer and nuts in the fall. If bears can get concentrated, high-calorie, easily accessible foods around people’s homes and campsites, they are easily enticed away from their natural food sources.

This year’s late frost, combined with drought conditions, will reduce or delay the availability of berries and nuts, so it is especially important to secure anything that a bear would consider food, the DNR says. Don’t condition bears to associate your home or campsite with an easy meal by leaving out unsecured garbage, birdseed or pet food.

For more information about reducing property damage and the chance of human-bear conflicts, check out the DNR website at mndnr.gov.

– Herald staff report

Did you know?

  • Ryan Pond in King’s Walk Golf Course in Grand Forks is closed to fishing this summer and has not been stocked because of a recent zebra mussel infestation, according to the Grand Forks Park District.

  • Walleye fishing on Mille Lacs Lake will be closed for two weeks from Thursday, July 1, through Thursday, July 15, to reduce hooking mortality, which is the percentage of fish that die after being caught and released. Currently, anglers can catch and release walleye on Mille Lacs Lake in a catch-and-release season that lasts through Wednesday, June 30. Anglers can still fish for other species during the walleye closure, the DNR said, and catch-and-release walleye fishing will resume on Friday, July 16, and continue through Wednesday, Sept. 15. The limit of one walleye from 21 to 23 inches, or one over 28 inches, is scheduled to resume Thursday, Sept. 16, through Tuesday, Nov. 30. For more information, check out the DNR website or the Minnesota Fishing Regulations booklet.

– compiled by Brad Dokken

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Brad Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and has been the Grand Forks Herald's outdoors editor since 1998.

Besides his role as an outdoors writer, Dokken has an extensive background in northwest Minnesota and Canadian border issues and provides occasional coverage on those topics.

Reach him at bdokken@gfherald.com, by phone at (701) 780-1148 or on Twitter at @gfhoutdoor.
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