Injury likely caused white bass lesion

A large lesion on a white bass caught recently in Devils Lake probably isn't cause for concern, a Game and Fish Department fisheries biologist says.

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The angler who caught the white bass brought the fish to the Game and Fish office in Devils Lake, where district fisheries biologist Todd Caspers examined it. The lesion likely resulted from an injury to the fish that later developed into a bacterial or fungal infection, Caspers said in an email, adding he's not a fish disease expert.

"There are several types of infectious agents that occur in most any waterbody that can cause infections when a fish has been injured or is stressed for other reasons" such as spawning, he said.

Photos of the white bass have been making the rounds on social media, along with unconfirmed reports that Devils Lake anglers have landed a few walleyes and northern pike with similar, but less severe lesions.

"With this being the spawning season, it would not be unusual for some of the fish to be stressed by spawning activity and then develop an infection," Caspers said. "Overall, I would not be too concerned at this point about a few fish showing up with infections, since (spawning season) is a stressful time of year for them."

No additional testing is planned, and further tests might not be possible anyway, since the fish has been frozen, Caspers said. Game and Fish will be on the lookout for further reports of fish with similar sores, but for the time being, "it's probably not anything to get too worried about," Caspers said.

-- Brad Dokken

Forks Rifle Club sets hunter matches

The Forks Rifle Club has scheduled Hunter Rifle League practice matches for May 20, June 17, July 15, Aug. 12, Sept. 2 and Sept. 23 at the club range, 2051 12th Ave. NE, Emerado, N.D.

The league is open to hunting-style rifles weighing 12 pounds or less, along with AR or vintage sniper rifles. Different rifles can be used at different yardages.

Matches are fired in the prone position at 300 and 600 yards, but arrangements can be made for shooters with physical difficulties. Shooters can use different rifles for either yardage and can participate in either yardage league or both.

Matches will feature F Class 300- and 600-yard target faces, and the Lewis class scoring system will be used. Shooters are allowed five minutes for prep time, 20 minutes for five sighter shots and 15 shots for record.

For more information on the league and match regulations, check out the Forks Rifle Club website at, email or call (701) 739-1988.

-- Brad Dokken

Apply to hunt elk in Minnesota

Hunters have through Friday, June 15, to apply for one of 22 elk licenses the Department of Natural Resources is offering this year in northwest Minnesota. Elk hunting is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Minnesota residents.

"A number of antlerless-only elk licenses are being offered this year for the Kittson-Central herd to reduce that population," Erik Thorson, DNR acting big game program leader, said in a news release. "Our latest survey counted 75 elk in this herd, which is above the population goal of 50 to 60 identified in the elk management plan."

Licenses will be available for three elk seasons in Kittson County's central zone and the first season only in the northeast zone. The Grygla area elk zone will not be open to hunting this year because elk numbers remain below the population goal.

Season A, the first elk season, runs from Saturday, Sept. 8, to Sunday, Sept. 16, in both open elk hunt zones. Two either-sex licenses and five antlerless-only elk licenses will be available in the Kittson County central zone (Zone 20), and two bulls-only licenses will be available in the Kittson County northeast zone (Zone 30).

The second elk season, Season B, runs from Saturday, Sept. 22, to Sunday, Sept. 30. One either-sex license and six antlerless-only elk licenses will be available in the Kittson County central zone. The third 2018 elk season (C) runs from Saturday, Oct. 6, to Sunday, Oct. 14. One either-sex license and five antlerless-only elk licenses will be available in the Kittson County central zone.

Hunters can apply individually or in parties of two at any DNR license agent, the DNR License Center at 500 Lafayette Road in St. Paul, online at or by telephone at (888) 665-4236. There is a nonrefundable application fee of $4 per hunter, and applicants should use Code 625. The license fee is $287. Hunters will have to select a zone and season when applying.

More info:

-- Minnesota DNR

Did you know?

• A study launched in February 2016 to track 20 cow elk fitted with GPS collars in northwest Minnesota ends this summer. The DNR will use the research findings to inform management decisions. More information on Minnesota's elk herd and ongoing studies exploring the feasibility of someday reintroducing elk to northeast Minnesota can be found at and

• North Dakota anglers and recreational boaters must drain all the water from their boats before leaving a lake or river, the Game and Fish Department said in a reminder. The regulation, intended to help prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species, includes all watercraft and associated bilges, livewells, baitwells and motors. Anglers can transport fish on ice in a separate container.

• As it does every year about this time, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department is asking well-intentioned people to leave baby animals alone. More often than not, young animals are not abandoned or deserted, and the mother is probably nearby.

• June is one of the peak months for deer‑vehicle accidents because young animals are dispersing from their home ranges, increasing the potential for car-deer collisions.

• The Minnesota Twins and the Minnesota DNR are partnering to offer free camo and blaze orange Twins logo caps for fans with a current Minnesota fishing or hunting license who buy special tickets online at for select games from May through September. Hats will be available for license holders Sunday, May 20 vs. the Milwaukee Brewers; Saturday, June 2 vs. the Cleveland Indians; Sunday, June 24 vs. the Texas Rangers; Sunday, July 15 vs. the Tampa Bay Rays; Saturday, Aug. 25 vs. the Oakland Athletics; and Saturday, Sept. 8 vs. the Kansas City Royals. More info:

-- compiled by Brad Dokken