NDGF: Keep fish from deep water

Anglers who catch a fish of any size from North Dakota waters more than 25 feet deep should keep it rather than let it go.

That’s the word from fisheries personnel at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. The practice of catch-and-release often is encouraged under the right conditions, but fish reeled up from water 25 feet or deeper likely will die if they’re released, said Scott Gangl, fisheries management section leader for Game and Fish in Bismarck.

“Fish caught from deep water likely won’t survive because of the extreme change in water pressure,” Gangl said.

That change in water pressure will cause the swim bladder to expand, Gangl said, which means fish no longer can control balance. In addition, he said, other internal injuries likely will happen, such as ruptured blood vessels or internal organs.

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That can happen in any deep lake or river, Gangl said, but it is especially noteworthy for this time of the year in Lake Sakakawea.

“As water warms during summer, fish tend to move to deeper, cooler water,” he said. “This is particularly true for walleye in the big lake, where walleye follow their primary forage of rainbow smelt to deeper depths as summer progresses.”

Anglers fishing water at least 25 feet deep should make the commitment to keep what they catch and stop fishing at that depth once they reach their limit.

“Our simple message is for anglers to keep fish that are caught from these depths, or to fish in shallower water when practicing catch-and-release,” Gangl said.

-- Herald staff report

DNR finds starry stonewort in Lake Beltrami

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed a small population of the invasive algae starry stonewort in Lake Beltrami, near Bemidji in Beltrami County.

Last August, a volunteer found a strand of starry stonewort near the public access in Lake Beltrami during the University of Minnesota Extension’s annual “Starry Trek” event. Subsequent searches and ongoing monitoring did not reveal any additional starry stonewort in the lake until last weekend.

DNR divers confirmed starry stonewort in a 3-foot area, two smaller areas, and separate strands tightly intermingled with a high diversity and abundance of native chara and aquatic plants. Starry stonewort is similar to chara in appearance, but starry stonewort has telltale star-shaped bulbils that typically aren’t visible until August.

DNR divers will be hand-pulling starry stonewort at intervals through the rest of the summer as a way to manage the biomass. Boat inspections have been expanded, and follow-up surveys will be conducted to watch for the invasive algae in other parts of the lake.

Starry stonewort has never been eradicated from any U.S. lake, but treatment or careful removal can help reduce the risk of spread and reduce the algae’s adverse impact on water-related recreation.

Starry stonewort was first confirmed in Minnesota in 2015. It has now been confirmed in 15 of Minnesota’s 11,842 lakes, the DNR said.

Now is the best time of year to look for this invasive. Information on how to identify starry stonewort can be found on the DNR’s website at mndnr.gov. If people think they’ve found starry stonewort, they should report it to the DNR.

Starry stonewort is an alga that looks similar to other native plants and can form dense mats, which can interfere with lake activities and compete with native plants. It is most likely spread when fragments have not been properly cleaned from trailered boats, personal watercraft, docks, boat lifts, anchors or other water-related equipment.

The DNR reminds boaters and anglers to follow Minnesota laws to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species:

  • Clean aquatic plants and animals from watercraft.

  • Drain all water by removing drain plugs and keep drain plugs out while transporting watercraft.

  • Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.

  • Some invasive species are small and difficult to see at the access. To remove or kill them, take one or more of the following precautions before moving to another waterbody, especially after leaving infested waters:

  • Spray with high-pressure water.

  • Rinse with very hot water (120 degrees for at least two minutes or 140 degrees for at least 10 seconds).

  • Dry for at least five days.

  • Details about starry stonewort and other aquatic invasive species are available at mndnr.gov/ais.

-- Minnesota DNR

NDGF offers WMA equipment reminder

Tree stands, ground blinds and game cameras cannot be placed on state wildlife management areas in North Dakota before Tuesday, Aug. 20, the Game and Fish Department said in a reminder to hunters.

Equipment set out before Aug. 20, or left on a WMA after Jan. 31, is considered abandoned property and is subject to removal.

Hunters also must display an equipment registration number, or their name, address and telephone number, on all equipment requiring identification.

Owners can generate an equipment registration number by going to the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov, and clicking the My Account tab. One registration number will be issued for all equipment that requires identification.

-- N.D. Game and Fish Department

N.D. game warden test set for Sept. 6

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department has scheduled an examination for 10 a.m. Sept. 6 at the department’s main office in Bismarck to select candidates for the position of district game warden.

The Game and Fish headquarters office is at 100 N. Bismarck Expressway.

Applicants must register to take the exam no later than Monday, Sept. 2, by submitting an online application through the North Dakota State Job Openings website.

Applicants must be at least 21 years old and have a bachelor’s degree at time of hire, have a valid driver’s license and a current North Dakota peace officer license, or be eligible to be licensed. Candidates must have excellent interpersonal skills in communications and writing and must not have a record of any felony convictions.

District game wardens enforce game and fish laws and related regulations in an assigned district and other locations as determined by the department. Wardens normally work alone under varied conditions at all hours of the day, night and weekends. In addition to law enforcement duties, wardens assist with public relations, education programs, and hunter and boat safety education.

Salary through training for a district game warden is $3,900 per month. For more information, see the district game warden job announcement on the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov.

-- N.D. Game and Fish Department

Did you know?

  • Hunters planning to participate in the regular archery deer hunt at Camp Ripley near Little Falls, Minn., must apply by Friday, Aug. 16. Hunters may pick from only one of two hunting seasons: Oct. 17-18 (Thursday to Friday, code 668) or Oct. 26-27 (Saturday to Sunday, code 669). More info: mndnr.gov/hunting/deer/camp-ripley-archery-hunt.html.

  • Minnesotans who want to hunt prairie chickens have until Friday, Aug. 16, to apply to be chosen for one of 125 permits available for the state’s nine-day prairie chicken season. The season begins Saturday, Sept. 28, and is open only to Minnesota residents. Application procedures and a permit area map are available on the DNR’s prairie chicken hunting page at mndnr.gov/hunting/prairiechicken.

  • More than 400 Minnesota bear permits remaining after the lottery now are available at any electronic licensing outlet, the DNR said. An unlimited number of bear permits are available for the no-quota area that includes east-central and far northwest Minnesota. Bear season opens Sunday, Sept. 1 and continues through Sunday, Oct. 13. Info: mndnr.gov/hunting/bear.

  • The ninth annual Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener is set for Friday and Saturday, Oct. 11-12, in Austin, Minn. The Austin Holiday Inn will be the event’s headquarters.

-- compiled by Brad Dokken