North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries personnel, along with staff from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fish hatcheries, recently stocked 8.3 million walleye fingerlings in 88 lakes and rivers across the state.
Jerry Weigel, fisheries production and development section leader for the Game and Fish Department, said while this year's goal was to meet or exceed last year's record stocking of 11.5 million walleye, challenges from flooding and cooler spring weather reduced hatchery output.
The Garrison Dam (7.7 million fingerlings) and Valley City (600,000) national fish hatcheries were both hampered by weather Valley City with high flows and Garrison Dam with limited food production due to a cool spring and record releases.
Despite those challenges, Weigel said fish quality was good and stocking conditions were great, with lots of cool water and flooded vegetation at the stocking sites.
"Given all the problems with the cool spring and flooding, production turned out remarkably well," he said.
That was also the case with northern pike (2.3 million stocked in 59 waters), and early indications are that stocking efforts and natural reproduction have set the stage for another good year for both walleye and pike.
G&F suggests higher limits for season
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is recommending a bag limit increase for the early Canada goose season. The annual small game proclamation, which includes early Canada goose regulations, has been submitted to the governor's office for approval. The proposal includes a daily limit of eight and a possession limit of 16. In addition, Game and Fish is recommending an opening day of Aug. 13. In previous years, the season opened Aug. 15.
Limits and shooting hours for the early season are different from the regular season. Shooting hours during the early season are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset daily. Normal licensing requirements for the regular season, including a federal duck stamp, apply to the early season.
The early hunting season is intended to reduce local Canada goose numbers. Despite liberalized regulations the past several years, with longer seasons, large bag limits and expanded shooting hours the statewide population remains high, with numbers well above population goals.
For additional information and regulations, hunters should refer to the Game and Fish Department Web site at (gf.nd.gov).
Blue Goose Day youth event planned
Blue Goose Day is scheduled for Aug. 12 from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at Audubon National Wildlife Refuge.
The focus of this event is to provide fun activities that educate youth and their families about wildlife conservation and outdoor skills associated with hunting and fishing. The evening is packed full of fun, active, hands-on field demonstrations for families to participate in.
Four field demonstrations will be presented (each 25 minutes in length):
1. Waterfowl hunting - Discover how to construct a simple hunting blind, set waterfowl decoys, and learn basic duck identification skills.
2. Bird dog training - Oahe Kennels presents methods to use while training a hunting dog. A pointer, spaniel, and retriever will be featured during the demonstration.
3. Survival and first aid - Practice simple and resourceful survival techniques as well as basic first aid measures.
4. Target shoot - Learn safe firearm handling techniques, and then step up to the firing line for closely supervised shooting practice, using air rifles.
Following the field demonstrations, the Douglas Sportsmen's Club will provide a picnic supper for everyone. Door prizes and educational materials will be given to all youth participants. There is no charge or preregistration for the event. In case of rainy weather, field demonstrations will be moved indoors.
Sponsors for Blue Goose Day include: Douglas Sportsmen's Club, Oahe Kennels, Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch Wildlife Club, Audubon Refuge Partners Volunteers, Sakakawea Ducks Unlimited Chapter, Sakakawea Pheasants Forever Chapter, Great River Energy, Dakota West Credit Union, Dell Arneson, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Audubon National Wildlife Refuge Office and Visitor Center is located 3 miles north of Coleharbor on Highway 83 and 1 mile east. The event will be held near the newly constructed building. For more information, call 442-5474 ext. 117.
Game warden exam scheduled
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department has scheduled an examination to select candidates for the position of district game warden. The test is at 10 a.m., Aug. 26, at the department's main office in Bismarck.
Applicants must register to take the exam by submitting a letter of intent to chief game warden Robert Timian, North Dakota Game and Fish Department, 100 N. Bismarck Expressway, Bismarck, ND 58501-5095. Letters of intent must be submitted before 5 p.m., Aug. 22.
Applicants must be at least 21 years of age and have a bachelor's degree. Other requirements are a current North Dakota peace officer license, or eligibility for a license, and a valid driver's license. Candidates must have excellent interpersonal skills in communications and writing, and must not have a record of any felony convictions.
The salary for beginning game wardens through training is $3,000 per month. Upon successful completion of training, the salary range is $3,550 to 5,916 per month. Wardens also receive the state benefits package, including travel allowance. Uniforms and other equipment are provided.