North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries personnel continue to update or add new fishing waters to the list of available contour maps on the departmentâ€™s website.
Jerry Weigel, fisheries production and development section leader, said each year data is collected on a few new waters or existing waters that have experienced significant change. Contour fishing maps are developed from this data to show the layout of the lake, public access and local facilities.
â€śSeveral of these lakes are currently experiencing good winter fishing,â€ť Weigel said â€śSo these maps should be very timely.â€ť
Light goose hunters planning to hunt during North Dakotaâ€™s spring season can purchase a license online at the state Game and Fish Departmentâ€™s website. The season opens Feb. 16 and continues through May 5.
Residents can hunt during the spring season by having last fallâ€™s 2012-13 bird licenses. Otherwise, hunters will need to purchase either a 2013-14 combination license; or a small game, and general game and habitat license.
The state Game and Fish Department is offering 5,930 wild turkey licenses for the spring hunting season, an increase of 135 from last year. The increase is a result of better production and chick recruitment.
Seven of the 22 hunting units have more spring licenses than in 2012, while 12 remain the same. Unit 21 (most of Hettinger and Adams counties) is again closed in 2013 due to lack of turkeys in the unit.
North Dakota Earth Day Patch Contest
The state Game and Fish Departmentâ€™s annual Earth Day awareness campaign is accepting entries for design of a 2013 Earth Day patch. North Dakota students ages 6-18 are eligible to participate. The deadline to submit entries is March 15.
The Game and Fish Department will announce a winner in three age categories â€“ 6-9, 10-13, and 14-18. Each winner will receive a pair of Nikon 8x40 binoculars. The final patch design will be chosen from the three winners.
The state Agriculture and Game and Fish departments have launched a cooperative project to connect coyote hunters and trappers with landowners who would like to reduce coyote populations in their area.
Called the â€śCoyote Catalog,â€ť the project creates an online database similar to what the North Dakota Game and Fish Department has used for the past several years to match deer hunters with farmers/ranchers who wanted to reduce deer populations on their land.
Midwinter Bald Eagle Survey Conducted
This yearâ€™s midwinter bald eagle survey conducted Jan. 10 along the Missouri River revealed 61 bald eagles, slightly above-average since the survey started in 1986.
Patrick T Isakson, conservation biologist with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said the survey route from Bismarck to the Garrison Dam is conducted at the same time each year, and in coordination with other surveys nationwide.
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., Jan. 18, 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., Jan. 17.
Winter anglers are reminded that any fish house left unoccupied on North Dakota waters must be made out of materials that will allow it to float.
A popular question this time of the year is if campers qualify as legal fish houses. The answer is the same for any structure taken on the ice â€“ if itâ€™s left unattended, it must be able to float; if itâ€™s not able to float, it must be removed when the angler leaves the ice.
Other fish house regulations include:
Fish houses do not require a license.
Canada Goose, High Plains Duck End Soon
North Dakota waterfowl hunters are reminded the season for Canada geese closes Dec. 20, except for the Missouri River Zone, which closes Dec. 28.
In addition, duck hunting in the High Plains Unit closes Dec. 30.
Hunters should refer to the 2012 Waterfowl Hunting Guide for more information.
Winter anglers are encouraged to consider early ice conditions before traveling onto and across North Dakota lakes.
Keep in mind:
Snow insulates ice, hampering solid ice formation, and makes it difficult to check thickness. Snow also hides the blemishes, such as cracked, weak and open water areas.
Avoid cracks, pressure ridges, slushy or darker areas that signal thinner ice. The same goes for ice that forms around partially submerged trees, brush, embankments or other structures.