Here are some excerpts from the recent OUTDOORS magazine of January 2019 North Dakota, published by the State Game and Fish Department.
Highland game / water birds
North Dakota's late roadside breeding surveys indicated that the total pheasant and Hungarian pout numbers in 2018 were comparable to 2017, while the number of hares with sharp tails declined. The survey showed that the total observed pheasants fell by 2 percent compared to 2017, while the sharp increase was 49 percent compared to 2017. The partridge increased by 7 percent.
Official harvest figures for the hunting season 2018-19 are not yet final.
The research on the reproduction of valleys, which evaluates the natural reproduction, the success of the stocking and the abundance of feed, indicated that most of the North Dakota waters performed as good as or better than expected in 2018. Lake Sakakawea had the eighth highest catch of young-of-the-year walleye on record. There was also a good reproduction of most of the game species in the big lake, because fishery biologists saw healthy numbers of pike, perch, smallmouth bass, white perch, crappies and walleye.
Plus, it was the second year in a row good reproduction of walleye, which was no surprise, given the high water that resulted in an abundance of food and habitat for the young fish. Lake Oahe also had a good reproduction of walleye in 2018, which was not necessarily a good thing, since Oahe still does not have fodder crops that need to grow fish. Devils Lake saw reasonable to good numbers of walleye, with the catch almost the same, although in 2018 Game and Fish did not store walleye in the fishery. The end result was everything from natural reproduction.
While Devils Lake was not yet full, in 2018 the fishing staff had stored nearly 10 million pike-perch in more than 140 waters in the state.
Given the fact that there were not many Sakakawea lakes, in 2018 one of the largest stockings with more than 8 million fingers was kept in smaller fishing waters.
The Game and Fish Department made 55,150 licenses available to deer hunters in 2018. That was good news, because that was 650 licenses more than in 2017, and well above the recent low of 43.275 in 2015. Some of the deer weapons had increased in both mule deer mule (up to 150) and whitetail whitetails (up to 150) .
Aquatic annoying species
North Dakota has not discovered any new discoveries of the types with flooding in 2018. This includes movements of ANS that are already in the state, or documentation of new species.
Fishery managers said that North Dakota is so lucky to have few problems with ANS. Game and Fish ANS educational efforts and cooperation of North Dakota fishermen, boaters and hunters has helped protect the waters of the state.
And last but not least, in May Neal Leier (yes, my cousin) of Bismarck caught a new state walnuts with a weight of 15 pounds, 13 us in the Missouri in Bismarck.