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Forget the bait, catch a prehistoric monster!

Paddlefish

North Dakota is good at extremes: extreme weather, extreme landscape and of course extreme fishing! Wintertime is often a time where our anglers focus on ice fishing, tiny rod over a stationary hole waiting to catch loads of panfish in below freezing temperatures. The exact opposite of that would be paddlefishing! Hunting a single 100+ pound fish with a rod as thick as a pool cue and twice as long in gorgeous May weather.

May 1st anglers will line the shores of the Missouri Yellowstone confluence area in search of the prehistoric-monster-hundred-pound paddlefish, sometimes called spoonbill. And forget the bait, snaggers tie huge treble hooks to heavy test line trying to get their hook into the mouth of a fish as it happens to swim by.

The season opens May 1st and a paddlefish tag is required, this can be bought at the same time and places fishing licenses are bought and are required in addition to the regular fishing license. They are $7.50 for nonresidents and $3 for residents. The season is is open until May 31st and is subject to an in-season closure. If the season closes early because the harvest quota is reached, an extended snag-and-release-only period will be allowed for up to seven days immediately following the early closure, but not to extend beyond May 31. Sunday-Tuesday are catch and release only days and Wednesday-Saturday are mandatory harvest days, all snagged paddlefish must immediately be tagged and kept.

Hooking a paddlefish is like hooking the bumper of a car, you’re in for one heck of a ride until it runs out of gas.

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Posted by on April 30, 2012 in Fishing, Outdoor Adventure, Sports, wildlife

 

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Tune into FSN on Friday night

This weekend, the University of North Dakota men’s hockey team will face their rivals at the University of Minnesota and North Dakota Tourism is proud to once again be a sponsor of the series with Fox Sports North.  The Friday night game will be aired by FSN in North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota and Iowa and starts with the pre-game show at 6:30 p.m.

During Friday’s pre-game show, two legendary North Dakotans take center stage as FSN host Marney Gellner interviews 13-year Minnesota Vikings tight end Jim Kleinsasser.  Gellner, a native of Minot, and Kleinsasser from Carrington, talk about some of their favorite North Dakota places.

Starting this weekend, four fabulous North Dakota prize packages will also be open for entries at the Fox Sports North Fan Zone.  Enter to win:

Winners will be announced during the UND vs. UMN men’s hockey game on January 14, 2012.

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2011 in Events, Family Fun

 

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Summer travel tips

If you’re traveling North Dakota this summer, look for state tourism personnel in unlikely places – like rest areas and gas stations.  We’ll be out-of-the-office Fridays in July, providing traveler assistance in terms of route and destination information as well as asking for brief travel information – like how long you’ve been planning your trip and if you’re traveling for business or pleasure.

And speaking of travel tips – here are a few resources to keep in mind as you’re planning your summer getaway.

Several travelers have been asking about flooding affecting their favorite North Dakota city or attraction.  The Tourism Division is keeping tabs on all affected routes and sites.  If you have questions, we can help.  Call our travel counselors at 1-800-435-5663.  Here are some hot updates:

For more North Dakota news – be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

And a quick “congratulations” to North Dakotan Amy Anderson who finished 63rd in her first professional golf tournament – the U.S. Women’s Open.  Golf the legendary courses that Amy has played in North Dakota – affordable, accessible, scenic golf in the state with the most courses per capita.

 

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Devils Lake – worth every moment

Last week, some co-workers and I had the opportunity to spend two days in Devils Lake and in short: those two days went far too fast.  We had an exclusive aerial tour of the lake, visited Sullys Hill, the Fort Totten State Historic Site, Spirit Lake Casino and the Lake Region Heritage Center.  We ate well (thank you Woodland Resort), slept well (thank you Fireside Inn) did a bit of shopping and got to go FISHING.

Our fabulous guides, Suzie and Katie from the Devils Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau, asked each person in our group what their favorite thing was on the trip and they heard all experiences echoed back.  Devils Lake has a reputation for being one of the best walleye, pike and perch fisheries in the U.S.  It has a mystique, being one of the largest natural lakes in the nation that in the last 20 years has risen nearly 30-feet and is now a 3,810 square-mile basin.  Although known for fish and water – Devils Lake has many cool visitor experiences.

We did not have the time to get everywhere, nor did we have a lot of time to spend at each location.  But what we got to do was fun!  Here’s a glimpse at our experiences:

  1. Sullys Hill National Game Preserve is a birders paradise with numerous viewing stations and opportunity for photography.  Portions of the auto tour are currently closed due to the high water, but trails are open including a 2,000-foot wheelchair accessible trail.  The new visitors center is currently open by appointment.  Just call ahead to make arrangements.
  2. Fort Totten State Historic Site was a military post, a boarding school, a Native American health care facility and a reservation school and visitors can explore the grounds and all of those unique stories.  A beautiful new exhibit in the visitors center has recently opened.
  3. The Lake Region Heritage Center is a gem – there’s a perfectly preserved federal courtroom, a U.S. marshall’s office complete with “holding cell,” a reassembled rural church, a barbershop, a dentist office, displays of Native American culture and much more.  When visiting “Lil’s room” be sure to ask about the ghost story!!
  4. The fishing!!!  Seven of us split up between two boats and two top-secret locations.  In our 3 hours on the water we caught two limits of walleyes and caught-released countless northern pike.  Our guide, Jason Mitchell, had to practically force us off the water.  Check out these “smiles”!

There is road construction on several routes in and around Devils Lake.  Visitors should be prepared for delays and are welcome to check road reports with the Dept. of TransportationGrahams Island State Park is open for camping, but the road to Grahams Island may be subject to closing.  Visitors are reminded just to plan ahead as to not let anything disrupt an awesome experience.

 

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Fishing North Dakota

I answered the phone yesterday to this greeting, “I can’t take it anymore.”  Thinking that something may be wrong, I got concerned.  The response was, “Keith keeps texting me about all the fish he’s catching; I’ve gotta get out there.”  And thus began my husband’s afternoon on the Missouri River.  That was followed up by this morning’s journey to the Missouri River.  And in these two days of fishing I’ve gotten these photos texted to me.

 

You could say the fishing in North Dakota is already pretty good … and considering anglers haven’t gotten out on Lake Sakakawea and Devils Lake yet, it’s only going to get better.

The season doesn’t close/open for North Dakota fishing, with the exception of paddlefishing – which opens on Sunday, May 1. The season is scheduled to run through the end of May, though state wildlife officials will close it early to protect the fish population if it appears too many paddlefish will be caught. That’s happened eight times in the past 10 years.  North Dakota’s Game and Fish Department has the info on this exclusive season.

The paddlefish is one of the largest freshwater fish found in North America.  It’s often desired for its caviar, and a Williston nonprofit called North Star Caviar harvests the paddlefish eggs and sells them to raise money for community grants and paddlefish research.

A new paddlefish state record was set in 2010 when then 16-year-old Alex Mergen snagged one weighing at least 130 pounds.

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2011 in Fishing, Just for Fun

 

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Marney’s Top 10 Legendary experiences

If you follow sports in Minnesota, you’re probably familiar with Fox Sports North host Marney Gellner.  Last month, Marney was back in her home state of North Dakota covering the University of North Dakota vs. University of Minnesota men’s hockey series in Grand Forks.  In preparation for the big weekend, Marney prepared two segments featuring her favorite 10 places or experiences in North Dakota.

If you missed it when it aired, you can still see Marney’s favs.  Here’s countdown 10-to-6 and countdown 5-to-1.

Marney also did pre-game interviews with North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple and fishing personality Jason Mitchell, of the FSN aired Jason Mitchell Outdoors program.  Especially fun is when Governor Dalrymple accurately predicts the game’s final score (and North Dakota’s win)!

Marney Gellner is legendary – RU?

 
 

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I love winter!

Sundogs photographed at the University of Mary, Bismarck - photo by Erica Hager

The headline is 100% completely true in my case. Winter is my favorite season. I love the snow. I love the sparkle. I love the cold. “What?!!” you ask, “You love cold?” Yes – I love the cold. North Dakota was making some headlines this week for being colder than some places in Antarctica. Here in Bismarck this morning it was -25°. (As I write this at noon, it’s already warmed up to 11°. A 30/40/50-degree temperature shift is not uncommon here.)

You might wonder how anyone could love the cold. This morning on my way to a workshop, I drove over the Missouri River.  The River hasn’t completely iced over, so a thick fog was rising from the open water (which was obviously warmer than the air temperature). That fog is cool. The crispness of the air – literally cool. It makes your senses alert, and you hear how loud the crunch of footsteps become. There’s a sharpness to your breath. The air is so clean that the sun dogs around the sun seem to make it twice as bright.

Without winter there wouldn’t be snowmobiling, sledding, outdoor skating rinks, ice fishing, snowkiting, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, dog sledding and much more. What’s your favorite winter activity? Where do you find the beauty of this season?

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2011 in Winter Fun

 

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