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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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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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Alex Mergen – U R Legendary!

An unidentified angler stands with the record paddlefish caught by Alex Mergen

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department has confirmed that a youth from South Dakota has landed a new, state-record paddlefish.  Alex Mergen, 16, of Rapid City, SD can now claim he’s caught the largest fish in North Dakota.  The paddlefish was confirmed to be at least 130 pounds.  (The rumor is that the Game and Fish scale only goes to 130 pounds.)

The record fish was caught Sunday morning on the Missouri River near Williston.  It reportedly was 74-inches and took 10 minutes to land.  The paddlefish season opened this past weekend and continues through the end of the month.

Congratulations Alex – we think You Are Legendary!!

 

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