The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is closing the state’s 2017 regular paddlefish snagging season, effective at 9 p.m. Central Daylight Time, on Monday, May 8.
Snaggers are reminded that Sunday, May 7 and Monday, May 8 are snag-and-release only days, and in order to participate they must not have already used their tag on a harvested paddlefish.
The 2016-18 fishing proclamation allows for the Game and Fish director to close the snagging season early if it appears the harvest will exceed 1,000 paddlefish.
“Another repeat where snaggers this year have been extremely successful,” said Greg Power, fisheries chief. Power added that a significant proportion of this year’s harvest so far consists of females, which further necessitates the early season closure. The 2017 paddlefish harvest season of four days equals last year as the shortest on record.
An additional four-day snag-and-release season will begin Tuesday, May 9 and run through Friday, May 12. Paddlefish snaggers with an unused paddlefish tag can continue snagging during the additional snag-and-release season, but must release all fish immediately.
Snag-and-release is legal only in that area of the Missouri River starting on the north shore from the Confluence boat ramp then east (downstream) one-half mile, and that area of the Missouri River starting on the south shore from the Confluence with the Yellowstone River then east (downstream) one-half mile (both areas will have boundary signs).
Paddlefish snagging is allowed only from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. (CDT) during each day of the additional four-day season. The use or possession of a gaff on snag-and-release days is illegal.