Winter Anglers Reminded to Clean Up Ice
Winter anglers must clean up the ice after fishing. This not only applies to trash, but fish as well.
It is illegal to leave fish, including minnows used for bait, behind on the ice. According to state fishing regulations, when a fish is caught, anglers must either immediately release the fish unharmed, or reduce them to their daily possession.
It is common practice for some anglers to fillet fish on the ice, which is allowed, as long as fish entrails and other parts are removed from the ice and properly disposed of at home.
In addition, all trash, including aluminum cans, cigarette butts and Styrofoam containers, must be packed out and taken home.
Keep Fish Caught in Deep Water
North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries biologists encourage ice anglers to keep fish caught from deep waters.
Catch-and-release fishing, no matter the time of year, is discouraged for fish caught in 30 feet or more, because fish reeled in from those depths have a greater chance of dying if released.
Fish caught in deep water won’t likely survive because of the extreme change in water pressure, which causes the swim bladder to expand. Fish can no longer control their balance in the water column when this happens. Other internal injuries, such as rupturing of organs and bleeding, are also likely for fish caught from deep waters.
Devils Lake ice anglers commonly catch yellow perch in 30-45 feet of water during the winter months. This also occurs to fish in other deep water bodies around the state.
Game and Fish recommends that anglers targeting fish in deeper water make the commitment to keep what they catch. And once they reach their limit, anglers should stop fishing at that depth to avoid killing more than their limit.