With North Dakota’s paddlefish season set run from May 1st - 21st, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department has announced the sale of tags for this year.

Paddlefish tags are available for purchase online at the Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov, at license vendors, and during normal business hours at Game and Fish offices in Bismarck, Devils Lake, Dickinson, Jamestown, Lonetree (Harvey), Riverdale and Williston. However, snaggers buying tags online or at a vendor should plan accordingly and allow for a few days for delivery, as tags are distributed through the mail.

The mandatory harvest of all snagged paddlefish is required on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. On these days, all paddlefish caught must be kept and tagged immediately. All paddlefish snagged and tagged must be removed from the river by 7 p.m. of each snagging day. Snag-and-release of all paddlefish is required on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays, and participants during snag-and-release-only days need to have a current season, unused paddlefish snagging tag in their possession.

Legal snagging hours are from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central time daily, with one tag per snagger issued. Snagging is legal in all areas of the Yellowstone River in North Dakota and in the area of the Missouri River west of the U.S. Highway 85 bridge to the Montana border, excluding that portion from the pipeline crossing (river mile 1,577) downstream to the upper end of the Lewis and Clark Wildlife Management Area (river mile 1,565).

If the paddlefish season closes early because the harvest cap 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 21. Only snaggers with a current season, unused paddlefish snagging tag are eligible to participate.

All paddlefish snaggers must possess a paddlefish tag, in addition to a valid fishing license for anyone 16 and older. Cost of a paddlefish tag is $10 for residents and $25.50 for nonresidents. Lost or destroyed tags will not be replaced.

The Game and Fish Department will allow camping during the open paddlefish season at Lewis and Clark Wildlife Management Area Pumphouse, and at Neu’s Point WMA. However, no roads or gates will be open at Neu’s Point, therefore camping is allowed in the small Neu’s Point parking lot, and the rest of the WMA for walk-in access.

Snaggers will also notice new concrete boat ramps were constructed at both the confluence and Sundheim Park. Snaggers are reminded that camping is not allowed at Sundheim Park.

North Dakota’s paddlefish season is always eagerly awaited by local anglers, who relish the opportunity to snag these prehistoric fish. However, it is important to note that an early in-season closure may occur with a 24-hour notice issued by the state Game and Fish Department, so anglers should stay informed and comply with all regulations.

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