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Howie receives Professional of the Year Award

North Dakota Game and Fish Department assistant private land coordinator Doug Howie was recently honored with the 2018 Professional of the Year Award by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

 “Howie was recognized for his consistent professionalism and resourcefulness in administering North Dakota’s Private Lands Open to Sportsmen program. PLOTS is one of the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s highest profile programs, and Howie is a critical player in its success," according to a statement released by WAFWA.

The award was announced July 16 at WAFWA’s annual conference in Eugene, Ore.

Anglers should keep fish caught in deep water

North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries personnel encourage anglers to keep fish caught from depths of more than 25 feet, rather than practice catch-and-release.

Scott Gangl, Game and Fish fisheries management section leader, said, while catch-and-release is often encouraged under the right conditions, fish reeled in from this depth will likely die if released.

“Fish caught from deep water likely won’t survive because of the extreme change in water pressure,” Gangl said.

Change in water pressure will cause the swim bladder to expand, which means fish can no longer control balance, according to Gangle, who said other internal injuries will likely happen, such as ruptured blood vessels or internal organs.

This can happen in any deep water body, but it is especially noteworthy for this time of the year in Lake Sakakawea, he said.

“As water warms during summer, fish tend to move to deeper, cooler water,” he said. “This is particularly true for walleye in the big lake, where walleye follow their primary forage of rainbow smelt to deeper depths as summer progresses.”

Anglers fishing at least 25 feet deep should make the commitment to keep what they catch, and once they reach their limit to stop fishing at that depth.

“Our simple message is for anglers to keep fish that are caught from these depths or to fish in shallower water when practicing catch-and-release,” Gangl said.