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Fall fish survey completed

North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries biologists have completed fall reproduction surveys and most waters fared as good as or better than expected.

Scott Gangl, fisheries management section leader, said Lake Sakakawea had the eighth highest catch of young-of-the-year walleye on record.

“There was good reproduction of most game species in the big lake, as we saw healthy numbers of pike, perch, smallmouth bass, white bass, crappies and walleye,” Gangl said. “And it’s the second year in a row of good walleye reproduction, which isn’t a surprise considering the high water is resulting in an abundance of food and habitat for the young fish.”

Lake Oahe showed good reproduction of walleye this year, which Gangl said is not necessarily a good thing.

“This is the fourth good year class out of the last five years, leaving a lot of small fish out there right now,” he said. “Lake Oahe is lacking forage, which causes fish to grow slower than they should.”

Gangl indicated, while there was some indication of gizzard shad reproduction in Lake Oahe in 2017, there wasn’t much this year.

“The cold winter didn’t allow for much survival with this forage fish,” he said.

Devils Lake saw fair to good numbers of walleye, with the catch close to average even though Game and Fish didn’t stock any walleye in the fishery this year.

“The end result was all from natural reproduction,” Gangl said.

Sampling results on smaller lakes generally vary from lake to lake. The common theme mentioned this year from fisheries personnel across the state is that the young-of-the-year fish were larger than normal.

“This is significant because bigger fish generally have a better chance of surviving through the first winter,” Gangl said. "That’s an important step in getting to a catchable size in the future.”

Reproduction surveys evaluate natural reproduction, stocking success and forage abundance.

Deer gun licenses available

Interested hunters still have time to purchase a license for the 2018 deer gun hunting season.

As of Oct. 15, more than 90 antlerless white-tailed deer licenses remain in units 3F1, 3F2 and 4F. These licenses are available only to individuals who have not already received a lottery or landowner license and are valid only during the regular deer gun season, Nov. 9-25.

Hunters are required to purchase a general game and habitat license before receiving a deer license, according to North Dakota Century Code.

Resident and nonresident hunters can purchase a license online at the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov.

-- Compiled from press releases and staff reports

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