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North Dakota Game and Fish reminds anglers of winter fishing regulations

It is only legal to release fish back into the water immediately after they are caught.

Ice fishing image
There's some regulations anglers should know before they go out on the ice.
North Dakota Game and Fish Department

BISMARCK -- Anglers are encouraged to refer to the North Dakota 2020-22 Fishing Guide or the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s website for winter fishing regulations, plus fishing questions and answers .

Some winter fishing regulations include:

  • A maximum of four rods is legal for ice fishing.
  • Tip-ups are legal, and each tip-up is considered a single rod.
  • Mechanical devices that set the hook are legal; however, the use of any device that automatically retrieves the fish is illegal.
  • There is no restriction on the size of the hole in the ice while fishing. Materials used to mark holes must be in possession of anglers and spearers as soon as a hole larger than 10 inches in diameter is made in the ice.
  • It is only legal to release fish back into the water immediately after they are caught. Once a fish is held in a bucket or on a stringer, they can no longer be legally released in any water.
  • It is illegal in the state to catch fish and transport them in water.
  • It is illegal to leave fish, including bait, behind on the ice.
  • All live aquatic bait, such as fathead minnows, must be purchased or trapped in North Dakota.
  • Aquatic bait that is frozen, salted, preserved or cut into pieces is legal.

RELATED: Read more fishing coverage in Northland Outdoors

  • Depositing or leaving any litter or other waste material on the ice or shore is illegal.
  • The daily limit is a limit of fish taken from midnight to midnight. No person may possess more than one day’s limit of fish while on the ice or actively engaged in fishing. If a situation occurs when an angler fishes overnight, the first daily limit must be removed from the ice by midnight prior to continuing to harvest fish.
  • The possession limit is the maximum number of fish that an angler may have in possession during a fishing trip of more than one day.
  • It is illegal to introduce anything into the water for the purpose of attempting to attract fish (chumming, artificial light, etc.) that is not attached or applied to a lure.

Doug Leier is an outreach biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. Reach him at dleier@nd.gov.

Related Topics: FISHINGNORTHLAND OUTDOORS
Doug Leier is an outreach biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. Reach him at dleier@nd.gov.
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