North Dakota’s paddlefish snagging season opens today near the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers in western North Dakota , and since the opener falls on a Tuesday, which is one of the three mandated snag-and-release only days — along with Sundays and Mondays — turnout is expected to be light.
Here’s what Scenic Sports in Williston, N.D., had to say on the store’s website:
“(Today’s) catch and release should be great with good numbers of fish in the river and very little pressure. I kind of feel like most fishermen will come for the weekend with a few lucky ones showing up early Wednesday or Thursday. If you have the freedom to be here for the one day of catch and release on Tuesday I think you will have a great time. I think we will see mainly locals and they never seem to be in too much of a hurry with a lot of days of catch and release but, open day, wow it will be good.”
Paddlefish season is scheduled to continue through May 31 but may close early with 36-hour notice if the harvest is too high. Mandatory harvest of all paddlefish is required on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
I’ve never made the trek west for the paddlefish season, but I hear it’s a blast — especially for those who don’t mind lots of company when they fish.
North Star Caviar of Williston has a cleaning station at the confluence of the two rivers and will clean snaggers’ paddlefish for free in exchange for any roe from the fish. Legal snagging hours are from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.