High water delays final spring trout stocking at Turtle River State Park

There’ll be another spring shipment of rainbow trout stocked in the Turtle River at Turtle River State Park, but it won’t be until sometime next week when river levels become more manageable.

Normally, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department stocks another batch of rainbow trout into the Turtle River right before the Memorial Day weekend, but the recent widespread rains have the river running at “bank full” levels, and the water is very muddy.

Steve Crandall, manager of Turtle River State Park, said the park was scheduled to get its last load of trout for the spring Thursday, but he said delaying seemed a prudent option, given the river conditions.

“I figured most of those fish would just ride out of the park reaches of the river when it’s this high,” Crandall said in an email.

Not surprisingly, Crandall said a busy weekend is on tap at the park, and reservations are filled. Even last weekend, which was Canada’s annual May long weekend, was booked solid, Crandall said, and the Canadian campers all showed up — and stayed — through all the rain. Now that’s dedication.

Game and Fish announces another reduction in N.D. deer licenses

There’ll be even fewer deer licenses available this fall in North Dakota, the Game and Fish Department announced today.

In a news release, department staff said North Dakota’s 2015 deer season is set, with 43,275 licenses available to hunters this fall — 4,725 fewer than last year, and the lowest number since 1978.

The reduction comes as no surprise. Jeb Williams, wildlife chief for Game and Fish in Bismarck, said deer populations remain well below management objectives in most units across the state, and continuing a conservative management approach is needed to help with recovery efforts.

Any-antlerless (down 2,650 from last year) and any-antlered (down 1,150) licenses make up the majority of the reduction, while antlerless whitetail (down 800) and antlered whitetail (down 650) account for the remainder.

On a positive note, Williams said the mule deer population in the badlands increased for the third consecutive year, with numbers showing the spring mule deer index is up 24 percent from last year.

However, as was the case the past four years, there are no antlerless mule deer licenses available in units 3B1, 3B2, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E and 4F. This applies to regular gun, resident and nonresident any-deer bow, gratis and youth licenses.

North Dakota’s 2015 deer gun season opens Nov. 6 at noon and continues through Nov. 22. Online applications for regular deer gun, youth, muzzleloader, and resident gratis and nonresident landowner licenses are available here.  Also, paper applications will be at vendors throughout the state by mid-May. The deadline for applying is June 3.

More trout stocked at Turtle River State Park

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department stocked another batch of rainbow trout into the Turtle River on Monday at Turtle River State Park.

According to Steve Crandall, park manager, Game and Fish stocked 700 rainbows averaging about a half-pound each. A third stocking tentatively is scheduled for sometime shortly before Memorial Day, Crandall said, and that will be it for this spring. A fourth stocking likely will occur about the third weekend in September after the river cools off a bit, Crandall said.