Outdoors briefly

Fish house removal nears

Angler numbers on the Lake Audubon National Wildlife Refuge (southern portion of Lake Audubon) in December, with over 5,400 visits recorded. January and February drew fewer anglers with 4,000 and 2,000 visits, respectively.

Although ice fishing is permitted while ice covers the water, fishermen are reminded that fish houses must be removed by March 15. Portable fish houses may continue to be used if they are removed daily. As fish houses are pulled off the ice, please note that they may not be left unattended on refuge uplands or in parking areas. They must be removed from the refuge.

There are six designated ice access points where vehicles may access or leave the ice at Audubon Refuge. All vehicles, including snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles, must stay on public roads, use designated ice access points, or be on the ice. Vehicle use is prohibited across the refuge grasslands.

Fishermen asked to clean up ice

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department reminds winter anglers to clean up the ice after fishing. This not only applies to trash, but fish as well.

It is illegal to leave fish behind on the ice. According to the fishing proclamation, when a fish is caught, anglers must either immediately release the fish back into the water unharmed, or reduce them to their daily possession.

“It is common practice for some anglers to fillet fish on the ice,” said Robert Timian, law enforcement chief. “Clean up after yourself. Don’t leave the entrails and sides of filleted fish on the ice. Put the carcass in a trash bag and properly dispose of it when you get home.”

Rock’s crappie ties record

Chris Rick’s catch on Jan. 19 tied a state record for crappie that’s been on the books for nearly 15 years. The Jamestown angler reeled in a 3-pound, 4-ounce crappie from the Jamestown Reservoir. The record was established in 1998 by Don Newcomb, a Mandan angler who was fishing Lake Oahe.

Hunter education classes filling up

Adults and children looking to take a hunter education class in 2013 are reminded to enroll now as the majority of all classes are held by the end of May.

Zach Peterson, hunter education coordinator for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said classes held early in the year fill up quickly because of the deer application deadline. “There is a major demand for classes held before June because they will qualify students for submitting a deer application,” Peterson said.

To register, go to the department’s website and click on “online course enrollment” under the hunter education heading. Classes are listed by city, and can also be sorted by start date. To register for a class, click on “enroll” next to the specific class, and follow the simple instructions. Personal information is required.

Those who do not have access to the Internet and want to sign up for a class can call the hunter education program in Bismarck at 328-6615. State law requires anyone born after Dec. 31, 1961, to pass a certified hunter education course to hunt in the state. Hunter education is mandatory for youth who are turning 12 years old, and children can take the class at age 11.