Outdoors briefly

Game and Fish at State Fair

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will host thousands of visitors to its Conservation and Outdoors Skills Park July 19-27 at the State Fair in Minot.

Visitors will be treated to an array of activities, exhibits and useful information as the park will be staffed from 1 to 7 p.m. daily. Pathways to hunting, fishing and trapping are major attractions where fishing, shooting, archery and furtaking are taught to interested kids and adults. Of course, the opportunity to catch a fish brings excitement to the littlest angler.

The Conservation and Outdoors Skills Park is located on the north end of the grounds near the All Seasons Arena. Admission is free for fair attendees.

Sage grouse plan revised by state

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department has completed a draft revision of a 2005 plan that addresses conservation of sage grouse within the state. The department is accepting public comments on the revised plan through Aug. 1. The sage grouse plan is available on the Game and Fish website at (gf.nd.gov), by mail, or by contacting Game and Fish at 328-6300.

Sage grouse are native to the far southwestern corner of North Dakota and the population within the state has declined steadily over the past 30 years. The 2013 count indicated the lowest number of male sage grouse observed since Game and Fish biologists started the annual spring survey in the 1950s.

Game and Fish Director Terry Steinwand said the sage grouse plan was developed to address potential listing by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the Endangered Species Act.

“North Dakota is one of 11 Western states that has a sage grouse population,” Steinwand said, “and all states are developing conservation plans to address population decline throughout the sage grouse range.”

The long-term goal is enhancement of sage grouse habitats in North Dakota, often through private-public partnerships, that will again support a healthy self-sustaining sage grouse population.

BOW workshop has openings

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program still has openings for the annual summer workshop Aug. 9-11 at Lake Metigoshe State Park, Bottineau. Enrollment is limited to participants age 18 or older. Workshop fees of $135 cover instruction, program materials, use of equipment, all meals and lodging.

Participants can choose from more than 30 programs, including archery, canoeing, introduction to firearms, fly-fishing, kayaking, global positioning system, plant identification, and tracking and trapping.

BOW workshops are designed primarily for women with an interest in learning skills associated with hunting, fishing and outdoor endeavors. Although open to anyone age 18 or older, the workshops are tailored primarily to women who have never tried these activities or who are beginners hoping to improve their skills.

Women interested in attending the workshop can enroll online, or print and mail an information brochure and enrollment form, at the Game and Fish website, (gf.nd.gov). More information is available by contacting Nancy Boldt at 328-6312, or email ndgf@nd.gov.

Proposal to kill fish at dam

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is proposing to chemically eradicate existing fish populations in Danzig Dam and the Storm Creek watershed in Morton County.

Aquatic habitat supervisor Scott Elstad said Danzig Dam was recently drawn down to install a water control structure and complete shore enhancement projects. The lake has a history of fish kills and the water control structure should help prevent significant winter kills.

“Fish populations are currently dominated by carp and bullhead, which create a problem for fish management,” Elstad said. “It is a good time to attempt a chemical eradication while the lake is drawn down.”

If the existing fish population was eliminated, Elstad said newly stocked fish would not have to compete for food, or be eaten by bullhead. Eradicating fish populations is costly and time consuming. The chemical used is rotenone and is not harmful to animals at application concentrations. At the time of application and until the reservoir refills, the drawdown valve would be closed to prevent fish kills downstream.

The eradication would take place sometime before September. Restocking with northern pike and perch will begin in 2014.

Game and Fish is accepting comments on the project until July 19. Comments should be directed to southwest district fisheries supervisor Jeff Hendrickson in Dickinson at 290-1365.

MacLean Bottoms work completed

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department recently cooperated with Burleigh County to complete major gravel road repairs on the Oahe Wildlife Management Area south of Bismarck. The project included reshaping and graveling nearly 8 miles of access roads at MacLean Bottoms and Apple Creek, which were severely damaged from the 2011 flood.