Outdoors briefly

State parks return to full services Friday

North Dakota’s State Parks return to full services on Friday. Daily vehicle entrance fees are $5 or $25 for an annual pass. The annual pass is good for any of the state park system’s 13 parks, and discounts are provided to seniors and disabled military veterans. Annual passes are available for purchase at the state parks, and can also be purchased online at (parkrec.nd.gov).

Camping sites, cabins and yurts can be reserved by calling 800-807-4723 or online at (parkrec.nd.gov). Those visiting Icelandic State Park will have to use a detour to reach the campground. The access road over the Renwick Dam has been closed to allow reconstruction of the facility.

The past several years, North Dakota’s state parks have been popular destinations for tourists, recording over a million visitors each year.

G&F issues legal live baitfish reminder

Fathead minnows, sticklebacks and creek chubs are the only legal live baitfish species that can be used in most North Dakota waters. The exceptions are the Red and Bois de Sioux rivers, where white suckers can be used, and 23 state waters where it is illegal to use any live baitfish.

According to North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries chief Greg Power, legal bait regulations have become more restrictive in the last 25 years in an effort to eliminate bait bucket transfer of unwanted fish species into state waters. For the past couple of decades, the department has worked with the wholesale and retail bait industry to help ensure that anglers are buying clean and legal minnows at their local bait shops.

Power said it remains the angler’s responsibility to possess only legal live baitfish when fishing in North Dakota. For specific regulations regarding bait use and all other fishing regulations, refer to the 2014-16 North Dakota Fishing Guide.

State: Renew boat registration online

The State Game and Fish Department is urging boat owners who have yet to renew their registration for 2014 to use the agency’s online renewal system to speed up processing time. Game and Fish Department licensing manager Randy Meissner says the processing time currently is 10 to 14 days.

“For someone who wants to have their boat licensed for 2014 and ready to go by Memorial Day weekend, they might be cutting it a little close if they mail in their renewal,” Meissner said. “By renewing online at the Game and Fish website, it only takes a few days for us to get the new registration card and decals out in the mail.”

The Game and Fish website address is (gf.nd.gov). Meissner added that the Game and Fish online system is for renewals only.

First Fish Certificate available for kids

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is reminding parents to capture their little angler’s first catch on a specially designed First Fish Certificate. First Fish has no qualifying weights or measurements. The only requirement is the successful landing of a North Dakota fish. Certificates are available to all who request them, and have ample room for all the important information, such as name, age, lake and a short fish story, plus a blank space for a photograph.

Free certificates are available by contacting the Game and Fish Department at 328-6300, or send an email to ndgf@nd.gov.

Boat North Dakota course available

Children ages 12-15 who want to operate a boat or personal watercraft this summer must take the state’s boating basics course. State law requires youngsters ages 12-15 to pass the course before they operate a boat or personal watercraft with at least a 10 horsepower motor. In addition, major insurance companies give adult boat owners who pass the course a premium discount on boat insurance.

The course is available for home-study from the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Bismarck office. Two commercial providers also offer the course online, and links to those sites are found on the department’s website at (gf.nd.gov). While the home-study course is free, students will be charged a fee to take it online.

Upon completion of the online test, and providing a credit card number, students will be able to print out a temporary certification card, and within 10 days a permanent card will be mailed. For more information contact Nancy Boldt, North Dakota Game and Fish Department, by email at ndgf@nd.gov; or call 328-6300.

Walleye length restriction in southeast

Anglers fishing in southeastern North Dakota are reminded of a length requirement when fishing for walleye. The 2014-16 fishing proclamation includes a 14-inch minimum walleye length restriction on six lakes in southeastern North Dakota Alkali Lake, Buffalo Lake and Tosse Slough in Sargent County; and Lake Elsie, Lueck Lake and West Moran Lake in Richland County. Anglers should refer to the 2014-16 North Dakota Fishing Guide for all fishing regulations.