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New fishing license is required as of April 1; a fish population update for North Dakota



Bismarck, North Dakota – From April 1, anglers will require a new fishing license.

All regulations in effect in 2022 are applicable to the upcoming fishing season since North Dakota is in the second year of a two-year fishing proclamation. Fish kills, however, are a possible issue for fishermen in particular waters.

“Without a doubt we’re going to lose a number of fish in lakes across the state. For the most part, they’re marginal lakes, they are not high-quality lakes by any stretch. We’ll be losing some. The bigger picture, the good news is, again, those high-quality lakes, the lakes that people tend to fish, especially in the summer, open water, the population, the water levels should be excellent, and the fish populations are good,” said Greg Power, ND Game and Fish fisheries division chief.

Without a doubt, walleyes continue to be the fish that anglers in North Dakota target the most.

“I’d say 95 plus percent or more of our walleye lakes will be out there again this summer. And the population is probably, you know, in the big picture, are equal to or have never been better. The destination fisheries, the big three, Sakakawea and Devils Lake are in great shape. Lake Oahe is struggling. I mean, we do have some issues there. There’s plenty of walleye. They’re just not growing very well,” said Power.

Despite the prolonged winter, populations of the northern pike, our state fish, appear to be maintaining steady.

“We’re probably going to lose a few of those this winter or at ice out. But by and large, our pike populations still are strong, very resilient fish anyways,” said Power.

The spring flow into lakes is a benefit of the extensive snowpack on the ground.

“Snowpack in the mountains, which drives water levels ultimately in the reservoirs, is right at about 100%. It’s not going to be an exceptionally large runoff year, but it’s not a drought year in the mountains,” said Power.

Fishing should be favorable overall in 2023. “The fish are there. Whether to get them to bite that’s always a $1 billion question. But at least the fish populations are out there, the water is out there, should be a great year,” said Power.

Visit to get a new fishing license.