(ANS) Aquatic Nuisance Species Update
by Jason Mitchell
Over the last 10 years North Dakota has gradually added a number of rules and regulations designed to slow or prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species.
In 2018, the only new rule is that transportation of live white suckers is illegal other than within Richland, Cass, Traill, Grand Forks, Walsh and Pembina counties in the eastern part of the state. Live white suckers are not legal bait in North Dakota expect in the Red River.
Heading into a new fishing year, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department reminds anglers and boaters that all aquatic vegetation must be removed from boats, personal watercraft, trailers and fishing equipment such as fishing rods, bait buckets, lures and waders before leaving a body of water. That means “vegetation free” when transporting watercraft and/or equipment away from a boat ramp, landing area or shoreline. Time out of the water needed to remove aquatic vegetation at the immediate water access area is allowed.
In addition to removing vegetation, other North Dakota ANS regulations require:
All water must be drained from boats and other watercraft, including bilges, livewells, baitwells and motors before leaving a water body.
All drain plugs that may hold back water must be removed, and water draining devices must be open, on all watercraft and recreational, commercial and construction equipment bilges and confined spaces, during any out-of-water transport.
All legal live aquatic organisms used by anglers, including legal baitfish (fathead minnows), amphibians (salamanders and frogs), invertebrates (crayfish and leeches) and insects must be purchased and/or trapped in North Dakota. Anglers can transport live bait in water in containers of five gallons or less in volume. The only exception is that anglers may not transport live bait in water away from the Red River (Class I ANS infested waters). At Class I ANS infested waters, all water must be drained from bait buckets as anglers leave the shore, or remove their boat from the water. Anglers must properly dispose of unused bait away from the river, as dumping bait in the water or on shore is illegal. •