The North Dakota 2020-22 fishing proclamation has been amended and the state Game and Fish Department is canceling the upcoming paddlefish snagging harvest season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, the amendment does allow for the possibility of a one-week snag-and-release season May 15-21, which is two weeks later than the normal opening day.
Fisheries chief Greg Power said safety of snaggers, caviar processors and data collection staff are a major concern.
“Paddlefish snaggers concentrate in large numbers in a small area, and often participate in snagging while shoulder to shoulder,” Power said. “There is no realistic way to maintain proper separation.”
Game and Fish is allowing for the possibility of a one-week, snag-and-release season, Power said, because data strongly suggests considerably fewer snaggers will participate.
“The snag-and-release season is considered acceptable as a lower-risk activity for those avid snaggers who just want some time outdoors, usually by themselves,” Power said.
If there is a snag-and-release season, anglers would only need a fishing license. A paddlefish tag would not be required.
The Northstar Caviar fish cleaning, egg processing and boat shuttle operation will not be open this year.