Every so often I catch myself with a few pieces of news and notes that might not generate a full column, but are worthy of passing along as reminders

Tracking North Dakota Legislation

For starters, with the 2015 North Dakota legislative session underway, tracking  outdoors-related bills is easily accomplished from the State Game and Fish Department website at gf.nd.gov.

A brief description of each bill is included on the legislation page, along with the bill sponsor, hearing schedule, and results of any votes that have occurred. Links to each entire bill are also provided.

Winter Creel Survey

The Department’s fisheries division has initiated a winter creel survey in the south central part of the state. Anglers from all parts of the state and out-of-state are attracted to this area, and the survey is designed to learn more about who is fishing and what they’re catching.

“Our guys will be hitting various small district lakes scattered throughout south central North Dakota, primarily in Logan and McIntosh counties and northern Kidder County, where you find clusters of lakes,” said Scott Gangl, department fisheries management section leader.

The survey is ongoing and may continue into March.

“What we’re after is the size, catch rates, species and the quality of the fishing experience,” Gangl said. “We want to know how far people have traveled to get to a lake, and does the distance they’ve traveled influence the size of fish they are harvesting.”

Creel clerks will work mostly on weekends, interviewing anglers and measuring harvested fish. Anglers who are interviewed will receive a survey card to complete and put in boxes at access points when they quit fishing for the day.

There is no need to stop at a box unless you are returning a card.

Winter Litter

While on the topic of ice fishing, winter anglers are reminded to clean up the ice when they leave. This not only applies to trash, but fish as well. It is not only unsightly, but it is illegal to leave fish, and that includes bait, behind on the ice.

In North Dakota when a fish is caught anglers, must either immediately release the fish back into the water unharmed, or reduce them to their daily possession.

It is common practice for some anglers to fillet fish on the ice, and it’s important to clean up afterward. “When fish entrails and other parts are left on the ice, it’s an absolute eyesore,” said Greg Power, fisheries chief. “Anglers need to take those fish parts with them when they leave and properly dispose of them at home.”

Power said the pack it in, pack it out mentality applies to all trash, including aluminum cans and Styrofoam containers.

“When you throw those kinds of things into a snow bank, they are out of sight and out of mind temporarily, but everything comes to life in spring and becomes highly visible when the snow melts,” Power said.

Spring Turkey License Applications

The 2015 spring turkey hunting season is set and 5,815 licenses are available, 65 fewer than last year.

Prospective spring turkey hunters are encouraged to apply online at the Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov. Applications can also be submitted by calling 800-406-6409.

Most license vendors, county auditors and Game and Fish offices should have paper application forms by Feb. 1. The deadline for applying is Feb. 11. Online or phone applications must be logged before midnight that day.