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Doug Leier, Published June 04 2013

Leier: This summer shaping up to be perfect for fishing

Fargo - This summer, my list of things to do begins with “fish more.”

Honestly, that topic may be at the top of the list at the beginning of every summer, but this year I’m particularly excited to fish more because of the abundance of fishing waters in North Dakota.

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is counting about 400 “managed fisheries” in the state this summer. While that’s not a lot compared to some states, it’s the most that North Dakota has ever had.

And it’s not just quantity either. Fish populations in many of these waters are doing well, and it’s not out of line to say that fishing in North Dakota may well be as good as it’s ever been. We’ve got water and fish, and we just might be living in the good ol’ days of fishing.

So the point is, now more than ever, to get out and enjoy the resource and opportunities.

I’ll admit I may have fished more last year than in 2011 or 2010, and like many anglers I don’t believe I’ve ever had any bad memories of fishing. The terms “fishing” or “going fishing” conjure up only positive images and memories.

Not that each individual outing can’t serve up some problems. There’s Murphy’s Law and those days when you forget to bring bait or to put the plug in or lose your favorite tackle. But when all is said and done, each day is a special memory despite the random challenges.

When I fish, it’s usually with all of my kids and sometimes mom goes along as well. It’s a tradition with our family that is already more than a decade old. Our fishing trips are handcrafted and made just for our family, which is part of the draw compared to, say, baseball or some other organized activity. If it’s raining we don’t need to call and find out if fishing is on for the day or not. In fact, we’ve fished in rain and drizzle and that often adds to the experience for the kids.

Our fishing tends to revolve more around spending time as a family than filling a stringer or landing a lunker. We’ve got our favorite spot and a pretty successful routine of who gets the bait, loads the rods and puts together the snacks and other gear to get out the door and down the road as efficiently as possible whenever an opportunity arises.

With as many fishing waters as North Dakota has available this year, there’s bound to be a good prospect fairly close to home as well, making it easy to plan a short-notice family outing.

If you’re not sure of the location of the nearest fishing destination, or want to learn more about good fishing spots within a short drive, check out the Game and Fish Department website at www.gf.nd.gov. Under that main fishing tab is a section on fishing waters that provides a description of each water in the state. Many of the lakes also have contour maps available.

I’ve already circled a few to help with my “fish more” goal for the summer.

Leier, a biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in West Fargo, can be reached at dleier@nd.gov

Leier’s blog can be found online

at www.areavoices.com