2023 Paddlefish Season Bringing Changes For Anglers
April 26, 2023 | View PDF
In 2022, over 40K people acquired paddlefish season tags in western North Dakota and eastern Montana. It is a major event for area anglers.
In North Dakota, snagging of paddlefish is from May 1-21. Montana has three unique paddlefish seasons, and anglers may select only one area to fish for paddlefish. The Upper Missouri River from Fort Peck Dam to Fort Benton season is May 1-June 15. The Yellowstone River and Missouri River downstream of Fort Peck Dam season is May 15-June 30. The Fort Peck Dredge Cut archery-only season is open from July 1-Aug. 31. The Yellowstone River and Missouri River downstream of Fort Peck Dam and North Dakota seasons may be shortened by Montana after 1,000 fish have been harvested. North Dakota will shorten the season at 1,000 animals as well.
In North Dakota, the open areas include the Yellowstone River in North Dakota, and the Missouri River west of the U.S. Highway 85 bridge to the Montana border, excluding that portion from the pipeline crossing downstream to the upper end of the Lewis and Clark Wildlife Management Area. paddlefish snagging is legal only from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. CT during the season. Harvest-only days are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Snag and release-only days are Sundays, Mondays, and Thursdays. Extended snag and release will be allowed for up to seven days immediately following an early season closure.
Camping is not allowed at Sundheim Park in 2023 but the Game and Fish Department will allow camping during the season at Lewis and Clark Wildlife Management Area Pumphouse and at the Neu's Point parking lot. For more information visit https://gf.nd.gov/.
In Montana, all 2022 standard paddlefish regulations remain in effect during the 2023 season but a new regulation has been added. Snagging is now prohibited in the Intake fish bypass channel. As before, Upper Missouri River anglers from Fort Peck to Fort Benton may harvest or catch and release all days of the season. Fort Peck Dredge Cut archery-only anglers may harvest all season days but Yellowstone River and Missouri River anglers downstream of Fort Peck Dam may only harvest Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Catch and release snagging may only be done at Intake Sundays, Mondays, and Thursdays. For more information visit https://fwp.mt.gov/.
In North Dakota, free fish cleaning services again will be provided at the Confluence by North Star Caviar. Montana, Fish, Wildlife & Parks will be offering a free paddlefish cleaning service at the Intake fishing access site on harvest days and for the first six weeks of the paddlefish season in Montana. There are no cleaning services in the white or blue tag fisheries but there is a paddlefish reward hat if the harvested fish is reported accurately.