North Dakota to Require Livewell Draining Starting Oct. 1

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An administrative rules hearing on Sept. 14 has cleared the way for a regulation that prohibits anglers from transporting fish, including bait, away from a water body in a livewell containing water.

Greg Power, fisheries chief for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said this regulation is intended to help reduce the spread of aquatic nuisance species (ANS) throughout North Dakota.

“This means beginning Oct. 1, anglers are required to drain water in livewells and baitwells prior to leaving a water body,” Power said.

Anglers have been encouraged to abide by this since April 1, Power said, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise. “We have been stressing this since early spring, and have mentioned several times this will likely be instituted in October,” he said.

One suggestion anglers might want to adopt is to transport fish in or on ice. “Many will clean their fish right at a cleaning station, or will make other arrangements if a station isn’t immediately nearby,” Power said. “Placing fish on ice is the logical way for those who wait to clean their fish at a campsite or until they get home.”

Anglers understand the importance of taking preventive measures to help minimize the presence of ANS in North Dakota, Power said, and have been supportive in the department’s recommendations. “They understand this issue, and the importance of keeping our waters free of any unwanted species,” he said.

Detailed ANS information and prevention regulations can be found by accessing the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website.