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North Dakota Carp Fishing

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I was having trouble finding exact rules for carp fishing in North Dakota. It says there is no chumming unless the bait is attached to the hook. It does not say rather I can use sweet corn or field corn for bait or not. I am living in Minot, ND, and I wonder if anyone has any good carp fishing spots close to me. 

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As for the chumming, I would contact the fish & game office for an explanation. Make sure you get the name  of the person you talk to. This is in case there is a difference of opinion with an officer. Can't help with the rest. Good luck.

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Looks like your situation is similar to what we have here in Colorado. Chumming (pre-baiting) is illegal. "It is illegal to introduce anything into waters of the state for the purpose of attempting to attract fish (e.g. chumming, artificial light, acoustic equipment, etc.) that is not attached or applied to a lure as defined"

"A lure is defined as any man-made object comprised of metal, plastic, wood and/or other nonedible materials made or used to catch fish." So, if you use a method lead, or popup boilie rig, etc., you are fine as long as the bait it attached to the lure.

Some here in Colorado question the use of pack baits and there seems to be some discretion among wildlife officers whether that is considered chumming. I do not consider it to be so, since I embed the hook in the packbait, and it remains attached by a hook link the entire time I am fishing. The packbait does tend to dissolve a bit and float around, but it was attached when I cast it out. An officer may disagree. I don't know, I haven't spoken with one.

North Dakota regulations define bait in three categories: 1. Live bait and baitfish, 2. Terrestrial bait (such as nightcrawlers, and waxworms), and 3. Manufactured bait. "Products manufactured as edible fishing bait and other inert biodegradable substances are legal bait."

Corn is not specifically manufactured to catch fish, but would certainly seem to fit within those definitions. It is certainly not prohibited. Same with bread, oats, bread crumbs, or other substances often used in carp fishing. Not specifically allowed, but it's hard to see a wildlife officer complaining about corn when nightcrawlers and salamanders are expressly allowed.

As always, your mileage may vary. Game officers are very individual and may have their own definitions, especially for a species unfamiliar to them, such as carp. 

Another thing to keep in mind though is that the North Dakota regulations define common carp and silver carp as None-game Class III Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS), which "can be kept for consumption if legally harvested." but "cannot be released alive back into a waterbody after they have been harvested." So apparently, catch and release carp fishing is illegal in North Dakota.

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Is a buzz bait or a spinnerbait an acoustic, that is, it attracts by sound? Noisy surface lures as a Hula Popper has drawn fish from as deep as 20 feet.

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Another thing to keep in mind though is that the North Dakota regulations define common carp and silver carp as None-game Class III Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS), which "can be kept for consumption if legally harvested." but "cannot be released alive back into a waterbody after they have been harvested." So apparently, catch and release carp fishing is illegal in North Dakota.

I was fishing the Garrison Dam in ND, with worms and was catching suckers. A game and Fish officer came up to me and asked for my Fishing License. I asked him, "What does Harvest mean for carp fishing/" He said the rule was written that way for bowfishing. They did not want bowfishing hunters to put the carp they shot with an arrow back into the water. He said that for catch-and-release I could release them back into the body of water where the fish were caught, but could not transport them alive. They just do not want carp getting into other bodies of water where there are no carp. I am still going to send a message to the ND DNR and ask again although they never responded back last time. I will let everyone know if they say something different. If they do not respond, I plan to go to one of the DNR fishing shows and ask someone directly at one of their booths. There are lots of carp at Garrison Dam, so I think it will make a great spot to fish in 2020.

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I contacted the North Dakota DNR and this is what they had to say. You can release carp back into the water (catch and release), but you must take care not to harm the fish and do it right away. You are not permitted to keep the fish and then let it go later or move it to a different venue and then let it go. You must weigh it, photo it, and get it back into the water quickly from where it was caught. The North Dakota DNR does not want dead fish in the water that could cause bacteria growth and reduction of oxygen levels or carp transplanted into lakes where they are not found. The harvest rule in the fishing regulations is for bow anglers and spear anglers. Apparently, some people would shoot the fish with an arrow and then let it go free. Seems like a lack of common sense resulted in this law. The second part of my conversation had to do with chumming and chumming alternatives. No chumming is allowed in North Dakota; however, you can use a few alternatives. The use of a PVA bag or string is permitted if the bag or string is connected directly to the hook bait. The method is permitted too as long as you use the pay laker version. The European method idea is to mold the ground bait around the weight/lead, but the American pay laker idea is to  put it around the hook bait. You can use the American pay laker version because the bait is being molded around the hook bait. It is illegal to put the method around the weight in North Dakota as this violates the rule that states it must be molded around a hook or lure. I hope that helps anyone fishing for carp in North Dakota. I started a Facebook group on YouTube for anyone interested in fishing for carp in North Dakota. North Dakota Carp Fishing Group on Facebook. 

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Most states do not allow transporting fish from one body of water to another unless it is private waters as a farm pond, etc. Prevents spread of disease, etc.

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We can fish two rods in North Dakota, correct? Using method balls and recasting each rod every 30 minutes should be reasonable...

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You can use two rods on most bodies of water in North Dakota, but check lake regulations as some have special rules.

You can catch-and-release carp back into the body of water from where you caught them according to the email I received from the main office. However, the regulations state that if the carp is harvested, it cannot be released. According to the email I got back, the rule is aimed at bow anglers because they were shooting carp with arrows and then releasing them back into the water to die. However, you should probably talk with your local game and fish officer or contact the ND DNR office to get in writing that you can catch-and-release carp. Some game and fish officers might interpret the law differently, so having permission from the main DNR office in writing would help your case if you have a dispute. 

The method is probably illegal because the dough bait is molded around the lead and not the hook. I explained that we normally shove the hook into the method ball, but this might not be enough according to the main office. The main office said they have not yet made a ruling, but were leaning toward making it illegal. For now they said they would leave it up to the local Game and Fish officer to decide for their area. However, the American Pay Lake groundbait idea is legal. Although we make method and groundbait pretty much the same way, it is how it is used that is the big difference. Groundbait is molded around the hook and not the lead, so that complies with ND Fishing Regulations, which allows you to mold bait around a lure or a hook. 

Using PVA string and bags are also legal as long as the hook is either in the bag or the bag or string is connected to the hook. This is the same idea as molding dough bait around the hook. The bait must be on the hook or around the hook to be legal. 

I would suggest contact the DNR main office in North Dakota and getting the rules confirmed in writing before fishing for carp. This way if there is a dispute with you and a Game and Fish officers you have some leverage to support your case. If you are stopped and threatened with a ticket or worse, just remain calm. Speak nicely and softly with the officer. Show your written permission. Give him a chance to digest it and make his decision. If he says no, then leave. It is probably best if you go and talk to them before you have a dispute. Show them your written permission from the main office and let them know where you will be fishing. Be polite and nice no matter how they respond. You can complain to the main office if there is a problem or if they act rudely. If you cannot get permission to fish the way I have been told is legal, then maybe try going someplace else in North Dakota. I have never had an issue with any DNR officer ever, but you never know. If they know you and have spoken with you, they are more likely to be friendly with you. 

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