Game and Fish survey fishers from the sky

Published: Jul. 10, 2019 at 10:18 PM CDT
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The Game and Fish Department is taking to the skies this summer to get a unique perspective on those who fish in North Dakota.

For the past 30 years, game wardens have been using planes to fly over water to analyze lakes and rivers for fishing.

Game and Fish leader Scott Gangl says the planes help them cover more water in a single day than they could on foot.

"He can do it all within an hour or less as opposed to driving around from ramp to ramp," said Gangl, Game and Fish Department research section leader.

Each boater, fisher and trailer are counted by hand from eyes in the sky.

The counters then hand that data to the department to determine numbers of fishers, along with the use of specific public docks.

"We use the information to manage the lakes moving forward to determine what regulations we need impose and how the anglers are utilizing the fish. And by that I mean are they practicing catch and release or are they harvest oriented," said Gangl

In previous years, Gangl says the survey hasn't shown any significant issues, including fish populations or regulations.

"What we've been seeing is that people tend to regulate themselves, and the issues of over-harvest that some see, we really don't have that here in North Dakota," said Gangl.

This summer, Game and Fish will conduct 10 surveys a month until September.

All while keeping a close eye on the water, and their path through the air.