Paddlefish season casts off to a good start

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WILLISTON, N.D. - It’s a day many anglers look forward to.

"It's my son’s second year and my fourth year," said James, Marden, Moorcroft, Wyo., residents.

The opener for paddlefish season kicked off with fishermen casting their fishing lines out on the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers.

"They are very prehistoric looking they’re really cool. They are ancient fish and there's not a lot of places that you can fish for them and this is one of the states where you can," said Perry and Pat Sullivan, Minnesota natives.

It doesn’t seem to matter if you’re trying to land the biggest fish in North Dakota or the smallest. Some people just seem to have luck on their side.

"The last two years it’s taken me about a day and a half to catch. Today, I was sitting in the 30-pound range, and so I got in 93 pounds. That’s my largest fish today," John Lisle, Williston resident.

It takes a lot of strength to reel in that lucky catch.

"You get a lot of repetitive motion and you get really sore, you get a lot of bruising things like that occur and you have to be persistent," said Lisle.

Blood, sweat and a few headaches went into Tuesday’s challenge. Vojacek says his 20-pound catch put up a great fight and he’s just glad he didn't get pulled downstream.

"It was a victory so I don't have to keep working at it, but it’s a lot of work to get one pulled in," said North Dakota Resident Stacy Vojacek

Patience is key when you’re trying to catch a paddlefish.

"The longer you got that hook in the water, the more chance you have at getting one, it’s really a game of luck," said Lisle.

A golden rule any fisherman can follow.

For more information on what days are "catch and release" and "catch and keep", you can go online to