posted on April 04, 2011 09:56 :: 2753 Views
If you asked my wife about my ability to recall seemingly useless trivial data, she would likely say that it is times annoying. I’m not bragging about it, not a chance, but I’ve never understood how I can easily forget the whereabouts of my keys, cell phone, the remote control and my wallet several times in any given day, but I can rattle off how Minnesota Twins catcher Dave Engle was a nondescript All-Star in 1984.
Or for that matter, how Carrington’s Kyle Smith in 1982 caught the state record perch, and the whopper weight for a bullhead in North Dakota is 2 pounds even.
I remember Smith, who as a casual angler caught the record perch at Devils Lake because he played college football at Valley City State when I lived there. And I’ll admit that I am likely one of the few people in North Dakota who has an unfilled goal of catching a whopper bullhead. To catch such a fish, one must know the qualifying weight.
The record perch and whopper bullhead are but two of many unique aspects of fishing trivia in North Dakota.
Did you know North Dakota has 350-plus boat ramps, or that North Dakota’s 50 largest lakes equal approximately 660,000 acres, with a total of about 3,400 miles of shoreline?
That’s more miles than the Pacific Coast line from Washington to California.
North Dakota’s huge Lake Sakakawea itself has an estimated 1.5 million acre feet of sediment that has washed in over the last 58 years since the completion of Garrison Dam. How do you visualize a number in those terms? That’s enough to cover more than 2,300 square miles with a foot of dirt, or enough to add 5 feet of dirt under every surface acres of water when the reservoir is at full pool.
Did you know that more than 100 different species of fish have been documented in North Dakota waters, and 81 of those are native fish? North Dakota anglers target walleye (74 percent), pike (11 percent) and perch (8 percent) as the most popular fish species.
Game and Fish issues on average just under 170,000 fishing licenses each year, about 80 percent of which go to resident anglers who average wetting line on 18 days during the year., North Dakota one of the top three or four states for fishing licenses per capita, depending on the year.
About half the statewide fishing effort occurs at Devils Lake and the Missouri River System.
The average angler is 52 years old, and 15 years ago the average age was 45. I’m not sure of the reason for the uptick on angler age, but it reinforces the need to take a kid fishing.
One last bit of trivia. If you think the state has had many records broken in recent years, you’re correct. In the past decade, state anglers have broken 10 records, including the carp, which I helped verify. I was innocently riding bake on a Saturday morning in June 2003 when the grandfather of the young anglers who caught the fish pulled alongside me in his vehicle to tell me about it.
Yes, I remember that sunny morning, but alas, I will inevitably forget the office garbage this week and maybe next week as well.
Doug Leier is a biologist with the Game & Fish Department. He can be reached by email:firstname.lastname@example.org