The Game Outdoor Enthusiasts Should Be Watching in January are the Legislators

Late January is sometimes considered a time when not much is going on in North Dakota’s outdoors. But this year with new boat registrations coming in and the state legislature in session, it’s a busy time at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

Here’s a recap of a few news items from recent weeks or so that still warrant consideration.

Legislative Session

With the North Dakota Legislature convening the first week of January, the Game and Fish Department set up its website page to track legislation that relates to hunting, fishing and other outdoor issues during the 2023 session.

Interested outdoor enthusiasts can follow proposed outdoors-related bills by logging onto the Game and Fish Department website, A brief description of each bill is included, along with the bill sponsor, hearing schedule and results of floor votes.

Watercraft Registration

North Dakota watercraft owners should note that 2023 is the first year of a new three-year registration period.

Watercraft registrations must be renewed online by visiting My Account at the Department’s website. A credit card is required.

The price to register motorboats in North Dakota under 16 feet in length, and all canoes, is $18; motorboats from 16 feet to less than 20 feet in length is $36; and motorboats at least 20 feet in length is $45. Fees are prorated.

The 2023-25 watercraft registration cycle begins Jan. 1 and runs through Dec. 31, 2025. In addition, a state law created in 2019 requires an aquatic nuisance species fee of $15 for each motorized watercraft registered in North Dakota to run concurrent with the three-year
watercraft registration period.

For motorized watercraft operated on state waters and not licensed in North Dakota, the law establishes an ANS fee of $15 to be paid for each calendar year, and to display an ANS sticker on the watercraft.

New watercraft owners can attach the required documentation, such as the bill of sale or proof of taxes paid, with the online purchase, or send in the required documentation via standard mail. A 10-day temporary permit will be issued to allow for processing and delivery of registration and decals. For timely processing, Game and Fish encourages watercraft owners to submit attachments online.

Planning an Ice Fishing Tournament?

Organizers planning fishing tournaments, including ice fishing contests this winter, must submit an application, along with fishing tournament regulations, to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department at least 30 days prior to the start of the event. The 30-day advance notice allows for review by agency staff to ensure the proposed tournament will not have negative biological consequences, or conflicts with other proposed tournaments for the same location and/or time. Fishing tournaments may not occur without first obtaining a valid permit from the

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Doug Leier

Doug Leier is an outreach biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. Reach him at

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