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Anglers targeting central North Dakota, near-record perch caught

Perch was caught in a lake slough north of Jamestown.

Jake Hanson.jpg
Jake Hanson of Jamestown caught a near-record yellow perch that weighed 2 pounds, 12 ounces and 17 inches long on Sunday, March 13, in Stutsman County.
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JAMESTOWN – A near-record yellow perch that was caught by a Jamestown man wasn’t the first time someone from here caught a large fish in Stutsman County, and many fishing enthusiasts are targeting central North Dakota for the hobby, according to David Schmidt, president of Dakota Anglers.

“If you do a lot of fishing in the summertime, you will see a lot of boats from Minnesota and South Dakota that are fishing our neighboring lakes and newfound water,” he said.

Schmidt said there are a lot of small lakes that have popped up over the past years with an influx of water and he encourages people to fish in them.

“I don’t know how long this is all going to last,” he said. “Some of these fisheries are here today and could be gone in a year all depending on the water levels. We are hoping the water levels stay up.”

Near-record catch

Jake Hanson caught a yellow perch that weighed 2 pounds, 12 ounces and was 17 inches long on Sunday, March 13, in a lake slough north of Jamestown. Kyle Smith of Carrington holds the record for a yellow perch at 2 pounds, 15 ounces and 15 inches long that was caught on March 28, 1982, from Devils Lake.

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“It’s really exciting but at the same time it’s almost unbelievable,” Hanson said. “I never thought that would ever happen in my life.”

Hanson said he took the perch to a taxidermist so it could get mounted.

“I figured at 25 years of age, and my dad is 60-something, he’s never seen anything like that before,” he said. “You see pictures and stuff, but you don’t see that in person.”

It’s really exciting but at the same time it’s almost unbelievable. I never thought that would ever happen in my life.
Jake Hanson, on catching a near-record perch

Hanson said he thought the fish was going to be a walleye. Then the head popped out through the hole, and he realized it was a perch.

“We were using an 8-inch auger so a smaller hole,” he said. “As soon as I saw the head come up, I was just kind of in shock. So I kind of helped its way out of the hole because I didn’t want to pull the hook out of its lip.”

Fishermen from Jamestown who hold state records include Chris Rick, who caught a 3-pound, 4-ounce crappie that was 17 inches long from the Jamestown Reservoir, and Sam Wenner, who caught a 15.91-pound zander that was 35 ⅝ inches from Spiritwood Lake.

Enhancing lakes

Schmidt said the North Dakota Game and Fish Department does a good job on reviewing water and the fishing habitat. He said the department will supply the waters with fish if it thinks there is enough water to support the fish for a number of years.

Schmidt said the only way the department will stock the lakes with fish is if there is public access to them.

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Dakota Anglers works to enhance the lakes by helping install boat ramps. The organization and Stutsman County contributed $5,000 each for a $40,000 grant from the North Dakota Game and Fish Department to reconstruct the existing cement boat ramp in the Marina area on Jamestown Reservoir and upgrade it to a double-lane ramp.

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Schmidt said Dakota Anglers is also working to get a new dock installed at Pipestem Reservoir after the old one was damaged from ice. He also said the organization has helped get outhouses installed at various places.

The group has helped with projects outside of Stutsman County as well, including boat ramp installations on Eckelson Lake South and Eckelson Lake, Schmidt said.

He said some ramps cost around $1,000 to $2,000 per ramp while others cost significantly more.

“We are always open to more opportunities that we can do some of these things,” Schmidt said.

He said Dakota Anglers also encourages younger children to fish. He said the organization hosts the Little Britches Tournament where many of the area’s youth get together for the event.

Masaki Ova joined The Jamestown Sun in August 2021 as a reporter. He grew up on a farm near Pingree, N.D. He majored in communications at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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