Source:  Walleye Federation
WHAT IS GOING ON?

The Walleye Federation (TWF) as the nation’s largest grassroots Fishing, Youth and Conservation organization, works hard to promote fishing, clean water and to work and support DNR’s and Fish and Game agencies in their efforts our TWF affiliated walleye clubs across the nation do even more grassroots work than anyone. TWF and our TWF affiliated circuits, member and clubs has donated more cold hard cash to Walleye Conservation projects locally and nationally than any organization there is totaling Millions of dollars and man hours by TWF clubs and members. MWC and its anglers alone have donated more than $370,000 dollar to walleye conservation.

So it is with great sadness we have to report that North Dakota and the North Dakota Fish and Game has quietly passed new rules with no opportunity for all stakeholder comment or input that will financially prohibit larger tournaments from operating anymore in the state of North Dakota.

For years ND Game and fish has had the very highest (by far) tournament permit fees in the nation bar none.  Nearly every state in the US charges $200 or less for a tournament permit for a large event. However large events and National circuits holding events in North Dakota have been charged up to $5,000 for a tournament permit by ND Fish and Game in the past.

We have now been told that effective immediately there is no limit on permit fees by North Dakota Fish and Game. NO input, NO discussion, just that North Dakota Game and Fish will demand 10% of gross receipts/entry fees to be paid to ND Fish and Game to hold a tournament. Large events would be forced to pay 10K, 20K, 30K and more (there is no limit) as a fee to host a tournament to be paid to ND Fish and Game.

You read that correctly, the ND Game and Fish will require 10% of gross receipts/entry fees of the tournament prize purse to be paid to them in order to secure the event permit. (For all tournaments of any size) and will include side pots, big fish pots etc.

This WILL impact all events but certainly top level events if they were to hold an event in North Dakota in the future. Think about TWF, NTC, MWC, NWT, Governors Cup and many more. For a $100,000 total payout event that is $10,000 that has to come out of the pot and there by the anglers and circuits pockets and go to ND Fish and Game for the privilege of bringing in millions in tourism dollars and TV exposure to North Dakota and funding to ND fish and game.

WHY should we be charged more to catch the same 5 fish anyone else with a fishing licenses can legally catch (and eat) from public waters?

This is highway robbery and it is purely discriminatory in our opinion.

No other use of public waters, or public land or public streets, to our knowledge is required to pay 10% of gross receipts/entry fees from an event to any other state agency. ONLY tournament fisherman and only in North Dakota.

YOUR fishing licenses sales and boat gas and tackle purchases already fund Sport Fish Restoration dollars totaling millions of dollars to the state of North Dakota. For every fishing licenses sold in North Dakota the state gets MORE Sport Fish funding. Anglers are already paying for the Game and Fish and funding most projects that they do.

IN 2020, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department received $12.8 million as its share of excise taxes paid by America’s recreational shooters, hunters, anglers and boaters.

Sport Fish Restoration is guided by the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act of 1950 and is funded by the collection of excise taxes on sport fishing equipment and electric motors, import duties on fishing tackle and pleasure boats, and a portion of gasoline tax attributable to motorboats and small engines. States use Sport Fish Restoration Program funds to stock fish; acquire and improve sport fish habitat; provide aquatic resource education opportunities; conduct fisheries research; and build boat ramps and fishing opportunities and license sales fund the ND Fish and Game.

Additionally organizations like TWF and MWC and walleye clubs and host communities everywhere have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to walleye conservations over the years, some of that in North Dakota.

TWF and our affiliates have held hooked on fishing not on drugs seminars in North Dakota to train young anglers in ND schools and ND school teachers about getting started in fishing.  TWF has donated funds to dock & ramp projects and to fish cleaning stations and fund raisers and conservation projects with local communities that host tournaments in North Dakota.  TWF affiliated clubs and members in ND have done even more.  We want to do our part and we want to promote and ensure good fishing nationwide.

Every DNR & Game and Fish in most states are primarily (and in many states like ND) fully funded BY ANGLERS, their license sales and their fishing expenses. WE as anglers are already funding the ND fish and game as they received no general fund revenue. WE do our part and them some. So this is targeted and punitive fees in our opinion. It was put into place quietly and without discussion or input from those stakeholders that it impacts.

SO THE WAY TO GET THIER ATTENTION, is buy hitting in the pocket book and reducing their tax base and their tourism dollars to the state BY NOT GOING TO NORTH DAKOTA AND reducing fish and game funding by simply NOT buying any North Dakota hunting or fishing licenses AND by contacting the elected officials there TO GET THIS CHANGED.

This new rule will effectively kill all large tournaments in the state of North Dakota as every major circuit already pays back more than $100 of entry fees to the anglers each year and cannot afford to pay these excessive fees. Now even after paying THE HIGHEST permit fees in the nation for years to ND Game and Fish they want MORE and we WILL NOT pay it.  It is a pure money grab.

Most states recruit tourism and out of state dollars, they want it, most DNR’s and fish and game folks WANT people to use the resources, apparently this is no longer the case in North Dakota who simply wants to penalize tournament anglers for the privilege of coming to the state and spending millions each year  on tourism. This will negatively impact anglers, communities, tourism both local and state and interstate commerce.

Anglers cannot stand by quietly on this issue, these are public waters. TWF will NOT hold any events in ND in the future and take these kind of funds away from our events and we urge all others NOT to hold any in ND until this new rule is changed. We also ask all of you to CONTACT North Dakota officials and let them know you want it changed.

We ask all TWF members and all clubs, all walleye anglers everywhere, all resort owners and host communities you have every stayed at to contact North Dakota officials, governor’s office, state legislators and ND fish and game. Let them know this WILL negatively impact them and let your voices be heard that competitive anglers who spend big dollars to support them are tired of being taken advantage of.

YOU have the same right to go catch your legal limit of fish as anyone else with a license tournament or not. YOU helped pay for those public ramps and parking lots and fish stockings much of which was built with FEDERAL funds as well AND YOU help fund the ND Game and Fish as much as anyone. We all already paying more than our fair share which we are happy to do for our sport, but this is too much.

This could very well impact any or all of you, don’t assume that it is not happening in your state YET. If this punitive fee structure is allowed to stand how long before it comes to YOUR state? IF there was ever a issue that should unite anglers everywhere this is it.


CONTACT THE NORTH DAKOTA STATE OFFICALS AND LET THEM KNOW YOUR DO NOT APPROVE OF THIS MONEY GRAB AND WILL NOT SUPPORT IT.

Office of Governor State of North Dakota

600 East Boulevard Avenue, Bismarck ND, 58505-0001

Phone Number: (701) 328-2200, Fax: (701) 328-2205
Contact – https://www.governor.nd.gov/contact

CLICK here to go to North Dakota Legistators contact page

North Dakota Fish & Game,

100 N. Bismarck Expressway, Bismarck, ND 58501-5095

Director’s Office: 701-328-6305
email – ndgf@nd.gov

  • Terry Steinwand, Director
  • Fish Chief Greg Powers 701-328-6323

Contact ND Fish and Game here

CLICK HERE TO GO TO NDFG facebook page

Source:  The Walleye Federation, Inc.
www.walleyefederation.com
support@walleyefederation.com
580-765-9031