North Dakota


Top 10 Fishing Destinations in North Dakota

North Dakota is a mid-western state dominated by the Great Plains, and is geographically diverse. It is the nineteenth largest in area, and the fourth smallest by population. North Dakota connects the Red River of the North with Minnesota to the east. Devils Lake, the largest natural lake in the state, is also found towards the east. The Missouri River intersects the western part of the state, forming several lakes in North Dakota. These lakes and rivers make it ideal for fishing in North Dakota. Ice fishing in winter offers additional fishing opportunities to anglers.

Lots of Options Up for Grabs

Fishing in North Dakota means you can find a variety of freshwater species.  Whatever you are hunting for, you will find. Species found are: Largemouth And Smallmouth Bass, White Bass, Yellow Perch, Channel Catfish, White Crappie, Trout, Flathead Catfish, Black Crappie, Walleye, Rainbow Trout, Cut-Throat Trout, Brown Trout, Lake Trout, Bluegill, Chinook Salmon, Muskie, Northern Pike, Paddlefish, Sauger, Saugeye and Tiger Muskie in local lakes, rivers, ponds and streams.

Types of Catch Available


raindbow trout

Rainbow Trout

brown trout

Brown Trout

Largemouth Bass

smallmouth bass

Smallmouth Bass

Striped Bass

White Bass

White Bass

northern pike

Northern Pike



bullhead catfish

Bullhead Catfish



yellow perch

Yellow Perch



State Fishing Records

Top 10 Fishing Spots Across North Dakota

North Dakota has nearly 450 fishing waters that have public access, which makes it an angler’s paradise. Are you searching for the best spots for fishing in North Dakota? Think no further and keep reading this article as we have compiled a great list for you to help you plan your next fishing vacation.

Here are the best fishing spots in North Dakota which can’t be missed.

Devils Lake

Devils Lake

The leading spot you cannot miss in North Dakota is Devil’s Lake- The crown jewel of North Dakota fishing. It is the largest natural lake in the state,  covers over 210,000 acres and grows fertile fish in freshwater. Crappie, White bass, Walleye, and Northern Pike are commonly prevalent with multiple-year classes. This lake is a fish factory and angler’s paradise as you can apply any style of fishing you so desire. Whether it’s angling, casting, ice fishing, jigging, or bobber fishing, it can all be done successfully in Devils Lake throughout the year. This is a true natural wonder, and this fishing destination is like no other.

Lake Oahe

Lake Oahe

This river runs north from Pierre, South Dakota, to just south of Bismarck, ND. Covering an area of 370,000 acres, it is a massive, expansive waterway. Most anglers head here to fish early in the year from March until mid-May. You will notice a large movement of fish that swim north towards Bismarck, ND. You can target these fish by trolling crankbaits, plunging jigs with plastics or vertical jigging. All three are super exciting and effective methods to catch walleyes! You can also find Northern Pike, crappie, catfish and white.

Lake Sakakawea

Lake Sakakawea

Lake Sakakawea is the largest body of water exclusively in North Dakota and the third largest reservoir in the nation. This lake is filled by the Missouri River and confined by the Garrison Dam. The massive lake covers more coastline than the state of California and is home to walleye, northern pike, perch, sauger, and Chinook salmon.  Here, you will find giant-sized fish including smelt and walleye. The bite on Sakakawea is best from early June into September. Go for fishing in North Dakota's beautiful Lake Sakakawea situated in the Missouri River System. The lake and the upper portion of the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers provide great backdrops and fishing. It's a wonderful fishing spot for anyone who wants to have an exciting day out on the water while some serious casting.

Lake Metigoshe

Lake Metigoshe

Looking for a fishing spot which is loaded with fresh fertile fish? Head towards Lake Metigoshe. This beautiful lake is not only eye-catching but also is full of fish ready to be caught. Located within the scenic Turtle Mountains and overlapping the U.S.-Canadian border, North Dakota’s Lake Metigoshe has some of the cleanest and purest water in the state. It has plenty of opportunities to catch walleye, perch, bluegills, and pike. This lake is worth visiting for its beautiful landscape, which makes it an excellent vacation with family and friends.

Jamestown Reservoir

Jamestown Reservoir

This reservoir created by the Pipe-stem Dam features a stocked fishing pond which is loaded with fish including: crappie, perch, walleye, and northern pike. There are a plethora of opportunities for some adventurous activities on the water other than fishing and boating, so your kids can also have a good time here. When you get tired of fishing, check out the two beaches for swimming, biking trails, or the world-class disc golf course. This is an ideal place to visit in the summer for an awe-inspiring day around the beautiful landscape while fishing for some good catches.

The Red River

The Red River

The Red River begins at the confluence of the Bois de Sioux and Otter Tail rivers, on the border of Wahpeton, North Dakota and Breckenridge, Minnesota. Downstream, it is bordered by the twin cities of Fargo, North Dakota – Moorhead, Minnesota, and Grand Forks, North Dakota – East Grand Forks, Minnesota.The Red River is home to more than 70 species of fish. It is known for trophy-sized channel catfish which can reach upwards of 30 pounds, walleye as big as 13 pounds, and northern pike as long as 45 inches. The Red River provides many opportunities for fun and amusement. Other fish species include muskellunge, northern pike, smallmouth bass, freshwater drum, sauger, bullheads, walleye, goldeye, mooneye, carp, and lake sturgeon.

Cross Ranch State Park

Cross Ranch State Park

This covers an area of seven square miles, and it is a great natural beauty which lies in the center of North Dakota, along the Missouri River. The surrounding landscape has been left in its original state, and the waters hold a variety of fish to boost your angling experience. Pike, Walleye, Bass, and Trout are loaded there, and there is a boat ramp available.

Lake Tschida

Lake Tschida

When you are planning North Dakota fishing trips, you can’t miss Lake Tschida as it is a great fishing area boasting Walleye, Smallmouth Bass, Tiger Muskies, Perch, and Northern Pike in abundance. Covering a surface area of 3400 acres, Lake Tschida lets you pull in some big catches. The most common fishing methods are crank-baits, jigs, & spinners. Try to look in shallow waters in early and late seasons, as more fishing is done towards the west end. As the water temperatures rise, you will find more fish nearer to the channel in deep water, which is found towards the east end of the dam. There are lots of places around the lake to camp and put your boat in, so this calls for a great weekend trip of amazing fishing.

Nelson Lake

Nelson Lake

Nelson Lake is a 2.5-mile-long, man-made muddy dam which is by far the best largemouth bass lake in North Dakota. It offers open water fishing throughout the year, and this allows fish to breed better as compared to other lakes. In Nelson Lake, the state record largemouth – 8 pounds, 7 ½ ounces – was caught in 1983. You will find abundant, high-quality, and variegated species, including: largemouth bass, crappies, bluegills, bullheads, and northern pike. During the winter months, fish drift to the boat ramp area of the lake as this is where the discharge water from the power plant enters the lake.

Lake Audubon

Lake Audubon

Last but not least, Lake Audubon is ideal for smallmouth bass fishing as well as perch and walleye. The water temperature usually ranges from 43-50 degrees. Fishing around beautiful scenery and wildlife habitation is always the topmost factor to consider when planning North Dakota fishing trips. Tiger muskies have also started getting caught on the hook, and the fishing department has been stocking them in abundance. At Lake Audubon, a 43 inch tiger muskie was caught, which has attracted many anglers from around the world to visit this awe-inspiring lake. The lake has fishing piers, boat ramps, trails, and camping facilities as well.

A land of stunning lakes and valleys, green landscapes and expansive plains, North Dakota fishing is a truly mesmerizing experience for the whole family.











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