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Bass Fishing In North Dakota

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Guide to fishing for big smallmouth and largemouth bass in ND.

By Rick Seaman

Bass fishing At Daybreak

North Dakota Bass Fishing

Bass fishing in North Dakota is a beloved pursuit, cherished by anglers of all ages, backgrounds, and skill levels. Few experiences rival the thrill of hooking into a largemouth or smallmouth bass, making it a timeless pastime that transcends cultural boundaries. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a novice angler eager to learn the ropes, mastering the art of bass fishing can be immensely rewarding. That's why this page is dedicated to offering invaluable insights and tips on bass fishing, providing a comprehensive guide on everything from bass fishing techniques to essential bass-catching strategies. Whether you're seeking advice on selecting the perfect lure or honing your casting skills, we're here to equip you with the knowledge and expertise needed to excel on the water. Dive into our wealth of information to discover the secrets of successful bass fishing and unlock the full potential of your angling endeavors.

Bass Fishing Favorites

Largemouth Bass Fishing In North Dakota

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass are the most abundant, and most pursued bass in North Dakota. They are available in most warm-water lakes in the state, they tend to thrive in most water conditions and grow to bragging size in relative short order. Often called big mouth bass, or wide mouth bass, they are savvy predators that feed on most things that live in their territory. Bass in the 5 to 10-pound range are common in North Dakota. The state record largemouth bass is over 8 pounds.

Finding & Catching Bigmouth Bass

Anglers can target big mouth bass in various lakes, reservoirs, and rivers. Spring and early summer are typically the best seasons for targeting largemouth bass as they are more active and feeding in the shallows near shoreline cover. Start with topwater baits, as they cover the water most efficiently. Reaction baits like crankbaits and spinnerbaits are the next choice. For finicky bass, plastic worms and jigs may entice a bite as you can move them very slowly around cover. In the heat of summer and the cold of winter bass move to deeper water, usually following the baitfish. Jigs, drop shot rigs and spoons are a good approach for bass holding in deep water. Vary your retrieve speed and action to find what the bass like today!

Smallmouth Bass Fishing In North Dakota

Smallmouth Bass

While smallmouth bass don't grow as large as their cousin the largemouth, they make up the difference with tenacious fights. Known for long battles and spectacular jumps, smallies grow fat and strong but rarely exceed ten pounds. Their range and locations are often with or nearby the largemouths. The state record smallmouth bass is over 6 pounds.

North Dakota Fishing Lake

Smallmouth bass can be found in rivers and lakes with rocky bottoms and clear water. Smallmouth bass are often found near underwater structures such as rock piles, drop-offs, and submerged logs. Anglers can use techniques such as crankbaits, jigs, jerkbaits, and live bait to target smallmouth bass. Spring and fall are popular seasons for smallmouth bass fishing when they are more active and aggressive.

Bass fishing basics video.

Best Bass Fishing Lakes In North Dakota

You can find bass in lots of places in ND. Many private ponds, rivers and lakes contain bass. Visit the Bass Knowledge Center for additional, valuable information about bass and bass fishing. The Missouri River along with major lakes in the state including Bowman-Haley Lake, Lake Ashtabula, Lake Audubon, Lake Darling, Lake Metigoshe, Lake Oahe, Lake Sakakawea, Lake Tschida and Powers Lake all have healthy populations of bass.

Fishing Boats For Rent In North Dakota

Both largemouth and smallmouth bass provide exciting fishing experiences in North Dakota, and anglers can enjoy the thrill of hooking into these hard-fighting fish while taking in the beautiful natural surroundings. Whether you prefer the explosive strikes of largemouth bass or the aggressive nature of smallmouth bass, North Dakota's lakes and rivers offer ample opportunities to test your angling skills and enjoy the thrill of bass fishing.

Bass In North Dakota

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass

World record: 22 lbs 4 oz

State Record: 8 lbs 8 oz

Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth bass

World record: 11 lbs 15 oz

State Record: 6 lbs 13 oz

Click the images and links above for species details.

Top 5 bass fishing lures for North Dakota this year

When bass are shallow, spinnerbaits, crankbaits and stickbaits are the most productive. As they move deeper, worms and jigs are among the top producers.

The North Dakota state record largemouth bass came out of Nelson Lake and the state record smallmouth bass was caught from Lake Sakakawea.

North Dakota State Record Bass

The state record largemouth bass was caught from Nelson Lake.

The state record smallmouth bass came from Lake Darling.

Bass fishing lures

Bass are aggressive feeders and agile enough to chase down and catch most of their favorite foods. They are most easily caught during a feeding spree but can also be enticed into striking an anglers bait for reasons other than hunger. They are predatory by nature and at times will strike at anything that enters their domain. If it moves, and they can get it into their large mouth, bass will attempt to eat it. They can eat a sunfish up to one-third their own length.

Bass fishing in North Dakota

Bass are one of the most sought after of all the game fish. Its appeal spans cultures, age groups and genders to tap on the heart strings of anglers everywhere. Join us in our endeavor to offer information about bass fishing on your favorite bass lake in North Dakota.

Understanding the primary seasonal movements of smallmouth bass and largemouth bass is key to locating them on local lakes in the Peace Garden State.

Bass fishing book

Catch big bass!


Bass fishing information by state.

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