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Guide To The Best Fishing Spots For Catfish In North Dakota

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All about fishing for channel catfish in ND.

North Dakota is home to thriving populations of channel catfish and flathead catfish, making it a great destination for catfish anglers. Channel catfish are widely distributed throughout the state and can be found in rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. They are known for their scavenging nature and can be caught using a variety of baits such as chicken liver, stink bait, nightcrawlers, and cut bait. Anglers often target channel catfish during the summer months when they are most active and feeding.

Flathead catfish, also known as yellow catfish, are prized by many anglers for their size and strength. They are typically found in larger rivers and reservoirs with deep pools and plenty of cover, such as fallen trees and rock formations. Flathead catfish are predatory and prefer live bait such as large minnows, bullheads, or sunfish. They are known for their powerful fights and can grow to impressive sizes in North Dakota's waters.

Both channel catfish and flathead catfish offer thrilling angling experiences in North Dakota. Whether you prefer the challenge of targeting channel catfish using various baits or the excitement of hooking into a trophy-sized flathead catfish, the state's diverse waterways provide ample opportunities for catfish anglers. Fishing for catfish is popular throughout the summer months when the water temperatures are warmer, but they can be caught year-round in North Dakota's rivers and lakes.

Catfish Fishing Lakes in North Dakota

Catfish fishing in North Dakota

Major lakes in ND with healthy populations of catfish include Lake Oahe and Lake Sakakawea. The Missouri River and The Red River are catfish favorites, and many other rivers, small lakes and ponds also contain catfish.

Fishing Boats For Rent In North Dakota

Catfish in North Dakota

Channel Catfish

Channel catfish

World record: 58 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 42 lbs 1 oz

Flathead Catfish

Flathead catfish

World record: 123 lbs 9 oz

State Record: 29 lbs 6 oz

Click the images and links above for species details.

What's the best bait for catfish in North Dakota?

Choose from the top 5 all-time catfish baits and try them on local waters. Appealing to the keen sense of smell and taste could turn a so-so day into a memorable event.

North Dakota State Record Catfish

The state record channel catfish was caught from Moon Lake.

The state record flathead catfish came from the Heart River.

Catfish fishing from the bank

There are many species of catfish and even more ways to catch them. Adults range in size from less than a pound to hundreds of pounds. Catfish are found in all types of water including ponds, streams, lakes and rivers throughout North Dakota. There are even species which spend a limited amount of time on dry land. Big giant catfish put up a very noble fight once hooked.

Most catfish are considered bottom feeders to one extent or another. They will generally eat anything that can get in their mouth. Their strongest sense is smell which they use to locate potential food sources. Capitalizing on this sense is the primary weapon in your search for these creatures. Aggressive catfish have been caught on most types of fast moving bass lures so don't under estimate their ability to catch live bait.

Catfish Fishing Video

Additional catfishing information resources.

Catfish Conservation Group

U.S. Catfish Anglers Tournaments

Planet Catfish


Information for states with catfish.

AL Catfish Fishing AR Catfish Fishing AZ Catfish Fishing CA Catfish Fishing CO Catfish Fishing CT Catfish Fishing DE Catfish Fishing FL Catfish Fishing GA Catfish Fishing HI Catfish Fishing IA Catfish Fishing ID Catfish Fishing IL Catfish Fishing
IN Catfish Fishing KS Catfish Fishing KY Catfish Fishing LA Catfish Fishing MA Catfish Fishing MD Catfish Fishing ME Catfish Fishing MI Catfish Fishing MN Catfish Fishing MO Catfish Fishing MS Catfish Fishing MT Catfish Fishing
NC Catfish Fishing ND Catfish Fishing NE Catfish Fishing NH Catfish Fishing NJ Catfish Fishing NM Catfish Fishing NV Catfish Fishing NY Catfish Fishing OH Catfish Fishing OK Catfish Fishing OR Catfish Fishing PA Catfish Fishing
RI Catfish Fishing SC Catfish Fishing SD Catfish Fishing TN Catfish Fishing TX Catfish Fishing UT Catfish Fishing VA Catfish Fishing VT Catfish Fishing WA Catfish Fishing WI Catfish Fishing WV Catfish Fishing WY Catfish Fishing