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Great Fishing In North Dakota

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Guide to fishing in the Peace Garden State

By AA-Fishing Staff Writers

  • Devils Lake
  • Heart Butte Reservoir
  • Jamestown Reservoir
  • Lake Ashtabula
  • Lake Audubon
  • Lake Darling
  • Lake Metigoshe
  • Lake Oahe
  • Lake Sakakawea
  • Stump Lake
  • Buffalo Lodge Lake

North Dakota offers a wide variety of fish species across its fishing waters, including warm water fisheries, cold water fisheries, ponds, lakes, and rivers. The purpose of this page is to share basic information about the best fishing lakes in the state, plus the species found in each lake. Anglers in North Dakota can enjoy a diverse range of fishing opportunities throughout the state.

Warm water fisheries in North Dakota are home to popular game fish species such as walleye, northern pike, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and various panfish. These fisheries provide ample opportunities for anglers to target these species and experience the thrill of reeling in their prized catches. Many warm water lakes and reservoirs in the state, such as Lake Sakakawea and Devils Lake, are renowned for their productive warm water fisheries.

In contrast, North Dakota also offers excellent cold water fisheries that are ideal for trout and salmon enthusiasts. Cold water lakes and streams in the state are stocked with species like rainbow trout, brown trout, and Chinook salmon. Anglers can enjoy fly fishing or spin fishing in these pristine waters, surrounded by the scenic beauty of North Dakota's natural landscapes. Lakes such as Lake Metigoshe and Lake Audubon are known for their cold water fisheries and draw anglers seeking these prized species.

Apart from larger bodies of water, North Dakota is also dotted with numerous ponds, small lakes, and rivers that provide fishing opportunities. These smaller water bodies often harbor a variety of fish species including panfish like bluegill, yellow perch, crappie, and sunfish. Anglers can enjoy casting their lines in these peaceful waters, especially in rural areas where hidden gems await.

With its diverse range of warm water fisheries, cold water fisheries, ponds, lakes, and rivers, North Dakota offers something for every angler. Whether you're chasing trophy walleye, battling feisty bass, or casting for trout in a peaceful stream, North Dakota's fishing scene is sure to satisfy anglers of all skill levels and preferences.

Fishing Boats For Rent In North Dakota

Fishing lakes dot the entire state of North Dakota offering a variety of fishing for smallmouth and largemouth bass, walleyes, crappies, perch and more. Ice fishing in winter presents additional fishing opportunities throughout North Dakota. Here, we will concentrate on the major lakes in ND.

Here, you can fish for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, channel catfish, flathead catfish, black crappie, white crappie, walleye, rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, brown trout, lake trout, bluegill, white bass, yellow perch, chinook salmon, muskie, northern pike, paddlefish, sauger, saugeye and tiger muskie in local lakes, rivers, ponds and/or streams.

Major North Dakota Lakes & Species

North Dakota major lakes and fish chart

Lake & Fish Chart

This chart shows the major angling destinations, cross referencing these waters with the major species to be found in each of the lakes or impoundments. Many of these lakes offer fishing boats for rent.

For a detailed list of primary fish species in ND, plus state fish records, see the list below.

Fishing lake sizes and locations in the state.

Arrowwood Lake is a 2,700-acre lake in the central part of the state, at Kensal.

Bowman-Haley Lake is a 1,700-acre lake in the southern border of the state, 12 miles south of Bowman.

Buffalo Lodge Lake is a 1,400-acre lake in the north-central part of the state, 4 miles northeast of Granville.

Devils Lake is a 122,000-acre lake in the northeast part of the state, at Devils Lake.

Dry Lake is a 4,100-acre lake in the north-central part of the state, at Webster.

Jamestown Reservoir is a 2,000-acre lake in the central part of the state, at Jamestown.

Lake Ashtabula is a 5,400-acre lake in the east-central part of the state, at Luverne.

Lake Audubon is a 25,000-acre lake in the west-central part of the state, at Coleharbor.

Lake Darling is a 9,500-acre lake in the north-central part of the state, at Grano.

Lake Metigoshe is a 1,500-acre lake in the north-central part of the state, 10 miles north of Bottineau.

Lake Oahe is a 370,000-acre lake in south-central ND, running south into SD.

Lake Sakakawea is a 368,000-acre lake in the west-central part of the state, stretching from Garrison to Williston.

Lake Tschida is a 5,000-acre lake in the southwest part of the state, 12 miles south of Glen Ullin.

Pipestem Lake is an 840-acre lake in the central part of the state, at Jamestown.

Powers Lake is a 1,600-acre lake in the northwest part of the state, at Powers Lake.

Stump Lake is a 15,000-acre lake in the eastern part of the state, at Toina.

Fish Species & State Records 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


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


Black Crappie

Black crappie

World record: 6 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 3 lbs 4 oz*

White Crappie

White crappie

World record: 5 lbs 3 oz

State Record: 3 lbs 4 oz*




World record: 25 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 15 lbs 13 oz



World record: 17 lbs 7 oz

State Record: 8 lbs 12 oz



World record: 15 lbs 6 oz

State Record: 12 lbs 0 oz


Rainbow Trout

Rainbow trout

World record: 42 lbs 2 oz

State Record: 21 lbs 4 oz

Cutthroat Trout

Cutthroat trout

World record: 41 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 10 lbs 1 oz

Brown Trout

Brown trout

World record: 40 lbs 4 oz

State Record: 31 lbs 11 oz

Lake Trout

Lake trout

World record: 72 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 16 lbs 6 oz




World record: 4 lbs 12 oz

State Record: 2 lbs 12 oz

White Bass

White Bass

World record: 6.8 lbs

State Record: 4 lbs 10 oz

Yellow Perch

Yellow perch

World record: 4 lbs 3 oz

State Record: 2 lbs 15 oz


Chinook Salmon

Chinook salmon

World record: 97 lbs 4 oz

State Record: 31 lbs 2 oz

Other species


Muskie (Muskellunge)

World record: 69 lbs 9 oz

State Record: 46 lbs 8 oz

Northern Pike

Northern pike

World record: 55 lbs 1 oz

State Record: 37 lbs 8 oz



World record: 144 lbs

State Record: 130 lbs 0 oz

Tiger Muskie

Tiger muskie

World record: 51 lbs 2 oz

State Record: 40 lbs 0 oz

Click the images and links above for species details.

A nice trout for his effort.

Fishing Guides

You can find a listing of ND fishing guides here. If you are a fishing guide in North Dakota or know of a good resource, please send us information for consideration.

Visit to find information about fishing boats in North Dakota and other boating information.

State of ND Fishing Information

Click here to obtain a North Dakota Fishing License. For additional information about fishing in ND visit the Game and Fish Department, website.

Bass fishing book

Fish for big bass

Great largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing opportunities are available to anglers.


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