Shore fishing

Shore Fishing Opportunities in North Dakota

North Dakota, often celebrated for its vast prairies and rolling hills, also offers a wealth of shore fishing opportunities for anglers.

With an abundance of lakes, rivers, and reservoirs, the state provides accessible and fruitful fishing spots for both novice and experienced anglers. Shore fishing is not only a relaxing pastime but also an excellent way to connect with nature and enjoy the scenic beauty of North Dakota's diverse landscapes.

Popular Shore Fishing Locations:

Devils Lake

Description: Known as one of the premier fishing destinations in North Dakota, Devils Lake offers excellent shore fishing opportunities. Its vast expanse and abundant fish populations make it a favorite among anglers. Look for Devils Lake’s many fishing piers and road side shore access.

Target Species: Walleye, Northern Pike, Perch, and White Bass.

Best Spots: The shores near Grahams Island State Park, the Channel A area, and Six Mile Bay are popular for their easy access and productive fishing.

Lake Sakakawea

Description: As the third-largest man-made reservoir in the United States, Lake Sakakawea boasts extensive shorelines (greater in length than the coast of California) perfect for fishing. The lake's diverse fishery attracts anglers from all over the country to target trophy walleye and an impressive population of smallmouth bass. The lake boasts excellent shoreline access at all the state parks and resorts along the lake.

Target Species: Walleye, Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike.

Best Spots: Areas around Fort Stevenson State Park, the Garrison Dam Tailrace, various wildlife management areas and numerous bays and coves offer prime fishing locations.

Missouri River

Description: The Missouri River runs through the heart of North Dakota, providing numerous access points for shore fishing. Its dynamic flow and rich biodiversity make it a top choice for anglers. There are a number of state wildlife management areas and city county parks that provide great access for shore anglers.

Target Species: Walleye, Catfish, Northern Pike.

Best Spots: Popular shore fishing locations include the areas around Bismarck, Mandan, and the stretches near the Garrison Dam.

Jamestown Reservoir

Description: A highly productive fishing spot, the Jamestown Reservoir offers a serene environment for shore fishing. Its manageable size makes it ideal for family outings.

Target Species: Walleye, Northern Pike, and Crappie.

Best Spots: The shores around the Jamestown Marina and Five Mile Corner are frequented by shore anglers. Don’t overlook other area lakes like the Pipestem Reservoir just to the west and hidden gems like Spiritwood Lake & Alkali Lake fifteen miles NE of Jamestown. In addition to good numbers of pike, perch and walleye, Alkali is one of the few places to catch Zander.   

Lake Metigoshe

Description: Located in the scenic Turtle Mountains, Lake Metigoshe is a popular destination for both recreation and fishing. Its clear waters and varied fish populations make for an enjoyable fishing experience. The lake features several sizes of bluegill, including some large fish, along with some nice crappie.

Target Species: Bluegill, Walleye, Crappie, Pike and Perch.

Best Spots: The shores near Lake Metigoshe State Park and various accessible coves around the lake provide excellent fishing opportunities.

Hidden Gems w/ Fishing Piers and Shore Access

Red River, Chain of Lakes, Lake Ashtabula, Sheyenne River, Souris River, Larimore Dam, Lake Tschida, Blacktail Dam, Fish Creek Dam, Crown Butte Dam, Northgate Dam, Coldwater Lake, Pheasant Lake, Lake Darling, Hoskins Lake, Josephine Lake. 


Ponds provide easy exclusive access for shore anglers. Some of the best places for new or young anglers to try fishing. Ponds are typically stocked annually with catchable sized fish.   

OWLS Pond (NDGF Headquarters)- Bismarck, ND State Fair Pond - Minot, Velva Sportsmen’s Pond, Camp Loop Pond – Riverdale, Cottonwood Park Pond – Bismarck, ND 4-H Pond – Washburn, English Coulee Pond – Emerado, Woodhaven Pond – Fargo, Baukol-Noonan East Mine Pond – Noonan.

Tips for Successful Shore Fishing

Equipment: Light to medium tackle is generally suitable for most shore fishing scenarios in North Dakota. Rod, reel and bait configurations that allow an angler can cast further are preferred. A good assortment of lures, jigs, and bait will increase your chances of success. North Dakota’s regulation for legal hook and line equipment for each angler shall consist of no more than two poles, each equipped with one line, in the water at any one time. Each line in the water may have one or two lures attached.

Timing: Early morning and late evening are typically the best times for shore fishing, as fish are more actively feeding during these periods.

Season: North Dakota’s game fishing season is always open. New licenses are required each year and the season runs non-stop from April 1st – March 31st each year.

Limits: Pay attention to bag limits to ensure sustainable fishing practices. North Dakota offers decent daily harvest and possession limits that vary by species. For example, popular gamefish like walleye, northern pike and largemouth/smallmouth bass allow anglers to keep five a day and have ten fish in their possession. Perch and white bass limits are higher allowing anglers to keep twenty a day and possess forty. North Dakota generally has no size requirements/slot limits, be sure to check the specific regulations for each body of water you plan to fish at

Weather: North Dakota's weather can be unpredictable, so dress in layers and be prepared for changing conditions. Shore fishing offers an advantage as you never get caught out on the water in a boat when a storm rolls in.

Shore fishing in North Dakota offers a rewarding and accessible way to enjoy the state's natural beauty and abundant fish populations. Whether casting a line at Devils Lake, exploring the Missouri River, or enjoying a peaceful day in the shade at Lake Metigoshe, anglers are sure to find a spot that suits their preferences. With a commitment to access, fisheries management and the promotion of sustainable fishing practices, North Dakota will continue to be a prime destination for shore fishing enthusiasts.