10 Best Fish to Catch in North Dakota

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North Dakota is comparatively a small state. Unlike California, Illinois, and New York, etc., it does not contain fancy locations. However, this state is full of natural wonders. Especially, the bodies of water here are filled with some amazing fish species, including walleye, sunfish, bass, salmon, crappie, and much more.

In this article, we have picked the 10 best fish to catch in North Dakota. All of these species have a great population throughout the state. So, let’s know about each of these species and where to look for them.

1. Trout

Trout is one of the favorite catches of the anglers here. These fish species are found in four variants here. The list includes lake trout, brook trout, rainbow trout, and brown trout. If you want to catch a good quantity of these species, you must head to the streams and rivers, especially Garrison Tailrace and Lake Oahe. These waters are known to be the best for catching trout.

2. Walleye

North Dakota, the entire state, is filled with walleye. These are found in almost all waters and fisheries here. However, few major water bodies famous for walleye include Lake Audubon, Buffalo Lodge Lake, Dry Lake, Missouri River, Pipestem Lake, Lake Ashtabula, Devils Lake, Arrowwood Lake, Stump Lake, and Lake Oahe, etc.

3. Sauger

The state recorded sauger weighed around 8 lbs. These are often found in small sizes in North Dakota’s fisheries. Some famous waters for the Sauger population include Bowman Haley Lake, Lake Tschida, Lake Darling, Jamestown Reservoir, Lake Audubon, Lake Metigoshe, Lake Sakakawea, Stump Lake, Dry Lake, Missouri River, Devils Lake, Lake Draling, Buffalo Lodge Lake, Lake Oahe, Lake Ashtabula, and more.

4. Smallmouth Bass

North Dakota is home to some of the large smallmouth bass. Moreover, these are spread throughout the state, and almost all the major bodies of water entertain anglers with smallmouth bass fishing. However, some great locations for targeting smallmouth bass are Lake Metigoshe, Lake Tschida, Lake Oahe, Lake Ashtabula, Lake Darling, Lake Sakakawea, Lake Audubon, Powers Lake, and Bowman Haley Lake.

5. Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass is another favorite target of the anglers here. This state has numerous opportunities for those looking to target largemouth bass. The well-known water bodies where you can catch these species in abundance include Lake Tschida, Lake Ashtabula, Lake Oahe, Powers Lake, Lake Draling, Lake Metigoshe, Lake Audubon, Lake Sakakawea, and much more.

6. Catfish

You will find two major types of catfish in North Dakota, namely, Flathead catfish and channel catfish. However, to target them, you should only head to Lake Sakakawea and Lake Oahe because these are the only water bodies that provide enough catfish for the anglers to catch. So, if catfish is your main target this fishing season, you must plan a trip to these locations.

7. Crappie

North Dakota entertains two types of crappie, i.e., white crappie and black crappie. However, you have limited fishing crappie options in this state because these are found only in some of the large lakes around the state. Some major locations are Lake Metigoshe, Devils Lake, Lake Ashtabula, Lake Tschida, Jamestown Reservoir, and Bowman Haley Lake.

8. Sunfish

North Dakota is considered the treasure of sunfish among anglers because it has a very large sunfish population. Almost all waters and fisheries offer some amount of sunfish here. Some common types of sunfish, which you can find here, are white bass, bluegill, and yellow perch, while the popular waters are Stump Lake, Heart Butte Reservoir, Buffalo Lodge Lake, Jamestown Reservoir, Powers Lake, Lake Metigoshe, Lake Draling, Dry Lake, and Devils Lake, etc.

9. Salmon

Salmon is considered one of the rare to find fish species here. You will find only one type of salmon here, i.e., chinook salmon. For targeting salmon, you have only three options to look from. These are Garrison Tailrace, Lake Oahe, and Lake Sakakawea. To enhance your catch ratio, try a fly fishing technique for catching salmon in this state.

10. Muskie

Muskie is also one of the favorite targets of anglers around North Dakota. This state contains numerous lakes, reservoirs, rivers, etc., with a large population of these fish species. These locations include Heart Butte Reservoir, Dry Lake, Lake Darling, Jamestown Reservoir, Lake Oahe, Stump Lake, Lake Metigoshe, Buffalo Lodge Lake, Lake Sakakawea, Powers Lake, Missouri River, Lake Audubon, and more.


Along with the fish mentioned above, you can also catch northern pike and tiger muskie in this state; however, you have to search for them in particular.


Fish Species in North Dakota.

Fishing in North Dakota.