Pulling together the pieces for the 2014 fishing waters report started sometime in February when anglers were drilling through more than 2 feet of ice to wet a line. Getting an early jump in the editorial process is necessary, in part, because the list of fisheries in North Dakota continues to grow.
A quarter-century ago, North Dakota had just 168 managed fishing lakes. Today, not counting the Missouri River System and a handful of rivers across the state, the total of managed waters is in the neighborhood of 420.
While lakes Sakakawea, Oahe, the Missouri River and Devils Lake receive the bulk of the fishing pressure in the state, the odds of locating a managed fishery closer to home are likely getting better for many anglers.
What follows are driving directions and infrastructure information on the state’s managed waters, plus fish population remarks for the majority of the fisheries. The number in parenthesis that follows each fishery is simply a code used by biologists to help identify those waters. The codes are also found on the maps to help readers locate the waters in which they are interested.
The fishery outlooks provided by Department district fisheries supervisors are not all-inclusive fishing reports, but rather peeks into the fisheries to help frame angler expectations. With a record number of lakes scattered across North Dakota, fisheries biologists have yet to conduct thorough population assessments on many of the waters.
Any changes and updates on managed lakes appear on the Game and Fish Department’s website.
Most state public fishing waters have boat ramps. Lakes or rivers where no ramp exists are listed as “no ramp.” Check signs at each area for further restrictions.