North Dakota Fly Fishing

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RED RIVER OF THE NORTH AT WAHPETON, ND: 46.266070, -96.598685
RED RIVER OF THE NORTH AT ENLOE, ND: 46.498889, -96.738889
RED RIVER OF THE NORTH AT HICKSON, ND: 46.659685, -96.795915
WILD RICE RIVER NR RUTLAND, ND: 46.022186, -97.511485
WILD RICE RIVER NEAR MANTADOR, ND: 46.172459, -97.010640
ANTELOPE CREEK AT DWIGHT, ND: 46.311348, -96.734522
WILD RICE RIVER NR ABERCROMBIE, ND: 46.470517, -96.782302
RED RIVER OF THE NORTH AT FARGO, ND: 46.861075, -96.783692
SHEYENNE RIVER ABOVE HARVEY, ND: 47.702778, -99.949015
SHEYENNE R AB DEVILS LK STATE OUTLET NR FLORA, ND: 47.907778, -99.415556
SHEYENNE R BL DEVILS LK STATE OUTLET NR BREMEN, ND: 47.821389, -99.276111
SHEYENNE RIVER NR WARWICK, ND: 47.805553, -98.716217
MAUVAIS COULEE TRIB NO. 3 NR CANDO, ND: 48.457501, -99.224304
MAUVAIS COULEE NR CANDO, ND: 48.448059, -99.102635
EDMORE COULEE NR EDMORE, ND: 48.336672, -98.660396
EDMORE COULEE TRIB NR WEBSTER, ND: 48.266393, -98.680950
MORRISON LAKE NEAR WEBSTER, ND: 48.259726, -98.847068
STARKWEATHER COULEE NR WEBSTER, ND: 48.320559, -98.940685
DRY LAKE NEAR PENN, ND: 48.231113, -98.983463
BIG COULEE AT HWY 2 NEAR CHURCHS FERRY, ND: 48.261665, -99.187634
LITTLE COULEE NR LEEDS, ND: 48.243332, -99.372913
DEVILS LAKE NR DEVILS LAKE, ND: 48.099445, -98.903177
EASTERN STUMP LAKE NR LAKOTA, ND: 47.868609, -98.357880
TOLNA COULEE NEAR TOLNA, ND: 47.860833, -98.494444
SHEYENNE RIVER ON HWY 200 NEAR COOPERSTOWN, ND: 47.439167, -98.019167
SHEYENNE RIVER NR COOPERSTOWN, ND: 47.432771, -98.027595
BALDHILL CREEK NR DAZEY, ND: 47.229156, -98.124819
SHEYENNE RIVER BELOW BALDHILL DAM, ND: 47.033872, -98.083708
SHEYENNE RIVER AT VALLEY CITY, ND: 46.915556, -98.010556
SHEYENNE RIVER AT LISBON, ND: 46.446912, -97.679265
SHEYENNE RIVER ON GOL ROAD NEAR KINDRED, ND: 46.603056, -97.032222
SHEYENNE RIVER NEAR KINDRED, ND: 46.631633, -97.000643
SHEYENNE R AB SHEYENNE R DIVERSION NR HORACE, ND: 46.746389, -96.926944
SHEYENNE RIVER DIVERSION NR HORACE, ND: 46.751634, -96.926198
SHEYENNE RIVER DIVERSION AT WEST FARGO, ND: 46.891079, -96.916751
SHEYENNE RIVER AT WEST FARGO, ND: 46.891078, -96.907029
MAPLE RIVER NR HOPE, ND: 47.324989, -97.790654
MAPLE RIVER NR ENDERLIN, ND: 46.621639, -97.573985
MAPLE RIVER ABOVE MAPLE RIVER DAM NR SHELDON, ND: 46.686640, -97.468983
MAPLE RIVER NR MAPLETON, ND: 46.866083, -97.106477
MAPLE RIVER BL MAPLETON, ND: 46.905249, -97.052587
SHEYENNE RIVER AT HARWOOD, ND: 46.977467, -96.891749
RUSH RIVER AT AMENIA, ND: 47.016641, -97.214254
GOOSE RIVER NEAR PORTLAND, ND: 47.537765, -97.453424
GOOSE RIVER AT HILLSBORO, ND: 47.409424, -97.061197
RED RIVER OF THE NORTH NEAR THOMPSON, ND: 47.758865, -96.943968
RED RIVER OF THE NORTH AT GRAND FORKS, ND: 47.926923, -97.029244
TURTLE RIVER AT TURTLE R STATE PARK NR ARVILLA, ND: 47.931934, -97.514531
FOREST RIVER NR FORDVILLE, ND: 48.197215, -97.730643
FOREST RIVER AT MINTO, ND: 48.286099, -97.370076
HOMME RESERVOIR NR PARK RIVER, ND: 48.406111, -97.789444
PARK RIVER AT GRAFTON, ND: 48.424711, -97.412023
RED RIVER OF THE NORTH AT DRAYTON, ND: 48.572206, -97.147570
LITTLE SOUTH PEMBINA RIVER NR WALHALLA, ND: 48.865273, -98.005932
PEMBINA RIVER AT WALHALLA, ND: 48.913328, -97.917037
PEMBINA RIVER AT NECHE, ND: 48.989714, -97.557022
TONGUE RIVER AT AKRA, ND: 48.778328, -97.746759
RED RIVER OF THE NORTH AT PEMBINA, ND: 48.973599, -97.241731
LONG CREEK NR NOONAN, ND: 48.981142, -103.076573
EAST BRANCH SHORT CREEK RES NR COLUMBUS, ND: 48.990588, -102.785730
SOURIS RIVER NR SHERWOOD, ND: 48.990016, -101.958221
SOURIS RIVER NR FOXHOLM, ND: 48.372236, -101.505441
DES LACS RIVER AT FOXHOLM, ND: 48.370569, -101.570163
SOURIS RIVER ABOVE MINOT, ND: 48.245843, -101.371275
SOURIS RIVER NR VERENDRYE, ND: 48.159729, -100.729586
WINTERING RIVER NR KARLSRUHE, ND: 48.138337, -100.539862
SOURIS RIVER NR BANTRY, ND: 48.505551, -100.434853
WILLOW CREEK NR WILLOW CITY, ND: 48.587776, -100.441523
DEEP RIVER NR UPHAM, ND: 48.584180, -100.862645
SOURIS RIVER NR WESTHOPE, ND: 48.996408, -100.958489
YELLOWSTONE R NO. 2 NR CARTWRIGHT, ND: 47.861964, -103.966874
MISSOURI RIVER NR WILLISTON, ND: 48.108079, -103.714645
MISSOURI R NO. 9 AT WILLISTON, ND: 48.136968, -103.604919
BLACKTAIL CREEK NR MARMON,ND: 48.398389, -103.624278
LITTLE MUDDY RIVER BL COW CREEK NR WILLISTON, ND: 48.284468, -103.572972
WHITE EARTH LAKE NEAR WHITE EARTH, ND: 48.453611, -102.742778
WHITE EARTH RIVER AT WHITE EARTH, ND: 48.375556, -102.767222
BEAR DEN CREEK NR MANDAREE, ND: 47.787237, -102.768526
LITTLE MISSOURI RIVER AT MARMARTH, ND: 46.297778, -103.917500
DEEP CREEK NR AMIDON, ND: 46.576389, -103.558056
LITTLE MISSOURI RIVER AT MEDORA, ND: 46.919458, -103.528243
BEAVER CREEK NR TROTTERS, ND: 47.163070, -103.992706
LITTLE MISSOURI RIVER NR WATFORD CITY, ND: 47.590293, -103.251857
KNIFE RIVER AT MANNING, ND: 47.236126, -102.769907
KNIFE RIVER NR GOLDEN VALLEY, ND: 47.154453, -102.059892
GOODMAN CREEK NEAR GOLDEN VALLEY, ND: 47.296667, -102.093889
SPRING CREEK AT ZAP, ND: 47.286119, -101.925726
KNIFE RIVER NEAR BEULAH, ND: 47.253889, -101.785556
KNIFE RIVER AT HAZEN, ND: 47.285282, -101.622109
MISSOURI RIVER NEAR STANTON, ND: 47.287222, -101.339722
MISSOURI RIVER NEAR HENSLER, ND: 47.280278, -101.185278
MISSOURI RIVER AT WASHBURN, ND: 47.288882, -101.037924
MISSOURI RIVER AT PRICE, ND: 47.079714, -100.932359
SQUARE BUTTE CREEK BELOW CENTER, ND: 47.057494, -101.195700
BURNT CREEK NR BISMARCK, ND: 46.914992, -100.813742
MISSOURI RIVER AT BISMARCK, ND: 46.814167, -100.821389
HEART RIVER NR SOUTH HEART, ND: 46.865567, -102.948512
GREEN RIVER NR NEW HRADEC, ND: 47.027792, -103.053236
HEART RIVER NR RICHARDTON, ND: 46.745556, -102.308333
HEART R AB LAKE TSCHIDA NR GLEN ULLIN, ND: 46.656951, -102.079328
ANTELOPE CREEK NR CARSON, ND: 46.545284, -101.645423
BIG MUDDY CREEK NEAR ALMONT, ND: 46.694446, -101.467367
HEART RIVER AT STARK BRIDGE NR JUDSON, ND: 46.703333, -101.213611
SWEETBRIAR CREEK NR JUDSON, ND: 46.851107, -101.253197
HEART RIVER NR MANDAN, ND: 46.833883, -100.974579
MISSOURI RIVER BELOW MANDAN, ND: 46.750000, -100.838611
APPLE CREEK NR MENOKEN, ND: 46.794438, -100.657346
HAY CREEK AT MAIN AVENUE IN BISMARCK, ND: 46.807216, -100.734015
MISSOURI RIVER NR SCHMIDT, ND: 46.656389, -100.739167
CANNONBALL RIVER AT REGENT, ND: 46.426671, -102.551830
CANNONBALL RIVER NR RALEIGH, ND: 46.126948, -101.333187
CEDAR CREEK NR HAYNES, ND: 46.155281, -102.475713
CEDAR CREEK NR RALEIGH, ND: 46.091670, -101.333742
CANNONBALL RIVER AT BREIEN, ND: 46.376111, -100.934444
SOUTH BRANCH BEAVER CREEK NEAR ZEELAND, ND: 46.113889, -99.836944
BEAVER CREEK NEAR STRASBURG, ND: 46.228056, -99.982778
BEAVER CREEK BL LINTON, ND: 46.268602, -100.252614
JAMES RIVER NR GRACE CITY, ND: 47.558053, -98.862885
JAMES RIVER ABOVE ARROWWOOD LAKE NR KENSAL, ND: 47.399719, -98.797606
PIPESTEM CREEK NR PINGREE, ND: 47.167495, -98.969000
JAMES RIVER AT JAMESTOWN, ND: 46.889722, -98.681667
JAMES RIVER AT LAMOURE, ND: 46.355525, -98.304543
BEAR CREEK NR OAKES, ND: 46.225244, -98.071768
JAMES RIVER AT ND-SD STATE LINE: 45.936358, -98.174269
MAPLE R AT ND-SD STATE LINE: 45.938862, -98.452600

A land of valleys, rolling hills, and impressive buttes, the Peace Garden State indeed offers a peaceful environment full of beautiful, green landscape and expansive plains. While you may not immediately think of fishing as one of the state’s main attractions, between the nearly a million acres of lakes and reservoirs and 5100 miles of rivers and streams there is plenty of water sport available to those who seek out aquatic adventure. Grab your rod and head to the one of the many attractive fishing destinations throughout North Dakota.

​Where to Go?

The North Dakota Fish and Game Department puts a considerable amount of time, effort, and resources into stocking hundreds of thousands of fish each year into the lakes, rivers, and streams across the state. Choosing a fishing hole from among the multitude of beautiful waters in this state can be overwhelming, but here are a few great places to start.

The Missouri River

The Missouri meanders through nearly 400 miles of North Dakota landscape. Along its leisurely trip there is plenty of great fishing to be done, along with the beautiful scenery to take in.

Cross Ranch State Park

This seven miles of natural beauty lies in the center of the state, along part of the last vestiges of free-flowing river. The surrounding land has been left in its primitive state, and the waters hold a variety of fish to enhance the angling experience. Pike, walleye, bass, and trout await, and there is a boat ramp if you wish to fly fish via floating.

The Garrison Tailrace

A bit further to the southwest you’ll find the Garrison Dam, which feed a tailrace famous for its trophy trout. For twenty miles below the dam you’ll find not only great trout fishing, but there are also walleye and salmon.

Turtle River

This tributary of the Red River of the North in northeastern ND is nearly 75 miles long and is accessible via Turtle River State Park about 22 miles west of Grand Forks. The park is located in a scenic valley, and the river here is home to stocked trout and pike.

Apple Creek

Located just a few miles from Lincoln, this little stream offers northern pike, catfish, smallmouth bass, walleye, carp, and more.

Other Options

While ND is not rife with the traditional trout streams favored by fly fishermen, there’s no reason not to hit up waters that hold other species. Virtually anywhere that a regular spinning reel fisherman goes, a fly fisherman can go as well. The state is known for its abundant walleye and northern pike, so try broadening your horizons and casting to a bit different kind of prey.

Lake Sakakawea – this reservoir of the Garrison dam is renowned for its pike, walleye, and Chinook salmon. It also contains smallmouth bass and paddlefish. The lake starts at the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers and has an astounding 1600 miles of shoreline. There’s plenty of good fishing opportunity for both shore anglers and floaters on this massive waterway.

Red River of the North – this river is unique in that it serves as the boundary between North Dakota and Minnesota. It also serves as the home of more than 70 fish species, including huge channel catfish, walleye, and northern pike. There are access points at Pembina city campground, in Grand Forks, Belmont Park near Buxton, and at several locations throughout Fargo.

​When to Go?

North Dakota hosts year-round fishing. Devils Lake is a great place to be in May, when the walleye and pike are biting. The Garrison tailrace is also good in late spring, although the waters can muddy up at this time of year. That can work to your advantage as a fly fisherman, however, because murky waters can help to disguise your line and shadows.

What You Will Need When You Get There?

Start with the basics – waders, wading boots, brimmed hat, rain jacket, vest or pack, polarized sunglasses, nippers and forceps, sunscreen, insect repellant, and water and snacks.

If you’re trying your hand at walleye, you’ll want a 5-7 weight 8.5-9.5-foot rod with a 4X tippet. Use density compensated fly line and streamers, minnows, or even a smelt imitator. For trout, the typical 4-6 weight rod with a 9-foot leader should do well. Keep a variety of flies on-hand, as there can be mayfly and midge hatches among others. Consult local fishing shops about native species so you can get as close a match as possible on your dry flies.

Fishing License Requirements

You will need to purchase a North Dakota fishing license in order to hit the waters there. For residents 16 and up a license costs $16, and those 65 and older $5. People with disabilities may obtain a fishing license for $5 as well. All fishermen, including those below age 16, must acquire a paddlefish tag if snagging paddlefish. This is available for $10. Non-resident licenses are available for $45, and paddlefish tags for $25.50.

Even though North Dakota isn’t a wellspring of classic trout fly fishing, the state does play host to a wide variety of fish species and offers anglers many different opportunities to catch some unusual fish on the fly. Don’t be afraid to try out something a little outside the ordinary by casting a line in one of the many waterways in this beautiful state.