There are few other places in the world, let alone in the United States, that offer the amount of ice fishing possibilities like North Dakota. When the locals say they have winter 10 months out of the year, you know the ice fishing must be good!
North Dakota is well known for its lakes and rivers. The walleye fishing here is world-class, and there are plenty of places to catch quality perch, northern pike, bass, and even catfish. You will find no lack of quality fishing in this state!
With so many different lakes and rivers around the entire state, it might be a little hard to know where exactly to get started. Here are our picks for some of the best fishing found in this part of the country, and the top locations for the best ice fishing in North Dakota.
Top Locations for Ice Fishing in North Dakota
1 Devil’s Lake
Considered by many to be the best ice fishing lake in the state, Devil’s Lake is no doubt home to some of the largest perch and walleye around. Anglers will also be able to find and catch plenty of big northern pike and white bass as well.
There are a few places around the lake for lodging for anglers who want to fish it for multiple days, and there is plenty of space on the lake to explore. At over 16,000 acres, you will never have to worry about sharing the ice with too many people.
Devil’s Lake is a giant body of water and holds plenty of pockets that hide some giant fish. If you have ever wanted to go ice fishing in North Dakota, this lake should be at the top of your list!
2. Lake Renwick
Lake Renwick is a great lake that is found in the Icelandic State Park, just off of Highway 5. Because of this, it is fairly remote and there are not many places that offering lodging nearby, but this does help to avoid crowds.
For anglers who love big northern pike, this is the place to be. Many big, record-breaking pike are caught here every year. This lake is also home to plenty of bass, crappie, walleye, and perch.
Lake Renwick is the perfect ice fishing lake for those anglers who love to get off the beaten path and not have to share the ice with very many other people. It is the perfect patch of ice for big northern pike and one lake you can not afford to miss!
3. Lake Metigoshe
Located Northeast of the town of Bottineau, Lake Metigoshe is home to plenty of fish and is one of the more popular ice fishing lakes in the state. Because it is a state park, it gets managed for large fish and plenty of opportunity.
Lake Metigoshe is home to a ton of walleye, perch, panfish, and northern pike. While none of these species grow to incredibly big sizes, but they make up for it in sheer numbers alone. You do not have to worry about going home without catching anything here.
There are plenty of lodging and places to stay around the lake, and the park does have a daily entry fee in order to go out and fish it. The price is well worth it, and even staying in one of the many cabins by the lake is well worth the price.
4. Lake Sakakawea
Lake Sakakawea, just like Lake Metigoshe, is also a state park and has many of the same perks and rules. You do have to pay a daily entry fee in order to fish here, but again, the price is well worth the price.
This giant lake covers around 368,000 acres, giving you plenty of space to go out and explore. It is home to many different species of fish, including perch, walleye, crappie, trout, salmon, and northern pike.
Lake Sakakawea is the perfect lake for any anglers wanting an adventure. Because of its large size, there are a ton of remote places to explore and plenty of trophy fish to target and catch.
5. Lake Audubon
Last on our list but certainly not least, Lake Audubon is 16,000 acres big and home to smallmouth bass, perch, walleye, and crappie. It is a great place only 20 minutes outside of Garrison.
Anglers headed to Lake Audubon can find plenty of lodging around the lake at one of the many cabins and lodges, as well as bait shops that can offer some guidance to areas to look at and what baits to try.
Lake Audubon is a very popular fishing destination in the state of North Dakota and any serious ice fisherman should consider giving it a try if they are ever in the general area!
How Much is a Fishing License in North Dakota
The state of North Dakota offers different fees for both residents and non-residents to the state. A few of the most popular licenses are:
- An annual fishing license for residents will cost $20 and $45 for non-residents.
- Non-residents can purchase a 3day fishing license for only $25.
- Non-residents can also purchase a 10day license for $35.
To see all of the fees and license structures found in North Dakota, visit https://gf.nd.gov/fishing/license-general-info.
Where to Buy a Fishing License in North Dakota
There are plenty of ways to purchase a fishing license in the state of North Dakota. The easiest method is to purchase one directly online from the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. For anyone who wants to purchase a license in person, there are plenty of places around the state to do so. You can find a list of all licensed retailers at https://gf.nd.gov/licensing/electronic-licensing-retailers.
North Dakota may be the state with the most amount of ice fishing opportunities out of all of them. There are so many amazing lakes and reservoirs to fish, you could spend the rest of your life trying to ice fish every single one of them!
Lake Audubon. This lake is filled with smallmouth bass, perch, and walleye and has great lodging options if you want to stay for a couple of nights. Head north from Coleharbor (about 20 minutes from Garrison) to find this lake.