Boating in North Dakota

Going boating in North Dakota? A visit to one of North Dakota’s best lakes offers an abundance of opportunities for water lovers. From swimming to tubing, from canoeing to taking scenic adventures along the trails. Here are just a few of the places you should visit by boat.

Lake Sakakawea

Lake Sakakawea is a 180 mile long man-made lake. It is an excellent place for boaters with a shoreline of over 1,000 miles. Stretching through six North Dakota counties, it offers year round fishing. It provides access to some of the more popular state parks, wildlife management areas, wildlife refuges, and recreation areas.

Fishing, boating and camping are the lake’s most popular activities. There are also picnic areas, swimming beaches and hiking trails.

Home to Lake Sakakawea State Park, this area gives you the opportunity to hike the North County National Scenic Trail. Bird watch for elusive species and explore the lake with boats rentals from the De Trobriand Bay Marina.

The lake was named for the American Indian woman who helped guide Lewis & Clark 200 years ago. Lake Sakakawea is filled by the Missouri River and contained by the Garrison Dam. The huge lake covers more shoreline than the state of California. It is home to walleye, northern pike and Chinook salmon, to name a few.

LLake Metigoshe

Lake Metigoshe sites in the Turtle Mountains along the border between North Dakota and Manitoba. It is one of the cleanest natural fresh-water lakes in North Dakota.

The lake was named for the Chippewa word meaning ‘clear water’. The water is clear and surrounded by lovely oak trees. Its many surrounding small bodies of water are perfect for an afternoon on the water. Chase the pike, walleye and bluegills.

The lake provides opportunities for fishing, canoeing, boating, and swimming. There is a park at the northeast corner of the lake which offers camping facilities and attracts many visitors every year. There are also an array of trails around the lake which attract hikers and mountain bikers to the area.

Admire views of the Turtle Mountains from your vacation rental when making Lake Metigoshe your vacation destination. Rent canoes or kayaks from the visitor’s center at the adjacent Lake Metigoshe State Park. When hunger strikes, treat the family to some comfort food at The Dockside Bar.


Jamestown Reservoir

The Jamestown Reservoir offers various amenities. There are seven boat launches, picnic shelters, two  swimming beaches, and a stocked fishing pond. There is a children’s playground and a modern campground with concessions. Enjoy three miles of trails, and a nearly 2,500 acres of water. It includes nearly 50 miles of shoreline and two marinas.

Fishing is also popular here. The lake is home to walleye, pike, bluegill, crappie, musky, smallmouth bass and bullhead.


Devils Lake

Devils Lake is a known recreation lake, attracting both local and international tourists. It is home to the Grahams Island State Park and Sullys Hill National Game Preserve. The Spirit Lake Reservation sits on the southern shores of the lake.

Devils Lake sits at an elevation of 443.24 metres above sea level in north-eastern North Dakota. The lake is known for its variations in lake level. It ranges from very shallow to a depth of 18 metres deep during periods of excessive precipitation.

Most people come for its fantastic fishing, especially its perch. Devils Lake is the state’s largest natural body of water. You’ll find northern pike, walleye, white bass and crappie and excellent ice fishing in the winter.



Long before roads, there was the Missouri River. Lewis and Clark took it to the Rocky Mountains and back home. Today, you can travel along the water route and see an array of attractions along the way, including Garrison Dam. Boating, canoeing, kayaking and fishing are popular activities, making it a top spot for boating in North Dakota. State parks, historic sites and some of the state’s larger cities and towns dot its shoreline.

The Missouri River enters North Dakota from Montana just west of Williston. The free-flowing river offers a good setting for sauger in the spring and fall. At the western reaches of the river in North Dakota, anglers find one of the better spots in the country to snag a giant paddlefish in late spring.

The stretch of river is home to nationally renowned walleye fishing. Just south of Garrison Dam is an area known as the Tailrace. It is home to state records for Chinook salmon, brown trout, rainbow trout and cutthroat trout. These are caught within 20 miles downstream of the dam.