Shorefishing is a Surefire Good Time
Greg Power is the Fisheries Division Chief for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, so when he speaks of fish or fishing, I stop and listen.
The other day I heard him state, “…Lake Sakakawea has more shoreline than the state of California….”
I stopped and thought about that for a moment, and then casted again — from a fishing pier — on the shores off my favorite fishing spot. I don’t have a boat, so shorefishing from river banks, rocky points on lakes, or fishing piers is my usual fishing option
When I fish, most of the time it’s with a jig or hook and a worm, or even something as edgy as a daredevil. I catch fish, and I’m okay with the fact that I don’t have a boat. It’s mostly by choice.
I have friends with boats, my dad and neighbors have boats, and I get plenty of offers to go along, or even borrow a boat. I’m grateful for all the opportunity and in truth I should probably take advantage of a few more of these available opportunities, but it’s just not that imperative for me to fish from a boat to enjoy fishing.
What I am trying to relate is that a boat is certainly nice to have and while they can take you to many good fishing spots, a boat isn’t required for someone to catch fish, just as hundreds of dollars of equipment doesn’t guarantee success.
I recently took a call from a guy who was concerned that Game and Fish was focusing too much attention on access via boat and overlooking the legions of shore anglers in the state. While the high volume fishing sites such as Lake Sakakawea, Missouri River and Devils Lake require Game and Fish and other organizations to spend a lot of effort to provide access, all is not forgotten for shore anglers on smaller bodies of water.
If you haven’t visited a favorite smaller fishing water for a few years, you might be surprised at the improvements and amenities provided, some of which are described on the Game and Fish Department website. By spending a few minutes researching the fishing section of the website you might discover a nearby fishing destination you’ve never visited, but which may suit your needs to wet a line and drown a few worms.
Granted, from shore your mobility to get at fish in deep water is limited, but the solution is simply adjusting your expectations to fall in line with what shorefishing opportunities provide. You might find that you can expand your horizon of fishing spots without the need of a boat.
And don’t be afraid of big water such as Devils Lake or Sakakawea, either. Many anglers target these huge waters where some great shore and bank fishing is available, most often in spring and later fall.
It goes back to what I mentioned in the beginning of this discussion. When you realize the totality of the shorefishing available all across North Dakota, from Williston to Wahpeton, to the Missouri and Red and everywhere in between, there’s a lot of space out there for people to fish from shore.
While I can’t guarantee the catching, I can say for this angler, the fishing is just fine from shore.