Shore Fishing

February 4, 2009 by  

By Doug Leier

As a youngster, I was part of a group of buddies who spent a lot of time fishing. We sometimes chuckled about the people with the biggest and the nicest boats and equipment probably who probably didn’t spend near as much time in and on the water as we did with, let’s say, our limited resources.

We didn’t bother watching television show to find out what the pro anglers were using ,or investigating the new line of boat motors or electronics to hit the market. But I’m not complaining one bit, in fact, our time outdoors taught us to appreciate what we had and not take for any opportunity granted.

I suppose there was a hint of jealousy as well, but that flavor of jealousy was often overcome with the satisfaction that we did just fine on our own. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with boats that cost more than cars and fishing rod-and-reel set- ups that may cost more than some hunting shotguns or rifles.

What I am trying to do is relate that a boat is not required gear for fishing, and hundreds of dollars of equipment doesn’t guarantee success. I don’t own a boat – never have – but enjoy dozens of days fishing along the shores of rivers and lakes.

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 money to provide high and low water access, all is not forgotten for shore anglers on smaller bodies of water.

In fact, a recent grant by Lloyd and Ella Underdahl of Bismarck is earmarked for enhancing shorefishing access all around the state. In all, the grant has provided for 13 new fishing piers in various waters that provide easier shorefishing access for kids and adults.

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 at 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 the discussion regarding looking at society’s push to offer bigger, faster and what some may call more expensive and complicated ways to enjoy a common denominator: spending time on the outside of the window.

The simple route can work just as well, and there is still a fair amount of summer remaining to give it a try.


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