- Associated Press - Sunday, June 28, 2015

COLEHARBOR, N.D. (AP) - Fishermen, campers, cabin owners and assorted weekenders enjoy Lake Audubon on a regular basis, but the island-dotted body of water never quite seems to draw as much attention as two other well-known destinations nearby Lake Sakakawea and often-visited Devils Lake.

No matter. Those who frequent Lake Audubon enjoy their visits immensely and, quite often, the fishing is about as good as it gets. There’s variety, too. Walleye are the prime target, Lake Audubon boasts a good abundance of smallmouth bass and northern pike. White bass are there, too. Tiger muskies stocked by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department for the past several years are just starting to show up on hook and line occasionally. In fact, one Tiger caught this year measured 43 inches, enough to get the attention of any fisherman, the Minot Daily News (http://bit.ly/1LkgfjQ ) reported.

One of the most appealing aspects about Lake Audubon for fishermen is also the lake’s greatest detriment for boaters. The lake is dotted with islands and shallow water hazards. While those places are sometimes fish magnets, they also can inflict damage to propellers and lower units of unsuspecting boaters. It is a lake where good GPS on watercraft is almost mandatory and sonar a must. Even then, caution is advised until a boater becomes familiar with the lake.

Still, it is the numerous changing contours that make Lake Audubon a productive and challenging fishery. Those fishermen who take the time to learn the lake do very well.

More than half of Lake Audubon - the southern side - is part of the Audubon National Wildlife Refuge and off-limits to boat fishing. The area is marked by a buoy line and clearly outlined on maps of the area.

On the north portion of the lake there are numerous cabins, a camping area maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and several well-used boat ramps. The main ramp on the lake, and the widest, is the Totten Trail ramp, located very near U.S. Highway 83. A fishing pier and a fish cleaning station are located in the vicinity of the Totten Trail ramp. The nearby campground offers a paved access road, security lights and an RV dump station.

Three other ramps maintained by McLean County are located at Three Mile Corner, the Cabin Sites and the North Arm. These ramps can be reached by driving east on N.D. Highway 8 from the Garrison turnoff on U.S. 83.

The North Arm ramp is located on the north side of N.D. 8 near where the highway crosses Lake Audubon. The area is often referred to as “North Lake.” It is connected to Lake Audubon by a large culvert underneath N.D. 8. Boats launching at the North Arm ramp cannot access the main body of Lake Audubon.

On the east side of Lake Audubon are two ramps that see very little use, the Lane Ramp and the Turtle Lake Ramp. Both are maintained by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department as primitive sites. Lake Audubon covers more than 16,000 acres with a maximum depth of nearly 60 feet.

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Information from: Minot Daily News, http://www.minotdailynews.com

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