Lake Ashtabula, North Dakota, USA

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Lake Ashtabula — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

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All About Lake Ashtabula

Lake Ashtabula is located among the gentle rolling prairies of southeastern North Dakota. Stretching 27 miles along the Sheyenne River, Lake Ashtabula offers visitors a wide range of recreation opportunities year round, including fishing, snowmobiling, wildlife viewing, boating, camping, swimming and picnicking.

Lake Ashtabula was created by the construction of Baldhill Dam on the Sheyenne River. The Sheyenne is the largest river in North Dakota that is entirely contained within the state’s boundaries. Authorized by Congress in 1944, Baldhill Dam was constructed to stabilize flows on the Sheyenne River. Completed in 1951, Baldhill Dam provides stable water supply, flood abatement, wildlife habitat and recreation. Additional modifications to the dam were made in later years.

The entire 74 miles of shoreline of Lake Ashtabula are owned and maintained by the US Army Corps of Engineers. Along with maintaining the shoreline, the Corps operates seven recreational areas and 14 separate wildlife areas. The land surrounding the lake is a combination of prairie grassland, woodland and shrubbery which makes wildlife abundant. During the summer months large flocks of white pelicans can be spotted at the lake. The wildlife areas are open to the public for hunting. Visitors can contact the North Dakota Game and Fish Department for more information. Some of the animals in abundance are deer, pronghorn, moose, elk, bighorn sheep, prairie dog, rabbit, fox and mountain lion.

Fishing is very popular on Lake Ashtabula. The Native American word “Ashtabula” means “Fish River”, and is an appropriate name for Lake Ashtabula. The lake has a large number of walleye, yellow perch, northern pike, black bullheads and white bass. North Dakota Game and Fish stocks Lake Ashtabula each year with fingerlings of walleye and northern pike as well as adult yellow perch.

In addition to fishing and hunting, visitors enjoy camping, swimming, boating and cross-country skiing at the recreational areas. All four campgrounds at Lake Ashtabula offer trailer sites with electrical hookups as well as primitive tent sites. There are also three swimming areas around the lake, seven boat-launching ramps, and a number of playgrounds and picnic sites. Cross-country skiing is also available in the winter months at Eggert’s Landing and Mel Rieman recreational areas. The ski trails are groomed and maintained, weather permitting.

Hiking is popular at Lake Ashtabula Lake. The lake offers 35 miles of the North Country National Scenic Trial (NCT), a 4,200 mile hiking trail that travels from Lake Sakakawea to Crown Point, New York. The NCT is a non-motorized trail that has segments reserved for hikers only and other segments that are open for horseback riding and biking.

Visitors also enjoy the sites along the Sheyenne River Valley National Scenic Byway. The Scenic Byway is a 63-mile long motor route starting at Baldhill Dam and traveling south along the Sheyenne River to the town of Lisbon, North Dakota. There are 25 different interpretive stops along the way, which is a great way to enjoy the beauty of Lake Ashtabula.

Whether you are in the mood for a day of fishing or just a relaxing drive, Lake Ashtabula offers activities the whole family will enjoy.

Things to Do at Lake Ashtabula

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Playground

Fish Species Found at Lake Ashtabula

  • Bass
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Walleye
  • White Bass
  • Yellow Perch

Find Places to Stay at Lake Ashtabula

If you’re considering a Lake Ashtabula lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a Lake Ashtabula Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Lake Ashtabula lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Lake Ashtabula Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: US Army Corps of Engineers

Surface Area: 5,234 acres

Shoreline Length: 73 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,266 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 1,245 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 1,273 feet

Average Depth: 14 feet

Maximum Depth: 42 feet

Water Volume: 70,573 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1949

Drainage Area: 4,138 sq. miles

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

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