Archive of Fishing reports

June2010

Aggressive First Class Fighters

Posted: June 18, 2010

60 % chance of severe thunderstorms. Wind South-South East 18-24 with gusts to 31. Some storms could produce hail and heavy rain. Welcome to June in the Dakotas.

It’s not all bad news, even if this is the first day of your vacation. Ya, it’s too risky to take it out on the open water, particularly with the kids in the boat, but that don’t mean you stay cooped up moping. Take it to the extreme, go shore fishing.

That is exactly what we did. Fact is my kids would rather shore fish any day. For them the boat is too confining. No place on the planet that I’m aware of is better tailored for this than North Dakota’s Devils Lake. Miles of rip-rap with easy access. Countless bridges connecting different sections of DL. Endless feeder channels all saturated with Walleyes, Northern and White Bass.

The most challenging aspect to this style of fishing is where to start. There is simply too much opportunity to know where to begin. Let’s take it from east to west and hit just a few of the locations where we fished. It will give you a starting point.

Fish every cast is reasonable to expect with some fish going 3 pounds. White Bass are aggressive first class fighters. You can catch them everywhere in DL but my #1 location would be the Woods-Rutten road dividing East Lake and East DL. This area can get congested on weekends and particularly Memorial. Keep in mind; you can catch them everywhere in DL.

Jig and tail is what I use. Jig size depends on how windy it is. As for tails my go to color is white but today I caught them on white, chartreuse, and orange. Use what ya got. Goes without saying, fish the windy side, even if it’s like today with 20-25 winds. The “bass a cast” will more than compensate for the spray in your face. You won’t need “feel” like fishing walleyes, these guys are aggressive.

Let’s make the jump to walleyes and head west out of DL on Hwy 19. First stop is the north end of Creel Bay. I did the double take when I saw the folks from IA shore fishing from their boat. They just back’r in to the rip rap, wade out and climb aboard. Ingenious! Livewell, baitwell, cooler and comfortable seating. All while shore fishing. Boat control could not be easier and no worries about the anchor holding.

Next up is 6 mile bay and the bridge. When it’s windy, too windy for the boat, it’s just right for fishing bridges. The wind piles up the water forcing it under the bridges and creating current. Mauve Coulee bridge is just a few miles further west and another great location.

If you need a place to stay call Diane at West Bay Resort. They have very nice cabins and will treat you like family. For the next several miles it’s water on both sides and rip rap as far as you can see. My first pick is the south shore just past West Bay Resort to the junction of old 281 which is under water now. You will need boots to get to the rip-rap unless you decide to back’r in.

Jigs or lindys whichever you like best but make sure there is a leech on the end.  Some even bobber fish with a leech hanging. My son Levi declared, “Dad, I got it figured out; you need to use a fresh leech.” He’s right. Slow is the key, jig or lindy. Keep your line tight. Move it an inch at a time, just enough to get the leech wiggling. There are other presentations and baits that work but these are my first picks.

Let’s end with fishing the coulees. Coulees are North Dakotan for “Crik” you know, running water. There are countless locations north of DL and often the bridges are the easiest to get to. We made a quick stop at Churchs Ferry on Hwy 2. First cast Levi hauls in a 20 incher on a lindy-n-leech. I managed a distant 2nd with an 18 on a jig and leech.

I have a friend who lives in Minot, 120 miles away. Loves to fish and in 18 years has never fished DL. Don’t know why, just never took the time. It’s just a story till ya get here. Once you’ve experienced it, tell it anyway you like. It’s your story.

Video: ND Live

To read other stories, fishing reports and view pictures please go to: North Dakota Live

For the Google Earth GPS view of story locations please go to: North Dakota Live

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A lack of stable weather and clear water conditions have made fishing hit and miss this past week for walleyes and pike.

Posted:

A lack of stable weather and clear water conditions have made fishing hit and miss this past week for walleyes and pike. Anglers making it out are reporting that when they find a school of active walleyes they can do well, but finding them has been tough. Most anglers continue to pitch cranks such as shad raps, countdowns, eskos, and wally divers in windswept shorelines or along the edges of weed beds. Some of the places for crankers include Pelican Lake, the smaller bays such as Howards Bay in the Flats, Old Mill and New Mill Bays, Concrete Bay, Penny and New Penny Bays, Haybale Bay, Ruttens Bay, and Browns Bay. Other anglers are reporting some decent livebait fishing in the trees and along old sunken roads. Some of the better areas for livebait fishing have been the trees in the Flats and near Grahams Island, Concrete Bay, and the Stromme Addition/Storm Sewer area.

White bass are everywhere and seem to have almost overrun the bays in East Bay. Just work any of the shorelines that have trees or weedbeds with cranks such as shad raps, countdowns, and eskos. Shore fisherman are reporting an excellent evening bite. Most anglers are pitching jigs or using lindy rigs tipped with leeches or crawlers. Some of the best places for shore fishing include the Hwy 19/281 area, any of the bridges, Hwy 19 on the north end of Creel Bay,the Grahams Island road, and the Woods Rutten road.

Good Luck and Good Fishing!!!

Courtesy: Ed’s Bait Shop

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Devils Lake Fishing Report

Posted: June 17, 2010

Fishing has been a bit hit and miss on Devils Lake for walleyes. There are days they really go and there are times when you have to search for them. We have had some inconsistent weather lately, which can slow the bite down a bit. Overall, if you stay with it you can make good things happen with the eyes. The bite just before dark has been fantastic! We have had our best luck pitching cranks or jigs, pulling live bait rigs, or slip-bobbering. Best depths seem to be 2-14 feet of water. We are starting to see weed growth so look for fish to be caught a bit deeper each day/week now. White bass remain constant in places and pike are mixed in with the walleyes and bass in the shallows. We have some warmer weather coming and this is a great time of the year to get out on the water!! Good luck!!

Devils Lake fishing guide Mark Bry with the latest from the lake!

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The fishing on Devils Lake was very good up until the last four days.

Posted: June 16, 2010

The fishing on Devils Lake was very good up until the last four days. The weather has been very unsettled with mostly north winds that are a sign of a major cold front. The water temperatures went from upper 60’s to lower 60’s. Without warm temperatures the water has also become very clear and clear water and shallow water walleyes do not mix. I don’t want to sound too negative we are still bringing in limits most days but we have to work harder than ever for them. We are still catching them pitching crank baits and mimic minnows in 1 to 5 feet of water and slip bobbering with leeches in flooded timber or along the weeds.

The white bass fishing has been very incredible in certain parts of the lake. Most of our clients catch and release them but sure do have a ball catching them. We are still catching northern pike and some of the northerns brought in this last week were over 10 pounds.

So far June has been very cool and the upcoming forecast looks very nice with 70 to 80 degrees for the next 10 days. This should give us a little algae bloom to cloud up the water and improve our fishing dramatically.

Good Luck fishing everybody!

Steve “Zippy” Dahl

Mitchell’s Guide Service

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Walleye anglers continue to report some excellent cranking action and the slip bobber bite and live bait trolling bite are starting to take off as well.

Posted: June 11, 2010

On the rare occasions of late when the weather actually allows fishermen to get out most are reporting some excellent fishing. Walleye anglers continue to report some excellent cranking action and the slip bobber bite and live bait trolling bite are starting to take off as well. Crankers are working the edges of shallow weedbeds and windswept shorelines with raps, countdowns, eskos, wally divers, and hornets. Some of the better colors have been silver/blue, black/silver, firetiger, black/gold, fireperch, and clown. Cranks with blues in them or some orange on them seem to continue to work the best. Some of the better areas have been the weedbeds and rocky shorelines of Pelican, the smaller bays in the Flats, the Doc Hagens area, Old Mil and New Mil Bays, Knudson’s Bay, the Storm Sewer area, Penny and New Penny Bays, Hay Bale Bay, Ruttens Bay, and Browns Bay. Pike continue to be caught in most all areas of the lake along with walleyes. As for white bass, they’re everywhere. With a booming population and ridiculously low limit, these fish have really taken off and anglers are finding huge schools in most all parts of the lake. Just look for a windy shore and pitch a blue or firetiger crank or a chartreuse jig with a minnow. Shore fisherman are also reporting some excellent fishing in the early morning and especially the evening hours. Work the windy shorelines with cranks or lindy rigs tipped with leeches or crawlers. Some of the better areas for walleyes have been any of the bridge areas, the rip rap shorelines along Hwy 19, and near the Hwy 19/old 281 intersection.Good Luck and Good Fishing!!!

Courtesy: Ed’s Bait Shop

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Walleyes in Confidence

Posted: June 9, 2010

We all have something we are very confident in. That confidence lure or tactic may vary from lake to lake or change over the years but we all have our go to weapon. One of the most difficult things I encounter as an angler is fishing when I have no or little confidence. I know there is more to fishing than catching fish but there is a certain gloom that shrouds the boat when you get in that situation where you no longer think you are going to catch anything. This is why so many anglers avoid new concepts or different tactics… mostly out of confidence. It is hard to stray from what has worked in the past.
jasonwalleye

Jason Mitchell With An Impressive Devils Lake Walleye

On the flip side, one of the most rewarding aspects of angling at least for me is learning and mastering something new or different, especially if you did not have confidence in the tactic before. Could be as simple as catching fish on a different lure, or as complex as a different pattern that is being overlooked by other anglers. As a guide, I have to evolve as an angler and master new patterns and techniques or I get my lunch handed to me. A big advantage I do have as a guide is that I have a lot of lines in the water when I fish, get to spend a tremendous amount of time on the water and also get some things force fed to me. What I mean by being force fed is the simple fact where there are so many times when I will have a lot of confidence in a certain lure or size for example and one of my customers will start using something different… and start catching fish. Could be a much larger lure or a faster retrieve as an example, something that I wasn’t confident to try myself because I had a preconceived notion on what was supposed to work.

Over time, you see so many different things that have worked and you gain so much confidence in so many different things that you have a large amount of tools at your disposal. You don’t cling to anything specific and force yourself to try different things until you start catching fish. These lessons however often have to be relearned every season. I find myself sometimes making the same mistakes I have made in the past and find myself trying to correct my thought processes so I can capitalize on opportunities.

A lesson I continue to relearn is fishing high in the water column. My starting point is usually next to or close to the bottom. If I mark fish on the electronics that are higher, I feel good about running lures higher off the bottom but there are so many situations where the fish don’t show up on the electronics and the fish are indeed up off the bottom. In fact, a common mistake I believe many anglers make is running lures or crankbaits too tight to the bottom or too far from the boat. We often catch a lot of walleyes relating to weeds as well and as the summer progresses, the weeds grow taller so the running depths that might have worked just a week ago are no longer effective. From an efficiency standpoint, running lures where they are fouled up or dragging weeds and debris is wasted time. Pulling or casting lures high in the water column over ten feet of water might not feel right to some anglers but there are so many reasons why this particular scenario can be so effective at times. Many anglers assume that shallow running crank baits and stick baits are an early spring presentation to be used early in the season but this particular class of lures can also be incredible effective later into the summer as well as weeds reach to the surface creating a smaller and shallower window to run lures. A neat scenario where I have caught several limits of walleyes on Devils Lake this season is to cast shallow running lures over the tops of submerged cattails in eight to six feet of water. We are working the lures down a foot or two below the surface as the cattails are generally four or five feet tall. Northland Mimic Minnows and Salmo Suspending Stings have been some of the better lures worked just over the tops of the cattails. Walleyes dart out of the cattails and grab the lures. The first inclination many anglers have when they see the depth of the boat is to slow down and fish deeper but they get fouled up or snagged. I keep telling the people in my boat to reel faster and they start catching fish. That doesn’t feel right to a lot of people until they start catching fish and get confident. Once you get confident in a certain technique and analyze it, the situation makes perfect sense.

Some of the things that we think we know about walleye fishing are so engraved to our heads that it can become difficult to learn new things. There are so many times when walleyes aren’t spooked by a boat nearly as much as we are lead to believe and that is another lesson I continually relearn as the closer to the boat you can fish, the more effective you can be as less can go wrong. There are even times when it seems like the prop attracts fish. For years, I always made a point to pull up or drop the anchor down as quietly as possible believing the anchor would scare fish. I still try to lower the anchor into the water as I don’t like getting a face full of water but one thing I have started doing is to actually drag the anchor with the boat if I want to make a small move. If I want to move ten yards, I just drag the anchor with the big motor on the boat. So often, the big motor doesn’t bother the fish and the anchor dragging through the mud actually seems to stir things up and get fish moving around. When my bite slows down, I often just drag the anchor a short distance and start catching fish again. Maybe the anchor stirs up bugs in the mud or clouds the water, maybe pushing or moving inactive fish creates a short window where these fish start moving around and are alert.

Another tactic that I have had good luck with at times especially early in the season when the weather has the fish in a funk is to drive over the top of the fish right on top of shore in shallow water and try to intentionally spook or bump the fish. My philosophy is that walleyes that are not alert and cruising are difficult to catch. There is nothing harder than catching a fish just lying on the bottom. You have to hit such a limited angle at such a limited speed often repetitively that this is a tough situation. I can sometimes even see the fish spooking and coasting away from the shoreline as the boat approaches. I run the boat really shallow, sometimes in just a few feet of water and cast deep and ahead of the boat. My lure or jig is falling and running right in front of the fish as they peel out. These fish are much easier to catch as they are moving and alert. The bad part about this tactic is that you get one good pass and it takes a much longer period of time for the spot to recharge.

As anglers, we have to have confidence in order to be successful. We have to believe that something is going to work for us. That confidence however that is so necessary is also our Achilles heel when a lack of confidence prohibits us from grasping new ideas, exploring new options and learning more than what we currently know. At some point, we have to sit back and realize that we don’t have all of the answers. Ideas I currently have about fish movements and forage patterns will continue to evolve and will be much different ten years from now. As an angler, it is exciting to explore and test what we think we already know because only than do we begin to grasp some of the things that we don’t know or understand.

Editors Note: The author, Jason Mitchell earned a legendary reputation as a fishing guide on Devils Lake and now hosts the popular television show Jason Mitchell Outdoors which airs on Fox Sports Net North at 9:00 am on Sunday mornings. More information can be found at http://www.jasonmitchelloutdoors.com

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Devils Lake anglers are reporting some excellent fishing as of late.

Posted: June 4, 2010

Devils Lake anglers are reporting some excellent fishing as of late. Walleye anglers are reporting a good bite in the early morning and mid day hours and an excellent bite right at dusk in most parts of the lake. While most anglers are pitching cranks into cattail edges or rocky shorelines on shallower bays, other anglers are reporting some fish out a bit deeper in that 10-15 foot depth as well.

Some of the better areas this past week have been any of the newly flooded areas in Pelican Lake and the Flats, the area across from Grahams Island, New Mil and Old Mil Bays, Doc Hagens, Knudson’s Bay, Walfords Bay, the north end of Creel Bay, the Storm Sewer and Dairy area in East Bay, Penny and New Penny Bays, Combine Bay, Ruttens Bay, Browns Bay in East Devils Lake, and the area near the outlet to Stump Lake.

For cranks, anglers are primarily using shad raps, eskos, countdowns, wally divers, husky jerks, and salmos. Black/silver, blue/silver, hot steel, bleak, and firetiger have all been good. Shore fisherman are reporting some excellent early morning and evening fishing as well.

Some of the better areas from shore have been any of the bridges on the lake, the Hwy 19/old 281 area, the Woods Rutten road, and the ditch at Camp Grafton. Pike and white bass are being caught along with walleyes in most all areas of the lake. Some of the better white bass areas have been the Woods Rutten area, the Storm Sewer, the Grahams Island road, and for boaters most any of the smaller windswept shallow bays on the lake. Cranks with blue or chartreuse seem to work well but a jig with a minnow tends to be the best for white bass.

Good Luck and Good Fishing!!!

Courtesy: Ed’s Bait Shop

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Sliders Strike out Devils Lake Walleyes

Posted:

For awhile it was a fish every cast. Then it slowed to 2 casts per fish. After the first 10 it dropped to 3 even 4 casts for a fish. Devils Lake, my kid’s favorite place on Earth.
Thunderstorms are predicted for later this afternoon, mostly cloudy with a south east wind up to 17. Not a bad forecast and if we can get it done before this afternoon’s storms we will be home free. I remember the first time I came to Devils Lake and asked advice. What followed was bunch of fishing jargon that would make oil field talk seem normal.
Channel A and Pepsi Barn ain’t what I call good fishing info but it’s all you will get from the locals. Not that they don’t want to be helpful, it’s just how things are placed here in 6 Mile Bay. So with that in mind, let’s take a trip over to some of these locations and get an idea where they fit.
6 mile Bay is west of Devils Lake and Hwy 19 divides it in half north and south. We will get started as far north as you can boat which is the Channel A bridge. Access by foot is from Hwy 2 west of Devils Lake. Early, like ice out early, it is great walleye fishing. So good in fact you need to be advised that conservation is every sportsman’s responsibility. Catch and Release please!
My thought was to get a picture of the Hwy 2 bridge, pitch jigs for a few White Bass and head out. The bass didn’t see it my way but a respectable Walleye did. It’s a little late in the season for a great walleye bite this far into Channel A. Be careful where the old railroad crosses, plenty of depth but a bit narrow.
Our next stop heading south on the east shore of 6 mile is the famous Pepsi Barn. Completely encased with signs it’s hard to sort out how “Pepsi Barn” stuck. In fact, my son Jesse, on seeing it for the first time remarked, “Why didn’t they call it the Coke Barn?” There is a bay around the corner NE of the barn I suggest you give a look over.
The Gravel Pit is across 6 Mile Bay and a bit south of the barn. It has some steep structure and if you like the live bait jigging presentation you will settle right in. I was introduced to this area last year by a local, Al, who doesn’t know how to hook on minnows so he just uses cranks. I like Al, my kind of fisherman. The shoreline running west is a good starting place if you want to pitch.
Under the Hwy 19 bridge and a mile or so on the west is 6 Mile Bait. This is where we launched this morning. 6 Mile Bait has everything you need on DL for tackle and a guide on hand as well. Heading south again and sticking to the west side is today’s ultimate destination, Doc Hagens.
Doc Hagens is expansive and one of those descriptives that bundles everything into one small name. If someone tells you “Doc Hagens” in reference to “Where they biting?” see if they will be more specific. Doc’s has everything from cattails (locally Cane) to riprap with sunken roads, sunken islands, stock dams and rocks.
You’re gonna need more than a simple “Doc Hagens” if you can get it so here it is. There is a narrow strip of shallow flats that run east and west between Doc Hagens Island and the canes to the north. Depths average 7-9 feet right now. Most of the boats are set up in the middle of the bay at the west end of Doc Hagens Island.
Slip bobbers are without a doubt the most popular technique right now. With an anchor out the corner and a couple of rods each you can sit back and wait for the action. It is a very productive way to fish Devils Lake. I don’t particularly care for the bobbers and thankfully a few walleyes don’t either.
Couple of years ago Nathan, a friend from Minot, introduced me to the slider. No, we’re not talking baseball. This Slider is soft, supple, and deadly on DL. There are days when it seems nothing else will work and Nathan put on a demonstration that stuck with me. I’m thinking it’s the throbbing tail that does it.
No, I didn’t forget the opening paragraph where I bragged about a fish a cast. That was simply a scouting trip north of DL for my 13 year old son Levi who absolutely loves shore fishing. I expected White Bass but the Northern were totally bonkers for a jig. How he is going to love this.

To read other stories, fishing reports and view pictures please go to: www.ndlive.com

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I am going to sound like a broken record…but again this past week the fishing has been fantastic!

Posted: June 3, 2010

I am going to sound like a broken record…but again this past week the fishing has been fantastic!  Mornings have been a little slow for pitching crankbaits but the slip bobbering has been very good.  From 11:00 am on we start pitching crank baits, mimic minnows, and Berkley rip shads with a jig head and “Hang On!”  the walleyes, northern pike, and white bass just about tear the rod out of your hand.

Mitchells Guide Service has been in full swing the past 10 days and the team-work and communication between guides has gotten us through some tough days especially mornings when things have been on the slow side.  It is an honor to be a part of this very “elite” team of guides and thanks to the team work not a single group that we have had this past week has left without their limit of walleyes.  And it’s only going to get better!   The water temperatures are now in the 60’s and climbing.   As long as we have decent weather, a little wind but not too much, the best is still yet to come for this shallow water fishing bonanza.

Good luck fishing this week!

Steve “Zippy” Dahl

Mitchell’s Guide Service

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The walleyes are big, healthy and hungry.

Posted:

Fishing has been good on Devils Lake! The walleyes are big, healthy and hungry. It seems like the mid-day bite is the best. We have had our best luck pitching cranks or jigs and plastics into the shallows. Water temps are good and it is important to find stained water as well. The best depths have been 1-10 ft of water. It also seems like the cranks with the orange bellies have triggered more bites. More traditional methods like live bait rigs have been catching fish too. This is probably the best time of year to catch trophy fish because the majority of them are in the shallow water feeding. We have had many walleyes over 5 pounds, several northerns between 15-20 pounds, and many whopper bass. Good luck to all!!

Courtesy: Bry’s Guide Service

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