Archive of Fishing reportsFebruary2012
Remove Permanent Fish Houses
Posted: February 29, 2012
State law requires permanent fish houses to be removed from North Dakota waters by midnight March 15.
Nancy Boldt, water safety coordinator for the state Game and Fish Department, said anglers should exercise caution because mild weather conditions this winter have resulted in unstable ice conditions in many areas of the state.
“It is always important to check ice thickness, but even more so this year because of the unseasonably mild temperatures over the past two months,” Boldt said. “In addition, warm temperatures with a high sun will rapidly deteriorate ice conditions this time of the year.”
Fish houses may be used after March 15 if they are removed daily..........................................................................................................................................................
Walleye fishing has been pretty consistent…
Posted: February 28, 2012
“The bite remains good! Seems like there are days you have to work a bit and there are others where they really go. The walleye fishing has been pretty consistent, with the best bites still coming early and late. Some days the bite will go all day, it really just depends on the day. I think it is important to be fishing in deeper water or very close to deeper water to catch walleyes consistently, deeper water being anything over 25 ft. The perch have been good all winter! Seems like the last week to ten days the bite has either been really good or really slow. Our best depths have been between 30-55 feet of water. We have had some days where we get them as shallow as 15. Pike have been scattered in with the walleyes and perch. There have been some real tanks caught as well. 8 year old Tucker Satterlund caught a 42 inch pike all by himself while fishing for perch! Way to go Tucker!! Good luck to all! I think March Madness is going to be very good this year, make sure you get to Devils Lake and experience some world class fishing!!”
Deep Adjustment for Walleyes
Posted: February 27, 2012
If there are good numbers of nice fish in deep water early in the season or near ice out, what happens between the shallow late ice patterns and the shallow spring patterns? Do fish move back and forth? Every fishery is different and each ecosystem seems to produce unique patterns but there definitely seems like on many fisheries, either the fish do shift back and forth or there are certain populations of fish that are on a different, deeper program.
I have talked about transition fish before and one thing I often notice about fish that are on the move and making huge movements is the color of the fish. Transition fish often get paler in color while fish that have been set up on one location for a while often seem to get more darker and vibrant colors. Obviously fish color is relative to the water but when fish get pale, it seems to be from being on the big move. I am speculating that environmental stressors and the stress of covering massive amounts of ground stresses the fish just enough to cause the fish to loose some color like how a fish that is stressed in a live well can loose some of its luster for color in a few hours.
The bottom line is that walleyes in particular can really move especially early in the season between when the ice goes out and the spawn begins. I have watched fish on underwater cameras and they just rolled through about as fast as a person walks. There fins are down and when they get in migration mode, they are about impossible to catch. You feel like you are invisible with your lure.
The question I still have is what would make walleyes reposition from say the back end of a shallow bay on a nice gravel shoal at late ice to a massive main lake deep water point shortly after ice out? What would possess fish to make that journey when a week later after the water temperature stabilizes and climbs, most of the fish are on the shallow shoreline patterns where we think they should be? It could also be entirely possible that we are dealing with two different populations of fish as well. Biologists often point out that Mother Nature is good at spreading the risk. With both shallow and deep fish, spawning attempts are staggered in different parts of the lake with primary and secondary patterns happening at once. There might however be some time of biological advantage however for a walleye to just drop back into deep water at ice out momentarily. The reason I believe this is just because there are so many baitfish clouds over deep water at this time. Depending on the fishery, could be schools of shad, smelt or some other baitfish but we see this so often. Now the walleyes might be set up on these locations eating these baitfish but there might be more to it. The big question I have is why are the baitfish over deep water? I would think that there would be more for baitfish to eat in shallow water. The only explanation I can find is that the deeper water might be more stable at this time. I don’t have all of the answers but I do know this, don’t ever be afraid to look deep on spots early in the season when there isn’t any activity up shallow.
Activity is the barometer I use. If I am still catching pike, drum, white bass or other fish in shallow water, I usually find walleyes somewhere nearby and I don’t make drastic moves. Other species can calm your nerves and help you slow the day down. Often, successful fishing is knowing when to slow down and just waiting for the opportunities to play out. Many times, we are more successful by not worrying about fish on other patterns and just focusing on the fish or spot in front of you. If there is nothing happening however as in Nada, no bites, no other species biting, no nothing, after a good honest effort, there is a time for adjustments and the deep adjustment is hard to make at times but often very productive.
The best part about deeper fish is that this activity will show up on your electronics. The baitfish clouds and everything else will show up. Now deep is relative but on many lakes and reservoirs, we have found fish anywhere from twenty to fifty feet of water when they make this deep shift. On Lake Sakakawea in north central North Dakota where I spent a lot of time fishing when I was growing up, we often found sauger in really deep water at ice out, any where from thirty to sixty feet of water. I am still amazed at how many walleyes we caught at times from those depths. We see the same deep patterns save us on Devils Lake at times. Particularly during adverse weather when fishing is tough, we can often salvage a day sitting over deep fish.
Much of fishing is knowing when to hold and when to fold. There is something to be said for patience and there is also beating the dead horse. Right away in the season, don’t be afraid to slide out over much deeper water and fish structure and spots that are far away from shallow water locations when the horse is dead.
Editors Note: The author, Jason Mitchell hosts the popular outdoor program, Jason Mitchell Outdoors (www.jasonmitchelloutdoors.com) which airs on FSN North at 9:00 am Sunday mornings. Before television, Mitchell earned a renowned reputation as a top walleye fishing guide on Devils Lake, North Dakota.
Darkhouse Spearfishing Season Closes March 15
Anglers are reminded that North Dakota’s darkhouse spearfishing season closes March 15.
Individuals who would still like to get out for the first time this year must register with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. Registration is available through the department’s website, gf.nd.gov, or through any Game and Fish Department office.
March 15 is also the deadline for anglers to remove permanent fish houses from state waters..........................................................................................................................................................
Fishing should stay good!
Scott Beshorners group managed to get 200 perch and around 35 walleyes and a hand full of pike on the 3 day adventure with Perch Eyes. We had a little weather system come through while they where here and the fishing stayed strong. The rest of the week looks to be warming so the fishing should stay good. We have just a few open dates left for the winter do if you want to get something set up for next year give us a call. Good fishing to you all.
Lots of bare ice in our areas
Looks like we are going to miss most of the snow. Yesterdays total was about 2″ Big storm forecasted for later this week is trending south of us. Our plow trucks are out today. Trails will be cleaned up, but it is really easy to get around. The wind blew most of the snow off the ice. Lots of bare ice in our areas.
Cold weather has helped grow the ice now to about 24″. We should have excellent ice into late March.
The perch are biting from one end of the lake to the other
Posted: February 24, 2012
Fishing still remains good:) these guys from MN had there limit of eyes and 30 perch to go with them and one tipping the scale at 2 pounds. The walleyes are still biting on shoreline structure and mid lake humps. The perch are biting from one end of the lake to the other. Depths from 10 to 50 feet of water. Get of the edge of the structure and start drilling holes. We still have some dates in March open of you want to make the trip out.
Walleye bite remains good around…
Ice fishing has been decent this week. With a few front that came in and out there were a few days of slower fishing but most of it was pretty good. Walleye bite remains good around Grahms Island, Doc Hagens, Mission Bay, Stromme Addtion, Along the tracks in Pelican…basically find structure and you will find Walleyes. Work structured areas in 6-25 FOW using anything with a rattle and a minnow head. Perch fishing this week was hit and miss..good one day and not the next..Swansons Point by the casino..Bud Point..East Devils Lake and Black Tiger bay were the spots for the most success. Work 25-60 FOW depending on what part of the lake you are fishing. Small Jigs with minnow heads, wax worms or spikes were working the best. Our first real snow storm is suppose to come this weekend, so we will see what the does to the fishing and lake access. Pray it goes North or South of us. Good luck and good fishing!
Courtesy of Ed’s Bait Shop..........................................................................................................................................................
Still seeing some decent catches!
Posted: February 23, 2012
Fishing has been a bit slower this week. Still seeing some decent catches. We have been working hard to get back on the perch. Marking lots of fish in many locations, but the bite has been off. Still seeing good to decent walleye action and good pike fishing. Looks like some weather issues this weekend. Forcast shows some new snow and cooler weather. We remain at a very good 22-24 inches of ice and little snow cover on the lake. Good luck and see you on the ice!
You catch more by sitting still
Posted: February 18, 2012
Fishing remains strong. Here are some pictures from the last 3 days. The action for the walleye is only about the first hour of the day. Jogging Lindy Rattle’n flyers tipped with a minnow head has been working well along with tip ups tipped with a plain hook and a large fat head minnow. Perch action is good but slow. I’m saying this because you get little spurts during the day sometime you’ll fish for a hour with nothing and bam you’ll get 5 in 5 min. And then you sit and wait again. We have tried drilling 100 holes but it seems you catch more by sitting still; still have a few openings yet this winter.