Archive of Fishing reports

February2013

Pretty Good Days on Devils Lake

Posted: February 20, 2013

We have had some pretty good days mixed in with some just OK days over the past ten days. We have had some dandy perch and pike of late, just not huge numbers of them. The walleyes have been more in the eater class, with only a few nicer ones mixed in here and there. The reality is that just about everywhere we go we are marking fish, the key is triggering them to bite or to be there for that window they are feeding in (which may last twenty minutes or a few hours). So there is a bit of a guessing game as to the time and location that will produce the next flurry…Some days we wait for the bite and other days we go looking for more aggressive fish.
Some of the best ice fishing of the year is traditionally that late ice period. My calendar is showing that March is right around the corner!! We are anticipating more takers and less lookers as the weather warms and more hatches occur in shallow. Seems like everything (walleyes, perch, pike) become more active in the spring.

The Devils Lake area has had a fair amount of snow mixed in with lots of wind which equals tough access and travel on the lake. We recommend snowmobiles or tracked vehicles of some kind as there are some major drifts out there. We have a few openings in March if you would like to book a trip with Bry’s Guide Service. Good luck!!

Courtesy of Bry’s Guide Service

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Hunting Perch With Waterfowl Calls

Posted: February 15, 2013

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Hunting Perch With Waterfowl Calls
Precise GPS Mapping and Three Call System Yields More Mid-Winter To Ice-Out Jumbos
by Jim Edlund

From mid-winter through ice-out, Devils Lake guide Jason Feldner “hunts” perch with a system he says can’t be beat. Relying on highly detailed GPS mapping and electronics, signs from Mother Nature and a ‘three call’ system, Feldner quickly locates and ices big perch, day-in-day-out.

“When it comes to finding fish, you’ve gotta key in on slight 1-foot depth contours—especially for perch. In mid- and late-winter, a good place to start is that 8- to 15-foot range,” says Feldner.

Like birds following a migration path, perch slowly travel specific depth contours from mid-winter through late ice to reach their spring spawning areas. “If you can’t get right on those one-foot contours and follow the perch, you’re gonna have a tough time staying on the action,” says Feldner.

But get the contour right, sink an Aqua-Vu camera, and you’ll spy a stockyard of yellow, green and black bars moving amidst swarms of shrimp. “That’s what I try to put my clients on. You look down there and it’s like hordes of Green Bay fans moving out of the stadium and into the streets. They’re hungry and looking for a fight.”

lakemaster_contour_smTo find just the right contours, Feldner utilizes the new Version 4 LakeMaster Nebraska/Dakotas map card in a Humminbird 597ci HD ice unit. “Fishing Devils without a LakeMaster card is like shooting pool with a rope,” says Feldner.

“Once I find the contour the perch are following, I simply choose the chart menu in my 597 and highlight that key depth contour in green. Now, with a glance, I know where the money areas are and simply drill my holes throughout that green shaded area on the graph.”

Now, with the new Version 4 LakeMaster card, Devils Lake is set to its current elevation of 1455 feet, which means areas that have recently flooded and are underwater show up as water on the map. But even if that changes, Feldner can readjust the depths on the map with the press of a button. Water’s down three feet? Simply set Water Level Offset to -3 feet.

He also adds that fishing Devils Lake without accurate GPS mapping can quickly get anglers in trouble, as the lake is a mine field of barely submerged roadbeds, timber fields, and other structure that can wreck the lower units of the unsuspecting or overzealous. And in the winter, it’s crucial to set a route and be able to follow it back into shore if the wind picks up anglers face whiteout conditions.

Following the waterfowl analogy, once he’s located schools of jumbos, Feldner likes to use a ‘three call’ system to lure the traveling butterballs into biting.

The Highball Call
Jason Feldner holding a jumbo perch

Feldner starts his three-call system with the perch equivalent of a hail or highball call—a  ¼-ounce Lindy Darter or Rattlin’ Flyer—a bait with a big profile and sizeable rattle chamber to produce sonics that alert perch to the presence of food.

“Perch are inquisitive,” says Feldner. “They’ll swim over from a pretty good distance to investigate what’s making the racket—and if it’s something they can eat.”

Because Devils Lake perch typically relate to the bottom, Feldner likes to position his bait two- to three-feet off the bottom so the fish can see it from a distance. He’ll give it a pump followed by a shimmy and shake to produce flash and noise before letting it sit, keeping his eyes glued to the screen of his Humminbird 597 graph.

“I try to appeal to all their senses. You’ve got the rattle, the flash, and then I tip it with a minnowhead—just the head, no guts—to produce some scent,” says Feldner.

In terms of gear, Feldner tells his clients to leave their 1- and 2-pound panfish finesse rigs at home. “These fish are head throbbers and are routinely in that 13- to 15-inch range, sometimes bigger. They’re linebackers that’ll beat up puny rigs. Plus, you stand a good chance at a good-sized walleye that follow perch around. One of my clients just iced an 11-pounder fishing this perch system.”

Feldner likes 4-pound PowerPro braid tied to a small barrel swivel and 4- to 6-feet of Lindy copolymer Ice Line.

“The swivel keeps the line from twisting and eliminates having to use fancy line-to-leader knots. Hard to beat the strength of tying direct to metal,” says Feldner.

To speed up the process of swapping out different sizes and colors of Darters and Rattlin’ Flyers, Felder likes Quick Snaps, rather than having to re-tie. “If I get a couple lookers at the ¼-ounce but no takers, I’ll quickly downsize in the same spoon to a 1/8-ounce,” says Feldner.

And if they won’t commit to the 1/8-ounce – or if the fish slow down – Feldner abandons the highball and moves to the “C’mon In Call.”

The C’mon In Call

With the attention of the perch stockyard now in Feldner’s transducer cone, he’ll abandon the minnowhead and rattle spoon, opting now for a Lindy Frosty and two red larvae on each of the treble arms in traditional “Medusa” fashion.

He then slows his jigging, finding out just how far the fish will come up for the bait. “Often times I’m just barely moving that rod tip and then letting it sit still. Then I’ll slowly lift it up in the water column until I find out at what depth they want to feed,” says Feldner.

Feldner finds that the ‘C’mon Call’ is typically good for a solid number of fish. Still, at some point the perch will go neutral, at which time he pulls out his feeding call.

The Feeding Call

Further downsizing to Lindy Toads and Ice Jigs presented on a Frabill Straight Line system to reduce unwanted jig spin, Feldner presents the bait like larvae emerging from the mud, very gently tapping the bottom to produce clouds of silt which draw the perch in to feed.

“I work the rod tip really slow, slowly lifting the bait until they quit following it. If they shoot back to the bottom, that’s where I drop the bait and repeat the ascent.”

Quoting ice pioneer Dave Genz, Feldner says, “Cadence is everything.”

Yet, he says color can make a difference, too. “My experience is that on bright days, bright spoons and jigheads work best—on dark days, dark colors.”

One Last Tip

Feldner says that all too often ice anglers will leave fish to find fish. “Once you find perch, stay there. Tweak your system and figure out what they want. That’s the basis of my three call system,” says Feldner. “Never leave fish to find fish.”

He recommends keeping a deadstick with a minnow in another hole off to the side, which will keep perch in the area until you figure out what presentation works best. Plus, you increase your chance at some of the awesome multi-species action Devils Lake has to offer—a gorgeous walleye, brawny pike or even a roaming white bass.

Best Late-Ice Action

Although Feldner is well versed in how to use the latest in fishing electronics technology to his advantage, he still keeps an eye on Mother Nature to help him optimize his time on the ice.

“As snow geese start to migrate north in mid- to late-March throughout the Dakotas, that’s when we’re getting closest to ice-out, which definitely relates to what perch are doing. The water’s warmer, there’s run-off and perch are finally arriving in the shallower, sandy shoreline to spawn.”

Feldner says this can be prime time for the biggest butterballs in the Devils Lake system, and says he’ll fish as long as it’s safe. “Not only are the perch massive,” says Feldner, “the walleyes are moving to the edges of the trees and into shallower water, which means you can have epic multi-species days!”

Thinking about a late-ice destination? No matter how you cut it, hard to beat Devils Lake.

On A Side Note

Feldner says he abandoned flashers long ago when he saw how much he could learn ice fishing with a graph. “I learned a lot about jigging cadences by watching a graph on the ice,” says Feldner. “And with that knowledge I’ve been able to catch a lot more fish.”

Never without his Humminbird 597ci HD close by, Feldner runs it in split view, with a quarter of the screen dedicated to full view and three-quarters of the screen in 2x zoom mode. “Although I can run the 597 in up to 6x zoom mode, I find 2x zoom best for me, although there are some times, especially when walleyes are bellied into the bottom that’ll I’ll increase the zoom.”

He recommends setting the chart speed to maximum and running the noise filter as low as possible to increase sensitivity.

If fish are shallow he sets the maximum depth only one foot deeper than the actual water depth to get the most screen real estate.  If fish are deeper—over 15 feet—then he’ll set maximum depth range two feet deeper.

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North Dakota Game and Fish Department webcast, Outdoors Online

Posted: February 14, 2013

This week’s North Dakota Game and Fish Department webcast, Outdoors Online, is now online at http://gf.nd.gov

NDGF assistant wildlife division chief Jeb Williams discusses how this winter is treating wildlife  .  Click here to Watch!

The webcast can be seen on the following community access channels:

Grand Forks

  • GFTV Channel 2 – Saturday, 10 p.m.
  • UND Studio One Channel 3 – Monday, 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Dickinson

  • Consolidated Channel 18 – Monday, 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Fargo

  • TV Fargo Channel 12 – Thursday, noon, and Sunday, 7 p.m.

Bismarck

  • Community Access Cable Channel 12, Thursday, 9:30 p.m.

Jamestown

  • Cable Services, The Replay Channel, CSi Channel 10

Minot

  •  Cable Channel 19, Thursday, 6 p.m
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Posted: February 12, 2013

Fishing this past week has been so-so. We have had some huge walleyes and some really nice perch, but not consistent fishing and some folks have really struggled to catch fish. The problem has been the up and down weather, we need some stability to really get a general good bite. Best lures have been the smaller buck shot rattle spoons, jigging raps, forage minnows, and macho minnows. Buck shots have been number one.

Tip up fishing for pike has been really good with nice Northerns being taken. Herring on Bigtooth tackle rigs in Wolford bay has been the trick.

Congrats to Tommy for catching a 12lb walleye last week. Fish of a lifetime!

Shiverfest is this weekend and the kids ice fishing tournament will be in front of Woodland Sat. from 1-2:30. Great time for kids with tons of prizes and stuff for youth anglers.

Good luck and enjoy Devils Lake!

Kyle
Woodland Resort

Courtesy of Woodland Resort Mitchell’s Guide Service.

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Game Wardens Association to Give Scholarship

Posted: February 11, 2013

The North Dakota Game Wardens Association has a $300 scholarship available for a graduating high school senior entering college in fall 2013 who enrolls in fisheries or wildlife management with an emphasis on law enforcement.

Applicants must be North Dakota residents and have maintained a 3.25 grade point average. The scholarship will be awarded to the student upon proof of enrollment in college.

Applications are available by contacting the North Dakota Game and Fish Department at 328-6604; or email ndgf@nd.gov. Applications must be postmarked no later than May 10, 2013.

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Posted:

Well, we dodged a huge bullet yesterday!!!  The big blizzard went south of us.  Not one inch of snow here on Devils Lake and after hearing some of the amounts of snow that fell in some areas that would have made travel on Devils Lake very difficult.  So we are still able to drive our trucks pretty much everywhere, we do get stuck sometimes but it is mostly due to all the clouds and foggy weather we have had the last three weeks.

There is no secret that the fishing has been slower than normal for us in the perch department the last three weeks but we haven’t had exactly “perch” type weather either.  It sure would be nice to see the sunshine for a couple of days in a row!  We are marking all kinds of fish but the perch have developed some lock-jaw on certain days.  The walleye fishing has still been decent on flooded roadbeds, humps, and timber shorelines.  We are doing the best on Northland Buckshot rattle spoons tipped with either minnow heads or wax worms.

On the bright side of things the forecast looks pretty decent coming up.  Hopefully it will stabilize and get some of this high barametric pressure out of here.  We have had some pretty decent catches on both walleyes and perch but don’t have table full of limits to show you.

Have a great week and good luck fishing everybody!!!

Courtesy of Perch Patrol Guide Service.

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Posted:

Well it has warmed up a bit and has been cloudy for 15 days :-(. Fishing is not fast but if you stick with it you end up with a nice batch of fish by the end of the day. We have been bouncing around a lot to catch fish. Some days driving as Far East as you can go. Lindy rattlen flyers seem to be best tipped with a minnow head. Tip up action for walleyes is slow most all fish coming on jig rods. Pike action is hot tho.  Call Jason Feldner Cell: 701-351-1294.

Courtesy of JJ’s Bait Shop and Perch Eyes Guide Service.

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North Dakota Game and Fish Department webcast, Outdoors Online

Posted: February 7, 2013

This week’s North Dakota Game and Fish Department webcast, Outdoors Online, is now online at http://gf.nd.gov

NDGF chief game warden Robert Timian discusses the most common 2012 Violations .  Click here to Watch!

 

The webcast can be seen on the following community access channels:

 

Grand Forks

•             GFTV Channel 2 – Saturday, 10 p.m.

•             UND Studio One Channel 3 – Monday, 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.

 

Dickinson

•             Consolidated Channel 18 – Monday, 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Fargo

•             TV Fargo Channel 12 – Thursday, noon, and Sunday, 7 p.m.

 

Bismarck

•             Community Access Cable Channel 12, Thursday, 9:30 p.m.

 

Jamestown

•             Cable Services, The Replay Channel, CSi Channel 10

 

Minot

•             Cable Channel 19, Thursday, 6 p.m

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Posted: February 6, 2013

We are still working for our fish; however, the weather is starting to shape up and the bite should become more consistent. We have not had a problem marking fish of late, the key is to trigger them to bite. Seems like most days the aggressive lure is the best, but we have had times when downsizing with more subtle lures has produced.

The bite has been a bit unique this year for walleyes in the sense that you never really know when it might happen. Most years, it is the early morning and late afternoon deal. However, this year we have had many excellent bites in the middle of the day for walleyes and times when the late afternoon bite really doesn’t happen. I guess the bottom line is to always keep fishing hard because you just never know when the walleye window is going to hit. We are marking and seeing perch all over the place and getting a few of them to cooperate. It is only a matter of time before they are back on.
We have a fair amount of snow on the lake now and access is getting trickier by the week, again another factor that we are not as concerned about because the SnoBear handles the deep snow like a dream. COMFORT, SAFETY, MOBILITY is the what we are all about!! We still have a few dates in February and March if you would like to have an excellent experience!

Courtesy of Bry’s Guide Service.

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Posted: February 1, 2013

Nice to see a good warm up in the forecast. Recent cold weather sure makes it tougher to move and look for new fish. We have had a good walleye bite this week but perch fishing remains slow. We now have houses in many locations including Creel Bay, Bird Island, Doc Hagen’s, Dome house area, and the towers area. Covering a lot of ice to do the best we can. These locations are drive-able from the resort on freshly plowed trails. Warmer weather should improve fishing and lets hope we can get back on some good schools of perch. Good Luck and enjoy your weekend.

NEWS FLASH: Woodland Resort will be adding a new marine service facility with a full time mechanic to do service and repair on most boats and motors. We will also be selling new Warrior fishing boats and Crownline cruiser boats.

Kyle

Courtesy of Woodland Resort Mitchell’s Guide Service.

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