Archive of Fishing reports

December2015

The Wait is Over…Devils Lake Ice Season is On!!

Posted: December 31, 2015

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Devils Lake, the huge lake in north-central North Dakota, and a favorite of ice fishermen, is finally fishable. The experts said this about the fishing action the past couple days:

Zippy Dahl, Perch Patrol, on their main quarry, “Perch fishing has been phenomenal this week. Lots of limits. Fish are in 14 to 28 feet. We’re fishing by ourselves. We even landed a couple 2-pounders.

Mark Bry, Bry’s Guide Service, “The walleye bite is very good now. They’re weed line related and the action in 4 to 8 feet is exceptional. A day ago, a large group of 18 people limited out with 90 walleyes. Limits are common.”

Clint DeVier, community ambassador and on the lake nearly every day, “Shallow walleyes in less than 10-feet are biting big-time in Lake Irvine, Lake Alice (open for the first time this year) and the north end of Pelican. Irvine has a lot of 18 to 22 inchers, while Alice has produced a number of bigger walleyes around five pounds.”

Like many lakes in the traditional ice fishing belt, Devils Lake froze much later than normal this year. When the bays and lakes to the north and west finally froze, they were hit with three storms and 15 inches of snow. That caused slush and travel issues. The main lake remained open during the first two storms, but has finally iced over with 5 to 8 inches in most places. Some of the northern connected lakes have a foot of ice. CAUTION is name of the game, and travel on foot, by snowmobiles and ATVs is the norm. “Truck travel will probably be safe by mid-January,” DeVier said.

Dahl said his 10 guides have only been chasing perch, and they are just beginning to check their key main lake spots. “We need cold, but until then, we will remain mobile and keep searching.” Bry said the favorite walleye tactics so far have been Northland Buckshot or Slender spoons with minnow heads. With the great shallow bite, he has not been venturing very far onto the main lake.

When describing the most productive walleye lures for the anglers he’s been fishing with, DeVier said, “I really like the Lindy flyer and Northland Buckshot spoons and the new Northland flutter spoon. Really good are jigging Rapalas. I cut off the two end hooks so the Raps don’t get caught on the bottom of the ice when fighting a fish through the hole. I also upgrade the treble to a larger size.”

He is just getting to his favorite perch spots now, and usually looks in 24 to 35 feet of water in early season. “One really fun fish in Devils Lake is pike. Set out some tip-ups and get some exercise. The lake is loaded with really good-sized pike, and with four lines per person, this will keep you warm all day. The north end of Pelican and Six Mile Bay are hot right now,” DeVier said.

The lake level is 1450.10, which is about two feet lower than spring, which means the sprawling lake covers approximately 147,000 acres on the main body and about 16,000 acres for the connected bays and lakes.

Ice travel demands caution all season, and especially with the late ice cover and snow storms. Current Devils Lake ice conditions, fishing reports and information is at devilslakend.com. This site features listings of guide services, resort, motel and casino accommodations, a lake map, cleaning stations (including the indoor, modern facility south of Ed’s Bait Shop on Hwy 20), plus regional outdoor and indoor activities for all ages and all interests. The phone is 701-662-4903.

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Devils Lake Bite!

Posted: December 30, 2015

The walleye bite has been strong in the shallow waters of Devils Lake! We are finding most of our fish along the lines in 4-9 feet of water.

Buckshot’s, slender spoons, jigging raps, and a bobber and a minnow have all produced fish.

Perch fishing has been a bit spotty, as it is difficult to get to some of the best perch areas. We have found some fish in shallow back bays and we are hoping to get a bit better ice over the next week to allow us to venture out more.

 

Ice conditions vary from 4-12 inches in most places, no trucks should be on the lake. Snowcats, four wheelers, tracked machines will work in most places. Please use caution!

Courtesy of Bry’s Guide Service

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December 28th Report!

Posted: December 28, 2015

Hello everyone!

We hope you all had a great Christmas! Glad to report that our guys have been able to do some ice testing throughout the area. We are starting to see much better ice quality and thickness on the lake, but still stress using caution.

Ice Conditions

Irvine: 9 inches with slush
Pelican: 9 inches with slush
Minnewaukan Flats: 6-8 inches with slush
Creel Bay (North End): ~ 10 inches
6 Mile Bay (north end): 10 inches with slush
Creel Bay: 6 inches
Main Bay & East Devils Lake: 4 inches

Snowmobiles, ATVs, and snobears are being used on the lake right now. No vehicle traffic anywhere on the lake yet.

Fishing has been going well with reports of active fish since ice over. Guys have been deploying a wide variety of presentations to catch these fish. Buckshot spoons #3, puppet minnows/jigging raps, cicadas, tungsten jigs, and and “Live Targets”. Most people have been tipping their lures with minnow heads, spikes, or wax worms.

Good luck to everyone hitting the ice in the next few days! Always be cautious with these types of slushy and spotty ice conditions. If you have any questions about the lake or need help with tackle selections, stop out and talk to our friendly staff and we’ll get you set up and pointed in the right direction to get on top of a good bite.

Don’t forget, we rent ice houses, Vexilar FL-28s, and tip-ups!

Courtesy of Woodland Resort

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December 24th Report!

Posted: December 24, 2015

HAPPY HOLIDAYS from Angling Quest! This week has brought us several snow storms that have slowed us down a bit, but we are still getting around on ATVs and snowmobiles. The ice conditions vary greatly around the lake. The east end still has some open water. The main lake is froze, but still unsafe. The west end of the lake has 4-8 inches. The northern basin lakes have anywhere from 8-11 or so inches. Be careful as there is a lot of snow on the lake.

We are catching good walleyes in water less than 10 feet on various jigging spoons tipped with heads or full minnows. Mornings and evenings are still the best, but the midday bite has improved for walleyes with the snow cover. We are continuing to find some nice perch mixed in, but catching better numbers in 11-14 feet using waxworms or minnows depending on their mood. We have started spearing in portables where we can find clear water this week with good success. We are hoping to get our permanent spear shacks out soon. The cold temps are helping build ice, but the snow cover is making the ice a little unpredictable.

Good Luck and be careful!

Courtesy of Angling Quest

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Things Are “Locking Up”

Posted: December 21, 2015

Things are starting to lock up here in Devils Lake, some of the northern basin lakes are starting to produce fish! This last weekend there was good walleye action up on Lake Irvine and Lake Alice. Fish were being caught in 6-7 feet of water with various presentations. Minnow heads were working great on jigging spoons as well as plastics too. There was around 8-10 inches of ice in these areas but remember the ice conditions can change daily.

The north end of 6 Mile Bay has around 7 inches of ice on it and has been producing some good pike action! Most of the main lake now has some ice on it; we just need some cold nights to help make safe ice. Remember to use caution when venturing out ice fishing during the early season, and bring a buddy with, safety first!

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December 9th Ice Report

Posted: December 9, 2015

Ice fishing season is right around the corner. As of yesterday the main lake was still open in most areas. A lot of the smaller lake/bays have a good layer of ice on them and are starting to get fishable. Lake Irvine and Lake Alice have anywhere from 7”-8” of ice on them. Today the temps are hovering around 50 degrees but things are looking like they should be cooling down by Friday. Remember to use safety while exploring on early ice and always make sure to have a buddy with. The ice conditions are changing day by day and remember to use EXTREME caution if you are planning on venturing out on the ice in the near future.

Lake Alice is now open to public ice fishing this year with the following exceptions.
Ice fishing is allowed in designated areas of the refuge in accordance with State regulations and subject to the following conditions:
1. Vehicles and fish houses on the ice as conditions allow. Vehicles are restricted use to nonvegetated ice areas and designated roads.
2. They allow public access for ice fishing from 5:00 a.m. local time to 10:00 p.m. local time.
3. You must remove ice fishing shelters and personal property from the refuge by 10:00 p.m. local time each day.
4. You may not leave unattended fish houses in the uplands or in parking areas.

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December 7th

Posted: December 7, 2015

Weather conditions have not been helping the main body of water of Devils Lake make ice. In fact there are still a few people putting their boats in the water the first week of December. We are going to see temps in the 40’s until the 10th, after that we will see the rest of the lake freeze. There are a few parts of the lake that are currently froze with 5-6 inches; Those areas include the Minnewaukan Flats, north end of 6 mile, and the upper basin lakes such as Dry Lake, Pelican Lake, and Lake Irvin. There are not a lot of reports coming in yet, but there has been people getting out with decent success. We will continue to update as we see other parts of the lake start to freeze. Always remember to stay safe during early ice!

Courtesy of Woodland Resort

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November 16, 2015

Posted: November 16, 2015

This more than likely will be the last report until the lake starts freezing over. A cool down will be happening this week and we really need some cold temps to start the process of getting ice on this vast 190,00 acre lake. The fall fishing was pretty decent yielding some great catches of Walleyes and Pike!!! This I hope will hold true this winter. The people who have fished with me and know how I write these reports know I don’t blow smoke up your *ss just to get you to come fish with me. I have prided myself with truthful reports both here and on my facebook pages. I know some of you call me to get the “low down” on things and just to chat about fishing, equipment, tackle, presentations or life. I thank you for those calls and welcome each one of you to call anytime. I love to talk fishing or whatever with you!!!!! As far as the Perch go, I don’t have a answer for you except, several small lakes had nice Perch with Walleyes mixed in last year and this is where I will start Perch fishing when the ice is “SAFE” and not until.

If you want to book that experience of a lifetime NOW is a great time to call and make your reservation for a fun and safe ice fishing trip with “Big John’s Guide Service”Till Next Time… John

Courtesy of Big John’s Guide Service

 

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Bridges are Producing….

Posted: October 22, 2015

October has been a beautiful month so far in Devils Lake! We have had a bit of wind, but the temps have been great!

Seems like the most consistent bite these days is in or near current areas. We have fished all the bridges on the lake and they have all produced fish. Most days, it is best to fish given early or later in the day.

Best presentations have been vertical jogging with live bait, working jigging raps, or bulling bottom bouncers and spinners. Most days the best bite is in that 18-24 depths. We have also had some success trolling cranks on deeper humps,roads,and the old shoreline.

Days in a boat are going to start getting numbered, so make sure you get out soon if your planning another trip on Devils Lake!!!

Courtesy of Bry’s Guide Service

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‘Incredible’ Devils Lake Summer Points to a Great Fall Season

Posted: October 7, 2015

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Going from summer to fall on Devils Lake means two things: the fishing only gets better. And, anglers add a layer or two of clothing. After a season that was termed “incredible” by guide and walleye champion Johnnie Candle, he can’t wait to get on the lake each day as the fall season moves forward.

“Fall will be a bonanza once again,” he said. “Bigger fish are showing up already.” Devils Lake, located in north-central North Dakota, offers something for all walleye anglers. Tactics vary from conventional casting crankbaits to jigging to slip-bobbering to pulling bottom bouncers with spinners, to fishing vertical with Jigging Rapalas. There are thousands of acres (estimates put the number at 150,000 to 200,000 acres) of back bays, shorelines, and numerous main-lake sections offering anglers opportunities to seemingly have the entire lake to themselves.

After recent summer netting surveys, area fisheries biologist Todd Caspers said, “Anglers can expect walleye fishing as in past years.” With numerous guide services operating from most resorts, plus the many independent professionals, Devils Lake has experts that will teach, showcase and guide visiting anglers during their initial visits. Many out-of-state anglers hire guides for a day, then venture out on their own with a solid game plan the remainder of their stay.

Touring walleye pro anglers shared their opinions of the lake. Gary Parsons is one of the most respected pro anglers, is in the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame, is host and owner of The Next Bite TV, and winner of hundreds of thousands of dollars and many major-league tournaments. After placing in the top 10 in the mid-September Cabela’s National Walleye Tour Championship on Devils Lake, he said, “I’ve fished this lake for 25 years, and in my opinion, it ranks as one of the best fishin’ spots in the US. The walleye fishing is more diverse, and during tournament week, if a spot seemed like it would hold fish, it did.”

Parsons added, “Many of us asked each other ‘How many walleyes live here?’ There are a tremendous number of 14 to 18 inch walleyes in the system, and as my 5-fish 30-pound bag proved, there are plenty of trophies present, also. The lake seems healthier than ever. What a great place for a family to vacation, fish and enjoy the outdoors.”

Hall of Fame pro walleye angler and record holder for the most top 10 place finishes in major competitions (plus many wins) Mike Gofron, also scored another top 10 at the NWT Championship. After a week on Devils Lake, he said, “This place ranks as one of the best tournament waters anywhere. Anyone can catch a limit any day, and most of the year, its one heck of a fishery for big fish.” He added that he loves the challenge because of the many tactics that can be used to catch fish, and that it’s like a new body of water every time he fishes it. “I don’t know of any other lake where I discover new spots to fish almost every day,” he said. “My tip for fall is to use bigger lures to match the hatch as young-of-year have grown.”

Local guide Mark Bry (701-739-0161) advised anglers to look for walleyes near deep rocks and flooded roadbeds this fall. “Work the tops of the roads/rocks and also the ditches and drop-offs nearby,” he said. Tips from Bry: “Use larger cranks while trolling to trigger more bites. Bring Jigging Raps with you and use them! Current areas by bridges are great places to jig. Watch the roadways and when you see frogs moving from marshes to the lake, fish shallow because walleyes love frogs in fall.”

Candle also found rocks to be the key as weeds die off, but he said check for the last remaining green weeds. “There will be walleyes there,” he said. He works vertical gliding baits on deep rock structure (but near shallow feeding areas). His favorite trolling lure this time of year right up to ice is a Number 9 Flicker Shad. His largest Devils Lake walleye came Oct. 13, last year. It weighed an even 11 pounds.

Devils Lake perch draw thousands of fishermen every winter. More anglers are also targeting perch in open water, and based on netting surveys, the news is good. Last year, surveys showed nine perch per net, but this summer each net had 16. “The good news is the big 2013 year-class coming up through the system,” Caspers said. “These fish are now 5 to 8 inches, and last year there were three per net, but a few months ago there were 10 to the net.”

For reference, the 8 to 10 inch perch were about average. The 10 to 12 inch perch (the 2011 year-class) showed up 3.2 per net compared to 1.6 last year. The 12-inch perch were about the same as last year. “Little perch have their work cut out for them with all the predators in the lake,” Caspers said.

In addition to walleyes, northern pike like visiting anglers. They bite all day, every day of the 365-day North Dakota season, and nets showed increased sizes, especially the 28 to 34 inchers. “Don’t be shy about keeping pike for the table,” Caspers said. “They’re fine eating, and here on Devils Lake, we have generous limits.” The biologist said, “Based on our surveys, I would expect fishing should be good again this fall and into winter.”

Devils Lake makes it easy for anglers and hunters (fall is prime duck and goose hunting on the lake and in the region) to gather all the information they need in one convenient and easy-to-use location – devilslakend.com. This website features the latest details on fishing and hunting, with complete listings of guide services, resort, motel and casino accommodations, current outdoor reports, ramp locations, a lake map, cleaning stations (including the indoor, modern facility south of Ed’s Bait Shop on Hwy 20), plus regional activities for all ages and all interests. The phone is 701-662-4903.

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