Archive of Fishing reports

December2016

Devils Lake Anglers Finding Fish Despite Rough Ice Fishing Season Start

Posted: December 30, 2016

When North Dakota makes the weather news, anglers with their eyes on Devils Lake know it’s not business as usual.  The Christmas blizzard kept most fishermen off the lake, but travel remains possible with tracked-vehicles.

img_9124img_9125The Devils Lake guide services have been venturing out with clients, but travel has been limited. The fishing is “OK,” and the ice thickness is reasonable.  Another cold front is about to create even more ice over New Year’s weekend.  Midway between Christmas and New Year’s Day, ice thickness throughout the main lake was 10 to 18 inches.  The northern basin lakes and Lakes Alice and Irvine have nearly 18 inches.  Six Mile and Creel bays have about a foot of ice.

There is at least a foot of snow on the ice with some huge drifts.  The lake access ramps are being plowed out and scheduled to be open by New Year’s weekend.

Now, for the good news from two guide services.  John Dirks, owner of Ed’s Bait Shop and also a guide, said, “Check with the bait shop (edsbaitshop.com) on where to go.  Fishing’s fine!”  A few days ago he and a friend fished perch in 10 to 12 feet, hauling up 38 in less than four hours.  “Most were 10 to 12 inchers, with a few 13 and 14-inchers mixed in,” he said.

Right now, he’s found perch in 12 to 18 feet of water in the old flooded trees on the west side.  He also located some perch in 20 to 40 feet on the main lake.  “My advice is to select an area and drill, drill, drill,” he said.

Rapala Slab Raps and Buck Shot rattle spoons with minnow heads are consistent walleye producers for Dirks.  He prefers six to 12 feet of water close to deep water for the early and late-day bites, and slides out to 15 to 20 feet during the day.  He added, “Lots of 14 to 17 inch walleyes are being caught, with some bigger ones also biting, but it seems the hefty walleyes are in six to eight feet of water.”

brys_perchOn Thursday, Dec. 29, Mark Bry with 20 clients cleaned more than 400 perch.  He said, “They averaged 10 inches long, but there were some 12 to 14-inchers in the buckets.  The best bites seem to be shallow, starting at eight feet.  We’re catching fish despite the up and down weather.”

For walleyes, Bry’s advice is to pick a part of the lake and fish it.  “It’s just getting going, and not on fire, and we haven’t gotten to what we consider our best early-ice spots yet,” he said.  He said some walleyes are hitting in water as shallow as four feet, but also some have been in 31 feet.  Early morning and the 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. walleye bites are best.  “Hey, it’s been brutally nasty, but when the weather pattern straightens out, the fish will go,” he predicted.  For more, see brysguideservice.com.

The website devilslakend.com features up-to-date reports with emphasis on the current fishing activity, lake and ice conditions.  It is also loaded with info about guides, resorts, lodging, casino, restaurants, fish-cleaning stations, ice tournaments and community events.  Check out the pike de-boning video.  A helpful map serves as a great reference tool.  For personal assistance, call 701-662-4903, and talk to a friendly Devils Lake resident who has the pulse of Devils Lake.

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Cold Snap Brings Much Wanted Ice

Posted: December 22, 2016

Well it is that time of the year again! Ice fishing season is upon us and is about to get off into full swing here soon. Christmas time and the New Year usually bring the beginning of the much anticipated ice fishing season here in North Dakota. Last week we had quite a few days that were below zero, this really helped create a good foundation of ice. As of today, December 22nd people are reporting ice depths of 6-15 inches.

Some of the upper basin areas (Lake Irvine and Lake Alice) have some of the better ice depths, pushing upwards over a foot to 15 inches in those areas. The West end of the lake and the Flats have just over a foot of ice. Six Mile Bay and Creel Bay have varying depths from 7-12 inches. As far as ice travel goes right now, it is still highly recommended to stick to snowmobile, 4 wheeler, and sno-bear traffic. There are still some areas that are seeing only 6 inches of ice so make sure to check your ice depths every so often when venturing into new spots.

Walleye and pike fishing has been producing some good fish. For walleyes focus on the structure based areas and transition points. Lures that have been working are Jigging Raps and Buckshots, try tipping the buck shots with a minnow head.

The perch bite has been picking up, try fishing some shallower areas of the basin for perch right now as they have not moved to the really deep water yet. Make sure to use a small presentation and light or ultralight rod to feel to the light bite. Try using a small Tungeston Jig or Genz Worms tipped with Wax Worms.

Don’t forget to post your catches this winter on our Visit, Devils Lake, North Dakota Facebook Page.

Good luck to everyone venturing out on the ice this weekend and Happy Holidays!!

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December 12, 2016

Posted: December 13, 2016

I bring great news from the freezer here on Devils Lake!!!! The lake over the weekend has FROZEN OVER!!!! Some of the lakes in the area have 4-6″ of ice on them so now let’s catch some fish. I will be out and about later this week checking ice conditions and punching a few holes. I did here some people have been out and some have caught a few fish. I have a few things to get ready for which is shaping up to be a stellar year. I am booked up pretty much until March so if you would like to book a trip, better call soon!! I will updated this report as soon as I get on the Lake. Till next Time………. Tight Lines………John

Big John’s Guide Service

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Who Is Ready For Ice!?!

Posted: December 7, 2016

Things are starting to shape up here in the Devils Lake Basin! Some of our northern basin lakes are starting to see around 1-2 inches of ice! With the current cold snap making its way towards North Dakota it won’t be long until the big lake starts to lock up. Remember to exercise extreme caution as you venture out on early ice as it can change conditions very fast.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by our booth at the St Paul Ice Show, it was nice to see and chat with you. Now is the time to start booking your trips to Devils Lake as things are starting to fill up fast, we hope to see you on the ice this winter!!

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