Archive of Fishing reportsDecember2016
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.
The 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.”
On 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..........................................................................................................................................................
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!!.........................................................................................................................................................
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
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!!.........................................................................................................................................................
Ice is Nice and so is the Fishing on Devils Lake!
Posted: November 22, 2016
The lake and town with the same name, Devils Lake, North Dakota, seem to have been made with one purpose in mind – fishing. With seasons open 12 months of the year, the open water transition to ice seems to be just a shrug of the shoulders. Anglers park their boats, hook-up ice houses and continue fishing. The community with numerous modern lodging units with their own heated fish-cleaning facilities, several bait shops, a host of fishing guides (many with full-service accommodations, meals, ice travel, ice shelters and gear), a Casino and many great eateries caters to anglers.
The town of about 7,200 people is less than one percent of the state’s total population. Yet, an amazing 25 percent of the non-resident 3-day and 10-day fishing licenses are sold in Devils Lake. Estimates are that fishing guides escort more than 15,000 clients on the lake’s 200,000-plus acres during the open water season and the same number during the much shorter three to four month ice season.
Interesting statistics from creel surveys show 18 percent of winter anglers primarily seek walleyes, 28 percent said “perch,” while 27 percent said “walleyes and perch.” A quarter of survey respondents said, “Anything.” Adding all the answers together that mention walleyes, 70 percent of anglers would just as soon catch walleyes.
Devils Lake walleye populations are rated one of the best in the Midwest, and this past summer netting surveys proved that, “All size groups had a bump in catch rates,” according to area biologist Todd Caspers. The total number of walleyes caught per net this year was 24, compared to 18 last season, a 33 percent increase. He continued, “The above average catch of big fish indicates these year-classes are doing pretty good.”
Thousands of out-of-state fishermen flock to Devils Lake to chase fish under the ice. Many professional anglers prefer this special North Dakota lake. When Dave Genz speaks ice fishing — people listen. In fact, the entire ice fishing fraternity of anglers, plus tackle, auger, electronics and shelter manufacturers take notice. From his first visit to Devils Lake in the 1970’s, Genz said, “I go there and so do thousands of visitors to catch the biggest perch of their lives. And, the walleye fishery is amazing.”
Genz is widely respected as the Godfather of ice fishing. He may be the single person most responsible for dragging ice fishing from the “stone age” to the “modern, technological age.” Much of the early lessons occurred on Devils Lake. He has visited Devils Lake each of the last 30-plus years due to the quality of the perch. Many of the everyday ice fishing tactics and gear most anglers use today were developed by Genz during those trips to central North Dakota.
“I remember when there was no limit on perch. People loaded coolers. Today, with 20 daily and 40 in possession, and with the tremendous size, anglers can still take home what I think are extra-tasty perch fillets,” he said.
Genz is the Godfather of ice fishing, and Brian “Bro” Brosdahl is the Heavyweight Champion. Bro contacts an average of 20,000 people directly each winter (seminars, appearances, in stores, on the ice, etc.), and loves fishing Devils Lake. “We film TV show segments and shoot photos for ads on Devils Lake because something is always biting,” he said. “This is one place I know where a number of species of true trophies can be caught in a day – monster perch, walleyes no matter where you go, big pike and white bass.”
Bro lives in northern Minnesota surrounded by several fabled perch lakes. “Anywhere in the Midwest, it’s rare to find a 2-pound perch. The panfisherman in me is attracted to perch, and every year at Devils Lake, the bar is raised,” Bro said. On a calibrated scale, his largest perch weighed 2.62 pounds during a filming session. “I keep going back because my quest is a 17-inch Devils Lake perch that will tip the scales at 2.75 pounds. I know that fish is swimming there,” he said.
Fishing wherever water freezes has taken Bro to lakes in dozens of states and provinces. He said, “The friendly atmosphere in this small town exists because most people are sportsmen. Everybody wants you to catch fish and they go out of their way to make it happen.” He feels it is one place where folks who have never fished before can be successful.
Devils Lake allows four ice lines per person. Those fishing pike with tip-ups will be rewarded. Pike populations are peaking with many in the 28 to 34 inch class, and the chances of a true 15-pound porker (or bigger) are realistic. The pike limit is five per day with 10 in possession. They provide some of the best tasting fillets in the fishy world.
Visitors often hire guides for the first day or the entire trip. The package “deals” are super attractive. But, the DYI anglers are in for a treat with many places to fish. Tactics don’t change on Devils Lake compared to “home” waters. Perch, walleyes, white bass and northern pike are the four game fish swimming in the lake, along with a few crappies in recent years. Devils Lake has space for all and everybody smiles and says, “Hi,” or more likely, “Howdy,” when they meet visitors.
The website devilslakend.com features up-to-date reports with emphasis on the current fishing activity and ice conditions. Also, the site contains a new pike de-boning video, plus contact info for fishing guides, resorts, lodging and restaurants. In addition, learn about ramps, fish-cleaning stations, ice tournaments and community events. A helpful map serves as a great reference tool. For personal assistance, call 701-662-4903, and talk to a friendly and knowledgeable North Dakotan who was probably on Devils Lake yesterday.
Walleyes and Mallards!
Posted: October 12, 2016
The seasons have changed and we have now have begun a favorite time of the year in the Devils Lake Area. October provides many people with a unique Cast and Blast opportunity here. Waterfowl hunting is in full swing along with walleye fishing!
If you are looking to get out fishing after a morning of duck hunting or just plan to hit the water all day, now is a fun time to fish Devils Lake. Many people are catching walleye as we speak and some nice eyes at that. Right now the fish are starting to put on their feed bag before winter hits in the next few months so this is a great opportunity to catch that walleye of a lifetime.
Two words that you will hear quite often right now for catching walleye on Devils Lake are: jigging and lead core. If you prefer jigging focus on the many bridges around the lake, the bridges at Highway 57, 20, 6 Mile Bay, and Mauvee Coulee have all been producing fish. When fishing the bridges try various depths around the current in 25-40 feet of water. Try using reactionary jigging baits like Rapala Jigging Raps or Johnson Johnny Darters or any other type of blade bait. The movement of these lures seems to cause an aggressive bite from passing fish. If the bridges are not producing try some submerged main lake structure at places such as (Bird Island, Cactus Point, The Towers, or Haley’s Hump). With the cooler mornings we have seen lately, it seems the walleye bite picks up once the sun has had a few hours to shine on the water and warm it up a bit!
If you are more of the trolling fisherman than a jigging fisherman lead core is an excellent option right now. Throw on your favorite crank bait and start trolling. Some areas to focus on for lead core are (The Golden Highway, Rip-rap shorelines along the lake, and the old lake shoreline). Remember that preferred lure colors can change quite frequently here so don’t be afraid to try different colors until you find the right one the fish are wanting.
Don’t forget to share your hunting and fishing photos with us on our Visit, Devils Lake North Dakota Facebook Page!
Ducks, Geese and Walleyes…All in the Same Day…Right Now!!
This is the magical time of year at Devils Lake, North Dakota. Waterfowl season is open. Walleye season is always open. Birds are flying and fish are biting.
The good news is this will continue until early December or first-ice. “The duck hunting has been good, geese too, but the mass migration hasn’t yet kicked in,” said duck and goose guide and walleye tournament winner and guide Jason Feldner (percheyes.com). “Canada goose hunting has been really good, and with a daily limit of eight birds and 24 in possession, hunters are really having fun.”
While talking with fellow hunters, Feldner said that the majority of the ducks and geese that typically fly to the Devils Lake region are staging in the flooded Saskatchewan grain fields. “Right now, it’s a mixed bag of some teal, mallards and divers. Within the final two weeks of October, make plans to be in Devils Lake,” he said. Based on the western end of Devils Lake in Minnewaukan, his guides handle waterfowl hunters in mornings and chase walleyes and pike in afternoons. “Our clients stay at our lodge during the super popular Cast and Blast season. Guides spend late afternoons and early evenings scouting for the best spots the next morning. We go where the birds are, and that could be anywhere in a 40-mile radius of the lodge,” he said.
His operation is similar to many other area full-service lodge and guide services. Jason Mitchell, TV host with a large stable of respected hunting and fishing guides also caters to the Cast and Blast late-season crowd (jasonmitchelloutdoors.com). “Devils Lake combines some of the best waterfowl hunting with some of the best fishing in the entire nation,” he said.
His clients stay at Woodland Resort (woodlandresort.com) which has offered waterfowl and fishing packages for decades. “Much of the hunting is done over field spreads. After a morning hunting and a solid lunch, they are ready for afternoon walleyes. Devils Lake has fished extremely well through the summer, and that is continuing into a solid fall pattern. This is the best time to catch the biggest walleyes in the lake,” Mitchell said.
Mark Bry (brysguideservice.com) also offers Cast and Blast packages. He said, “The best chance at an 8 to 10 pound walleye is now. Trolling cranks or jigging Raps over rocks or fishing in current areas near bridges are high-percentage spots. The duck and goose hunts have been very successful so far, but the best time for ducks and geese is about to happen.”
Local fishing guide and World Walleye champion Johnnie Candle (johnniecandle.com) said, “The worst hunting weather is the best giant-walleye fishing weather. Dead calm, sunny, bluebird days are the times walleyes go nuts. The summer season was fantastic and the fall bite is incredible. I don’t chase ducks, but this is my time to guide clients to really trophy walleyes.”
With the next big cold front, perhaps with some snow, but with gusty north winds, Devils Lake will be home for hundreds of thousands of migrating ducks and geese. “Stay at an outfitters lodge, at any of the area motels or the casino, but try to squeeze in a Cast and Blast trip, even if for only a few days yet this fall,” Candle said.
The website devilslakend.com features up-to-date reports with emphasis on the current fishing activity and hunting conditions. Also, the site contains a new pike de-boning video plus contact info for guides, resorts, lodging and restaurants. In addition, learn about ramps, fish-cleaning stations, open water and ice tournaments and community events. A helpful map serves as a great reference tool. For personal assistance, call 701-662-4903, and talk to a friendly and knowledgeable North Dakotan who was probably on Devils Lake yesterday..........................................................................................................................................................
Fall is Here!
Posted: September 23, 2016
Fall is here in the Devils Lake Area! The fishing continues to be good on the big lake. We are seeing a lot of people catching walleyes and some good size walleyes at that. The fish are starting to transition into their fall –prewinter pattern. Fish are still being caught shallow but the main areas to focus on this time of the year are the many submerged rock piles that are found throughout our lake system. The many bridges around the lake are also starting to produce walleyes. When fishing the submerged rocks focus on either trolling or vertical jigging. If you are looking to fish the bridges, focus on the vertical jigging. A good tactic for vertical jigging is rigging up a 1/4oz jig tipped with a minnow or throwing on a blade bait type of lure. Jiggin’ raps work well when vertical jigging for walleyes in the fall. Patience is the key this time of the year.
Don’t forget that the waterfowl season will be opening on Saturday October 1st! Looking for a unique fall vacation, come try your luck on a North Dakota “Blast and Cast” Adventure. There are not many places where you can go waterfowl hunting in the morning and walleye fishing in the afternoon! Also, it’s not too early to start planning your ice fishing adventure to Devils Lake!
Good luck to everyone that is coming up duck hunting and fishing in the next few weeks! Don’t forget to share your photos with us on our Visit, Devils Lake North Dakota Facebook Page..........................................................................................................................................................
Walleyes and MWC Fishing
Posted: August 23, 2016
The walleye fishing has been good this last week! We just recently held the MWC Walleye Tournament on Devils Lake on August 19th and 20th. Congratulations to Troy Morris and Cory Heiser on winning the tournament with a 44lb 2 day bag! It was awesome to see the amount and size of fish these anglers could produce. All of the fish that were cleaned will be used for our 11th Annual Community Fish Fry and Corn Feed that will be taking place on Thursday, August 25th from 4pm til gone at the Bill Jerome Arena in town. Please stop on by if you are in town that day!
As far as the fishing, we are starting to notice a little bit of a transition of walleyes from shallow structure to a little bit deeper. We found walleyes this last week from 22-40ft of water. We had really good luck using 1 ½ oz bottom bouncers while fishing in less than 30ft of water and using 2 oz bottom bouncers when fishing in deeper than 30ft of water. We focused on sunken roads and submerged rock piles. It seemed the fish were hanging in the road ditches vs the top of the roads so we would make passes along the road ditches where the shoulder dropped off and found most of our fish there. As far as spinners go, there was no rhyme or reason to what color they preferred; it seemed once you found the fish you could throw out any colored spinner and get bites. Some colors did produce a little more aggressive bites but those colors varied every day so don’t be afraid to throw different colors at them. The Berkley Gulp! Still seemed to be hot bait again, try using white minnow grubs and minnows/chartreuse minnow grubs and minnows/or pumpkinseed minnow grubs or worms.
With fall right around the corner we have noticed the vertical jigging bite has also picked up to. Focus on the sunken rock piles and submerged structure as well as the many bridges around Devils Lake. Don’t forget to share your photos of your catch on our Visit Devils Lake, North Dakota Facebook page! We would love to share pictures of what you are catching.
Good luck to everyone that is venturing out on the water!
East Bay Landing Docks
Posted: August 11, 2016
The East Bay Boat Dock is unusable this morning due to the high winds in the storm overnight. We hope to have the dock back in and usable later today!.........................................................................................................................................................