Archive of News

April2018

Devils Lake Shore Fishing Action about to Kick into Gear

Posted: April 24, 2018

Rick

After one of the longest Devils Lake ice fishing seasons ever, anglers are preparing for the next big season on this popular North Dakota lake.  Fishing seasons are open year-round.  That means once the ice gear is stored, the period before Devils Lake is ice-free is dedicated to catching fish from shore.

There are almost an unlimited number of places to fish from shore.  In addition to three new ADA-compliant fishing piers and many bridges and culverts, there are 26 miles of shorelines where the public may fish.  As the ice pulls away from shorelines, entire families pursue walleyes and northern pike.

Imagine a round lake with 26 miles of shoreline with fishermen casting from any spot and catching walleyes and pike.  By comparison, if that was a lake in the Land of 10,000 lakes, it would rank among the 10 largest Minnesota lakes.  Or, another way to look at these amazing opportunities, imagine if anglers were able to fish along the entire Boston Marathon course.  Many of the shorelines consist of rock rip-rap to protect the roadways.

Area fisheries manager Todd Caspers said, “Pike fishing can be great during the spawn, and once they’ve recovered and start feeding aggressively, pike fishing remains good until aquatic vegetation makes shore fishing difficult.”  He offered some of the “hot-spots,” as anywhere the lake touches Highway 19 and both sides of the road to Graham’s Island state park.  “Walleyes can be caught in the same area, but as the season moves along, most anglers concentrate near bridges,” he said.

In the 2017 fish population surveys, Caspers said, “Northern pike numbers were above average.  There were twice as many 28 to 34 inch pike in nets compared to the long-term average.”  He encourages anglers to harvest limits (5 daily and 10 in possession).  Videos on the Devils Lake website describe fillet techniques at devilslakend.com.

Guide and World Walleye Champion Johnnie Candle said, “I am shocked at how many people spend thousands to cross into Canada, jump in a float plane and not catch as many pike on purpose as I catch by accident on Devils Lake.”  TV host and guide Jason Mitchell said trophies over 40-inches are caught each season.  He recommends these monsters be released to fight another day, and keep the three to 10 pounders for the table.

The three ADA-compliant fishing piers are located at excellent “catching” locations.  Directions to the piers from downtown follow:

Channel A:  Drive 8 miles west on Highway 2.  Turn right (north) on 75th Ave NE for one mile.  At 54th St. NE, turn right (east) for about two miles to the 8 x 36 foot pier.  Water flows into the main lake from the upper lakes via this channel.  There is not a large amount of snow in the watershed this year, so inflows will not be large, but Channel A is traditionally a good area.

East Ditch Rec Area:  Just east of Walmart, turn south on Elks Dr. for one-quarter mile.  Take the first left towards the pump station and dike, and drive to the 8 x 40 foot pier.  Now fully functional.  Also has a playground.

Henegar Landing:  Drive one mile west on Highway 19.  Turn left on Walleye Dr. for one mile to the 8 x 40 foot pier.

The fishing piers were built to withstand decades of constant use and the vagaries of Mother Nature with marine-grade aluminum and galvanized steel.

Favorite shoreline angling pike tactics include floating Rapalas, spoons, jigs with plastic paddle tails or smelt or dead bait below bobbers or on bottom.  Walleye anglers prefer jigs and plastic, small crankbaits, leeches or small minnows below bobbers.

For more information about shore fishing and walleye, pike, perch and white bass reports, go to devilslakend.com.  This website also includes details about the June 22-23 Chamber walleye tournament, Devils Lake motels and resorts, fish cleaning stations, water levels, ramps, public fishing piers, community activities, guides, dining, casino and much more.  Or call the Tourism office, 701-662-4903.

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Devils Lake Chamber Tournament Has Become Much More than Catching Walleyes by the Dozen

Posted: February 9, 2018

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Devils Lake, ND – In Devils Lake, North Dakota, it seems most parties revolve around fishing.  The Chamber of Commerce Walleye tournament has four decades of “parties” behind it, and each year, now number 42, seems to become bigger and better.  Chamber members treat anglers as friends and neighbors.  That’s why the fishing guys and gals keep pouring into Devils Lake 12 months of the year for some of the best walleye, pike, perch and white bass fishing in North America.

The 2018 Chamber walleye tournament is a two-day affair, June 22-23.  Tournament host and local fishing guide, pro angler, fishing educator and world walleye champion Johnnie Candle said, “Besides all the homecoming fun with friends, the prizes ($6,500 is guaranteed to the winning team) totaled more than $61,000 in 2017, and will be similar this year.  Anglers love that they can catch walleyes jigging, trolling, casting crankbaits, slip-bobbering, rigging, bottom-bouncing and any other way they like to fish, shallow to deep.”  He urged anglers to experiment this season with jigs and plastic, and said, “I love throwing jigs with plastic trailers.”

With a cap of 125 teams, he urged interested teams to enter right away.  The Early Bird entry date is March 31, and of all teams entered by then, five will win back their entry fee of $275 per team.

Sons and daughters start early, many fishing with parents or grandparents.  Mixed-couples compete.  One couple fishing is Dave and Rendy Randash from Fargo.  Dave said, “The Chamber tournament is well-run, and even though competitive, has no pressure.  I expect it to fill this year and would like to see even more couples competing.” The Randash duo fishes bouncers and slip-bobbers mostly, but also casts Northland Mimic Minnows.

The Chamber tournament features daily big fish prizes for walleyes, pike, white bass and perch, plus Pooh’s Taxidermy will mount the largest walleye and pike.  More than 35 Chamber members participate which adds prizes and cash to the pot.  There are also daily prizes for pike, perch and white bass.  The optional day two northern pike shoot-out keeps things interesting.  Teams out of the walleye hunt can enter the 100-percent cash payback pike shoot-out.  A special youth event sponsored by the NPAA and Deutz Fishing occurs after the final day weigh-in at Graham’s Island State Park.  The first 50 youngsters receive rods and reels.

For more information (and to enter) about the June 22-23 Chamber walleye tournament, go to devilslakend.com.  This website also includes details about Devils Lake motels and resorts, fish cleaning stations, water levels, ramps, public fishing piers, fishing reports for walleye, pike, perch and white bass, community activities, guides, dining, casino and much more.  Or call the Tourism office, 701-662-4903.

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Devils Lake Hot Ice Fishing is Happening Right Now!

Posted: February 8, 2018

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“It’s a great year so far,” said Perch Patrol founder Zippy Dahl about the Devils Lake fishing.  In early January with three swings from 30 degrees below zero to 30 above, the perch slowed slightly, but action picked up within a day.  “Perch are really going good now,” he said.

All his guides are busy.  They are on the main lake targeting perch in the 28 to 34 foot depths.  The Perch Patrol finds the fish and so far this season they are into big schools of eight to nine inch perch, but always with a mixed bag that includes a number of 10 to 13 inchers.  “We’ve had a couple of 14 and 15 inch perch.  A 15-inch perch equates to two pounds on the scale,” he said.

Zippy said, “The Tungsten jig craze has hit us hard, and that’s what we’re using mostly right now.”  His crew has found the Chartreuse with orange and plain gold Tungsten jigs best when adorned with two wax worms.  His clients come for perch, and when they have their 40 perch possession limit in the freezer, they chase walleyes.  “But, almost everybody wants perch, perch, perch!” he said.

Reporting on the walleye action, Tanner Cherney with Devils Lake Tourism said, “Walleye fishing’s been good, with the majority 14 to 17 inches, with some 20’s in the mix, but a 9 ½ pounder was caught in Creel Bay last week.”   He said if the 10-inch year class walleyes are biting, the chance of a 20 inch walleye being with that school is rare. As is usual on Devils Lake, the first hour of daylight and the final hour of twilight are best times to target walleyes.

Tanner prefers Northland Buck Shot rattle spoons tipped with minnow heads.  “You can never go wrong with this presentation,” he said.  Keep changing colors.  He feels for Devils Lake, the top spoon colors are orange, red, pink and gold. When fishing in a shelter, he hangs a live minnow on a dead rod.  “The spoon attracts them, and they often hit the minnow when they see it,” he said.

For perch Tanner knows the Devils Lake rule:  Drill and keep drilling.  “Perch cruise the entire main lake basin, which is 25 to 40 feet in most spots.  They are usually within 12 inches of the bottom.”  He downsizes to the 1/16th ounce Buck Shot spoon with a wax worm.  Or, this year, the smaller gold Tungsten jigs with a couple maggots (called spikes in some areas) are producing.  “With quite a few 10 to 13 inch perch being caught, people are headed to Devils Lake from all over,” he said.

The main lake has 14 to 20 inches of ice and Lake Irving and the northern lakes and most bays have 20 inches or more of ice.  Travel with four-wheel drive vehicles is relatively easy.  “Avoid the three to four foot snow drifts; follow other truck tracks; keep exploring,” he said.

Woodland Resort has plowed roads to many of the general fishing areas, and maintains an access for those towing permanent wheeled fish houses to drive onto the lake.  The Devils Lake Access Committee (city, county, tourism and other funding) keeps public ramps open at East Bay, Lakewood, Henegar, Six Mile Bay and where the gravel road behind Pop’s Bar dead-ends in the lake.  The public heated fish-cleaning station is open, as are indoor cleaning stations at several resorts and motels.

For more information about Devils Lake guide services, ice conditions, motels, resorts, fish cleaning stations, fishing reports for walleye, pike, perch and white bass, community activities, tournament opportunities, dining, casino, pike fillet tactics and much more, go to devilslakend.com, or call the Tourism office, 701-662-4903.

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ShiverFest 2018

Posted:

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ShiverFest kicks off February 10th with the ND Corn Hole and ND Pond Hockey Tournaments. More events take place during the week, and then the weekend of February 17th has even more activities! An outdoor celebration with a youth ice fishing tournament, live music, sleigh rides, vendor shows, 5K run, sledding, cross country skiing, fireworks and so much more.

It has grown over the years, and In 2018, Devils Lake is celebrating the 18th annual event. Click on the link to find out more about the event here. This link will also take you to more details on specific events.

Download the schedule of events page here – remember to check back periodically for updates, including weather updates.

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Devils Lake Produces Some of Best Northern Pike Fishing in North America

Posted: February 7, 2018

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Anglers who know northern pike love Devils Lake.  These scrappy (and very tasty) fish seem to be everywhere.  Perch and walleye fishermen catch upwards of 50 pike per day by accident.  “Those targeting pike will catch well over 100 per day,” according to Devils Lake, North Dakota guide and World Walleye Champion Johnnie Candle.

He continued, “I am shocked at how many people spend thousands to cross into Canada, jump in a float plane and not catch as many pike on purpose as I catch by accident here.”  TV host and guide Jason Mitchell agreed, saying, “It’s not uncommon for a boat targeting walleye to catch 50 in a day during springtime.  Winter can be just as productive.”

The lake expanded from about 40,000 acres in the early 1990’s to approximately 175,000 acres today.  With no outlet the lake kept growing due to spring run-off plus abundant rains.  The levels are being maintained now with pumps.  The amazing amount of shoreline vegetation, connected lakes and back bays provide ideal pike spawning habitat.

Todd Caspers, area fisheries manager said, “Northern pike numbers were above average in the summer net surveys.”  There were twice as many 28 to 34 inch pike in nets compared to the long-term average.  This winter and into the 2018 open-water season, more people are being encouraged to catch their limits of Devils Lake pike.  There are several good videos describing how to create boneless pike fillets.  Check the website devilslakend.com for a “how-to” method.

Mitchell said, “The smaller and shallower connected bays and lakes hold high numbers of three to seven pound pike.  Trophies over 40-inches can also be targeted and caught.”  He prefers main-lake structure, points and reefs on the main bay, Minnewaukan Flats, East Bay and East Devils Lake.    Tip-ups baited with frozen bait like smelt trigger action in seven to 20 feet.

He loves it when a client catches a 40-inch pike, barely squeezing its fat belly thru an ice hole, and said, “I recommend releasing these monsters to fight another day.  Get them back in the water quickly (after a picture) so their gills and eyes do not freeze.  Hold them horizontally.”

Candle nets a number of 40-inch plus pike every year.  “There are plenty of 15 to 20 pound pike in Devils Lake, and 80 percent of the ones my clients hook are caught incidentally to the walleyes they’re after,” he said.  In spring, he feels the ratio is three to one (three pike for every walleye) while casting jigs or crankbaits shallow.  He said it could be scary if some real dedicated pike anglers came to Devils Lake just to chase pike.  “I use suspending jerk baits like X-Raps and Shadow Raps and they keep working,” he said.

While Candle is on his winter seminar, sport show, fishing university and Scheel’s speaking schedule, he waits until spring and said, “I leave the ice fishing mostly to others, but whenever I can, I try to catch some pike for the table.  They’re delicious.”

One Devils Lake family, Boyd LaFleur and sons Nathan and Blake have been targeting giant pike exclusively.  They pioneered open-water patterns to catch more than 100 pike over 40 inches in recent years.  Their tackle consists of long casting rods, 50 to 80 pound braid and size 12 X-Raps, jointed Shad-Raps, Bionic Bucktails, Suicks, shallow Raiders and other glide baits.  They also use fly rods when conditions are right.  Weed flats in three to nine feet of water with deep water nearby are favorite locations.  Boyd LaFleur said, “Most people felt every fish but walleyes were second-class citizens, but that’s not true.”  He has observed that 99 percent of walleyes caught were kept, but the opposite is true for pike, with about 99 percent being released.  “Pike under 32 inches long are the only fish our family eats, and no matter how it’s prepared, it’s delicious,” he said.

These experts urged anglers to pack the tip-ups and spend time chasing pike this winter.  Anglers may use four tip-ups per person.  The Devils Lake limit is five pike per day with 10 in possession.  The season is open 12 months of the year.

For more information about Devils Lake motels, resorts, guide services, fish cleaning stations, fishing reports for walleye, pike, perch and white bass, community activities, tournament opportunities, dining, casino, pike fillet tactics and much more, go to devilslakend.com, or call the Tourism office, 701-662-4903.

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