Amtrak Issues but Lots of Perch!
Before we get in to this weeks report, we must discuss a major issue regarding the Perch Express Package. In last weeks report it was mentioned about the lack of service that Devils Lake has been receiving from Amtrak. We also mentioned that we would report more on this subject as more information became available to us. The news that we have been receiving about Amtrak service to Devils Lake is not good. This has been a developing situation that we have been dealing with so far this season and is also a situation that in 19 years, we have never had to deal with. The main problem is all the oil traffic on the BNSF rail line that Amtrak uses to get to Devils Lake, ND. Because of the Oil boom in western North Dakota, the BNSF line that runs through Devils Lake has become congested with freight train traffic causing the Amtrak Empire Builder to pull over and sit in a waiting pattern, in many cases for several hours. The past 2 weeks alone, the train has been running anywhere from 3 to 5 hours late in the mornings. This alone has cost our clients at minimum a half of day of fishing and in some cases the whole first day. The east bound train that runs at night (this would be the train that brings you back home) most of the time doesn’t even come in to Devils Lake. Most of the time this train takes an alternate route from Minot, ND to Fargo, ND leaving Rugby, Devils Lake, and Grand Forks without Amtrak service. At times Amtrak has shown up with buses or vans to transport passengers but other times our customers have been told to rent a car to get to Fargo and this is not an option in Devils Lake, North Dakota. Neither the Perch Patrol Guide Service or Woodland Resort has the time or the staff power to bring our clientele to Fargo, North Dakota at 3:00 am. We have been hoping this would get better but it has been brought to our attention that this situation in no way is going to improve for quite a while if not indefinitely. Therefore we have no choice to discontinue taking reservations from clientele that requires Amtrak service. We are in the process of calling all of the customers that already have reservations on our Perch Express Packages and have train tickets through Sues Travel Center. We have no choice but to inform them of this situation and give them either the option of driving or canceling their trip entirely. Refunds for the train tickets are being taken care of through Sue at Sue’s Travel Center for the train tickets and Woodland Resort also needs to be notified on whether your party is willing to drive, whishes to reschedule, or chooses to cancel.
This is a sad day! For 19 years, our customers have enjoyed coming fishing with us and have enjoyed the experience of riding Amtrak. The combination of the two provided for a great adventure. But given the current situation regarding the train, it has become a horrible experience that is costing our customers too much lost fishing time. None of this is any of our control and we know that this is going to be a huge inconvenience to those customers that have reservations but our policy has always been about honesty. Knowing what we now know about this situation and to do nothing and allow this dilemma to continue to unfold, would be a disservice to our customers.
Contact Numbers for those with reservations on the Perch Express Package and Amtrak tickets:
Sues Travel Center (701) 662-7837
Woodland Resort (701) 662-5996
Perch Patrol Guide Service (701) 351-3474
Now for the good news! The perch fishing this past week was absolutely incredible! Infact, we are not sure it could get much better. Numerous limits of jumbos were caught and just about all of our clientele cashed in Big time! The cool part about fishing these perch was seeing how big the schools were. At times the whole 6 foot auto zoom side would fill in with fish. When the perch schools are that thick, they definitely compete for your lure and often times shoot up and meet your lure on its way to the bottom. Good Times!
I know this sounds like a broken record, but we are still fishing the basin in depths anywhere from 36 to 48 feet of water. We are still having our best success on the Northland Buckshot Rattle spoon tipped with minnow heads, perch eye, or wax worms. We have been many places on Devils Lake this winter and if you drill enough holes and be mobile and are willing to work at it, the schools of perch can be found on virtually any part of the lake.
The walleye fishing has been decent but with all the perch success, we have not spent much time fishing for them. We had one group that wanted a break from the perch, decided to go fish northern pike and they absolutely crushed them. They got their 3 person limit of 15 in very short order.
We are having one of our best and most successful fishing seasons in our history of the Perch Patrol. This train thing is a major bummer, but we are a 6 1/2 hour drive from Minneapolis, MN. The roads are 4 lane the entire way. My point is that this is an easy drive for fishing this good. Just think about the 10,000 lakes most of our customers from Wisconsin drive by to get here.
Courtesy of Perch Patrol