Archive of News

May2017

Devils Lake Chamber Tournament Combines All Things Great about Fishing – Fun, Friendship, Homecoming, Vacation, Reunion & Fish

Posted: May 18, 2017

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Devils Lake, ND – From the mid-1970’s to today, the Devils Lake, North Dakota community knows how to throw a party.  They call it the Chamber Walleye tournament, now in its 41st season.  The Chamber members join forces to treat anglers the best they may be treated at any tournament of any size in the nation.

“Besides all the homecoming fun and friends, the prizes ($6,500 goes to the winning team) total more than $61,000.  Anglers really love the fact they can catch walleyes their way,” said tournament host, local fishing guide, pro angler, fishing educator and world walleye champion Johnnie Candle. The dates are June 23-25, and with a cap of 125 teams, he urged interested teams to enter right away.

Young anglers fish with grandpas and dads.  About 20 mixed-couples compete.  One of those couples is Dave and Rendy Randash from Fargo.  Dave said, “Spending time with the most important person in my life is important.  She is more patient than me.  I call her the Queen of Bottom Bouncing.”  They fish bouncers and slip-bobbers mostly, but also cast Northland Mimic Minnows.  He 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.”  Currently, 100 teams are entered.

Fishing the tournament for the first time are Andy Lankowicz and son Michael, 14.  They just purchased a used boat and while they don’t have grand illusions of winning, the father-son team plans to have fun.  “For us, it will be two regular fishing days.  This is not a super-serious event, and it doesn’t break the bank to enter.  Michael is excited to compete in this family-oriented tournament, and we want to bring some fish to the scales,” Andy said.

Friends like Eric Hanson and Virgil Nogowski fished together for the first time and won the 2016 tournament.  Like many anglers, they targeted the weeds in Pelican Bay with Rapala Esko crankbaits.  They caught their walleyes in three to five feet of water.

The second place team last year and the winners in 2015, Mike Kaderlik and his son Jarvis also concentrated on Pelican Bay.  They used floating Rapalas, Rattlin’ Raps and Husky Jerks in five to 12 feet.  Slow steady retrieves with twitches and pauses performed the best.

Candle said, “Yes, casting cranks is productive, but in Devils Lake, jigs with plastic, trolling cranks, bottom-bouncers and slip-bobbers all work.  This is the place where you bring your favorite tactic and catch fish doing it.  Expect lots of 15 to 20 inch walleyes with a really strong slug of three to five pounders.”

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.  The optional day two northern pike tournament keeps things interesting.  A special youth event with 50 rods and reels given away occurs after the final day weigh-in.  All activities occur at Graham’s Island State Park.

For more information 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, the June 23-25 Chamber Walleye tournament, guides, dining, casino and much more, go to devilslakend.com, or call the Tourism office, 701-662-4903.

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Devils Lake Motels Cater to Sportsmen: Fish Cleaning Stations are a Standard Amenity

Posted: May 11, 2017

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Devils Lake, ND – It’s possible the community of Devils Lake, nestled in north-central North Dakota, has more fish-cleaning stations per capita than any other resort region.

Four motels with fish-cleaning stations attract sportsmen and keep them coming back.  “They love it,” Rick Smith, manager of Sleep Inn said, “It gets a ton of use.”  Fireside Inn assistant manager Jocelyn Miller said, “Our guests really enjoy our facility.”  Levi Vilandre, manager of SunLac Inn said, “Our fish grinder can handle anything, and has brought us more customers.”  Brandi Kuk at the newest motel, the Cobblestone, said, “Quite a few guests have told us they stay here because of our state-of-the-art fish-cleaning station.”

The heated and air-conditioned fish-cleaning stations also handle pheasant and waterfowl hunters.  All are heated for the ice fishing crowds and air-conditioned for the rest of the year.  Freezers are a standard feature.

At the Sleep Inn, 701-544-1111, the cleaning station handles most Perch Patrol guests, and at times there have been nearly 20 guides and clients processing their catches.  “Elbow to elbow, our large table, grinder, double sink for rinsing fillets, sprayers, and freezer can handle everyone,” Smith said.  The Sleep Inn also has a dog kennel with water, and a new picnic building with a gas grill.  “We cater to all sportsmen,” he said.

Like all motel facilities, the Cobblestone, 701-544-0129, also attracts guide service clients.  Guides collect their clients each morning and clean their fish here at the end of the day.  Kuk said, “We have buckets below holes in our tables.  Our staff dumps them into the grinder for safety.”

Vilandre at the SunLac Inn, 701-662-5011, said, “Our fish-cleaning station is one of the best investments ever, and as important as our recent remodeling.  New customers and guide clients are taking advantage of it and our regulars love it.”  A huge parking lot with outlets for charging boat batteries adds to the allure of the SunLac.

At the Fireside Inn, 701-662-6760, the fish-cleaning station is connected to the motel, and has been expanded for this season.  Miller said, “We treat this facility like the rest of the property and our staff cleans it daily.”  With three guide services housing their clients at the Fireside, customers depend on the fish-cleaning station.  Miller added, “They love it.”

Rick Preparing_webThere are numerous public fish-cleaning stations located around the lake, adding to the goal of handling every need for anglers and hunters.  Suzie Kenner, Devils Lake Tourism executive director said, “We hear all the time how satisfied our visitors are with the way they are treated while in the area.  They know they can process and freeze their fish and game before heading home.  They love the guide services, the ramps, the shore fishing opportunities, the family attractions and parks.  They keep coming back and bringing their friends with them.”

For more information about Devils Lake motels with fish cleaning stations and all other lodging and resort facilities, water levels, ramps, public fishing piers, fishing reports for walleye, pike, perch and white bass, community activities, fishing tournaments (the 41st Chamber Annual Walleye tournament is June 23-25), guides, dining, casino and much more, go to devilslakend.com, or call the Tourism office, 701-662-4903.

 

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Water Levels Rising; Fishing Outlook Promising!

Posted: March 17, 2017

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Devils Lake, ND – Mother Nature and Devils Lake have a bumpy marriage.  More than a century ago, paddle wheelers were operating on these North Dakota waters.  Then, the lake shrunk to about 40,000 acres by the early 1990’s.  Since then, Devils Lake quadrupled in size.  This spring, Mother Nature will add even more water, creating new shorelines in cattail marshes and farmland.

That has anglers excited.  Jason Mitchell, TV host and operator of a large guide service said, “Shore fishing can get really good and the shallow bays will load up with walleyes.”  Aaron McQuoid, guide and owner of McQuoid’s Outdoors echoed this sentiment, “Whether you chase walleyes or northern pike, early season will be excellent.  May is the best month for pole-benders.”  Local guide and World Walleye Champion, Johnnie Candle said, “The expected rise in lake levels has me anticipating a very good Devils Lake fishing season.”

All three offered advice on fishing, but first, what about that water?  The man in the know is Jeff Frith, Devils Lake Basin Joint Water Resources Board manager.  Last summer and fall, areas north of the lake received 35 to 40 inches of rain, a foot or more above average.  The ground, soil and marshes became saturated.  The entire region felt the wrath of severe December and January storms with extremely wet, heavy snow.

In early March, the National Weather Service projected with 95 percent accuracy that the lake elevation would go to 1452.8 feet (a 2 ½ foot rise).  They projected a 50 percent probability of adding three feet, and a 10 percent chance of exceeding the all-time lake level of 1454.6 feet.  “These recent estimates about took our breath away,” Frith said.  “The longer the ice holds, the higher the chances of a rapid warm-up which would magnify the situation, because snow would quickly melt.  If an inch or more of rain also falls, the upper estimates could become a reality.”

To put the situation into perspective, Frith said, “The most recent estimate is that 780,000 acre/feet of water is poised to move downstream.  That amount of water would cover 780,000 football fields with one foot of water.  Or, look at it this way: The North Dakota capitol building could hold 18,000,000 gallons of water.  The amount we’re talking about would fill the capitol 13,773 times.”  If the lake only goes up one foot, another 10,000 acres of land will be covered.  If it rises between three and four feet, Devils Lake will again reach 200,000 surface acres.

Johnnie Candle said, “Moving water congregates all species.  Current seams in coulees, near culverts and bridges makes fish very predictable.  Jigs and minnows, Jigging Raps and Shiver minnows or swimbaits will catch fish.  I like a jig and a three or four inch white grub body this time of year.”  He notes that higher water levels attracts baitfish to freshly flooded cover, and swim baits, Shad Raps or Flicker Shads are the answer.  “Always have a slip-bobber ready.  When you net one walleye, toss a bobber and leech in the vicinity.  Hang on!” he said.

Jason Mitchell urges early-season anglers to key on newly flooded waters.  “They warm up faster and these bays load up with walleyes.  Pitch crankbaits, soft plastic swim baits or slip-bobbers.  I really like light jigs tipped with Kalin’s Sizmic grubs.”  He advised shore anglers to check out Channel A or the Mauvais Coulee.  With new fishing piers and miles of rip rap, Devils Lake may have more shoreline fishing opportunities than almost any other lake in the upper Midwest.

IMG_2165Aaron McQuoid agreed with the shallow water recommendations of Candle and Mitchell, but added, “Pay attention to water temps.  Late afternoons and evenings are best as waters warm.  Fish shallow and experiment with color.”  All three really take care of their clients with the latest and greatest gear and know-how.  They have the advantage of spending nearly every day on the water, and can answer questions and handle family, friends and business groups plus lodging needs.

When swimming jigs with plastic right after ice-out (average date is April 15), McQuoid suggests reeling steadily, but bumping bottom regularly.  He speeds up retrieves as water warms.  When casting Rapalas, he prefers frequent pauses.  “Don’t forget pike.  They are always active, fight hard, and are some of the tastiest fish in the lake.  Fillet them; remove all bones; boil them in 7-UP; dip them in butter with favored seasonings.  Oh, and bring a kid fishing.”

For more information about Devils Lake water levels, ramps, fishing reports for walleye, pike, perch and white bass, community activities, fishing tournaments (the 41st Chamber Annual Walleye tournament is June 23-25), guides, lodging, dining, casino, resorts and much more, go to devilslakend.com, or call the Tourism office, 701-662-4903.

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Blue42 – Social Media & You! Seminar

Posted: March 13, 2017

Blue42

Jeff “Boomer” Stelmach & Jordan Blommer

Since 2014, Blue42 has grown the Visit Devils Lake Facebook page from 4,391 fans to over 33,000 fans today and has us reaching a daily engagement of over 9,200 people. In the year 2016, we reached over 3.3 million impressions on Facebook alone!

The Devils Lake Area Chamber of Commerce and Devils Lake Area CVB have teamed up together to provide the businesses in Devils Lake an in-depth, half-day seminar on social media. Blue42 will break down specific topics and tie in how we can all collaborate together as a destination.

Topics covered include:

  • What is Social Media
  • Why is Social Media important
  • Social Media for business
  • Understanding Social Media channels and what channels work best for business (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Linked In, etc)
  • Why is “Current Important” – Trends & Hashtags
  • Employee vs. Agency
  • Advertising on Social Media
  • Social Media & SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  • How does Social Media fit into a complete digital strategy, i.e. your website
  • Social Media dictionary (what’s a follow, tweet, share)
  • Measuring your Social Media ROI

Breakout Sessions include:

  • Creating a strategy
  • Developing a schedule
  • Acquiring assets
  • Understanding your consumer (Geographies and demographics)

This class is limited to the first 60 people registered so please register early. The Devils Lake Area Chamber and Tourism are offering this seminar FREE to our members. The cost for non-members is $50. Please use the RSVP to suzie@devilslakend.com to RSVP early for this event. Learn more about Blue42 here.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017
8:30 am – Noon

High Plains Equipment
8373 East Highway 2, Devils Lake

Learn more about the Blue42 team:

Boomer Stelmach
boomerBoomer has been working in Marketing and Media realm for almost 20 years after graduating from Missouri Southern State University with a degree in Economics/Finance. Four years ago he co-founded Blue42, a Media Agency based in Minneapolis, MN that specializes in Digital Strategy (Web and Social Media). The vision of Blue42 was to create “Peace of Mind” in the Digital World for companies covering all aspects of Digital Marketing & Strategy. Prior to Blue42, Boomer founded and lead Heres My Gear, an Outdoor Promotion Company specializing in Web and Social Media that attracted 70,000+ Followers in just 3 years. Out of College, he worked for notable companies like General Mills and Reckitt Benckiser where his passion for helping other companies in Marketing grew.

He has spoken at High Schools, Conventions and with multiple companies from a variety of Industries
(Outdoors, Tourism, Restaurants, HealthCare and Fitness) such as: Clam Outdoors, Vexilar, Sonarphone, ScentBlocker, Navionics, Cabelas, Smude’s Sunflower Oil, Wolcyn Tree Farms, Chanticlear Pizza, Farrell’s eXtreme Body Shaping (FXB), Alumacraft, Dan’s Southside Marine, Devils Lake ND Tourism, Robert’s Fine Jewelry, FishHead, G2 Gemini, and Trade Tools. Currently he resides in Minneapolis with his fiance Nicole and 2 children, Cole & Sophia. Out of the office, he has a strong passion for the Outdoors and his family. His favorite fishing destination is Devils Lake ND!

Jordan Blommer

jordanA driven product promoter with 11+ years of marketing, management and sales experience in a retail and

business-to-business environment. After graduating from St. Cloud State University with a degree in Marketing, Jordan began working in management for a national imaging and technology retailer. He then spent over nine years as a Director of a medical device company working in sales and marketing with companies such as: University of Minnesota, Summit Orthopedics and Twin Cities Orthopedics. He is currently the Creative Operations Director at Blue42 orchestrating marketing and advertising campaigns, and social media strategies for companies such as Chanticlear Pizza, Farrell’s eXtreme Body Shaping (FXB), Trade Tools, Inc., and Eurotech Auto Service. He currently lives in St. Paul with his wife Crystal and 2 children, Harrison and Elle. He enjoys family and the outdoors in his free time.

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Biggest Payout Ever, $61,000, for 41st Devils Lake Chamber Walleye Tournament!

Posted: March 1, 2017

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The Devils Lake 41st annual Chamber Walleye Tournament total cash and prizes are the largest in history at $61,000.  The winning team is guaranteed $6,500, a $1,500 increase over past seasons. The June 23-25 weekend has been a special homecoming, vacation and reunion for teams that return for the fun, friendship and fishing. [Find all the details for the tournament here]

Walleye fishing has been graded A-plus by out-of-state and local anglers.  Catches of hundreds of walleyes per day have been reported.  Johnnie Candle, tournament host, world walleye champion and Devils Lake guide said, “It amazes us guides how good this lake has been, and with the many year-classes moving up, any bite could be a 9-pounder.  Teams should expect plenty of 15 to 20 inch walleyes with numbers of 3 to 5 pound fish this year.”

More than 35 local Chamber members have stepped up with more support and chances to win cash and prizes than ever before.  All team members receive a Cabela’s jacket and are eligible for the daily big fish prizes for walleye ($500/day), pike ($250/day), white bass and perch ($100/day).  The biggest walleye last year weighed 7.33 pounds by Troy Goltz, Leonard, ND, and David Johnson, Kindred, ND.

The day two optional pike “100 percent cash payback” shootout is for those out of walleye contention after day one.  Pooh’s Taxidermy will mount the biggest walleye and pike.  Other awards include mixed couple, biggest basket, Power-Up, Sleeper, end-of-the-line, 41st place team, 7th place team, and the Early Bird.  Actually, Early Bird is for five teams entered by March 31; winners receive their $250 entry fee back.  Candle said, “This year the tournament is limited to 125 teams. With the growing popularity, it makes sense to get in right away.”  Headquarters and ceremonies take place at Graham’s Island State Park. Weigh-ins will be streamed live via RadioWorks.

Last year’s tournament winners, Eric Hanson, Lisbon, ND, and Virgil Nogowski, Gwinner, ND, were fishing their first-ever Chamber event.  They weighed 24.81 pounds and caught their five walleyes casting Rapala Esko crankbaits in 3 to 5 feet of water in Pelican Bay.  As a side-note, three weeks prior to the tournament, they caught 200 pike in the same area, but only caught two pike there during the competition.

The directors acted prudently based on the day two weather report of 30-mph winds and cancelled the final day last year.  The second place team, Mike Kaderlik, Mankato, MN, and son Jarvis, Bismarck, ND cast jointed Rapalas, Rattlin’ Raps and Husky Jerks in 5 to 12 feet of Pelican Bay water.  Their 5-fish limit weighed 21.27 pounds.  Third place went to Don and son Jacob Denning, Fargo, ND with 20.98 pounds, also in Pelican Bay.

The National Professional Anglers Association and Deutz Fishing will conduct a youth fishing clinic after Saturday’s weigh-in at the state park.  The first 50 youngsters will receive rods and reels.

The website devilslakend.com features the latest tournament news, entry forms, prize lists, up-to-date reports and more.  For personal assistance, call 701-662-4903, and talk to a friendly Devils Lake resident who can address questions about the event, lodging, dining, guide services, access/ramp status, fish-cleaning stations, community events, family-activities, shopping, and help with other vacation/tournament plans.

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Devils Lake World Record Awaiting Confirmation

Posted: February 16, 2017

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After one year of careful planning and a commitment to his goal, Blake LaFleur finally caught THE fish he was targeting.  The magic occurred the day before Valentine’s Day. He caught what will likely be the new IGFA line-class world record white bass on Devils Lake.

Located in north-central North Dakota, Devils Lake is known for huge white bass and great walleye, perch and pike fishing.  However, to finally land the 4-plus pound monster on two-pound test line and meet all the requirements of the International Game Fish Association, LaFleur studied the rules (15 pages of specific requirements), contacted the organization via phone and email and assembled the appropriate tackle.

Actually his quest began about six years ago when he caught a few white bass while chasing the lake’s famed jumbo perch.  “Not many people catch bass under the ice, and after battling a few on light tackle, I became intrigued.  So did a few friends like Clayton and Kurt Davis from Belcourt, ND.  Together, we hunt to find them, and the tactics have evolved to the point where only the biggest bass are targeted.”

Details of the fish:  18 ½ inches long with a 16 inch girth.  Two scales (recommended by IGFA) weighed the fish at 4.27 and 4.32 pounds.  The current world record is 3.50 pounds.  Both scales will go to IGFA with 50 feet of the line used.  The line was an Italian monofilament (Asso Micron Three) rated at 1.5-pounds, with a breaking strength of 1.6-pounds.  “I broke the first six knots I tried to tie,” LaFleur said.  He used a Palomar knot.  A 4-pound fluorocarbon leader, approved by IGFA, completed the rig.

“These big bass go crazy at the hole, and to turn one and bring it up, the leader was necessary,” he said.  “The six-inch hole was another problem.  When his head finally pointed up, he became wedged in the hole.  I plunged my hand into the ice-cold water all the way to my armpit and grabbed it.”

The lure:  a very shiny 1/16th ounce Northland Buckshot rattle spoon.  The rod was a Thorne Brothers Sweetheart customized perch rod, made to LaFleur’s specifications.  It was 43 inches long, IGFA compliant, with a very fast and soft tip with the necessary forgiveness on the thread-like fishing line.

This season, the white bass crew did not find them anywhere near where they did in the past.  On the day that will be remembered forever, LaFleur said he moved 25 times, hunting by drilling hundreds of holes until stumbling into the school.  “I had never fished that spot before,” he said.  It was in the main Devils Lake basin in 40-feet of water.

“This passion might seem odd to many, but we have fun and enjoy what we consider the finer side of fishing,” he said. “White bass in winter act much like lake trout.  It’s a cat and mouse game.  Lures must be kept close, but not so close to the fish that they ignore it, and not so far away they lose interest.”

He added, “They traditionally feed on larvae in the lake bottom all winter, and to get bass to bite a Buckshot means annoying them so their instinctive, natural aggression takes over and they strike.”  When the flasher screen shows 10 to 12 feet of bass, that’s when action really picks up.  “We call this the ‘mob’ and when the rapidly moving school arrives, it is game-on,” he said.

Playing cat and mouse with the jigging spoon, LaFleur fishes the top of the mob.  “These monster white bass bulldog for 20 seconds or more, screaming through the rest of the mob, and that triggers the entire school,” he said.  He alternates the Buckshot with another favorite, the CLAM blade-spoon to find the optimum presentation.

When the sonar screen shows fish, the key is recognizing they are white bass, not perch.  Another factor is that every white bass yanked from their comfort zone 40 feet under will kill them.  “Catch and release is not an option,” he said.  “What my friends and I do is limit the number of fish we catch and limit the number of trips.  That is our ‘catch and release’ system.”

So far this winter, LaFleur has only fished five times for white bass.  His job with I.F. LaFleur and Sons, a coin-operated amusement business in North Dakota and northern Minnesota demands his full attention, as do two young LaFleurs, aged one and four.

The IGFA was founded in 1939.  Its mission statement reads, “The IGFA is a not-for-profit organization committed to the conservation of game fish and the promotion of responsible, ethical angling practices through science, education, rule making and record keeping.”  Once submitted, LaFleur will wait several months before final certification of his world record.

For more information about Devils Lake water levels, ramps, fishing reports for walleye, pike, perch and white bass, community activities, fishing tournaments (the 41st Chamber Annual Walleye tournament is June 23-25), guides, lodging, dining, casino, resorts and much more, go to devilslakend.com, or call the Tourism office, 701-662-4903.

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Weather Updates for ShiverFest 2017

Posted: February 15, 2017

Looks like wonderful weather for ShiverFest this year. Because of the warm temperatures we would like to announce a few items:

  • The Pond Hockey Tournament has been cancelled but activities will stay take place. Open to the general public, please register by 11:00 am:
    Boot Hockey Tournament
    Bean Bag Toss Tournament
    Sauce Toss Tournament
    Curling Event
    Food and Beverages available on the ice

 

  • The Woodland Resort Boat Landing will be shut off to all vehicle traffic. Conditions are safe, we are just trying to maintain the Woodland Resort landing for their customers for as long as possible this winter.
  • We will have people directing traffic to park on land from 11:30-2 but any time before or after self-parking is available.
  • The Kids Fishing Tournament starting at 1:00 will be on the east side of the marina. There will be easy access to walk down to the registration tent and fishing area. The area may be a little wet so please dress accordingly with good waterproof boots.
  • Those wishing to drive on the ice can access the pond hockey area as well as the fishing area via the Lakewood Boat Landing. A trail has been plowed from that location over to Woodland Resort.

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Winter Wonderland Vendor Show opens at 10:00 am

Pond Hockey activities cancelled

Frozen Fanny 5K – registration inside Woodland Resort Bait Shop at 10:30 am

Sleigh Rides start at 11:00 am

Ice Fishing Tournament starts at 1:00 pm

Fireworks at 8:00 pm

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41st Devils Lake Chamber Walleye Tournament Applications are out!

Posted: January 27, 2017

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Tournament applications are now available for the 41st annual Devils Lake Chamber Walleye Tournament, set for June 23 & 24, 2017.

Click here for all of the tournament details!

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17th Annual ShiverFest Set for February 18

Posted:

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DEVILS LAKE, ND. –  It’s time again to celebrate our annual winter event – ShiverFest! The dates this year will be February 18-19, 2017. Friday kicks off with Lakeside at the Cove rocking with Portland Junction, starting at 9:00 pm.

Saturday, Ackerman Acres will offer high flying, large kites from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm. Out on Creel Bay, you can find sleigh rides, bon fires, curling, frozen fanny 5K run/walk, Corn Hole/Bean Bag Toss and family skating. Starting at 1:00 pm is the annual Kids Ice Fishing Tournament. Again this year, there will be trophies for the largest fish, a drawing to win an ice fishing starter kit, Devils Lake Chamber Bucks prize awards for the top 8 finishers in the Northern, Walleye and Perch categories. The entry fee is $10 and you can purchase tickets at the fire station, the Devils Lake Chamber of Commerce or on the ice the day of the tournament. The North Dakota Pond Hockey Championship starts at 10:00.

Also going on around town is a Gun Show at the Memorial Building along with a wood carvers demonstration. The Winter Wonderland Vendor Show will be at the Peterson Arena on Highway 19 starting at 10:00 am.

Portland Junction is back again at Proz Lakeside at the Cove Saturday evening at 9:00 pm right after the fireworks display at Woodland Resort at 8:00 pm.

Rounding out the weekend on Sunday is a pancake and sausage feed at the KC Hall to benefit Fishing Has No Boundaries and more activities on the ice.

For any questions, please visit the Devils Lake Tourism’s website at www.tourism.devilslakend.com or call at 1-800-233-8048.

We hope to see you all in Devils Lake participating in the 17th Annual ShiverFest!

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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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