Archive of News

September2017

It Just Gets Better – Top Guides Describe Devils Lake: ‘Phenomenal, Incredible, Top-Notch, Crown Jewel’

Posted: September 12, 2017

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Devils Lake, ND – Devils Lake fishing gets better and better each season.  According to North Dakota fisheries manager Todd Caspers, “Not only does this lake demonstrate a stable situation, but it has a good, consistent mix of all sizes of walleyes, not just one dominating year-class.”  Guides agree, calling Devils Lake fishing, “Phenomenal, incredible, top-notch, a crown jewel.”

Caspers is the area biologist.  Walleyes are perhaps the most popular Devils Lake species, but yellow perch also rank high with thousands and thousands of local and out-of-state anglers.  “We test young-of-year perch in a few weeks, but are cautiously optimistic of a good hatch,” he said.  This year, the Fish and Game summer net surveys averaged nine perch per net compared to 7.4 last year.  Most age classes were about the same as long-term averages.

Walleyes were exactly at the long-term average of 20 fish per net.  The 15 to 20 inch fish were slightly above average, as were the 25-inch plus walleyes.  Northern pike numbers were above average.  The 34 to 44 inch fish were right on the long-term average.  Numbers of 28 to 34 inch pike were double the long-term average.

The fourth major species targeted by anglers is white bass.  The trend is pointing upwards, with seven bass per net this year, up from 1.2 white bass per net in 2015, and 6.6 last year.  The long-term average is four bass.  The big jump is due to the 2015 year-class; they’re 10 to 12 inches now.

Devils Lake expert guides are jubilant about the great year-after-year fishing.  Approximately 25 percent of all non-resident fishing licenses sold in North Dakota are sold in bait shops around Devils Lake, which is open for fishing all year.

Aaron McQuoid, owner of McQuoid Guides with 19 years on the lake said, “The words ‘average’ and Devils Lake are not ever used in the same sentence.  Change the word ‘average’ to ‘phenomenal’ and that’s more like it.  With more good news from this year’s netting, I smile and know the future is better and better.”  Anglers stay at McQuoid’s lodge, hire guides or go in their own boats, but he said, “They all enjoy the fishing here.”

Jason Mitchell, TV show host and owner of one of the largest guide services on the lake was even more positive.  He said, “Over the past 10 years, Devils Lake has been the best walleye lake in the country.  It’s incredible how it sustains itself, and with the news of the hatch this season, will remain one of the best fisheries for years to come.”

Mitchell attributes the long-term success to the cycles of rising water.  A couple feet of water each year creates areas for small game fish and their forage to thrive and survive.  “My clients often refer to the fish here as ‘dumb’ because they bite so readily.  Devils Lake is the closest you can get to a Canadian fly-in lake yet remain in the US,” he added.  Another reason his clients head home with big smiles is because they love to catch fish, and he said, “They get worn out catching walleyes, pike, white bass and perch.  They gain an appreciation of our fantastic multi-species 180,000 acre lake.”

Community leader and guide Clint DeVier has fished the lake for almost half a century.  For the past three decades he said, “Devils Lake is way above the other walleye systems I’ve tournament fished throughout the Midwest.”  The reason so many people love Devils Lake is because they can catch fish using their favorite tactics.  Due to so many types of structure, if jigging is what a person loves to do, that will work.  So will slip-bobbers, trolling, bottom-bouncers, casting crankbaits, fishing shallow or deep.  “Most days are 50-plus walleye days with many pike, white bass and some perch netted. This makes for a top-notch experience,” he said.

IMG_3898_webGuide and world-walleye champion Johnnie Candle said an average April and May pike day is 50 fish, with many 100 pike days.  Some 20-plus pounders are hauled aboard every year.  May and June are peak walleye months with about 20 coming to net daily, averaging three-pounds.  July and August are “numbers” months with 60 to 100 walleyes per day.  “Many days, our boat goes six to 10 casts in a row with walleyes on every cast,” he said.  If targeted, walleyes over five-pounds can be caught, and always end up winning most tournaments.

The season around the corner, September until ice-up, is called “incredible” by Candle.  He does not keep walleyes over 20 inches, and despite catching 20 to 30 walleyes per day in the fall, he is often unable to keep any.  Catching big walleyes, 75 pike or upwards of 100 white bass make every trip an adventure.  “Devils Lake is the crown jewel of the prairie,” he said.

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, tournament opportunities, guides, dining, casino and much more, go to devilslakend.com, or call the Tourism office, 701-662-4903.

 

Photo credits: Guide Johnnie Candle with a nice walleye catch this fall.

Clients of Mitchell’s Guide Service with Guide Zippy Dahl with Northern Pike of a lifetime!

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Devils Lake Shoreline Fishing Opportunities Expanding; 3 New Fishing Piers Ready to Accommodate All Anglers

Posted: June 29, 2017

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Devils Lake, ND – Devils Lake is a favorite fishing destination.  Anglers head to this North Dakota town and lake of the same name because of the walleyes, northern pike, white bass and perch.  The lake offers more miles of easily accessible shoreline fishing than any other North American lake.

Now, the shoreline fishing just became better – three times better with the completion of three new ADA-compliant fishing piers.  They are located at very good fishing locations, and city engineer Mike Graafsgard said, “Every time I’ve been out to the Channel A pier, it has been in use.”  Fishermen have thanked him time after time, saying, “If not for this access, I wouldn’t be fishing.”

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.  Channel A pier has been in use since the ice departed.  Water flows into the main lake from the upper lakes via this channel.

Pike Playground and Fishing Pier:  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.  A few construction details are being finalized with completion in July.

The fishing piers were built to withstand decades of constant use and the vagaries of Mother Nature.  “We used marine-grade aluminum and galvanized steel.  These piers will be in use for a very long time,” he said.

The parking lots, sidewalks and gradually sloping ramps to accommodate wheelchairs were only one aspect of the engineering.  Grafsgaard said, “We had to account for very large waves and changing water levels.  Solutions were resolved to address all lake contingencies.”

With the significant amount of volunteer assistance from members of the Lake Region Anglers, costs were contained to the exact amount of the total budget, $610,765.  “We couldn’t have done this without the tremendous assistance from Shelby Vasichek and his Bobcat dealership.  He provided equipment, ran the machinery, set docks and readjusted them as needed.  He is one of the unsung heroes here,” Grafsgaard said.

DJI_0041Funding came from the North Dakota Industrial commission via the Outdoor Heritage Fund Grant program ($361,728), and the City, the ND Game and Fish Department, the Lake Region Anglers Association, the Devils Lake Chamber – Tourism Division, the Devils Lake Basin Joint Water Resources Board, the Devils Lake Access Committee, VFW Post 756, the Ramsey County Water Board and Lake Region Sportsmen.

He added, “When developing these shore fishing piers we were fortunate to have great state and federal partners.  We work closely with them on dikes, roads, riprap, and everything around Devils Lake.  These piers were fun to create and as soon as they were open, we began to see the benefits – people were using them.”

A forth fishing pier was added to Devils Lake by the Devils Lake Park Board on the Lakewood Beach area of Creel Bay. Directions to this pier are: 3 miles south of Devils Lake on Highway 20 to 45th St, then 2 miles west on Burke Blvd, and .5 miles north to Lakewood Park. Paved access road.

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 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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FINAL RESULTS from the 41st Annual Chamber Walleye Tournament

Posted: June 25, 2017

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Click here to view the final results from this year’s tournament.

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Devils Lake Makes the List for “The 25 Best Lake Towns in America”

Posted: June 14, 2017

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Would you look at that, Devils Lake North Dakota made the list of the top 25 Best Small Lake Towns in America. We are very excited that we were considered for this amazing list that Country Living has published and hope you can come take in all that Devils Lake has to offer as a top 25 Lake Town in America!! For more information and to see the full article click here.

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Posted: June 2, 2017

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Dear Tournament Anglers,

It won’t be long now before you will be competing in the 41st Annual Devils Lake Chamber of Commerce Walleye Tournament.  There are many changes this year that we are very excited for.  Please be sure to read your rules carefully to be sure you are aware of them.

There is one change however that is not mentioned in the rules.  A few issues have come about from some of the early tournaments here on Devils Lake.  We at the Devils Lake Chamber of Commerce want to keep moving our tournament in the right direction keeping it a true community event.  For this reason we are adding boundaries to the tournament waters this year.

For 2017 there will be no fishing permitted north of Highway 2 or west of Highway 281 by tournament anglers during tournament hours.  There are legal ramifications behind this decision.  Channel A is very narrow with a new handicapped accessible shore fishing pier part way up the channel.  When tournament anglers get excited to get to their fishing spots, courtesy toward those anglers and rules for driving in narrow channels my get lost in the excitement.  The access point to the water west of old highway 281 has been cordoned off by Benson County officials thus legally keeping anglers and boaters from entering that water legally.  For these two reasons, the tournament committee has decided to place the boundaries on this year’s event.

We are giving everyone fair notice now so you can plan your pre-fishing accordingly.

Thank you for participating in the 41st Devils Lake Chamber of Commerce Walleye Tournament.  We are glad to have you and wish you good luck.  See you in a few weeks.

Sincerely,

Johnnie Candle
Tournament Director

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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

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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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