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Devils Lake at the Top of the List for Pros & Everyday Fishermen

Johnnie Candle holding a walleye on Devils Lake

More everyday anglers are flocking to Devils Lake in central North Dakota each year.  They keep returning because it quickly grows on them.  Most pro walleye anglers list this diverse lake at or near the top of their favorite places to fish.

“After years and years of Canadian fishing, I know I catch more fish and bigger walleyes in Devils Lake than Canada,” said Steve Sanders from Kansas City, a 7-year regular with guide Zippy Dahl.  “I put a pencil to it, and hiring a guide and staying at Woodland is as economical as towing my boat from Kansas to Ontario.”   He also said, “At Devils Lake we can eat fish and keep a limit every time.  I don’t think I’d go anywhere else for walleyes – there’s a lot of fish there.”

Minnesota walleye Pro Bruce Samson said, “It is one of my favorites, because I like the challenge of finding new patterns in a lake full of fish.  The memory of winning two PWT tournaments gives me confidence.  The location is a bonus because of the low ‘people’ population.”  Walleye Pro Mike Gofron hails from Illinois and has more top 10-place tournament finishes than any pro.  He said, “Devils Lake is one of my top five picks for walleyes.  I like the fact I can explore all corners of this broad lake.  I can’t wait to get back.”

Ken Spader has been fishing with guide Aaron McQuoid since 2006.  Spader fishes with his daughter, who at 13 years old immediately bonded with Aaron the first time they fished.  “The first trip was fabulous.  Each trip is better than the last.  Aaron puts us on fish,” Spader said.  “My daughter and I like action all day long, and that’s what Devils Lake is – fish after fish after fish.”  He ice fished with Aaron this past winter and caught three perch over two pounds including a 2-pound, 6-ounce brute.  “I’ve now fished in winter, in spring right after the ice went out, during the heat of summer and in fall – I don’t know which is better – so I keep going back,” the Kansas angler said.

Central Iowa farmer Randy Rieken has been fishing with McQuoid for eight years, and due to his occupation, only gets away in January and March.  “I would really like to fish Devils Lake in a boat, but the ice trips are tremendous.  He works hard to get us into fish, and that’s what he said all the guides do.”

One of the winningest walleye pros with multiple Championship trophies adorning his home in Colorado is pro walleye angler Ron Seelhoff.  He said, “Devils Lake is one of my top places to fish.  The lake forces me to adjust and re-learn the bite every time.  What I really like is I start catching them as soon as I drop lures over the side.  Then I refine my patterns.  Staying in Devils Lake is like being home.”

Scott Glorvigen, double Championship winner on the walleye tours put it simply when asked why Devils Lake ranks so high on his list of favorites, “Diversity of habitat and variety of techniques.”  Another walleye pro with many first place victories is Tommy Skarlis.  The Iowa pro said, “Devils Lake is definitely a ‘Great Skarlini’ Top 10!”

He continued, “The fishing is out of this world with tactics more diverse and unique than most Walleye Factories.  Where else can you cast Berkley Ripple Shads or Salmo Executors or troll Berkley Flicker Shads or live bait rig, pull spinners, pitch jigs or toss slip bobbers?  Maybe as important are the great people out there in the country.”

Walleye pro and Championship winner Johnnie Candle lives on the shores of Devils Lake.  He said, “This is one of the few places where you can catch walleyes any way you want, despite this lake never being the same two years in a row, much less month to month.  One hundred walleye-days are not uncommon.  This community supports angling like no other, that’s why I live here.”

Sam Steele fishes with Candle, and his fishing club from the south side of Chicago travels there annually.  “Johnnie taught us how to fish for walleyes better.  This was more like fishing with a family.  His guides were great, the fishing was better than any other place, the shore lunches were excellent, and our big groups will be back,” he said.

This season, ND Game and Fish Northeast District Fisheries Supervisor Randy Hiltner said, “All ramps will be open.  Anglers will be able to launch and motor from nine conveniently located public ramps.”  Concrete ramps with adequate parking are strategically located.  A complete map is featured on devilslakend.com.  Devils Lake increased in size from 40,000 acres in 1992 to approximately 240,000 acres today, but wherever they launch, boaters will be able to drive under all bridges.

A high-tech fish-cleaning station – free to the public – is located just south of Ed’s Bait Shop on Hwy 20 (south of the city of Devils Lake).  The 20 x 32 building can handle 15 anglers at one time, with two grinders, a clean-up sink, regular and handicapped bathrooms.  It is air-conditioned (heated in winter), has plenty of parking for trucks and trailers and is well-lit.

Walleye & Spinners Video

Devils Lake fishing guides target perch, walleyes, white bass and pike.  They welcome every first-time angler and the thousands of anglers who return year after year.  For Devils Lake guides, conditions, fishing reports, lodging, activities, restaurants, the June 21-22 Chamber walleye tournament, and resorts, check www.devilslakend.com, or call 701-662-4903.

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