Devils Lake can be intimidating.
Drop, New Reef Runner Colors?
Where do you start, East Devils, Main Bay, Six Mile or maybe Grahams Island? How deep, live bait or cranks, bobbers or jigs? Devils Lake can be intimidating. If you don’t fish here every week things change and fast. I put together a list of possible presentations. Rip Rap along roads Guibber and Lemon and bridges-Main Lake rocks on sunken humps-sunken road beds-casting into timber with cranks and jigs-pulling crankbaits-bobbers in the trees-spinners along weed beds, Geez I could trip a breaker.
I normally check the weather, check with friends, guides, Fishing Buddy, anything just get me some info and a place to start. Search the data base of past experience, freshen it up with current info and I got me a plan. Not this time. Everyone says they are catching fish but each is somewhere different doing something different. I hate it when fishing is this good. What if I don’t find fish? Put together that 45 minute limit? Release the big one and have a story. Reality is, yesterday we caught two and everyone else was straining to lift their nets full of fish up on the cleaning table.
Guibber, aka Sarah, my youngest and her night time companion Lemon Drop are watching Princess Diary on TV. We are at the Holiday in Devils Lake on what is our first trip out this season for just the 3 of us. Things always look better after a good night’s sleep. I’m sort of a morning person anyway so maybe tomorrow we will just go fishing and not complicate it with too much thinking.
Overcast, south winds around 10-15 and low 60’s. Looks like a good day for fishing as we head out for a protected corner next to Grahams Island. We tie up to a tree for 15 minutes and Guibber gets a line out with a jig and Gulp. I have radio and with the boat tied up I can concentrate on the morning report and then get down to business. A Lund pulls past and starts fishing a road bed I just discovered. Cripes there are more sunken roads in this lake than I can keep track of. Radio goes fine, meaning my network woke up and I had signal. Now for some serious fishing.
It’s late August and you would think deep but the road tops at 9 to 10 feet. We are being followed by two RS-4’s 75 feet behind the boat. In close at 30 is two Reef Runner Rip Shads. First fish is on a Firetiger RS-4 and so is the next and next and so on. I make a quick change and now we have two Firetigers out the back. Not a single fish on the Reef Runners. Might as well be fishing with two lines but I’m determined to find something they want.
We run the gamut of color and style even digging into the bottom of the boxes for Thunderstick Jr’s a lure I used to pull often. After 15 minutes those two loafers get the notice and are laid off. I don’t like blue/chrome in the morning and I don’t like blue/chrome on overcast days but I’m out of colors in this box so down goes blue/chrome and up comes Guibber with a smile. Maybe I think too much and should “just go fishing” more often. We get another on blue/chrome and now we have two working for us.
Get this, the RS-4’s are as good as dead. An hour ago you could not keep ‘em in the water with all the action. Rip Shads moved in and are doing what the RS-4’s were doing early on. That just goes to show, ya got to have ’em all. You can tell your wife Schoneck said so. Tools, right tool for the right job. Ya, that makes sense.
Looking south you can see where the road comes into the water. We are on the NE corner of Grahams Island in an area locally known as Doc Hagens. The road runs north for a mile or so and tops at 10 feet. We are pulling the cranks slow. Very slow, in fact, as I don’t think we caught a fish over 2 mph. Get this, not a single crank lost, not even to a northern. Generally I tell people who want to pull cranks on DL two important facts. First buy several types and second be sure to get them in 6 packs. On the way to the lake roll down the truck window and toss out your first six pack. Kind of gets you warmed up for what’s coming.
No big fish story, not even the one that got away. Just a very good day on the water. I think I tend to minimize the quality of fishing here in ND. I have a few good days and begin taking it for granted. After all we did come in with two limits of “eaters” meaning 14-16 inch fish. Where in the upper mid-west can you pull that off in late August? Fact is our fishing is fantastic and I plan to make it a point not to diminish its value. I’ve fished other states for walleyes and my experience is ya, good fishing, but more often than not limited to a short window of opportunity. Kind of a seasonal thing. Not the case for ND, not even the dog days of August. The smile on the Guibber describes it best.
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Courtesty of Greg Schoneck of ND Live, Wet and Wild