Devils Lake is Open for Business – All Ramps Open in 2012
Devils Lake fits the description “Water, Water Everywhere.” The expanding waterways have swallowed North Dakota fields, farms, villages, roads, bridges and marshes into approximately 250,000 acres of the best fishing in the Midwest.
There are more places to fish, more fish-holding structure, more young-of-the-year walleyes growing into adults, and all of it is accessible from multiple new launch ramps. “This year, all ramps will all be open. Anglers will be able to launch and motor from nine conveniently located public ramps,” said North Dakota Game and Fish Northeast District Fisheries Supervisor Randy Hiltner.
Concrete ramps are strategically located with adequate parking for trucks and trailers. Hiltner said nine public ramps surround the lake so anglers can make decisions on fishing near their resorts or motels and close to the day’s fishing spots. A complete map is featured on devilslakend.com. The public ramps are:
Pelican Lake: 15 miles west of the city of Devils Lake on Hwy. 19.
Grahams Island State Park: 10 miles west of the city; 6 miles south on paved access road.
Six Mile Bay (Schwab Ramp): 7 miles west of the city on Hwy 19.
Creel Bay (Henegar Ramp): 1 mile west of the city on Hwy 19; 1 mile south on paved access road.
Creel Bay (Lakewood Ramp): 3 miles south of the city on Hwy. 20; 2 miles west on paved access road.
Spirit Lake Casino Ramp: 6 miles south of the city on Hwy 20/57.
East Bay: 3 miles south of the city on Hwy 20.
Black Tiger Bay (Estenson Ramp): 15 miles south of the city on Hwy 20.
Round Lake Bay: 3 miles south of Minnewaukan on Hwy 281.
Five launch ramps also have fish cleaning facilities: Graham’s Island, Six Mile Bay, Creel Bay (both ramps), and the Casino ramp. A new year-round indoor fish-cleaning station will be constructed this spring behind Ed’s Bait shop in the city of Devils Lake. Fishermen will be able to use this facility all year; it will be heated and prove very popular in winter. The 24 x 24 foot building will be air-conditioned in summer. Hours of operation will be 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Several local experts, Jason Mitchell, Johnnie Candle and Al Freidig, were polled about spring fishing tips.
Mitchell, guide and TV host (fishdevilslake.net) said, “At ice-out, everything seems to be biting. Whether from shore or boat, walleye, pike and white bass are on the shorelines. I cast and slowly swim Mimic Minnows and paddle-tails on jigs.”
Candle, pro angler and guide (email@example.com) said spring run-off may not be as significant this season, which means many fish will hold in the shallow bays off the main lake. “Fish any shallow bay that warms fast. Pike and walleyes hold together. I prefer shallow-running lures like Husky Jerks and Rattling Rogues with lots of pauses or Berkley Ripple Shads,” he said.
Freidig, respected tournament angler and on the lake almost daily, makes his early trips to Pelican Lake (northwest section of Devils Lake), Six Mile Bay and Mauvais Coulee north of Highway 19. He casts shallow, targeting trees, rocks and old farm implements, running Shad Raps slow and steady. “On any cast it could be a pike, a white bass or a walleye,” he said. If walleyes follow or he misses a bite, he casts a bobber, usually for quick action. “Early spring on Devils Lake is some of the best fishing of the season,” Freidig said.
For information on Devils Lake tournaments, lake conditions, ramps (all launch ramps on Devils Lake will be open this season), activities, guides, lodging and restaurants, check www.devilslakend.com, or call 1-800-233-8048.