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AUGUST

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If You Want to Catch Pike, Devils Lake is the Place!

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The best time to catch Devils Lake northern pike is now.  Or, when you can get there.  Many visiting anglers come from Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, Wisconsin and throughout the country to experience the amazing pike fishery.  Anglers fish Devils Lake, North Dakota 12 months of the year. In summer and fall, pike really cooperate.

Fishing guide and walleye tournament champion Johnnie Candle (johnnie@gondtc.com), said, “I don’t know why people drive past us to get to Canada for pike.  The pike size-structure here is as good as anywhere in North America.”  Mark Bry of Bry’s Guide Service (brysguideservice@gmail.com) said, “There is always the chance for a big pike on Devils.  I think the next few years will produce many.  More and more pike in the 30 to 35 inch class are showing up.  A few years ago, I targeted them and landed a dozen from 40 to 45 inches.”

TV host, industry spokesman and Devils Lake guide Jason Mitchell (fishdevilslake@hotmail.com said, “Devils Lake has long had incredible pike numbers that skyrocketed with the high water cycle.  The lake has numbers of great eating size pike along with some trophies.”  He said more anglers are learning how to remove “Y-bones, and discovering how good pike are for dinner.  To help them, Mitchell did an easy to understand video about de-boning pike.  Check it out at devilslakend.com.

Johnnie Candle catches a Northern Pike

Johnnie Candle catches a Northern Pike

The recent summer fisheries surveys showed the abundance of pike and the sizes were solid.  Todd Caspers, area fisheries biologist said, “The average catch rate per net was 5.2 pike this year compared to 4.1 last year.  There are a fair number of 28 to 34 inch fish, and pike are typically good-sized fish, not hammer-handles like many other states.”  He continues to urge anglers to keep pike since they provide such tasty fillets, but admitted, “Most anglers do not fish for them.”  The daily limit is five (10 in possession).  “There are bigger pike in the system, but our netting gear is not designed for them,” he said.

Mitchell said his favorite time for giant pike occurs during the cool down coming up soon.  “Release those monsters over 40 inches,” he urged.  The best pike seem to hang around schools of young white bass in open water and along weedlines that drop-off into deep water.  His favorite lures are large spinner baits or big Kalin’s tails on jigs over the weeds.  He also fishes deep rocks with crankbaits.  If anglers cannot experience the fantastic fall bite, he recommended they spend time chasing pike in late spring.  “This is one place on the planet where if you fish for them, you will catch them, and lots of them,” he said.

Bry echoed the spring and early summer time frame for pike action.  “Anyone who loves casting and pike needs to be on Devils Lake in May and June.  It’s insane!” he said.  His guides clean pike for clients and while doing so demonstrate the techniques in Mitchell’s video.  Candle loves fall and spring for the best big-pike bite.  For numbers, he said, once the ice is gone in May, if you catch one pike a day, you’ll catch 100.  I like to fish large suspending jerk baits like the Berkley Cutter for the big boys,” he said.

Up to the minute fishing reports are on devilslakend.com.  The website features the new pike de-boning video, and also contains solid info about fishing guides, ramps, fish-cleaning stations, fishing conditions, events, resorts, lodging, restaurants and a helpful map.  For personal assistance, call 701-662-4903, and talk to a friendly and knowledgeable North Dakotan who was probably on Devils Lake yesterday.

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