Sliders Strike out Devils Lake Walleyes
For awhile it was a fish every cast. Then it slowed to 2 casts per fish. After the first 10 it dropped to 3 even 4 casts for a fish. Devils Lake, my kid’s favorite place on Earth.
Thunderstorms are predicted for later this afternoon, mostly cloudy with a south east wind up to 17. Not a bad forecast and if we can get it done before this afternoon’s storms we will be home free. I remember the first time I came to Devils Lake and asked advice. What followed was bunch of fishing jargon that would make oil field talk seem normal.
Channel A and Pepsi Barn ain’t what I call good fishing info but it’s all you will get from the locals. Not that they don’t want to be helpful, it’s just how things are placed here in 6 Mile Bay. So with that in mind, let’s take a trip over to some of these locations and get an idea where they fit.
6 mile Bay is west of Devils Lake and Hwy 19 divides it in half north and south. We will get started as far north as you can boat which is the Channel A bridge. Access by foot is from Hwy 2 west of Devils Lake. Early, like ice out early, it is great walleye fishing. So good in fact you need to be advised that conservation is every sportsman’s responsibility. Catch and Release please!
My thought was to get a picture of the Hwy 2 bridge, pitch jigs for a few White Bass and head out. The bass didn’t see it my way but a respectable Walleye did. It’s a little late in the season for a great walleye bite this far into Channel A. Be careful where the old railroad crosses, plenty of depth but a bit narrow.
Our next stop heading south on the east shore of 6 mile is the famous Pepsi Barn. Completely encased with signs it’s hard to sort out how “Pepsi Barn” stuck. In fact, my son Jesse, on seeing it for the first time remarked, “Why didn’t they call it the Coke Barn?” There is a bay around the corner NE of the barn I suggest you give a look over.
The Gravel Pit is across 6 Mile Bay and a bit south of the barn. It has some steep structure and if you like the live bait jigging presentation you will settle right in. I was introduced to this area last year by a local, Al, who doesn’t know how to hook on minnows so he just uses cranks. I like Al, my kind of fisherman. The shoreline running west is a good starting place if you want to pitch.
Under the Hwy 19 bridge and a mile or so on the west is 6 Mile Bait. This is where we launched this morning. 6 Mile Bait has everything you need on DL for tackle and a guide on hand as well. Heading south again and sticking to the west side is today’s ultimate destination, Doc Hagens.
Doc Hagens is expansive and one of those descriptives that bundles everything into one small name. If someone tells you “Doc Hagens” in reference to “Where they biting?” see if they will be more specific. Doc’s has everything from cattails (locally Cane) to riprap with sunken roads, sunken islands, stock dams and rocks.
You’re gonna need more than a simple “Doc Hagens” if you can get it so here it is. There is a narrow strip of shallow flats that run east and west between Doc Hagens Island and the canes to the north. Depths average 7-9 feet right now. Most of the boats are set up in the middle of the bay at the west end of Doc Hagens Island.
Slip bobbers are without a doubt the most popular technique right now. With an anchor out the corner and a couple of rods each you can sit back and wait for the action. It is a very productive way to fish Devils Lake. I don’t particularly care for the bobbers and thankfully a few walleyes don’t either.
Couple of years ago Nathan, a friend from Minot, introduced me to the slider. No, we’re not talking baseball. This Slider is soft, supple, and deadly on DL. There are days when it seems nothing else will work and Nathan put on a demonstration that stuck with me. I’m thinking it’s the throbbing tail that does it.
No, I didn’t forget the opening paragraph where I bragged about a fish a cast. That was simply a scouting trip north of DL for my 13 year old son Levi who absolutely loves shore fishing. I expected White Bass but the Northern were totally bonkers for a jig. How he is going to love this.
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