The Wait is Over…Devils Lake Ice Season is On!!
Devils Lake, the huge lake in north-central North Dakota, and a favorite of ice fishermen, is finally fishable. The experts said this about the fishing action the past couple days:
Zippy Dahl, Perch Patrol, on their main quarry, “Perch fishing has been phenomenal this week. Lots of limits. Fish are in 14 to 28 feet. We’re fishing by ourselves. We even landed a couple 2-pounders.
Mark Bry, Bry’s Guide Service, “The walleye bite is very good now. They’re weed line related and the action in 4 to 8 feet is exceptional. A day ago, a large group of 18 people limited out with 90 walleyes. Limits are common.”
Clint DeVier, community ambassador and on the lake nearly every day, “Shallow walleyes in less than 10-feet are biting big-time in Lake Irvine, Lake Alice (open for the first time this year) and the north end of Pelican. Irvine has a lot of 18 to 22 inchers, while Alice has produced a number of bigger walleyes around five pounds.”
Like many lakes in the traditional ice fishing belt, Devils Lake froze much later than normal this year. When the bays and lakes to the north and west finally froze, they were hit with three storms and 15 inches of snow. That caused slush and travel issues. The main lake remained open during the first two storms, but has finally iced over with 5 to 8 inches in most places. Some of the northern connected lakes have a foot of ice. CAUTION is name of the game, and travel on foot, by snowmobiles and ATVs is the norm. “Truck travel will probably be safe by mid-January,” DeVier said.
Dahl said his 10 guides have only been chasing perch, and they are just beginning to check their key main lake spots. “We need cold, but until then, we will remain mobile and keep searching.” Bry said the favorite walleye tactics so far have been Northland Buckshot or Slender spoons with minnow heads. With the great shallow bite, he has not been venturing very far onto the main lake.
When describing the most productive walleye lures for the anglers he’s been fishing with, DeVier said, “I really like the Lindy flyer and Northland Buckshot spoons and the new Northland flutter spoon. Really good are jigging Rapalas. I cut off the two end hooks so the Raps don’t get caught on the bottom of the ice when fighting a fish through the hole. I also upgrade the treble to a larger size.”
He is just getting to his favorite perch spots now, and usually looks in 24 to 35 feet of water in early season. “One really fun fish in Devils Lake is pike. Set out some tip-ups and get some exercise. The lake is loaded with really good-sized pike, and with four lines per person, this will keep you warm all day. The north end of Pelican and Six Mile Bay are hot right now,” DeVier said.
The lake level is 1450.10, which is about two feet lower than spring, which means the sprawling lake covers approximately 147,000 acres on the main body and about 16,000 acres for the connected bays and lakes.
Ice travel demands caution all season, and especially with the late ice cover and snow storms. Current Devils Lake ice conditions, fishing reports and information is at devilslakend.com. This site features listings of guide services, resort, motel and casino accommodations, a lake map, cleaning stations (including the indoor, modern facility south of Ed’s Bait Shop on Hwy 20), plus regional outdoor and indoor activities for all ages and all interests. The phone is 701-662-4903.