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Water Levels Rising; Fishing Outlook Promising!

Posted: March 17, 2017


Devils Lake, ND – Mother Nature and Devils Lake have a bumpy marriage.  More than a century ago, paddle wheelers were operating on these North Dakota waters.  Then, the lake shrunk to about 40,000 acres by the early 1990’s.  Since then, Devils Lake quadrupled in size.  This spring, Mother Nature will add even more water, creating new shorelines in cattail marshes and farmland.

That has anglers excited.  Jason Mitchell, TV host and operator of a large guide service said, “Shore fishing can get really good and the shallow bays will load up with walleyes.”  Aaron McQuoid, guide and owner of McQuoid’s Outdoors echoed this sentiment, “Whether you chase walleyes or northern pike, early season will be excellent.  May is the best month for pole-benders.”  Local guide and World Walleye Champion, Johnnie Candle said, “The expected rise in lake levels has me anticipating a very good Devils Lake fishing season.”

All three offered advice on fishing, but first, what about that water?  The man in the know is Jeff Frith, Devils Lake Basin Joint Water Resources Board manager.  Last summer and fall, areas north of the lake received 35 to 40 inches of rain, a foot or more above average.  The ground, soil and marshes became saturated.  The entire region felt the wrath of severe December and January storms with extremely wet, heavy snow.

In early March, the National Weather Service projected with 95 percent accuracy that the lake elevation would go to 1452.8 feet (a 2 ½ foot rise).  They projected a 50 percent probability of adding three feet, and a 10 percent chance of exceeding the all-time lake level of 1454.6 feet.  “These recent estimates about took our breath away,” Frith said.  “The longer the ice holds, the higher the chances of a rapid warm-up which would magnify the situation, because snow would quickly melt.  If an inch or more of rain also falls, the upper estimates could become a reality.”

To put the situation into perspective, Frith said, “The most recent estimate is that 780,000 acre/feet of water is poised to move downstream.  That amount of water would cover 780,000 football fields with one foot of water.  Or, look at it this way: The North Dakota capitol building could hold 18,000,000 gallons of water.  The amount we’re talking about would fill the capitol 13,773 times.”  If the lake only goes up one foot, another 10,000 acres of land will be covered.  If it rises between three and four feet, Devils Lake will again reach 200,000 surface acres.

Johnnie Candle said, “Moving water congregates all species.  Current seams in coulees, near culverts and bridges makes fish very predictable.  Jigs and minnows, Jigging Raps and Shiver minnows or swimbaits will catch fish.  I like a jig and a three or four inch white grub body this time of year.”  He notes that higher water levels attracts baitfish to freshly flooded cover, and swim baits, Shad Raps or Flicker Shads are the answer.  “Always have a slip-bobber ready.  When you net one walleye, toss a bobber and leech in the vicinity.  Hang on!” he said.

Jason Mitchell urges early-season anglers to key on newly flooded waters.  “They warm up faster and these bays load up with walleyes.  Pitch crankbaits, soft plastic swim baits or slip-bobbers.  I really like light jigs tipped with Kalin’s Sizmic grubs.”  He advised shore anglers to check out Channel A or the Mauvais Coulee.  With new fishing piers and miles of rip rap, Devils Lake may have more shoreline fishing opportunities than almost any other lake in the upper Midwest.

IMG_2165Aaron McQuoid agreed with the shallow water recommendations of Candle and Mitchell, but added, “Pay attention to water temps.  Late afternoons and evenings are best as waters warm.  Fish shallow and experiment with color.”  All three really take care of their clients with the latest and greatest gear and know-how.  They have the advantage of spending nearly every day on the water, and can answer questions and handle family, friends and business groups plus lodging needs.

When swimming jigs with plastic right after ice-out (average date is April 15), McQuoid suggests reeling steadily, but bumping bottom regularly.  He speeds up retrieves as water warms.  When casting Rapalas, he prefers frequent pauses.  “Don’t forget pike.  They are always active, fight hard, and are some of the tastiest fish in the lake.  Fillet them; remove all bones; boil them in 7-UP; dip them in butter with favored seasonings.  Oh, and bring a kid fishing.”

For more information about Devils Lake water levels, ramps, fishing reports for walleye, pike, perch and white bass, community activities, fishing tournaments (the 41st Chamber Annual Walleye tournament is June 23-25), guides, lodging, dining, casino, resorts and much more, go to, or call the Tourism office, 701-662-4903.


Blue42 – Social Media & You! Seminar

Posted: March 13, 2017


Jeff “Boomer” Stelmach & Jordan Blommer

Since 2014, Blue42 has grown the Visit Devils Lake Facebook page from 4,391 fans to over 33,000 fans today and has us reaching a daily engagement of over 9,200 people. In the year 2016, we reached over 3.3 million impressions on Facebook alone!

The Devils Lake Area Chamber of Commerce and Devils Lake Area CVB have teamed up together to provide the businesses in Devils Lake an in-depth, half-day seminar on social media. Blue42 will break down specific topics and tie in how we can all collaborate together as a destination.

Topics covered include:

  • What is Social Media
  • Why is Social Media important
  • Social Media for business
  • Understanding Social Media channels and what channels work best for business (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Linked In, etc)
  • Why is “Current Important” – Trends & Hashtags
  • Employee vs. Agency
  • Advertising on Social Media
  • Social Media & SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  • How does Social Media fit into a complete digital strategy, i.e. your website
  • Social Media dictionary (what’s a follow, tweet, share)
  • Measuring your Social Media ROI

Breakout Sessions include:

  • Creating a strategy
  • Developing a schedule
  • Acquiring assets
  • Understanding your consumer (Geographies and demographics)

This class is limited to the first 60 people registered so please register early. The Devils Lake Area Chamber and Tourism are offering this seminar FREE to our members. The cost for non-members is $50. Please use the RSVP to to RSVP early for this event. Learn more about Blue42 here.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017
8:30 am – Noon

High Plains Equipment
8373 East Highway 2, Devils Lake

Learn more about the Blue42 team:

Boomer Stelmach
boomerBoomer has been working in Marketing and Media realm for almost 20 years after graduating from Missouri Southern State University with a degree in Economics/Finance. Four years ago he co-founded Blue42, a Media Agency based in Minneapolis, MN that specializes in Digital Strategy (Web and Social Media). The vision of Blue42 was to create “Peace of Mind” in the Digital World for companies covering all aspects of Digital Marketing & Strategy. Prior to Blue42, Boomer founded and lead Heres My Gear, an Outdoor Promotion Company specializing in Web and Social Media that attracted 70,000+ Followers in just 3 years. Out of College, he worked for notable companies like General Mills and Reckitt Benckiser where his passion for helping other companies in Marketing grew.

He has spoken at High Schools, Conventions and with multiple companies from a variety of Industries
(Outdoors, Tourism, Restaurants, HealthCare and Fitness) such as: Clam Outdoors, Vexilar, Sonarphone, ScentBlocker, Navionics, Cabelas, Smude’s Sunflower Oil, Wolcyn Tree Farms, Chanticlear Pizza, Farrell’s eXtreme Body Shaping (FXB), Alumacraft, Dan’s Southside Marine, Devils Lake ND Tourism, Robert’s Fine Jewelry, FishHead, G2 Gemini, and Trade Tools. Currently he resides in Minneapolis with his fiance Nicole and 2 children, Cole & Sophia. Out of the office, he has a strong passion for the Outdoors and his family. His favorite fishing destination is Devils Lake ND!

Jordan Blommer

jordanA driven product promoter with 11+ years of marketing, management and sales experience in a retail and

business-to-business environment. After graduating from St. Cloud State University with a degree in Marketing, Jordan began working in management for a national imaging and technology retailer. He then spent over nine years as a Director of a medical device company working in sales and marketing with companies such as: University of Minnesota, Summit Orthopedics and Twin Cities Orthopedics. He is currently the Creative Operations Director at Blue42 orchestrating marketing and advertising campaigns, and social media strategies for companies such as Chanticlear Pizza, Farrell’s eXtreme Body Shaping (FXB), Trade Tools, Inc., and Eurotech Auto Service. He currently lives in St. Paul with his wife Crystal and 2 children, Harrison and Elle. He enjoys family and the outdoors in his free time.


Biggest Payout Ever, $61,000, for 41st Devils Lake Chamber Walleye Tournament!

Posted: March 1, 2017


The Devils Lake 41st annual Chamber Walleye Tournament total cash and prizes are the largest in history at $61,000.  The winning team is guaranteed $6,500, a $1,500 increase over past seasons. The June 23-25 weekend has been a special homecoming, vacation and reunion for teams that return for the fun, friendship and fishing. [Find all the details for the tournament here]

Walleye fishing has been graded A-plus by out-of-state and local anglers.  Catches of hundreds of walleyes per day have been reported.  Johnnie Candle, tournament host, world walleye champion and Devils Lake guide said, “It amazes us guides how good this lake has been, and with the many year-classes moving up, any bite could be a 9-pounder.  Teams should expect plenty of 15 to 20 inch walleyes with numbers of 3 to 5 pound fish this year.”

More than 35 local Chamber members have stepped up with more support and chances to win cash and prizes than ever before.  All team members receive a Cabela’s jacket and are eligible for the daily big fish prizes for walleye ($500/day), pike ($250/day), white bass and perch ($100/day).  The biggest walleye last year weighed 7.33 pounds by Troy Goltz, Leonard, ND, and David Johnson, Kindred, ND.

The day two optional pike “100 percent cash payback” shootout is for those out of walleye contention after day one.  Pooh’s Taxidermy will mount the biggest walleye and pike.  Other awards include mixed couple, biggest basket, Power-Up, Sleeper, end-of-the-line, 41st place team, 7th place team, and the Early Bird.  Actually, Early Bird is for five teams entered by March 31; winners receive their $250 entry fee back.  Candle said, “This year the tournament is limited to 125 teams. With the growing popularity, it makes sense to get in right away.”  Headquarters and ceremonies take place at Graham’s Island State Park. Weigh-ins will be streamed live via RadioWorks.

Last year’s tournament winners, Eric Hanson, Lisbon, ND, and Virgil Nogowski, Gwinner, ND, were fishing their first-ever Chamber event.  They weighed 24.81 pounds and caught their five walleyes casting Rapala Esko crankbaits in 3 to 5 feet of water in Pelican Bay.  As a side-note, three weeks prior to the tournament, they caught 200 pike in the same area, but only caught two pike there during the competition.

The directors acted prudently based on the day two weather report of 30-mph winds and cancelled the final day last year.  The second place team, Mike Kaderlik, Mankato, MN, and son Jarvis, Bismarck, ND cast jointed Rapalas, Rattlin’ Raps and Husky Jerks in 5 to 12 feet of Pelican Bay water.  Their 5-fish limit weighed 21.27 pounds.  Third place went to Don and son Jacob Denning, Fargo, ND with 20.98 pounds, also in Pelican Bay.

The National Professional Anglers Association and Deutz Fishing will conduct a youth fishing clinic after Saturday’s weigh-in at the state park.  The first 50 youngsters will receive rods and reels.

The website features the latest tournament news, entry forms, prize lists, up-to-date reports and more.  For personal assistance, call 701-662-4903, and talk to a friendly Devils Lake resident who can address questions about the event, lodging, dining, guide services, access/ramp status, fish-cleaning stations, community events, family-activities, shopping, and help with other vacation/tournament plans.


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