Archive of News

September2018

Devils Lake Waterfowl & Fishing Seasons Going Great Guns

Posted: September 29, 2018

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“It’s happening now, and will only get better,” said Kyle Blanchfield, owner of Northern Flight Guide Service.  He was speaking about the duck and goose hunting seasons that recently opened.  With 30 years in the field, he is one of the most experienced waterfowlers in the Devils Lake region of North Dakota. He also owns Woodland Resort.

Mark Bry has one of the veteran guide services in the Devils Lake area.  He said, “We’re still fishing, but with the numbers of mallards up 14 percent and the already good goose hunting, I expect the numbers of birds to really increase from mid-October through late November.”

With eyes on the skies, not to be forgotten are the thousands of walleyes willing to follow anglers home for dinner.  Professional angler, educator, world walleye champion and Devils Lake guide Johnnie Candle said, “Fall fishing on Devils Lake is my favorite time to be on the water. Walleyes feed like crazy and set-up on easy to fish rocky areas.”

Guide clients hunt mornings in both Blanchfield’s and Bry’s camps, then spend the afternoons chasing walleyes and northern pike. Candle said trolling is a great way to fill livewells.  He prefers Flicker Shads (# 7 and # 9), Reef Runners and Rapala Deep Tail Dancers. He also concentrates on smaller rocky humps with Jigging Raps.  White bass and perch colors are best.

Bry (Brysguideservice.com, 701-739-0161) hunts mostly fields.  Guides scout the evening prior, favoring harvested barley, wheat and pea fields to learn where ducks are feeding.  Guides and clients arrive before daylight the next morning and set-up Robo ducks, Canada goose and mallard decoys.  “We will attract more waterfowl this year than previously because after a dry summer, many potholes have no water.  This will concentrate birds in a tighter area closer to the big water.  We have some great land to hunt,” Bry said.  His lodge holds 50 guests in a “home-away-from-home” atmosphere.

Blanchfield (woodlandresort.com, 701-662-5996) said, “Duck numbers are impressive.  We’ve had cold weather already and the extended forecast indicates this year will be ahead of schedule.  That means the northern flights will be showing up soon.”  Canadian mallards are migrating earlier than normal, and his guides have reported more sandhill cranes, white geese, divers and swans showing up earlier than normal for early October.

The Woodland and Northern Flight guides hunt fields exclusively.  Mallards and pintails comprise most of their duck harvest.  Canada geese now with snow geese to follow produce days on end where Blanchfield said, “We’ll stack ‘em up.”  Typical days start on fields where guides have pin-pointed the heaviest concentrations of birds.  Up to 150 full-body mallard decoys are displayed along with about 100 Canada goose decoys and a number of spinning wing Lucky Duck decoys.  His take on potholes drying is that this is nature’s cycle and is very healthy for the marshes.

Both experts experience a 70 percent repeat business.  Clients come from far and wide and at Woodland, 35 states were represented in the waterfowl crowd last season.  Blanchfield reminded those heading to Devils Lake that the big fish bite best in fall, and Cast and Blast is very popular.  Bry suggested that clients seeking a DIY fishing afternoon concentrate on current areas near bridges.

Devilslakend.com includes details about Devils Lake motels and resorts, guide services, fish and waterfowl cleaning stations, water levels, ramps, public fishing piers, fishing reports for walleye, pike, perch and white bass, duck and goose hunting reports, community activities, upcoming events, dining, casino and much more.  Or call the Tourism office, 701-662-4903.  Devils Lake is open year-round for some of the best fishing in the United States, and when combined with the abundant waterfowl is a sportsman’s dream destination.

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Devils Lake Surprises Once Again; Walleyes Lurking in Super Deep Water

Posted: August 8, 2018

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Devils Lake – Every angler from second place to last place applauded the winner of the recent National Walleye Tour held on Devils Lake.  They did so because he towed his Lund 2075 Pro-V 1,300 miles to get to a lake he had never fished in a state he had never visited.  They did so because he is the youngest person ever to win a major walleye tournament.  They cheered his honest and sincere approach to the competitive game.  They did it because he’s a nice guy.

 

That young man is Dylan Nussbaum, age 20. The Pennsylvania angler won $63,926.  He did it his way by discovering fish not many people knew even existed.  After a week in Devils Lake, North Dakota, he said, “I love Devils Lake.  I’d like to move there.  It’s now my favorite place to fish.  I learned quickly I could catch walleyes on every tactic.  Plus, there are so many fish.  It’s a beautiful place.”

 

During the days leading up to the tournament, Dylan fished rocky points and humps with bottom bouncers and Northland Butterfly blades.  The best blade color was yellow.  He searched for other rocky bottoms and while watching his Lowrance electronics, eased over some deep-water with rocks.  At 40 feet, he saw not only rocks, but many big fish lounging among them.

 

“I broke out the lead core cranking rods.  On my first pass, I knew this was the spot,” he said.  “I mostly used Sufix lead core to get my lures down.  The Rapala Down Deep Husky Jerks in sizes 10 and 12 and the Berkley Flicker Minnows with some yellow were best.  Half my lures had a special paint-job by Dutch Fork Custom Lures and half were factory colors.”

 

Tis NWT win was not a fluke.  Dylan has fished tournaments and experienced many lakes, reservoirs, rivers and Great Lakes during the past 10 years.  After High School, he enrolled and graduated from welding school.  He was employed at a welding and fabrication company.  He quit his job to pursue the big league walleye tournaments, but said, “This is a great company.  They asked me to come back to work after the summer tour ends.”  He already has seminars and sport shows booked and wants this win to be the catapult to a career in the fishing business.  “It’s my dream,” he said.

 

What’s interesting is that veteran tournament pro angler Jim Carroll, Minot, North Dakota, who has fished Devils lake often, found a very similar pattern.  The deep fish were new to him also.  He said, “I never caught such big walleyes so deep.”  Jim used an AquaVu HD underwater camera that allowed him to visually see the bottom and the fish.  He knew exactly what was down there because he was watching a 12-inch live TV picture being broadcast in real time on his Lowrance graph of everything on the lake bottom: rocks, fish, but no mermaids.

 

“It seemed like I was watching the bottom for 10 hours every day before the tournament.  What I saw was hundreds of walleyes.  I learned how they related to rocky areas and how to trigger them to bite.”  He split time with Rapala Jigging Raps and trolling with lead core.  The number 9 Jigging Raps were best.

 

He said, “It was simple.  I hovered over them and vertically jigged.  On the first tournament day, I saw three large fish.  My partner dropped down, and a big walleye nailed the Rap immediately.  It was almost 25 inches.  The next one was about 10 pounds.  Never did catch the third one.”

 

His other tactic for walleyes holding in the 40-foot depths was lead core 200 to 225 feet behind the boat with a 12-foot leader of 14-pound FireLine.  This produced the remainder of his five-fish limit on day one.  The lure of choice was a Berkley Bad Shad trolled at 2.2 mph, with occasional bursts of speed.

 

“Yeah, I would have liked to win, but third place was OK.  I really like that Dylan at such a young age took home the winner’s trophy.  We need more young guys like him on tour.

 

I know I will be on Devils Lake soon, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him pull up alongside me one day,” Jim said.  Full details about NWT can be found at nationalwalleyetour.com.

 

Devilslakend.com includes details about Devils Lake motels and resorts, guide services, fish cleaning stations, water levels, ramps, public fishing piers, fishing reports for walleye, pike, perch and white bass, community activities and upcoming events, dining, casino and much more.  Or call the Tourism office, 701-662-4903.  Devils Lake is open year-round for some of the best fishing in the United States.

 

(Picture provided by the National Walleye Tour.)

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42nd Annual Chamber Walleye tournament – day 2 results

Posted: June 23, 2018

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Weigh in starts at 3:00 today. We will be streaming the weigh in live.

Day 2 results here.

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42nd Annual Chamber Walleye Tournament – Day 1 Results

Posted: June 22, 2018

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Weigh in starts at 3:00 pm today.

 

Click here to view the day 1 results (we will periodically update).

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Devils Lake ‘Nicest Fat, Healthy Walleyes’ Biting Now

Posted: June 12, 2018

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Devils Lake Up-to-the-Minute Fishing News – When asked about the fishing, Devils Lake, ND guide Aaron McQuoid said, “Right now, my clients are catching some of the nicest fat, healthy walleyes in the 22 to 29 inch range I’ve seen.  Many are landing their personal bests.”

He also said numbers of 15 to 20 inch walleyes are being caught, mostly in the three to 10 foot depths.  This bodes well for the Chamber of Commerce Walleye Tournament
set for June 22-23.  Some openings still exist.  Tournament host, local fishing guide, pro angler, fishing educator and world walleye champion Johnny Candle said, “Anglers love that they can catch walleyes jigging, trolling, casting crankbaits, slip-bobbering, rigging, bottom-bouncing and any other way they like to fish, shallow to deep.”

The winning team is guaranteed $6,500.  More than 48 Chamber businesses participate which brings the total purse to a cash payout of 118 percent in addition to the extra big fish prizes, and other awards.  Scheels recently announced that they added $1,000 cash to the payout.  They also added $1,000 in gift certificates, and is giving a gift to each participant at the rules meeting. Airwave pedestal seat bases will also be awarded.

Last year’s winner Scott VanOverbeke won by slip-bobbering a 25-foot hump in the main lake.  He and his partner Sam Thomas, also from the Marshal, MN area, will try what worked, but knows from years on the lake that he won’t put all his eggs in one basket.  “What I’ve found on Devils Lake is that it doesn’t matter your favorite technique, you can catch fish every day doing what you love to do on this system,” he said.

He also added, “The Chamber tournament offers not only great fishing but it’s unlike any other tournament.  People actually talk with you.  There is a great camaraderie among the contestants.  Of course, it helps that they run a safe and fair event, with the anglers the winners because of the way the Chamber takes care of us.”

McQuoid (mcquoidguides.com or 701-351-6058) said the lake is down two feet from last year and six feet down since 2011.  He also said, “Slowly jig the bobber back to the boat on non-windy days.  In the wind, Lindy rigs with a short leader and leeches are very effective in back bays and near cattails.  It looks to be another great year on Devils Lake.”

Daily prizes for biggest walleyes, pike, white bass and perch include mounts of the largest walleye and pike by Pooh’s Taxidermy.  The optional northern pike tournament on day two keeps things interesting.  Teams out of the walleye hunt can enter the 100-percent cash payback pike shoot-out.

A special youth event sponsored by the NPAA and Deutz Fishing occurs after the final day weigh-in at Graham’s Island State Park.  The first 50 youngsters receive rods and reels.

Teams are encouraged to enter the June 22-23 Chamber walleye tournament at devilslakend.com. This website also includes details about Devils Lake motels and resorts, fish cleaning stations, water levels, ramps, public fishing piers, fishing reports for walleye, pike, perch and white bass, community activities, guides, dining, casino and much more.  Or call the Tourism office, 701-662-4903.  All teams will have their boats inspected for aquatic invasive species at Newby’s Ace Hardware prior to pre-fishing.  Hours are 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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Devils Lake Walleye and Pike Action Going from Warm to Hot!

Posted: June 4, 2018

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Anglers on Devils Lake don’t miss a beat.  With fishing seasons open continuously, they ice fish until the ice retreats.  As soon as the ice pulls away, they fish the strip of open water along miles and miles of shoreline.  Now, exploring all corners of the expansive 180,000 acre North Dakota lake in boats, they are enjoying a bonanza of walleyes and pike.

“There’s always something going on, and right now it’s a fun-time for people who want to catch fish,” said guide Mark Bry (701-739-0161).  “It’s pike on every cast in many places.  Both pike and walleyes are shallow.  The walleyes are averaging 19 to 20 inches, and we cannot catch any under 18 inches.”

Bry and his guides seek the warmest water in the backs of bays or current areas under bridges.  They are casting crankbaits or jigs with plastic tails and plopping bobbers with leeches into the two to five foot shallows.  Bry had some fly fishermen chasing pike recently, and said that sport seems to be more and more popular.  “The fishing is really good now, but Memorial week and early June will be fantastic,” he said.  “The lake is shaping up for a tremendous bite during the Chamber tournament.”

Guide Dan Bonham (701-371-5969) said, “Memorial Day is usually the beginning of the big push for lots of fish.  But, the walleyes have been actively biting with some really nice fish in the 26 and 27 inch range as soon as we could launch boats.”  He is targeting fish in the three to four foot depths while casting jigs and plastic, but some clients prefer to watch bobbers, which he matches with tiny jigs and leeches.

With the great ice fishing and no let-up in walleye action so far this season, Bonham said, “I look for the end of May and all of June to be as good as always, maybe even better this year.  I predict another good bite during the Chamber tournament, with shallow fish caught casting and on bobbers.  Pulling spinners will work for deeper walleyes.”

The 2018 Chamber walleye tournament is June 22-23.  Tournament host and local fishing guide, pro angler, fishing educator and world walleye champion Johnnie Candle said, “Anglers love that they can catch walleyes jigging, trolling, casting crankbaits, slip-bobbering, rigging, bottom-bouncing and any other way they like to fish, shallow to deep.”  The winning team is guaranteed $6,500.  More than 35 Chamber members participate which brings in even more prize payouts to the anglers.

Daily prizes for biggest walleyes, pike, white bass and perch include mounts of the largest walleye and pike by Pooh’s Taxidermy.  The optional northern pike tournament on day two keeps things interesting.  Teams out of the walleye hunt can enter the 100-percent cash payback pike shoot-out.  A special youth event sponsored by the NPAA and Deutz Fishing occurs after the final day weigh-in at Graham’s Island State Park.  The first 50 youngsters receive rods and reels.

Enter the June 22-23 Chamber walleye tournament at devilslakend.com.  This website also includes details about Devils Lake motels and resorts, fish cleaning stations, water levels, ramps, public fishing piers, fishing reports for walleye, pike, perch and white bass, community activities, guides, dining, casino and much more.  Or call the Tourism office, 701-662-4903.

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Devils Lake Shore Fishing Action about to Kick into Gear

Posted: April 24, 2018

Rick

After one of the longest Devils Lake ice fishing seasons ever, anglers are preparing for the next big season on this popular North Dakota lake.  Fishing seasons are open year-round.  That means once the ice gear is stored, the period before Devils Lake is ice-free is dedicated to catching fish from shore.

There are almost an unlimited number of places to fish from shore.  In addition to three new ADA-compliant fishing piers and many bridges and culverts, there are 26 miles of shorelines where the public may fish.  As the ice pulls away from shorelines, entire families pursue walleyes and northern pike.

Imagine a round lake with 26 miles of shoreline with fishermen casting from any spot and catching walleyes and pike.  By comparison, if that was a lake in the Land of 10,000 lakes, it would rank among the 10 largest Minnesota lakes.  Or, another way to look at these amazing opportunities, imagine if anglers were able to fish along the entire Boston Marathon course.  Many of the shorelines consist of rock rip-rap to protect the roadways.

Area fisheries manager Todd Caspers said, “Pike fishing can be great during the spawn, and once they’ve recovered and start feeding aggressively, pike fishing remains good until aquatic vegetation makes shore fishing difficult.”  He offered some of the “hot-spots,” as anywhere the lake touches Highway 19 and both sides of the road to Graham’s Island state park.  “Walleyes can be caught in the same area, but as the season moves along, most anglers concentrate near bridges,” he said.

In the 2017 fish population surveys, Caspers said, “Northern pike numbers were above average.  There were twice as many 28 to 34 inch pike in nets compared to the long-term average.”  He encourages anglers to harvest limits (5 daily and 10 in possession).  Videos on the Devils Lake website describe fillet techniques at devilslakend.com.

Guide and World Walleye Champion Johnnie Candle said, “I am shocked at how many people spend thousands to cross into Canada, jump in a float plane and not catch as many pike on purpose as I catch by accident on Devils Lake.”  TV host and guide Jason Mitchell said trophies over 40-inches are caught each season.  He recommends these monsters be released to fight another day, and keep the three to 10 pounders for the table.

The three ADA-compliant fishing piers are located at excellent “catching” locations.  Directions to the piers from downtown follow:

Channel A:  Drive 8 miles west on Highway 2.  Turn right (north) on 75th Ave NE for one mile.  At 54th St. NE, turn right (east) for about two miles to the 8 x 36 foot pier.  Water flows into the main lake from the upper lakes via this channel.  There is not a large amount of snow in the watershed this year, so inflows will not be large, but Channel A is traditionally a good area.

East Ditch Rec Area:  Just east of Walmart, turn south on Elks Dr. for one-quarter mile.  Take the first left towards the pump station and dike, and drive to the 8 x 40 foot pier.  Now fully functional.  Also has a playground.

Henegar Landing:  Drive one mile west on Highway 19.  Turn left on Walleye Dr. for one mile to the 8 x 40 foot pier.

The fishing piers were built to withstand decades of constant use and the vagaries of Mother Nature with marine-grade aluminum and galvanized steel.

Favorite shoreline angling pike tactics include floating Rapalas, spoons, jigs with plastic paddle tails or smelt or dead bait below bobbers or on bottom.  Walleye anglers prefer jigs and plastic, small crankbaits, leeches or small minnows below bobbers.

For more information about shore fishing and walleye, pike, perch and white bass reports, go to devilslakend.com.  This website also includes details about the June 22-23 Chamber walleye tournament, Devils Lake motels and resorts, fish cleaning stations, water levels, ramps, public fishing piers, community activities, guides, dining, casino and much more.  Or call the Tourism office, 701-662-4903.

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Devils Lake Chamber Tournament Has Become Much More than Catching Walleyes by the Dozen

Posted: February 9, 2018

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Devils Lake, ND – In Devils Lake, North Dakota, it seems most parties revolve around fishing.  The Chamber of Commerce Walleye tournament has four decades of “parties” behind it, and each year, now number 42, seems to become bigger and better.  Chamber members treat anglers as friends and neighbors.  That’s why the fishing guys and gals keep pouring into Devils Lake 12 months of the year for some of the best walleye, pike, perch and white bass fishing in North America.

The 2018 Chamber walleye tournament is a two-day affair, June 22-23.  Tournament host and local fishing guide, pro angler, fishing educator and world walleye champion Johnnie Candle said, “Besides all the homecoming fun with friends, the prizes ($6,500 is guaranteed to the winning team) totaled more than $61,000 in 2017, and will be similar this year.  Anglers love that they can catch walleyes jigging, trolling, casting crankbaits, slip-bobbering, rigging, bottom-bouncing and any other way they like to fish, shallow to deep.”  He urged anglers to experiment this season with jigs and plastic, and said, “I love throwing jigs with plastic trailers.”

With a cap of 125 teams, he urged interested teams to enter right away.  The Early Bird entry date is March 31, and of all teams entered by then, five will win back their entry fee of $275 per team.

Sons and daughters start early, many fishing with parents or grandparents.  Mixed-couples compete.  One couple fishing is Dave and Rendy Randash from Fargo.  Dave said, “The Chamber tournament is well-run, and even though competitive, has no pressure.  I expect it to fill this year and would like to see even more couples competing.” The Randash duo fishes bouncers and slip-bobbers mostly, but also casts Northland Mimic Minnows.

The Chamber tournament features daily big fish prizes for walleyes, pike, white bass and perch, plus Pooh’s Taxidermy will mount the largest walleye and pike.  More than 35 Chamber members participate which adds prizes and cash to the pot.  There are also daily prizes for pike, perch and white bass.  The optional day two northern pike shoot-out keeps things interesting.  Teams out of the walleye hunt can enter the 100-percent cash payback pike shoot-out.  A special youth event sponsored by the NPAA and Deutz Fishing occurs after the final day weigh-in at Graham’s Island State Park.  The first 50 youngsters receive rods and reels.

For more information (and to enter) about the June 22-23 Chamber walleye tournament, go to devilslakend.com.  This website also includes details about Devils Lake motels and resorts, fish cleaning stations, water levels, ramps, public fishing piers, fishing reports for walleye, pike, perch and white bass, community activities, guides, dining, casino and much more.  Or call the Tourism office, 701-662-4903.

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Devils Lake Hot Ice Fishing is Happening Right Now!

Posted: February 8, 2018

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“It’s a great year so far,” said Perch Patrol founder Zippy Dahl about the Devils Lake fishing.  In early January with three swings from 30 degrees below zero to 30 above, the perch slowed slightly, but action picked up within a day.  “Perch are really going good now,” he said.

All his guides are busy.  They are on the main lake targeting perch in the 28 to 34 foot depths.  The Perch Patrol finds the fish and so far this season they are into big schools of eight to nine inch perch, but always with a mixed bag that includes a number of 10 to 13 inchers.  “We’ve had a couple of 14 and 15 inch perch.  A 15-inch perch equates to two pounds on the scale,” he said.

Zippy said, “The Tungsten jig craze has hit us hard, and that’s what we’re using mostly right now.”  His crew has found the Chartreuse with orange and plain gold Tungsten jigs best when adorned with two wax worms.  His clients come for perch, and when they have their 40 perch possession limit in the freezer, they chase walleyes.  “But, almost everybody wants perch, perch, perch!” he said.

Reporting on the walleye action, Tanner Cherney with Devils Lake Tourism said, “Walleye fishing’s been good, with the majority 14 to 17 inches, with some 20’s in the mix, but a 9 ½ pounder was caught in Creel Bay last week.”   He said if the 10-inch year class walleyes are biting, the chance of a 20 inch walleye being with that school is rare. As is usual on Devils Lake, the first hour of daylight and the final hour of twilight are best times to target walleyes.

Tanner prefers Northland Buck Shot rattle spoons tipped with minnow heads.  “You can never go wrong with this presentation,” he said.  Keep changing colors.  He feels for Devils Lake, the top spoon colors are orange, red, pink and gold. When fishing in a shelter, he hangs a live minnow on a dead rod.  “The spoon attracts them, and they often hit the minnow when they see it,” he said.

For perch Tanner knows the Devils Lake rule:  Drill and keep drilling.  “Perch cruise the entire main lake basin, which is 25 to 40 feet in most spots.  They are usually within 12 inches of the bottom.”  He downsizes to the 1/16th ounce Buck Shot spoon with a wax worm.  Or, this year, the smaller gold Tungsten jigs with a couple maggots (called spikes in some areas) are producing.  “With quite a few 10 to 13 inch perch being caught, people are headed to Devils Lake from all over,” he said.

The main lake has 14 to 20 inches of ice and Lake Irving and the northern lakes and most bays have 20 inches or more of ice.  Travel with four-wheel drive vehicles is relatively easy.  “Avoid the three to four foot snow drifts; follow other truck tracks; keep exploring,” he said.

Woodland Resort has plowed roads to many of the general fishing areas, and maintains an access for those towing permanent wheeled fish houses to drive onto the lake.  The Devils Lake Access Committee (city, county, tourism and other funding) keeps public ramps open at East Bay, Lakewood, Henegar, Six Mile Bay and where the gravel road behind Pop’s Bar dead-ends in the lake.  The public heated fish-cleaning station is open, as are indoor cleaning stations at several resorts and motels.

For more information about Devils Lake guide services, ice conditions, motels, resorts, fish cleaning stations, fishing reports for walleye, pike, perch and white bass, community activities, tournament opportunities, dining, casino, pike fillet tactics and much more, go to devilslakend.com, or call the Tourism office, 701-662-4903.

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ShiverFest 2018

Posted:

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ShiverFest kicks off February 10th with the ND Corn Hole and ND Pond Hockey Tournaments. More events take place during the week, and then the weekend of February 17th has even more activities! An outdoor celebration with a youth ice fishing tournament, live music, sleigh rides, vendor shows, 5K run, sledding, cross country skiing, fireworks and so much more.

It has grown over the years, and In 2018, Devils Lake is celebrating the 18th annual event. Click on the link to find out more about the event here. This link will also take you to more details on specific events.

Download the schedule of events page here – remember to check back periodically for updates, including weather updates.

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