Archive of News

March2019

The Good Old Days are Back

Posted: March 21, 2019

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March 21, 2019: “This spring will be a throwback to the good old days,” said angling educator, world walleye champion and Devils Lake guide Johnnie Candle.  He was speaking of the extensive snow pack and anticipates a large influx of water for the first time in nearly four years.

He said, “What makes it so exciting is that fishing Devils Lake is really like fishing a new lake every year.”  Rising water allows walleyes to move into and over newly flooded vegetation in early season and immediately after spawning where they feed heavily in the warmer water.  Over the past several years the lake dropped about five feet according to Candle, and he realistically expects a two foot rise this spring.

The northwest corner of this sprawling North Dakota lake had been the place for walleye anglers to go until the lower water forced them to search elsewhere.  “This year, I feel this popular section of the lake will be a favorite once again,” he said.

Mark Bry with 20 years Devils Lake guiding and a stable of 8 to 10 guides plus lodging for up to 40 anglers, also thinks the lake could come up a couple feet.  “I hope it will because it gives us more places to fish,” he said.  Following a busy winter with some great perch, walleye and pike bites, he said, “This will be one of the better spring bites.”

He looks for any current areas early, fishing right in the current, gradually expanding his search to the shallow back-water bays.  Covering water is critical, and he primarily casts quarter ounce jigs with 3-inch white or pink plastic grubs.  “The key is to listen to the fish.  They will tell you exactly the retrieve motion and cadence they prefer,” Bry said.  Another option is slip-bobbers in the shallow bays.

His guide service kicks into high gear about May 10.  “Our guides like to be in boats when the lake is ready,” he said.  That means the fish will be stacked in the back bays ready to thrill visitors.  “We have openings for fishermen who want an affordable trip that’s easy to get to and is a home away from home.  Check out our website, brysguideservice.com.”

For those already thinking ahead to next winter, Bry said this past snowy season produced a lot of 9 to 11 inch perch, plus some larger specimens.  By next ice season they will grow substantially.

Bry expects open water by late April, and he has his fingers crossed with that prediction.  Candle put his prognosticator nose on early May.  He doubled down with Bry’s tackle selection, saying, “You don’t need the giant tackle box here.  Just bring some quarter ounce jigs and your favorite white plastic tails.”

Since spring and cold water sometimes create fussy walleyes, Candle always has several rods rigged with slip-bobbers.  “When they follow but don’t hit, hang a tasty leech below a slip.  Cast it against cattails or even open water.  They can’t resist.”  As the water warms, he moves to Flicker Shads and Rapala Shad Raps.  Depth dictates which models, but covering water is the key.

IMG_2563_webCandle MCs the annual Chamber of Commerce Walleye Tournament, this year scheduled for June 21-23, and said with higher water anglers could be back in their traditional haunts (NW corner of the lake).  East Bay produced winners the past several years, but anglers will be spread out this season.  Entries are now being accepted for this popular event.

“When shoreline vegetation was first flooded, it was a heyday.  We will have that back all summer,” he said.  From spring when open water first appears well into the summer, rising water floats all boats and all hopes.

The Devilslakend.com website is loaded with details about guide services catering to outdoorsmen and women, fish cleaning stations, ice/water conditions, fishing reports, tournaments, the area’s motels and resorts, businesses, community activities, upcoming events, dining, casino, and much more.  The site is updated daily.  Talk to a Devils Lake Tourism or Chamber representative at 701-662-4903.

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Ice Angler’s Bucket List – Late Ice on Devils Lake

Posted: February 25, 2019

Cody Roswick with a nice Devils Lake jumbo perch

DEVILS LAKE, N.D. – February 25, 2019 – “It’s the best big-fish, fun-time of the year,” said Woodland Resort owner Kyle Blanchfield about Devils Lake late ice fishing action. With some of the most brutal storms, snow and cold “in a generation” (-35 on many days) according to local North Dakota weather forecasters, anglers are looking forward to better days ahead.

Devils Lake is a natural lake that has grown from about 40,000 acres to nearly 160,000 acres in the past three decades.  Devils Lake offers a year-round open fishing season for perch, walleyes, northern pike and white bass.

Guide Cody Roswick, owner of Fin Hunters Guide Service (finhunter.com or 701-840-5407) will be on ice as long as it’s safe.  Weather stabilizes with longer, warmer days and fish become more active.  His normal routine is perch mostly, followed by walleyes in the evening.  This winter’s perch action has been consistent with 20 to 50 a day; some catches have been 100-plus per day.

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Blanchfield’s personal best trophies have all come during late ice season.  “Being more mobile and hole-hopping in nice temperatures is more fun,” he said, “Plus the perch put on the crazy feedbag.”  February storms forced the Perch Patrol 10-man guide service operating from his resort to use tracked vehicles to move anglers in portables.  The resort also has 44 permanent houses.  He will offer special angler lodging packages in late March (woodlandresort.com or 701-662-5996).

Group guided by the Perch Patrol

Roswick’s formula for success deals with “perch personality.”  They move constantly, and he uses jigs or spoons to quickly drop back down after catching a fish.  “This keeps ‘em excited and biting,” he said.  His tools are 1/16 ounce Northland Forage Minnows or Buck Shot rattle spoons.  He tips spoons with a minnow head, wax worms or perch eyes, with best colors being glow chub and orange and white.  He also uses Northland Fireball tungsten jigs in 1/16 ounce size, tipped with bait.  “Don’t forget pike!” Roswick said.  He also guides tip-up and spearing trips for the lake’s abundant toothy-critters.

Jason Feldner’s 7-man Perch Eyes guide service (percheyes.com or 701-351-1294) loves late Devils Lake ice.  Feldner said, “With the icepack, we should be fishing well into April.”  He concentrates his efforts on current areas saying, “Find current…find fish.”

As the season progresses, the main basin remains key, but fish begin to move with longer days.  When current is present, and this year he expects good run-off, the perch and walleyes gravitate “upstream.”  He feels Six Mile Bay will be especially good. For perch, gold-colored tungsten jigs are his best weapon.  Tipped with spikes/maggots, he holds his lure about 3 to 4 feet above bottom.  “It’s easier for fish to see it.  Perch are bottom-huggers, but they will rise to eat.  If not, drop down,” he said.

When searching, he uses an attractor spoon like the Lindy Rattlin’ Flyer (wide profile) or the new Lindy Glow Spoon (pink and white has been best so far).  Baited with a minnow head or spikes, he uses the spoon to bring them in then switches to tungsten jigs.  “It’s great when they’re hitting the spoons,” he said.

When current is noticeable, he fishes walleyes in 4 to 10 foot shoreline areas early and late in the day.  If close to the current (safety first!!) walleyes could be active all day.  A favorite of late ice clients is the fast pike action.  “With 4-lines, we plant three tip-ups and also jump around with a jig rod (spoon baited with a minnow). Pike are fun and great eating,” he said.

Devilslakend.com website is loaded with details about tournaments, the area’s motels and resorts, guide services (they cater to outdoorsmen and women), fish cleaning stations, ice/water conditions, fishing reports, community activities, upcoming events, dining, casino and much more.  Talk to a Devils Lake Tourism representative at 701-662-4903.

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Devils Lake Walleye Tournament Number 43 set for June 21-23

Posted: February 21, 2019

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DEVILS LAKE, N.D. – February 21, 2019 – Anglers are already making plans for the 43rd Annual Devils Lake Walleye Tournament.

This North Dakota community knows how to throw a fishing party.  Dates are June 21-23, 2019.  Many teams return to what they call a “homecoming.”  Some have fished almost since the beginning.

What was happening 43 years ago?  Gas was 59 cents a gallon.  The Apple Computer Company was formed.  The VHS cassette recorder was introduced.  The average cost of a new home was $43,000; the annual average income was $16,000.  Popular TV shows were the Six Million Dollar Man, Kojak, All in the Family and MASH.  Top movies were One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, All the President’s Men and The Outlaw Josie Wales.

Back to 2019 – the walleye tournament offers a $6,500 guaranteed first place, along with two Airwave Pedestals.  Five teams entering by March 31 will be in a drawing to have their entry fees paid.  If the 125-two-person field is filled by June 14, the Chamber and Tourism Bureau will add an extra $1,500 to the well-run tournament purse.

Even though this is a walleye tournament, the directors have always made it for everyone.

The largest daily walleye pays $500 from Proz End of the Line and Lakeside; largest pike pays $250 daily from NDTC and Horizon Financial Bank; the largest white bass daily pays $250 from Blue Sky Realty and LaMotte’s Paint & Glass; biggest perch is worth $100 daily from Blake’s Marine and Nikolaisen Land Company.  Pooh’s Taxidermy will mount the overall largest walleye and northern pike.

The highest placing mixed couple teams win $250 courtesy of State Farm insurance – Kevin Vistad; the biggest one-day (Klemetsrud’s Plumbing & Heating) weight is worth $250; the Hot Seat giveaway is worth $400 from Slumberland Furniture; Blake’s Marine power-up award is $400; Real Estate 7 awards 7th place $100; Lake Region state college honors 43rd place with a scholarship and nice swag.

Additional payout money has been provided by Devils Lake Tourism, Scheels, Ottertail Power, Holiday Inn Express, Newby’s Ace Hardware, Lake Liquor, BeMobile, Radio Works, Ramsey Bank, Old Main Street Café, and Gerrells Sports Center.

The Day Two Pike Optional Shootout at $50 per team pays first place 50 percent of all entries for three pike; 35 percent for second; and 15 percent for third.  A tournament lunch is provided by Leevers Food, Flatlanders, Farmers Union Oil, Schwan’s Wholesale and Walmart.  Many additional prizes are up for grabs.  Tournament entry fee is $275 per team.  Tournament headquarters is at Grahams Island State Park.  Pro Angler, Educator and Guide Johnnie Candle is tournament emcee.

For more information on the tournament, call the Devils Lake Chamber of Commerce at 701.662.4903. You can also download the application at tourism.devilslakend.com.

The devilslakend.com website is loaded with details about the tournament, the area’s motels and resorts, guide services, fish cleaning stations, ice/water conditions, fishing reports, community activities, upcoming events, dining, casino and much more.  Talk to a Devils Lake Tourism representative at 701-662-4903.

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Winter Plowing Map

Posted: February 20, 2019

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February 20, 2019 – This is a rough draft of where the plow made access points on Devils Lake. PLEASE BE CONSIDERATE and DO NOT fish on the trail system. The trail is provided to help gain access onto the lake. Please park as far to the side as possible (or off the trail if you can) to allow vehicles to pass, then walk to the area you would like to fish.

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ShiverFest 2019 UPDATE on Events

Posted: February 14, 2019

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We’ve made a couple of changes to the line up for ShiverFest this year. All the details for the weekend you can find right here!

Friday

All Day…. Frosty Quilt Show…. Downtown Devils Lake

Saturday

All Day… Mite Jamboree Hockey Tournament… Burdick Arena & Bill Jerome Arena
All Day… Frosty Quilt Show…. Downtown Devils Lake
All Day… Sledding (bring your own sled)…. Creel Bay Golf Course
9 am – 5 pm… Gun Show…. Memorial Building
9 am – 5 pm… Cross Country Skiing…. Creel Bay Golf Course
10 am – 4 pm… Winter Wonderland Vendor Show…. Creel Bay Golf Course
10 am – 4 pm… Relay for Life Food Fundraiser…. Creel Bay Golf Course
10 am – 5 pm… Team on Team/World Cup Rules/8 End Games…. Lake Region Curling Club
11 am… Frozen Fanny 5K…. Creel Bay Golf Course
12:30 pm… SnowGa…. Creel Bay Golf Course
5 pm – 9 pm… Steak Fry Fundraiser, Optimist Club…. Proz End of Line

Sunday

All Day… Sledding (bring your own sled)…. Creel Bay Golf Course
8 am – 2 pm… Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser, Fishing Has No Boundries…. KC Hall
9 am – 5 pm… Cross Country Skiing…. Creel Bay Golf Course
9 am – 3:30 pm… Gun Show…. Memorial Building

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Devils Lake vs Lake of the Woods – the First Annual Walleye War

Posted: December 11, 2018

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Two of the most popular ice fishing destinations in North America – Devils Lake, North Dakota, and Lake of the Woods on Minnesota’s northern border – are about to go head-to-head.  The contest slated for Jan. 3, 2019, will be carried live on Facebook.

Each area’s tourism spokesmen will be competing on their respective ice, with walleyes the main target.  Representing Devils Lake is Tanner Cherney.  In the Lake of the Woods corner is Joe Henry.  Fishing happens to be in each man’s blood.  So too is a love for their regions.

The two will air continuous Facebook reports with Lake of the Woods at the top of the hour and Devils Lake at the bottom of each hour, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.  In addition to fish-catching, Facebook fans will learn significantly more about each lake’s fishing tactics, where to go, what to do, how to schedule a trip, guide services, lodging, history, and much more.

The “fun” rivalry will produce a winner, but the real winners will be anglers with each destination on their Bucket Lists.  Learn from the two guys who know the intimate details about their lakes why almost every first-time visiting fisherman returns.

Cherney said, “Both destinations are great walleye fisheries.  This contest will help anglers understand the unique characteristics of each. I can’t wait to talk on Facebook with thousands of people while doing what I love to do.  This could be the first annual Walleye War.”

Henry added, “This celebration will benefit two of the best winter walleye lakes.  Both are great destinations, and while some might think our regions compete for business, our goal is to fill all the resorts on both lakes.  Ice fishing is part of our culture, and we will have fun showcasing the sport.”

Devils Lake is a natural lake that has grown from about 40,000 acres to nearly 180,000 acres in the past three decades.  The portion of Lake of the Woods in the US is the largest freshwater lake after the Great Lakes at 307,000 acres (US acres only).  It is also the self-proclaimed “Walleye Capital of the World.”  Devils Lake claims four major species:  perch, walleyes, northern pike and white bass.  Lake of the Woods also boasts of perch, walleyes, pike, but contains sauger, muskies, lake trout, smallmouth and largemouth bass, crappies and sturgeon.

Resorts and guide services in both communities cater to outdoorsmen and women.  In North Dakota 25 percent of out-of-state fishing licenses are sold in Devils Lake.  At Lake of the Woods, ice fishing outpaces open-water fishing in numbers of participants and popularity.  Devils Lake offers a year-round open fishing season.  At Lake of the Woods, the season is much longer than the rest of Minnesota.

Devilslakend.com and lakeofthewoodsmn.com are the two websites loaded with details about each area’s motels and resorts, guide services, fish cleaning stations, ice conditions and trails, fishing reports, community activities, upcoming events, dining, casino and much more.  Talk to a Devils Lake Tourism representative at 701-662-4903.  For Lake of the Woods tourism, call 800-382-3474.

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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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