17 2013 »

Devils Lake 12-inch Perch at Record Levels!

Mark Bry with a Devils Lake Perch

Since surveys began, North Dakota fisheries biologists show Devils Lake populations of large perch at record levels.  Biologist Todd Caspers said, “Since our surveys began in 1992, we now have a record level of 12-inch and larger perch in the system, with most of those being right at a foot long or slightly bigger.”

Local angler Al Freidig fishes Devils Lake several times each week.  “This summer has been very good for perch; it should only get better this fall with cooling temperatures and it will be a bountiful winter,” he said.  Caspers echoed that sentiment, “Few people fish for perch in the fall, but those who do should do well.  I expect ice fishermen will have good luck with perch in a few months.”

To put the “record level” in perspective, Caspers said, “The numbers of 12-inch plus perch that we encountered in our survey this year are at the highest level that we have documented since our surveys began in 1992.”  The actual numbers show the current level of 12-inch plus perch to be three times the average – 2.5 per net compared to the long-time average of .75 per net.

Right behind the 12-inch perch is another important statistic: 10 to 12 inchers are about as abundant as normal right now.  Caspers said, “Surveys are designed to give us information about the relative sizes of fish populations and make reasonable comparisons.  Perch are doing pretty well right now.”

Freidig offered some tips for anglers, starting with where to go right now.  “The north end of Six Mile Bay in 14 to 30 feet of water has been my favorite spot for the past two years – all summer and fall,” he said.  Spinners with half a crawler or a 3-inch Gulp night crawler at 1.1 to 1.3 mph works best for Freidig.  He also pulls jointed Shad Raps and Salmo Hornets at 2.1 to 2.4 mph.

Devils Lake fisherman Clint Devier is a student of perch, and said, “I have always found that if there’s a good late summer and fall bite, it carries over into winter.  That’s what’s happening right now.”  He concentrates his perching in Six Mile bay, Black Tiger bay, near the Casino and in East Devils Lake.

His likes flooded trees with slip-bobbers and ice fishing tactics, but he doesn’t like losing so much tackle when big perch wrap him around branches.  “I really like the old shorelines in 24 to 28 feet of water, because it’s rocky and sandy, and perch live there,” he said.  “Best tactic is a bouncer and spinner with half a crawler.  The top hook goes in the nose, and the bottom hook must come out the back of the crawler.”

Devier has tested every spinner on the market and said, “The blade that outfishes them all is the Northland Baitfish harness with a rainbow blade.”  His next two favorite colors are gold and firetiger.  He continued, “This summer, we’ve been catching the nice 12 to 13 inchers, some just a bit smaller and then bunches of 8 and 9 inch fish.  Here, we’re kinda spoiled and keep only what we can eat of the solid football-sized perch.”   He added, “All the walleyes guys and duck hunters who get in some fall fishing should give open-water perch a try.  If they can’t, come back this winter.  It’ll be like the good old days.”

A map of the nine convenient public concrete ramps is featured on devilslakend.com.  One of the most modern fish-cleaning stations in the country is located south of Ed’s Bait Shop on Hwy 20 (south of the City of Devils Lake).  The 20 x 32 station is free-of-charge to anglers, and features two grinders, a clean-up sink, regular and handicapped bathrooms.  It can handle 15 anglers at once, and is open 12 months of the year, as is the Devils Lake fishing season.

Devils Lake fishing guides target perch, walleyes, white bass and pike.  To contact guides and for the latest lake conditions, fishing reports, lodging, activities, restaurants, tournament news and resorts, check www.devilslakend.com, or call 701-662-4903.

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