29 2018 »

Devils Lake Waterfowl & Fishing Seasons Going Great Guns


“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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