This last week saw the best bite in years for most anglers fishing the Devils Lake system. Smiling faces were the norm for anglers and fish photo’s abounded on social media. Excellent catches of eater walleyes with larger walleyes being released have been common. Personally it may be the best bite I have seen in the last five years of guiding here.
Main lake structure has begun to come alive with hungry eyes. As our weed beds begin to die out, humps, ridges, break lines, sunken islands, flooded roadbeds, bridges and submerged railroad road beds have seen increased activity of walleyes and pike roaming these pieces of structure. While weed lines are still producing to a degree, our thick beds of curly leaf pondweed are now turning brown having reached maturity. As these weeds decompose, they give off carbon dioxide instead of oxygen causing forage and predator fish to vacate the premises. Fishing outside the weed lines and on structure has now dramatically improved for knowledgeable anglers. Finding good beds of live coontail and native milfoil will continue to yield walleyes as these weeds do take longer to mature.
Bottom bouncers and spinners continue to be the preferred presentation, although trolling crankbaits with leadcore or braid has taken good fish also. Casting is taking some shallow fish especially on windy days. Ask any 10 of our experienced guides what their favorite spinner color is and you may get 9 different answers. The same as too what bait to use, crawlers, leeches or with very active fish plastics such as Gulp. My personal preference would be night crawlers right now. Ask the same question regarding favorite crankbaits and the answers will vary also. A good start would be Shad Raps, Salmos, Flicker Shads. Whatever crankbaits you are using, MAKE SURE they are properly tuned and you will catch fish with them.
Devils Lake is approximately 60 miles in winding length with many bays and islands. Now encompassing roughly 220,00 acres it is a varied and diverse fishery. Navigation can be hazardous. Up to date navigation chips are a must. Even then extreme caution must be exercised for safe travel. Especially for newcomers to this renowned fishery. A serious word of advice, navigating Devils Lake is no place for impaired operation of a boat. Do your drinking on shore.
Launches are limited due to water levels varying. The Pelican access is closed. Picking an access closest to where you fish is recommended. A calm morning may be replaced by strong pm winds. This can make long distance return travel hazardous. In conclusion, my advice to you is the same as I give my clients each day. 1. Safety first. 2. Make your recreational fishing fun. 3. Improve your angling skills by learning from each days fishing. 4. Catch fish! Catch lots of fish! Catching fish is much more fun that not catching fish. In our future Weekly Reports we will cover a variety of subjects pertinent to fishing Devils Lake.
Mitchells Guide Service