Devils Lake 2018 Winter Ice Fishing Update
Hot Ice Fishing is Happening Right Now in Devils Lake!
“It’s a great year so far,” said Perch Patrol founder Zippy Dahl about the Devils Lake fishing. In early January, with three temperature 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 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 9-1/2 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 1/16 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 fishing guide services, ice conditions, motels and 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 at 701-662-4903.