Devils Lake Fishing Forecast
by Randy Hiltner, district fisheries supervisor, and Todd Caspers, fisheries biologist, both Devils Lake
Devils Lake – Walleye population continues to do well. Reproduction in recent years has generally been good and there are many fish that are less than 18 inches long. The number of walleye that are 15 to 20 inches is above the long-term average. The number of walleye longer than 20 inches is lower than that of smaller fish, but these larger fish are right around their long-term average. The number of larger walleye would likely be better, but weak hatches produced from 2003-05 are likely contributing to their lower abundances.
Stump Lake – Walleye population is doing well. There are a variety of sizes available, with good numbers of fish from 15 to 20 inches. Larger fish seem to be showing up more frequently, as the population continues to mature.
Lake Irvine – Boat access conditions currently poor, as the makeshift boat launch site a few miles north of Churchs Ferry is essentially unusable due to lower water levels. Walleye population is doing very well. Fish are abundant, with many sizes available. Most are between 14-20 inches, but larger walleye are present in good numbers.
Devils Lake – Northern pike will continue to provide excellent angler opportunities in 2017. Pike are doing very well and continue to reproduce naturally. Pike are abundant and found throughout the lake, particularly in shallower areas. Most of the pike are between 20-28 inches, but trophy-sized pike are present. Pike are underutilized in Devils Lake, so anglers should not be shy about keeping their limit.
Stump Lake – Pike numbers have decreased over the past few years and are below average, but they are still relatively abundant in Stump Lake. Most of the pike are medium-sized, but there are larger fish present.
Lake Irvine – Pike are very abundant. Most are medium-sized, but there are some larger fish. Pike in Lake Irvine are underutilized, so anglers should not be shy about keeping their limit. In fact, the pike seem to be too abundant for their own good, as their body condition has declined, so keeping pike from this lake would actually be beneficial for the population as it may help reduce competition for food.
Devils Lake – The number of catchable-sized yellow perch is lower than last year. The number of perch from 8 to 10 inches is a bit above the long-term average, while other sizes of perch are below the long-term average.
Stump Lake – The number of yellow perch has been good, but their numbers appear to be lower this year. There should still be perch fishing opportunities in 2017, as the number of 8- to 10-inch fish is still a bit above average, but the other sizes are below average.
Lake Irvine – The number of yellow perch in Lake Irvine is low, but the few perch in the lake tend to be larger.
Devils Lake – White bass numbers have increased recently. However, most are from the strong hatch in 2015, so they are still relatively small. Most will probably be 8-11 inches in 2017-18. All of the other size-classes of white bass are significantly below their long-term average due to weak reproduction from 2010 to 2014.
Stump Lake – The white bass numbers in Stump remain low.
Lake Irvine – White bass numbers in Lake Irvine are low, but fish are good-sized. Fish populations in Lake Alice are similar to those in Lake Irvine. •