Devils Lake Fishing Predictions for 2018
by Johnnie Candle — Devils Lake Fishing Guide
Sitting in my office this past April sure wasn’t all that funny. The temperature was well below freezing and the forecast favored for more snow. The anticipation of spring will just had to wait a little while longer. However, it did allow me more time to ponder how the 2018 open water fishing season on Devils Lake would play out.
Winter was long and with much precipitation. Looking back on a few of the past winters that shared these conditions allows me to make a few predictions not just for spring but for the entire open water season.
Since there was not much run off this past spring, the big push of fish to the north and west most likely did not occur like past high runoff years. Pike and walleye love to follow current and without it, they will look for spawning areas, food, and comfort in other locations.
My searches begin in shallow, black bottomed bays on the north shore of Devils Lake. They warm quicker than surrounding areas and will be where the first shallow water action of the season begins.
Insects will emerge from the mud bottom attracting bait fish to those areas and pike, walleye and white bass follow to feed. Casting jigs tipped with your favorite plastic or shallower diving crankbaits is standard operating procedure while fishing the Devils Lake region. However, when things are slow, do not overlook the old reliable bobber and leech set up.
Walleye spawning can occur on any shallow wind swept rocky area very near shallow bays. Walleye tend to forget about feeding for a little bit during the spawn, but once it is over they come right back to the dinner table.
As the season moves from spring to summer things can get a bit tricky. Normally, fish slowly transition from shallow bays to deeper weed edges, then out to main lake structure where they hang out for the remainder of the summer season.
It is important to note that the 2018 open water fishing season is looking to be not a normal year in the Devils Lake region.
If spring was delayed and conditions stayed cold, once the spawn wrapped up, even though the calendar says June don’t be surprised to see yourself adjusting your fishing patterns like it was July.
Many times when faced with late cold spring and early summer weather, fish fast forward and tend to skip the longer, slower transitional periods. I could easily see us going from pitching jigs in 5 feet of water to pulling spinners in 25 feet over a very short period of time.
When fall is on the horizon, Mother Nature likely will correct herself and fish holding patterns can be expected to return to normal. Deep rock piles and flooded road beds are solid locations to search for active fish.
Now for the disclaimer. All fishing guides have a crystal ball. Most of them do not work so well. The one thing I have learned after 30 years of guiding fishermen and women for a living is that every day is a new day and those are the conditions we have to face.
It is still enjoyable to sit in my office looking at a frozen Devils Lake on this past April Fool’s day and try to guess how the open water fishing season of 2018 will play out. •