Ice Winter Walleyes on Devils Lake
by Jim Cunningham
Devils Lake is a renowned walleye fishery through out the season and winter is a popular time to target these fish. Ice anglers find walleye throughout the lake and several different patterns emerge each winter. Classic rock piles and points will hold walleye along with sunken islands and reefs. Contour Map Chips like Lakemaster and Navionics can be invaluable for finding structure.
On East Bay, look at locations like the Stromme Addition and Foughty’s Point. Main lake structure on the Main Bay like Bird Island, Fort Totten Point, Rocky Point and Cactus Point are classic locations. Flooded roadbeds like the infamous Golden Highway on the Minnewaukan Flats are also known for producing walleyes to ice anglers. Besides the classic structure locations that often range from 10 to 30 feet depending on the location, other top patterns include shallower flooded timber and rock or gravel shorelines where ice anglers will sometimes find walleyes as shallow as five feet of water.
There is also a lot of newer shallower water to explore in the connecting Lake Irvine and Lake Alice watershed north of Highway 2 that also produces a lot of walleye for ice anglers.
Across much of the lake, the best walleye bites often occur in the morning and evening hours but in some locations, ice anglers can and will catch walleye all day long. Classic jigging spoons and lures like the Clam Rattling Blade Spoon, Northland Tackle Buckshot Rattle Spoons or Jigging Raps are known producers for Devils Lake walleyes. Anglers often aggressively jig with one lure while using live minnows below slip bobbers or dead sticking with a limber tipped rod on extra rods (North Dakota regulations allow four lines per ice angler). Tip ups paired with lively minnows can also produce walleye and pike.
Good colors include perch patterns, white, chartreuse and fire tiger and most anglers will tip the lure with a minnow head or whole minnow while jigging. Most walleye will be found close to the bottom and a flasher or depth sounder like a Vexilar can be invaluable for finding and reacting to fish.
Anglers routinely harvest walleye through the ice that range from fifteen to twenty four inches but thirty inch and larger walleyes are caught each winter. The lake currently holds high numbers of fish and Devils Lake fished well through this past summer and fall which bodes will for this upcoming ice fishing season. •