Welcome to Devils Lake, North Dakota… Summer 2018!
by Jason Mitchell
Devils Lake is a special place not only because of the quality of the fishery, but also the diversity. When we look at its walleye fishing, what makes Devils Lake so enjoyable for so many anglers is that there just are not many things that won’t work or do not catch fish.
Particularly, early in the open water season during May, Devils Lake might have some of the best shore fishing opportunities in the Midwest for quality walleye and northern pike fishing.
Anglers often use jigs and plastics from bottleneck areas where there is current to catch fish. Truthfully, anglers continue to catch walleye and pike from shore along many of the causeways and rip rap areas during the open water season by either casting jigs and plastics or simply using a slip sinker rig with a floating jig head and leech just to name a couple fishing catching methods.
Anglers targeting walleyes from a boat have several options that range from shallow to deep water. Anglers often find walleye in shallow water particularly early in the season and in all actuality, you can find walleye in less than eight feet of water all summer long relating as they relate to weed lines and flooded timber.
Shallow fish are often caught with slip-bobber presentations, pitching jigs and casting shallow running crankbaits.
As the open water season progresses into the warmer months of July and August presentations like trolling mid-to deep-running crankbaits and bottom bouncers with spinner rigs over deep structure produce fish.
Shallow patterns often get a lot of notoriety because those tactics can be somewhat unique and an exciting way to catch fish.
Casting crankbaits into a few feet of water during the middle of the day during the mid-summer transition might seem unorthodox to some walleye anglers. But those who have experienced Devils Lake understand quite well of it’s often productive shallow water bite.
It is not uncommon to watch walleyes follow a lure to the side of the boat like a musky fishermen often encounter in the upper midwest of Minnesota and Winscosin. And the strikes are often extremely aggressive. Hard hits. A truly exciting method for pursuing walleyes, pike and white bass on the large waters of Devils Lake.
There are several deep water patterns that emerge through the summer that not only dispearse fish, but also anglers. Classic deep structures like old shoreline contours, sunken islands and rock humps along with points often hold fish and the presentation spectrum gets is often wide open with many presentations, lures and baits capable of producing fish. You can live bait rig, vertically jig with live bait or soft plastics, troll deep diving crankbaits or lead core and be successful. There is many options when pursing fish in Devils Lake.
What is also unique about Devils Lake is there is truly great fishing from one end of the lake to the other for the duration of the summer. From the southeast corner of East Devils Lake to the northwest corner of Pelican Lake, to the main bay and everywhere in-between, there are strong numbers of walleye along with opportunities to target pike, white bass and even yellow perch. There are also solid opportunities to target large fish in Devils Lake.
Some people look at the overall size of Devils Lake and are intimidated by the sheer massive amount of water, but remember that each bay has its own fish which allows anglers to pick an area and fish it.
Because Devils Lake is broken up into bays and distinct basins that might range between three to ten thousand acres, you can often load the boat within a few miles of several good areas to fish and can sometimes hide and protect yourself from wind much more so than what many anglers would imagine.
Walleye, northern pike, white bass and perch numbers remain extremely high in Devils Lake. And this natural lake continues to be one of the greatest fisheries in the Nation attracting legions of anglers from across the Country.
Not only is the fishing good, but the diversity offers something for every angler.
Enjoy the 2018 open water fishing season on Devils Lake! •