Devil's Lake, North Dakota

Springtime Fishing Destinations Devil's Lake, North Dakota

Ahhh... Walleyes

As we head into the peak of the sportshow season, many anglers are planning their various trips and booking their respective resorts in anticipation of the 2007 open water season.  A great, early Spring destination that I highly recommend would be North Dakota's Devil's Lake.  This incredible fishery "peaks" during the month of May and offers some awesome action on northern pike, perch and especially walleyes.  Here are some highlights:

Shoreline Cover Oriented

The beauty of the gamefish on Devil's Lake is that they are easy to locate during May and are aggressive and willing to chase baits.  This once small, natural lake has now developed into this magnificent body of water encompassing old farmsteads, flooded roads and watercovered farmfields.  Every season I am amazed at how this lake continues to expand. Ahhh... Walleyes It is not uncommon to be pitching baits next to corn silo's that are protruding up from the bottom from once active farmsteads.   The shorelines are absolutely littered with trees, stumps and fencelines that are now under water but producing some great cover and baitfish sanctuaries.  These "foodshelves" are where the walleyes chase their prey and the depths are commonly 3 to 8 feet of water.   There are also a number of  flats and sunken islands in the lake that become more pertinent in June and July but keep in mind the lion's share of the action will always be shoreline related in early Spring.

Presentations

Every time I fish this lake in the Spring I always start from a different starting point.  It really doesn't matter how specific you are.  The name of the game is to start covering the shoreline debris and working your baits in and amongst the flooded cover until you start making contact.  Northern Pike are everywhere. You can't seem to get away from them although their average size is close to 5 pounds per fish.  Often you will hit walleyes and northerns together making for some great action. I just love pitching crankbaits into these fallen trees and cranking aggressively until you get that first fish.  Always make long casts and keep your boat away from the structure so you don't spook the schools. Throwing cranks into this debris will cost you some money.  Hidden branches and underwater, unseen snags are prevalent.  Switching over to a slip bobber and leech and pitching this along the debris works as well but you have to make sure you pull that fish quickly out of the timber before your slip bobber becomes hung up.  If the fishing wasn't as good as it is, I wouldn't put up with these snags in a normal lake.

Water Quality

Because of the incredible runoff in the Spring, the water quality of this lake can turn on you.  Usually May and June is fairly reliable depending on the Spring rains but the water quality often deteriorates as you get into the warmer days of late Spring.  The once clear water can turn pea green into early summer. Fishing early in the Spring is the ticket. The best part about Devil's Lake is that it is a strictly fishing oriented destination.  Every resort caters to fisherpeople and the baitshops are willing and able to direct you.  You will notice once you get into town the whole economy is based on the walleye...this is what drives this town.  Everyone "eats and sleeps" walleye fishing and you will be very impressed.

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