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 North Dakota Reports
Devils Lake North Dakota
November 2002

There are times no doubt when we take so much of the new equipment for granted. We get so use to using and applying the equipment to the way we fish that the equipment becomes a big part to our success on the ice. Take the Strike Master Lazer series augers we have fell in love with over the past few years. Remember how we used to fish before we discovered Fish Traps. My God. If the battery on my Vexilar isnít charged, I wonít even ice fish. Just canít. Comfortable Gore-Tex and thinsulate clothing enables us to get the job done without fear of losing arm or limb. Staying warm and mobile, using equipment that allows us to do so is a big part of the success we enjoy today.

I can remember when having a reel on an ice fishing rod was a pretty big deal. All we ever used to use was a plain hook below a bobber with some bait attached. When we jigged, we had a secret weapon that we swore by. Remember those old Russian Spoons that had a little hook soldered to the spoon? That was our secret weapon. Heck, as far as I was concerned, all a guy needed was a chrome Russian spoon. Our opinions changed, however after a few good fish busted the hooks right off. Our opinions really changed as more and more tackle manufactures beefed up their tackle selection and began to take ice fishing seriously.

Ice fishing has changed drastically in two decades. Changed for the better. Ice fishermen are catching more fish right now than ever before. More guys out ice fishing too and that is always great to see. Organizations like Ice Team brought cutting edge information to the ice as new equipment revolutionized and shaped this outdoor recreation that has become so popular.

Yes, better equipment does make us better ice anglers. Just when we think equipment canít get any better; well it just keeps getting better. New designs in portable shelters like USLís Fish Trap just keep getting better. Vexilarís FL-18 literally blows away everybody that uses this amazing piece of equipment. Yes this is an exciting time to be a hard water junky. Great equipment and great fisheries are producing quality fish through an eight-inch hole.

North Dakotaís Devils Lake continues to get so much press and rightfully so. While this enormous mass of water can humble anybody and the fish have a reputation for being temperamental because the forage base is so abundant, the lake continues to get better with each season. No secret that Devils Lake is a top-notch fishery for big perch. This 125,000 acre natural lake might not necessarily cough up high numbers of perch to anglers but the size of these yellow and orange footballs can often make up for quantity.

Perch on Devils Lake are fussy. Sonar like Vexilarís FL-18 are crucial for determining how fast fish are getting recruited below your hole and for monitoring the mood. Deep water, tight to the bottom fish and extremely small finesse jigs are often the ingredients to triggering these often-hesitant fish. Small spoons and jigging Raps can also work well for pulling fish over to you and catching aggressive fish. Remember that you will never catch a skinny or hungry perch on Devils Lake so spend time figuring out what kind of presentation works before moving and leaving fish.

Perch are often found on the deep mud flats and basins where the fish root through the bottom, gorging on fresh water shrimp and other invertabrates. Transitions from soft to hard bottom typically where the basin turns to shoreline are often key areas to target when looking for these nomadic fish. An average depth where anglers find perch might be anywhere from twenty four to forty seven feet of water.

Fish on Devils Lake often binge feed for brief periods offering windows of opportunity. Both patience and concentration are important virtues on Devils Lake when targeting the jumbo perch. Keep your bait fresh and in the water if your Vexilar is indicating fish. Besides perch that are as long as the bottom of a five-gallon pail, the lake is gaining a reputation as a top-notch winter pike and walleye fishery. Both pike and walleyes are sometimes incidental catches for perch fishermen. Anglers targeting walleyes or pike specifically often find both of these predators in shallower water and relating more to either structure, weeds or flooded timber.

Winter is just around the corner and Devils Lake is just down the road for many ice fishermen. Devils Lake is an approximate six-hour drive from the Twin Cities and twelve hours from Milwaukee. Several motels, lodges, a casino and a full service resort located right on the lake cater specifically to ice fishermen. For more information on Devils Lakeís winter fishing opportunities, hook up with Devils Lakeís Perch Patrol Guide Service. Contact the Perch Patrol by calling (701) 351-3474.

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