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
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
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