FROM THE DAKOTAS
Devils Lake Walleye and Pike Action Going from Warm to Hot!
Anglers on Devils Lake don’t miss a beat. With fishing seasons open continuously, they ice fish until the ice retreats. As soon as the ice pulls away, they fish the strip of open water along miles and miles of shoreline. Now, exploring all corners of the expansive 180,000 acre North Dakota lake in boats, they are enjoying a bonanza of walleyes and pike.
“There’s always something going on, and right now it’s a fun-time for people who want to catch fish,” said guide Mark Bry (701-739-0161). “It’s pike on every cast in many places. Both pike and walleyes are shallow. The walleyes are averaging 19 to 20 inches, and we cannot catch any under 18 inches.”
Bry and his guides seek the warmest water in the backs of bays or current areas under bridges. They are casting crankbaits or jigs with plastic tails and plopping bobbers with leeches into the two to five foot shallows. Bry had some fly fishermen chasing pike recently, and said that sport seems to be more and more popular. “The fishing is really good now, but Memorial week and early June will be fantastic,” he said. “The lake is shaping up for a tremendous bite during the Chamber tournament.”
Guide Dan Bonham (701-371-5969) said, “Memorial Day is usually the beginning of the big push for lots of fish. But, the walleyes have been actively biting with some really nice fish in the 26 and 27 inch range as soon as we could launch boats.” He is targeting fish in the three to four foot depths while casting jigs and plastic, but some clients prefer to watch bobbers, which he matches with tiny jigs and leeches.
With the great ice fishing and no let-up in walleye action so far this season, Bonham said, “I look for the end of May and all of June to be as good as always, maybe even better this year. I predict another good bite during the Chamber tournament, with shallow fish caught casting and on bobbers. Pulling spinners will work for deeper walleyes.”
The 2018 Chamber walleye tournament is June 22-23. Tournament host and local fishing guide, pro angler, fishing educator and world walleye champion Johnnie Candle said, “Anglers love that they can catch walleyes jigging, trolling, casting crankbaits, slip-bobbering, rigging, bottom-bouncing and any other way they like to fish, shallow to deep.” The winning team is guaranteed $6,500. More than 35 Chamber members participate which brings in even more prize payouts to the anglers.
Daily prizes for biggest walleyes, pike, white bass and perch include mounts of the largest walleye and pike by Pooh’s Taxidermy. The optional northern pike tournament on day two keeps things interesting. Teams out of the walleye hunt can enter the 100-percent cash payback pike shoot-out. A special youth event sponsored by the NPAA and Deutz Fishing occurs after the final day weigh-in at Graham’s Island State Park. The first 50 youngsters receive rods and reels.
Enter the June 22-23 Chamber walleye tournament at devilslakend.com. This website also includes details about Devils Lake motels and resorts, fish cleaning stations, water levels, ramps, public fishing piers, fishing reports for walleye, pike, perch and white bass, community activities, guides, dining, casino and much more. Or call the Tourism office, 701-662-4903.
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Moose and Elk Lotteries Held, Bighorn Sheep in September
North Dakota's moose and elk lotteries have been held, and individual results are available by visiting My Account at the state Game and Fish Department's website, gf.nd.gov.
A total of 14,617 applications were received for bighorn sheep, 18,079 for elk and 21,042 for moose.
Successful applicants will receive a letter the week of April 30, stating the license will be mailed after the successful applicant submits the correct license fee and purchases a valid 2018-19 hunting license. All hunters, regardless of age, are required to have a general game and habitat license, or combination license, in addition to their moose/elk license.
The bighorn sheep lottery is scheduled in September, after summer population surveys are completed and total licenses are determined. Once the lottery is held, successful applicants will be contacted to select a hunting unit.
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Tentative 2018 Season Opening Dates
To help North Dakota hunters prepare for hunting seasons in 2018, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department annually provides its best estimate for opening dates for the coming year.
Dates become official when approved by governor’s proclamation. Tentative opening dates for 2018.
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