In Devils Lake, it seems most parties revolve around fishing. The Chamber of Commerce Walleye tournament has four decades of “parties” behind it, and each year, now number 42, seems to become bigger and better. Chamber members treat anglers as friends and neighbors. That’s why the fishing guys and gals keep pouring into Devils Lake 12 months of the year for some of the best walleye, pike, perch and white bass fishing in North America.
The 2018 Chamber walleye tournament is a two-day affair, June 22-23. Tournament host and local fishing guide, pro angler, fishing educator and world walleye champion Johnnie Candle said, “Besides all the homecoming fun with friends, the prizes ($6,500 is guaranteed to the winning team) totaled more than $61,000 in 2017, and will be similar this year. 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.” He urged anglers to experiment this season with jigs and plastic, and said, “I love throwing jigs with plastic trailers.”
With a cap of 125 teams, he urged interested teams to enter right away. The Early Bird entry date is March 31, and of all teams entered by then, five will win back their entry fee of $275 per team.
Sons and daughters start early, many fishing with parents or grandparents. Mixed couple compete. One couple fishing is Dave and Rendy Randash from Fargo. Dave said, “The Chamber tournament is well-run, and even though competitive, has no pressure. I expect it to fill this year and would like to see even more couples competing.” The Randash duo fishes bouncers and slip-bobbers mostly, but also casts Northland Mimic Minnows.
The Chamber tournament features daily big fish prizes for walleyes, pike, white bass and perch, plus Pooh’s Taxidermy will mount the largest walleye and pike. More than 35 Chamber members participate which adds prizes and cash to the pot. There are also daily prizes for pike, perch and white bass. The optional day-two northern pike shoot-out 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.
For more information about the June 22-23 Chamber walleye tournament (and to enter), visit 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 at 701-662-4903.