Devils Lake – When asked about the fishing, Devils Lake, ND guide Aaron McQuoid said, “Right now, my clients are catching some of the nicest fat, healthy walleyes in the 22 to 29 inch range I’ve seen. Many are landing their personal bests.”
He also said numbers of 15 to 20 inch walleyes are being caught, mostly in the three to 10 foot depths. This bodes well for the Chamber of Commerce Walleye Tournament set for June 22-23. Some openings still exist. Tournament host, local fishing guide, pro angler, fishing educator and world walleye champion Johnny 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 48 Chamber businesses participate which brings the total purse to a cash payout of 118 percent in addition to the extra big fish prizes, and other awards. Scheels recently announced that they added $1,000 cash to the payout. They also added $1,000 in gift certificates, and is giving a gift to each participant at the rules meeting. Airwave pedestal seat bases will also be awarded.
Last year’s winner Scott VanOverbeke won by slip-bobbering a 25-foot hump in the main lake. He and his partner Sam Thomas, also from the Marshal, MN area, will try what worked, but knows from years on the lake that he won’t put all his eggs in one basket. “What I’ve found on Devils Lake is that it doesn’t matter your favorite technique, you can catch fish every day doing what you love to do on this system,” he said.
He also added, “The Chamber tournament offers not only great fishing but it’s unlike any other tournament. People actually talk with you. There is a great camaraderie among the contestants. Of course, it helps that they run a safe and fair event, all of the anglers are winners because of the way the Chamber takes care of us.”
McQuoid (mcquoidguides.com or 701-351-6058) said the lake is down two feet from last year and six feet down since 2011. He also said, “Slowly jig the bobber back to the boat on non-windy days. In the wind, Lindy rigs with a short leader and leeches are very effective in back bays and near cattails. It looks to be another great year on Devils Lake.”
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.
Teams are encouraged to 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. All teams will have their boats inspected for aquatic invasive species at Newby’s Ace Hardware prior to pre-fishing. Hours are 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.