North Dakota AIM Goes To The Devil Sunday
Jul 11th, 2020 by Keith Worrall
Modified Jul 11th, 2020 at 11:01 AM
North Dakota AIM Goes To The Devil Sunday, Teams Say Winner Will Need 30-Plus Pounds
Presented by Yamaha Motor Corp USA and Warrior Boats LLC.
North Dakota’s Devils Lake is both huge, and quirky, and it’s a good bet one team entered in this Sunday’s (July 12) AIM Weekend Walleye Series/Warrior Boats/Mild 2 Wild Open will put together a program to win big here, say members of three teams who will be trying everything from crawler and leech-haulin’, and ice fishing jigs, to the simplest mode of fishing known, in the march towards the state championship and Team of The Year.
“It’s hot on the plains and the fishing is reported to be Devils-ishly hot as well, just in time for AIM’s visit,” said Denny Fox, AIM national tournament director. “This was the site of the two-day state championship last season, and the teams are looking for some big fish this weekend to put check in the “W” column and take a check home.”
One of those teams will have Garrison ND’s Loren Desjardins in a Mercury 250 Verado-powered boat come Sunday morning.
He’s fishing all AIM North Dakota tournaments this season, and says the lake is giving up nice numbers of fish right now. Like the others interviewed, he said this lake can be hot for one presentation in one area and a different one in another spot. Devils is also known for bobbering, so that’s what he thinks he’ll rely on to bring it home when he begins pre-fishing today.
“You can fish it just about any way you like to fish, pulling cranks, pitching plastic, or good old -fashioned jig-a-rapping,” he said.
That’s Desjardins-speak for an increasingly popular technique of using a Rapala Jigging Rap normally seeing most duty during ice fishing, as a soft water walleye tool, whamming the thing up and down pretty violently to provoke walleye into taking a taste.
“I’m a bobber fisherman and I’ll know I’ll also be pitching jigs, and we’ll go on from there,” he said.
Devils also is known for being wind-driven, and often depending on which way it comes, the fish will then be found on the wind-blown shallows.
“If a person can play the wind, as soon as that changes around it changes the whole attitude of the lake, depending on which way it is blowing. Most people who win tournaments here use multiple tactics throughout the day,” he said. He’s guessing this will be won by someone posting a low 30-pound range on the card. “But it could easily be 10 pounds higher if the right pod of fish is found.”
David Watne of Grand Forks will be pre-fishing starting today as well in front of his Mercury 300 Pro XS four-stroke. He has a home on the lake, so he’s at it nearly every weekend, but he doesn’t count that as an advantage. As many anglers have found out, “It’s hard to do good on your home water,” Watne explained.
But he’s ready. “I think the fishing is really hot there now. You can bobber fish over the rocks. You don’t get a lot but you get quality fish,” in other words the kind you need to win an AIM event.
“The fish are starting to slide deep into the big mud flats, 35 or 40 feet deep, and pulling cranks there will be good. Pitching into the flooded trees and shallow weed lines, they’re in there still too,” he said.
But you’ll probably see him on the water Sunday with a bobber rig, he said, or….. “We’re going to be bobbering I believe and using Jigging Raps, and I think the east side of the lake will produce more quality fish.”
“If you’re pitching, Pelican Lake (actually part of Devils Lake, at its northwest end) is where everybody goes. You can always also pull spinners, and catch a million fish, but you aren’t going to get to the bigger fish. If you want the quality, you’ll get the big ones in there with a bobber and a leech,” he said.
“The other day a buddy of mine released five fish over 25 inches in two hours on one of the spots I fish. It’s a rock pile. You’ll get’em on the piles from 15 to 40 feet, and if you get one decent fish off each one, you’ll be doing really well,” he said.
Another hometown entrant is Jeff Trana of Devils Lake, who’s been doing a little guiding on the lake for the last 25 years, but none this summer. He’ll be in his craft powered by a Merc 225 ProXS. This will be his fourth AIM tournament.
He’s testing the water starting today and also feels the lakes’ eastern part will tell the tale. And unlike Watne, he may be pulling some lead core and crank baits deep.
“We’ll switch it up. We’ll have everything from slip bobbers, leeches, cranks, plastics, Jigging Raps” he said. Settling on one or two ways, he said, may not be the right way to go. “Sometimes it’ll work Saturday, but it won’t work Sunday.
“The launch area is in the center of the lake, and some are probably going to fish Pelican, and that’s a 20-mile-plus run, and if you go all the way to East Devils, that’s another 20-mile run,” he said.
Yup, it’s a big lake, with plenty of chances to win, but it’s all about choices. Should you put all your marbles on a simple technique you probably learned when you first started fishing. Should you make the run west, or east. Will the predicted light winds be enough to pile up the fish on one particular shoreline and produce the winning five?
Find out Sunday by following the action on AIM’s Facebook Page on not only Devils Lake, but on the second of two AIM qualifiers in two days one state east, on Minnesota’s Leech Lake. It’s a weekend filled with fishing, perfect for early July.
Due to COVID-19 regulations, the Devils Lake team meeting and registration, as well as results, will be online at AIM’s Facebook page. Look for those shortly after 6 p.m. Sunday.
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