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Late Ice on Devils Lake

by Devils Lake, CVB


 “It’s the best big-fish, fun-time of the year,” said Woodland Resort owner Kyle Blanchfield about Devils Lake late ice fishing action. With some of the most brutal storms, snow and cold “in a generation” (-35 on many days) according to local North Dakota weather forecasters, anglers are looking forward to better days ahead.

 

Devils Lake is a natural lake that has grown from about 40,000 acres to nearly 160,000 acres in the past three decades.  Devils Lake offers a year-round open fishing season for perch, walleyes, northern pike and white bass.  

 

Guide Cody Roswick, owner of Fin Hunters Guide Service (finhunter.com or 701-840-5407) will be on ice as long as it’s safe.  Weather stabilizes with longer, warmer days and fish become more active.  His normal routine is perch mostly, followed by walleyes in the evening.  This winter’s perch action has been consistent with 20 to 50 a day; some catches have been 100-plus per day.

 

Roswick said, “There are some really good year classes in the lake.  We’re on the cusp of some good fishing ahead.  Yes, there are plenty of 10 to 13 inchers with some pushing 14, but even 9 to 10 inch Devils Lake perch are plump.”  He likes the fact that late season perch congregate in large schools, often favoring the 20 to 30-foot depths.  This is also mega-walleye time, that’s why he fishes until the ice is gone.  “This should be on every angler’s bucket list,” he said.

 

Blanchfield’s personal best trophies have all come during late ice season.  “Being more mobile and hole-hopping in nice temperatures is more fun,” he said, “Plus the perch put on the crazy feedbag.”  February storms forced the Perch Patrol 10-man guide service operating from his resort to use tracked vehicles to move anglers in portables.  The resort also has 44 permanent houses.  He will offer special angler lodging packages in late March (woodlandresort.com or 701-662-5996).  

 

Roswick’s formula for success deals with “perch personality.”  They move constantly, and he uses jigs or spoons to quickly drop back down after catching a fish.  “This keeps ‘em excited and biting,” he said.  His tools are 1/16 ounce Northland Forage Minnows or Buck Shot rattle spoons.  He tips spoons with a minnow head, wax worms or perch eyes, with best colors being glow chub and orange and white.  He also uses Northland Fireball tungsten jigs in 1/16 ounce size, tipped with bait.  “Don’t forget pike!” Roswick said.  He also guides tip-up and spearing trips for the lake’s abundant toothy-critters.

 

Devilslakend.com website is loaded with details about tournaments, the area’s motels and resorts, guide services (they cater to outdoorsmen and women), fish cleaning stations, ice/water conditions, fishing reports, community activities, upcoming events, dining, casino and much more.  Talk to a Devils Lake Tourism representative at 701-662-4903.​

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About Devils Lake, North Dakota

Devils Lake is a natural lake that has grown from about 40,000 acres to nearly 160,000 acres in the past three decades.  Devils Lake offers a year-round open fishing season for perch, walleyes, northern pike and white bass.  Resorts and guide services cater to outdoorsmen and women.  In North Dakota 25 percent of out-of-state fishing licenses are sold in Devils Lake.