Never ice fished Devils Lake? These tips will make it easy
Story and photos by Devils Lake Tourism
Devils Lake welcomes fishing enthusiasts year-round to the massive lake bordering the city with the same name. Fishing is open continuously. It’s especially inviting right now with “hot” ice fishing action.
Every ice season attracts more and more rookie fishermen. Maybe the word should be fisher-people, because many of the newbies are families. Devils Lake is a great getaway, with fishing No. 1 on most agendas.
For those considering Devils Lake, the following tips will make an ice trip even more enjoyable.
- Bring the entire family. Or, make this an annual trip with your fishin’ buddies. For those who traditionally cross the border to fish Canadian waters, chart a course to Devils Lake instead.
- Options include fishing with your own gear or hiring a guide service.
- If making a DIY (do-it-yourself) trip, learn as much as possible by reading and checking web reports, including www.devilslakend.com, YouTube and Facebook.
- Contact the local bait shops prior to arriving. Buy your license at a shop where information flows in proportion to the amount of supplies you buy. If the advice is that a certain size and color lure is working (or live bait), get some. Use it like they advise.
- North Dakota non-resident fishing licenses are $28 for three days and $55 for the season. Resident fishing licenses range from $5-$24 for the season and are valid for one year starting April 1 and ending March 31 of the following year. Visit https://gf.nd.gov/fishing/license-general-info for more on fishing licenses.
- Learn about on-ice travel conditions. Know how to navigate the county roads to lake accesses where rumors of good fishing exist. Feel free to drill around the edges of “fishing packs.” When you know the magic depth, try that depth at other locations. A handheld GPS will show you.
- Be prepared with warm clothes and boots. Bring shelter, heater, fish finder, etc. Bring gear for walleyes, perch and pike. Tip-ups make each day fun and exciting.
- Or, plan to hire a guide service. They exist to show clients a great time. Guides also tune new anglers into the “what, where and how” of Devils Lake ice fishing. Even for the first day on the lake, this investment makes sense. Do this now. Visit www.devilslakend.com for a full listing of guide services.
Perch follow business hours, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dawn and dusk are spent chasing walleyes. Clients then have the best of both worlds – walleyes and perch every day.
A committee of Devils Lake parks, tourism, city and county folks keeps winter accesses open, so fishermen can drive onto the lake. The group also maintains a public heated fish-cleaning station by Ed’s Bait Shop on Highway 20. The Sleep Inn, Fireside Inn & Suites, Cobblestone Hotel & Suites and SunLac Inn also provide heated fish-cleaning facilities.
Visit www.devilslakend.com to locate lodging or guide services, find updated fishing reports, ice and travel conditions, casino information, community activities and more.