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Devils Lake mid-summer bite

Submitted Photo Rachel Benedict, Devils Lake, recently caught this 29-inch walleye from Devils Lake.

DEVILS LAKE – Life is returning to normal, with business about even right now compared to a year ago, according to Suzie Kenner, Devils Lake Tourism executive director.

“Travelers need to take the time to book motels and resorts that coincide with their fishing schedules. The guides still have availability due to earlier coronavirus cancellations,” said Kenner.

“White bass are at record high numbers,” said Todd Caspers, North Dakota Game and Fish Department biologist. Pike, added Caspers, are still above average size. The typical pike observed in test net sampling run mid-20’s to 34 inches long.

Walleyes are the main attraction for most anglers. Johnnie Candle, fishing educator and world walleye champion, says his mid-summer techniques lean to bottom bouncers and spinners because of their versatility.

“Pull them over large rocky structures, mud-flats or along weed edges. I use a silver or gold size three Indiana blades and a 2.5 inch Gulp Minnow. No need for live bait,” said Candle. “Catch fish from 8 to 30 feet deep.”

Also, said Candle, “White bass have been off the charts this year with lots of large fish, many days averaging 16 inches. They fight hard and are fun to catch.”

Guide Ancil Reynolds follows a plan each day. Now with more pike fly fishermen in his boat, his opinion of those fish has changed.

“I used to think pike ate anything that moved. The fly guys taught me that pike are curious and selective. They don’t eat everything. Some followed flies 30 feet without hitting,” said Reynolds.

Walleyes remain the chief attraction for most clients, said Reynolds, and he typically starts each day fishing shallow. His clients toss small Reef Runners, Salmo Hornets, Flicker Shads, a large assortment of Rapalas and blade baits in about five feet of water, gradually moving to 30 feet.

Devils Lake weekly fishing reports, and updates about lake conditions, guide services and packages, parks and camping, details about the community, lodging and restaurants are featured on devilslakend.com.

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