August 13, 2023
Devils Lake, North Dakota, is certainly one of my all-time favourite fishing locations.
As a multi-species angler, I’m at all times on the look-out for one of the best chew on any given day and physique of water. Certain, at coronary heart, I’m susceptible to chase walleyes as a result of that’s what my dad and uncles fished evenings and weekends each probability they obtained throughout the early years of recent walleye fishing within the early- to mid-80s.
Certain, there have been instances I used to be bored dragging rigs and later, backside bouncers, with these grown males intent on bringing stringers of golden-hued fish dwelling to the desk. Certain, jigging was enjoyable, in addition to watching lighted slip bobbers dunk after darkish. I used to be additionally there when everyone began fishing the primary run of Shad Raps to hit the scene. That was fairly thrilling, too.
After a few years chasing bass, I’ve returned to chasing walleyes, therefore my love for Devils Lake. The lake is actually chock stuffed with marble eyes. In line with a North Dakota Fisheries & Recreation research in 2022, the numbers netted have by no means been increased up to now 31 years, with some 35.3 walleyes per web over the common 21.5.
North Dakota Fisheries Biologist Todd Caspers studies that 15- to 20-inch “keepers” set a file at 12.3 per web in 2022, double the latest years’ common. These fish will develop—as will the 10- to 15-inchers—which averaged 16.4 per web—above the common of 10 per web. Bigger walleyes within the 20- to 30-inch class confirmed up in common numbers, that are nonetheless excessive.
What’s all this imply?
It means the lake is filled with high quality fish. And, at over 210,000 acres, with a bountiful inhabitants of freshwater shrimp, the fish develop exceptionally cumbersome for his or her size, and plenty of say the forage impacts the style of all of the lake’s gamefish—in a really optimistic means.
Whereas Devils Lake’s walleye fishing is past distinctive, the lake can be crammed with a few of the largest white bass in the whole U.S.
In line with the Devils Lake Tourism website: “In the summertime 2022 check netting, white bass had been current above common numbers. The nets confirmed 7.8 bass per web in comparison with the long-time common of 5.6. The true line-stretchers from 15 to 18 inches (assume actually large white bass) had been recorded at 2.6 per web; the long-time common is .7 per web.”
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I’ll get to the purpose.
Whereas chasing walleyes on Devils Lake, I’m completely blissful to modify over to the motion offered by a college of ravenous white bass. Whereas I hadn’t fished the lake in six years, I lately visited the world and had an absolute blast, not solely catching walleyes, however taking a number of breaks to chase white bass till I needed to actually set my rod down and take a relaxation.
Enjoyable-fishing with Bry’s Information Service professional, Jared Pokrzywinski, we boated numerous drag-stripping pelagics on medium-light walleye set-ups. The day after, I spent a while with walleye professional Johnnie Candle to collect data for a pair In-Fisherman print Walleye Information tales, and we bumped into the identical scenario. On the morning of the third day, I fished a pair spots from shore, set a brand new walleye private better of 29” and caught my one-day take-home restrict of 20 white bass whereas sporting waders standing in some bulrushes some 30 ft from a freeway bridge overpass. Not a nasty downside to have.
So, what are the High 4 Displays to Catch White Bass on Devils Lake, North Dakota? Right here’s what we used—and at instances—caught fish virtually each solid. Our gear for every presentation was the identical and fairly easy: a 7-foot medium-light energy spinning rod, 2500 measurement spinning reel, 10-pound braid, and a 10-pound fluorocarbon chief.
1. Crankbaits: Shad & Minnow Profiles
White bass love crankbaits. From the coveted, now-discontinued Lindy Shadling in white that many native Devils Lake anglers love—to Shad Raps, Flicker Shads, Northland Rumble Shiners, and different shad-shaped cranks—white bass assault the profile though there are not any shad in Devils Lake.
After we had been fishing from shore in shallow water, jerkbaits like shorter Authentic Floating Rapalas, Husky Jerks, and Northland Rumble Shiners all labored nicely. Standout patterns had been perch and whitish, minnow-looking hues.
2. ¼- to three/8-ounce Northland Mimic Minnow
An enormous promoting bait at big-box shops, there’s good cause. The Mimic Minnow is a pre-rigged paddletail on a minnow-shaped jig head that’s cheap, able to fish proper out of the bundle, and catches all species of fish.
On Devils Lake, shore anglers completely love the Mimic Minnow. It may be fished shallow, at mid-depth, left to sink deeper, and attracts fish all through the water column. It seems and behaves similar to what the fish are consuming on Devils Lake: young-of-the-year white bass and perch, and Northland has colours out there that “mimic” each.
3. ¼-ounce Chartreuse Z-Man WillowVibe w/ Z-Man Scented PaddlerZ
A miniaturized ChatterBait with no skirt, the Z-Man WillowVibe permits threading on a smooth plastic just like the Z-Man Scented PaddlerZ; a fluke-style, split-tail minnow-shaped smooth plastic; or a curly-tail grub. The motion is the same high-speed vibration ala skirted ChatterBait—and appeals to any fish that find prey by sound and their lateral line (most). We caught fairly just a few Devils Lake walleyes on the bait, however the large white bass went completely loopy for it. Whereas we tried the brown and white WillowVibe, we couldn’t purchase a chew. However throw the chartreuse model and it was practically a fish each solid.
When it comes to cadence, we caught fish on a sluggish, regular retrieve, but additionally a pull, cease, pull, with just a few deal with rotations thrown in.
4. Dwell Goal Baitball Spinner Rig
Basically an A-Rig, we fished the Dwell Goal Baitball Spinner Rig on a whim, understanding that white bass will shred a college of baitfish or young-of-the-year gamefish to items. Does it work? Completely. The one downside is getting the white bass to hit the one minnow on the rig with an precise hook …
The beauty of all of those baits? You’ll not solely catch white bass, however walleyes, too!
To study extra about Devils Lake fishing, click on right here!