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Ice conditions 'favorable' for annual Devils Lake fishing tourney

All systems are go for North Dakota's largest ice fishing event, the Devils Lake Volunteer Fire Department ice fishing tournament, set for 1 to 3:30 p.m. Jan. 28 on Six-Mile Bay.

Ice-fishing tournament
(Herald file photo) Thousands of people converged on the ice of Devils Lake in 2008 -- as they do every year on the last Saturday in January -- for the Devils Lake Volunteer Fire Department's ice fishing tournament. Despite a warm winter, ice conditions for this year's tournament are good enough for the event to proceed as scheduled Jan. 28.

All systems are go for North Dakota's largest ice fishing event, the Devils Lake Volunteer Fire Department ice fishing tournament, set for 1 to 3:30 p.m. Jan. 28 on Six-Mile Bay.

This year's tournament will be the 28th annual.

Devils Lake Fire Chief Jim Moe said organizers checked the ice last weekend and found a consistent 13 inches. If the recent cool-off in temperature continues, there'll be even more ice by Jan. 28.

"Things are looking favorable," Moe said. "Of course, we will certainly err on the side of safety if we feel there are any concerns about anything. As of right now, we're proceeding as if the tournament is a go."

Deep snow on the ice has been a concern the past couple of years, but this year, Moe said, the unseasonably warm weather has presented the biggest challenge.

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The 15,000 tickets available for the tournament are long gone, Moe said, but it's rare for more than 4,000 people to actually fish the tourney. Raffle prizes worth more than $190,000 are the big attraction; this year's grand prize is a 2012 Dodge 4x4 crew cab pickup.

Moe said organizers have never canceled the tournament because of bad weather, but if that were to happen, the raffle drawing would go on as scheduled in the Devils Lake Memorial Building.

Moe said this year's tournament has been moved to the east side of Six-Mile Bay because the rising lake flooded the old site. Anglers will continue to access the tournament off state Highway 19, Moe said, but now the turnoff is on the east side of the Six-Mile Bay bridge, closer to Devils Lake city limits. The new site will be clearly marked, he said.

"I think it's going to work better," Moe said. "It will be a little closer for people. I think it will be a good change."

On the Web:

dlvfdicefishingtourney.com.

Related Topics: DEVILS LAKEFISHING
Brad Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and has been the Grand Forks Herald's outdoors editor since 1998.

Besides his role as an outdoors writer, Dokken has an extensive background in northwest Minnesota and Canadian border issues and provides occasional coverage on those topics.

Reach him at bdokken@gfherald.com, by phone at (701) 780-1148 or on Twitter at @gfhoutdoor.
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