DEVILS LAKE -- “The Devils Lake walleyes are on a hot midsummer bite,” said Steve “Zippy” Dahl, owner of the Perch Patrol guide service. “A typical guide trip is 50 to 100 walleyes per day.”
Fishing industry veteran and guide Cody Roswick echoed those sentiments.
“The bite is hot with 50 to 60 fish an average day,” Roswick said. “That means limits of solid ‘eaters’ to 18 inches, lots of smaller walleyes and some of those bigger females in the 22- to 25-inch range, which are all released.”
The 12 Perch Patrol guides hit the water nearly every day but can always squeeze in a few more guide parties, Dahl said.
“Our target fish are in the 17- to 20-inch range, and we are covering water with bottom bouncers and spinners,” he said.
Dahl shared the following details of this tactic:
We are primarily fishing hard-bottom structure (humps) on the main lake.
Walleyes are either on top in 5 to 8 feet or off the sides in 10 to 16 feet.
We will also check the outside edges of weed beds.
A 1½-ounce bottom bouncer and spinner (orange, gold, copper or chartreuse) tied on 25-pound Trilene XT because of pike is the ticket.
A quick-change clevis lets us find the spinner blade that’s working.
Nightcrawlers on the two-hook harnesses with only 1 inch of tail behind the last hook convert most biters into “hook-ups.”
Keep the line angle from rod tip to bottom bouncer at 45 degrees.
Don’t horse fish; play them gently.
Walleyes are not schooled like they were a month ago; cover ground.
“This bite will continue into the fall, when fishermen and hunters get the best of all worlds with a half-day chasing walleyes combined with a half day of waterfowl hunting,” Dahl said.
Roswick also is a fan of bottom bouncing to locate walleyes but prefers Northland Tackle “Butterfly Blades” on his rigs.
“The larger sizes with a half crawler seem to be best right now,” he said.
Depending on where he is fishing -- the east end has been hot for him the past couple weeks -- Roswick works the 10- to 15-foot main lake depths.
Another popular tactic that has also been working is trolling crankbaits.
“Clients like the change of pace and learning trolling tricks,” Roswick said. Last week, “We were trolling a ridge line in Pelican (Lake) in 10 to 15 feet catching walleyes, then headed to the ‘Golden Highway,’ where all the fish were in 20 to 24 feet off the edge, but within 2 feet of the bottom.”
On a typical guide day, his clients boat about 10 pike and lots of white bass, Roswick says. He also predicts a tremendous fall bite.
“September and October should be an excellent mix of jig fishing and trolling,” he said.
Perch Patrol: (701) 351-3474.
Cody Roswick: (701) 840-5407.