Open water fall fishing ranks as a peak time to catch numbers of Devils Lake walleyes and pike, along with those famous perch. Bring a big net, because this is also “trophy” time.
Everybody in this North Dakota community is outdoors-oriented. They will wave, smile and offer timely advice about where to launch a boat (dozens of access points are well maintained all around the lake). The bait shops have current info about what’s biting and even GPS coordinates to take anglers to the best spots.
This 200,000 acre lake actually fishes “small,” because anglers can fish many bays and smaller connected lakes. Launch ramps permit anglers to drive near the action. Thousands of duck and goose hunters plan mid-day fishing as part of their annual trips. The anglers that make Devils Lake a fall destination keep coming back. Here’s why!
Devils Lake Fall Walleyes
Summer tactics still work. Pelican Bay is the hottest walleye bite on the entire lake right now. Trollers pulling crank baits or bottom bouncers with spinners and crawlers catch fish along rocky shorelines, on old roadbeds and on the edges of weeds. Key depths have been 17 to 25 feet on former exposed shorelines that are now that far under the surface. Weed edges are 10 to 14 feet.
Bridges are walleye magnets. Fish the current edges with jigs and minnows, and don’t miss the noon-time bite. White bass will also surprise anglers this time of year. When the wind blows, cast cranks or jigs towards rocky areas, right up to shore. Northland Mimic Minnows work great on Devils Lake.
Pike from 28 to 30 pounds come to the scales every year, and Devils Lake is loaded with pike from 10 pounds and up. Locating green weeds in October and early November and casting spinner baits thru and over them WILL produce the hottest big pike action of the year. Local experts suggest shallow water early in the day against the rip rap around bridges. The old shorelines and roads that are under about 17 feet of water are perfect areas to troll jointed Shad Raps or Flicker Shads. Pike bite all day long and right up to ice-up. Of course, they’re active under the ice all winter, also.
Most anglers are familiar with winter perch. Well, right now, the perch are in their wintering holes in 24 to 45 feet of water. The best pattern is to fish vertically, sort of like fishing thru an ice hole. Anchor the boat, use slip bobbers and typical perch ice-fishing lures baited with wax worms. Or, run bottom bouncers and spinners with crawlers in deeper water, where walleyes and perch will gobble them up.
Tip of the Day: Hunters, carry a rod with you to the remote lakes that are connected to Devils Lake. After shooting a limit of ducks, catch a limit of walleyes in the same lake.
Devils Lake guides can help point the way. So can the many outdoor-friendly merchants and bait shops. Ask, and you will receive the best information possible. Check out the Devils Lake Tourism guide list, or call the CVB with lodging, fishing or any questions. Send your fishing photos to the Devils Lake Tourism email address, with details about the catch and the persons in the photos (name and city).