Russ and I have spent the last 10 years fishing near-by Minnesota lakes out of our trusty 16-foot aluminum Lund fishing boat with a reliable 15 hp motor. They say that more fish have been caught out of a Lund fishing boat than any other and I don’t doubt that’s the truth.
But all things must eventually come to an end and we upgraded to a 17 foot Polar Kraft with a 75 hp motor that was able to combine our love of fishing with watersports like tubing and knee-boarding. We broke in the boat on our usual Minnesota lakes, fishing and floating in the sun. Once we got the hang of the new boat, we decided to venture out and try larger lakes with bigger fish.
We spent just short of a week in Devil’s Lake, North Dakota – one of the best fisheries for walleye. Since the early 90’s, the water level of Devil’s Lake has continued to climb, overtaking roads, ditches, and farmland. Roads have had to be rebuilt at higher levels, sometimes more than once, to avoid going under water.
As the lake has spread, the number of fish has grown and Devil’s Lake has become a destination for many fishermen.
Striking out onto Devil’s Lake for the first time is very overwhelming. The lake is so large and it’s hard to know where to start. The key is to find old, sunken roads that flooded back when the lake first began to rise. Locals know where those roads are located and some will even give you hints on where to go. Fishing either side of those roads and pulling your lure up the sunken ditches is a great place to find walleye.
Check the weather before heading onto the lake. When the wind comes up, there is very little time to get off the lake before waves as large as ocean swells could start. Being stuck in the middle of the lake with huge waves is scary and not a great way to spend a fishing trip.
If the weather is predicted to be windy, it’s beneficial to find a landing that is protected from the waves. The boat launch at Spirit Lake Casino is not only well maintained but also protected from waves thanks to a marina and man-made channel at the resort. There isn’t a fee to launch your boat there, but it never hurts to stop into the casino for a meal or gambling as a thank you to the tribe.