Presented by Yamaha Motor Corp USA and Warrior Boats LLC.



Contact: Denny Fox, 920-505-0122

Anglers Insight Marketing LLC (AIM™)


Defrosted: Ice Leaves Devils Lake In Time For

AWWS North Dakota Divisional Qualifier Sunday


It was close, but Devils Lake is finally open, and ready for the lake warriors who will be challenging this quirky water body’s walleye during the AIM Weekend Walleye Series/Warrior Boats-Woodland Marine Open North Dakota qualifier this Sunday, May 20.

“The late spring on the prairie finally arrived, and anglers will find a different body of water than when AIM was here last May,” said AWWS National Tournament Director Denny Fox.  “Devils will have some tricks in store, that’s for sure.”

One of those surprises in this quirky lake is the water level, which is mostly dependent on runoff. Another is that there is no natural outlet.  Scientists figure that the last time it was high enough to drain into the Sheyenne River was 1,000 or so years ago, so the state constructed its own drain a few years back due to the lake’s penchant for devilishly flooding neighboring farms and homesteads. Still, the lake levels go up and down at the whim of winter. Because of those changing levels, there’s another quirk: a lot of man-made junk in the water, from farm trailers and fences, to roads. They can both snag lures and make great walleye hiding places.

This year, so far, the water’s down, says AIM angler Matt Ristow of Bismarck. He’s only fished Devils about three times for a total of two weeks, and he reports Tuesday after scouting the lake with his Warrior V208 that the lake levels have dropped three to four feet since last year.

“I’d say it’s probably down that much. All the old roadbeds that we could get over last year, they’re pretty close to high and dry now,” he said. “That’ll move the fish around because the fish can get through, but we can’t.

“Game plans are going to have to change because the fish aren’t going to be where you think. There’s roadbeds that fish were sitting on last year that are out of the water now, so guys will have to adjust.”

“Fishing in the main lake is pretty tough. It’s going to be a shallow water thing, I feel. Fishing will be up in the bays,” Ristow said. “Jigging plastics and pitching cranks, that’s what it is, but with the water as warm as it is there may be a slip bobber bite too. I was quite surprised at the water temp on average. So it messes things up really to go from ice to a warm-up like that so quickly.”

He’s referring to the fact that until a week ago, the lake was ice-covered. Ristow also said he’s finding some post-spawn fish already, which also is quirky, as if the walleye were spawning under the ice.

Ristow began pre-fishing on Monday, and reported the main lake temperature at 51 degrees, and some of the bays were as warm as 60, which is where he feels this will be won. One bait that’s a lake mainstay are the fresh water shrimp, and Ristow says they’re already thick. “I was bringing in cranks with shrimp stuck to the hook.”

And, there are big fish here, he added. “I did find a 31-inch walleye. It was floating though, with a big white bass stuck in its mouth, so she literally choked herself.”

One entrant more familiar with the water is John Anderson of Lincoln, ND, who is fishing with his father, John. He confirms that the lake has been ice and slush-free for about a week. “The real question is, were they spawning under the ice or are they still up shallow. Last year when we were there in spring, if you could control your boat in the wind, it was a shallow bite,” Anderson said.

And, like Ristow, he feels anglers had better be concentrating on those farm implement-strewn shallows. Anderson estimates it may take as much as 35 pounds of big Devils Lake walleye to win, and he feels plastics like paddletail minnows, or crankbaits in the shallows will do it.

The proof of those predictions will come Sunday afternoon. On Saturday, anglers will meet for registration and rules starting at 5 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus, 522 4th Street NE, in Devils Lake. Sunday morning, boat inspection begins at 5:30 a.m. at Woodland Resort on Creel Bay. Take-off begins at 7 a.m. Sunday, with teams due back at Woodland beginning at 3 p.m. The awards ceremony begins at 5 p.m. at Woodland.

Follow all the action from the launch to the awards at AIM’s Facebook site, and on ProChattrr.

Anglers Insight Marketing LLC (AIM™) is a unique tournament organization created and owned by many of the most accomplished and recognizable professional walleye anglers, along with others who share the mission of advancing competitive walleye fishing and making it sustainable into the future. AIM is committed to marketing excellence on behalf of its tournament competitors, the tournament host communities, and the brands that partner with it. AIM is also committed to maintaining healthy fisheries across the nation by the development of the exclusive AIM Catch-Record-Release™ format which is integral to its dynamic events and unparalleled consumer engagement. For more information about AIM™, AIM Pro Walleye Series™, AIM Weekend Walleye Series, AIM sponsors and AIM anglers, visit

AIM Presenting Sponsors: Yamaha Motor Corporation U.S.A. and Warrior Boats, LLC.

AIM Supporting Sponsors: Mercury Marine, Nitro Boats, Garmin, Navionics, Power Pole, Worldwide Marine Insurance, AirWave Pedestals, Off Shore Tackle, Vibrations Tackle, Pro Chattrr, Gemini Sport Marketing, Treeland Resort, Anglers Avenue, Moonshine Lures Shiver Minnow, JT Outdoors Products, Fox River Lures and Rods, Bismarck Mandan Convention and Visitors Bureau

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