Presented by Yamaha Motor Corp USA and Warrior Boats Inc.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 7, 2022
Contact: Denny Fox, 920-505-0122
Anglers Insight Marketing LLC (AIM™)
Devils Lake Pileup: AIM North Dakota Heads East
For A Twofer Saturday And Sunday; Will Corkin’ Take It?
Thanks to a little weather glitch in April, teams competing in the AIM Weekend Walleye Series North Dakota Division will get two takes to tackle the walleyes in Devils Lake during the Warrior Boats/Pure Powersports/Mild2Wild Open Pileup Saturday and Sunday, July 9 and 10, where that quirky lake is filling up again, and the ‘eyes are hungry.
“The weather was dicey at Bismarck this April, so we’re making it up to you, Fan Nation, and our teams, with a twofer at one of the country’s best for walleye,” said Denny Fox, AIM national tournament director. “This lake level normally rises or drops every year, and this year, it’s about four feet to the good, so the fish have more places to hide, and our teams have more places to look. The weather and those Dakota winds may also have a say on both days. Combined with our Wisconsin Qualifier at Marinette also this Sunday, AIM is THE place to follow the on-water walleye action this weekend.”
First, let’s let the Devil have its due. Devils Lake, that is. The lake, which depends a lot on snowmelt and rain is at one of its highest levels, so angler Andy Skalicky, who’ll be on the water with Jason Hallof, both of Minot, will have a lot more water to play in, and Skalicky’s looking forward to getting to it in his Mercury 300 Verado-powered boat, with Garmin Panoptix now also aboard.
“I haven’t been there for about a month, but then it was definitely higher, which will keep some of the fish more shallow,” predicted Skalicky. It could even get a mite bigger by the time teams head out Saturday morning. He did note that like a lot of things in the Midwest, things appear also to be behind due to the cool spring. But, name your technique, and you’ll catch fish.
“It seems like everything’s been kind of two or three weeks late, but from what I understand, everything’s working out there. Whatever kind of bite you want to put together, it’s been available,” he said. “The key will be finding those bigger pods.”
They’ll also be relying on their Panoptix to search for and identify those winners. “We learned at the championship that Panoptix is kind of a ‘must’ in a boat. We didn’t have it there, and when we got back, I made sure we had it,” he said.
“The majority of my pre-fish will be learning how to use the Garmin. I think it’ll be key and I’m also sure I’m going to have to use those slip bobbers and leeches,” he said. That rig is one of the go-to setups Devils Lake anglers and guides use. They’ll also key on rock piles and other features to cast lures like Shad Raps, Flicker Shads and Salmos, not to mention plastics. Skalicky said he wouldn’t be surprised if someone comes in at the end of the day to place in the top five with cranks. Where? Maybe the holes, bars and tight contours of Pelican Lake, part of the Devils mashup of old river channels, old roads, old railroads and more such fun, and ‘eye holding spots.
“I’ve heard Pelican’s been really good, but also the East Bay. It seems like every year, we go to the opposite side we need to, but I think if you make the right decision, maybe finding some unpressured fish might be also one of the keys. Those hotspots you hear of might be here today and gone tomorrow,” Skalicky said. “If you can find the weeds or timber that hasn’t seen pressure,” that might be the ticket to the podium.
Because this is actually two qualifiers in one, he said, doing well here will also be big for those in the running for Yamaha Team Of The Year, which could be anyone in the field at this point.
“This will be a key tournament in that we have back-to-backs, so this is pretty huge. We’re in 12th place for Team Of The Year, so this will be a deciding factor,” he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if 25 to 30 pounds will be what it takes both days.”
Scot Swain of Minot will be there under Mercury 250 Pro XS power, with Jessie Schiele of Norwich, and Swain’s going for a deeper bite, at least during pre-fishing.
“There’s a lot of structure down there, but there’s still some fish up shallow, but we’ll try some deeper stuff,” he said, reached while circling a Devils Lake rock pile looking for fish on Wednesday (July 6).
“We’re going to be corking, bobbers and leeches on two rods and pitching jigs and worms around the rocks. There’s still water coming into the lake from the north, and there are so many fish in here. You just have to find the bigger ones.”
The team has only fished one event, finishing eighth at Parshall, so he’s hoping to get at least in the top 10 both days here to be in contention for that top TOY prize of a 9.9 Yamaha kicker. He’s also thinking—and shooting for—25 to 30 pounds will get in the top five here and get in position for the state championship Aug. 27 on Lake Sakakawea out of Hazen.
Alan Lick’s not been on Devils since last year. Lick, from Sawyer, and partner Josh Kelly of Turtle Lake, will be in a Mercury 300 Pro XS-powered boat both days. He’s looking at all that flooded green to hold fish.
“I think it’s going to bring in flooded vegetation into play. Overall, I think the bite’s been really good, but the extra water definitely creates more acre-feet to look at,” Lick said.
“That’s the great thing about Devils. You can catch fish pitching, you can troll, slip bobber,” but he’ll be plumbing the shallows to start.
“For the most part, it’ll be mostly shallow. Last year the state championship was won out of Pelican, but normally the east end seems to be better, but Pelican’s always a wild card and if it’s on fire it’s tough to beat. But the east end and main lake for that matter can also put out some good fish. I think you’re going to be pushing around 30 pounds to be in the top.”
So, in other words, name your place, name the bait, and name the depth, and you’ll find fish in Devils. But, finding the right fish as always, will get you to the top in this all-important two-day event that may seal who’s in front for Yamaha Team Of The Year going into the late August state championship. This weekend, it’s truly anyone’s game. All a team has to do is plan, and choose, wisely.
And we’ll find out what team, or teams, did, both days during awards ceremonies at Woodland Resort on Creel Bay. Team registration meetings will be online, with both inspections starting at 5:30 a.m. both days at Woodland, where each day’s launch and return will also take place starting at 7 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Stay tuned for a preview of AIM’s next event also this weekend, at Marinette, Wisconsin. There’s STILL plenty of time to sign up for all remaining events at AIM’s website. Be there!
You know you want to. You know you can.
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.
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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 www.aimfishing.com.
AIM Presenting Sponsors: Yamaha Motor Corporation U.S.A. and Warrior Boats inc.
AIM Supporting Sponsors: Mercury Marine, Garmin, Navionics, Power Pole, Worldwide Marine Insurance, Off Shore Tackle, Gemini Sport Marketing, Moonshine Lures Shiver Minnow, JT Outdoors Products, McQuoids Inn, Marinette, WI, Explore Alexandria, Rosemore Outdoor Gear