Outdoors column: Headed out for monster perch

All the snow we’ve had has really put a damper on late ice angling.

It’s been tough to get around making it even tougher to find some fish that want to bite.

It would be nice to get out of here and still be able to get on the ice and catch some fish.  You really can’t do it heading south but believe it or not you actually can if you head north and west.

Ron Anlauf headed west for this giant perch.

Ron Anlauf headed west for this giant perch.Submitted photo

Devil’s Lake, North Dakota is what we’re talking about which hasn’t been buried with all of the snow like our Minnesota lakes have. In fact anglers have been able to drive just about anywhere they want to go all winter long.

And what they have found are fish that want to bite including walleye, pike and perch which the monstrous lake is really known for.

Probably the most difficult part of fishing Devil’s Lake is deciding where to start simply because there is so much water.

Professional guide Aaron McQuoid of Mennewauken,  North Dakota uses technology in the form of a Humminbird 798 GPS with electronic mapping mounted on the dash of his truck along with the  old fashioned  method of studying maps (both old and new) to uncover flooded timber which can be loaded with fish.

McQuoid on finding the right wood: “Fallen trees in 20-to 30-feet of water can be the real hot spots for perch and I’ve found them by pouring over maps that show tree lines entering the lake along with countless time spent on the water. The trees can hold big schools of fish but you never know which ones are holding the biters which can change from day to day so you have to keep moving till you find the active ones.  Another thing is that you can be as little as four feet away from a hot hole and not be doing any catching, so even if you’re on them you have to keep moving until you start hooking up.”

Anglers traveling to Devil’s Lake typically come for the perch but there are plenty of walleyes and northern pike to be had and lucky for us; the season never closes.

Typical presentations include using a jigging spoon tipped with a minnow or minnow head and can be perfectly effective for catching all three species.

You don’t have to go small or get too fussy if you’re after perch because Devil’s Lake jumbos are not your typical garden variety; they’re special and they’re big!

On a trip late last winter to fish with ; my buddy and I caught a pile of jumbos and the small ones were in the pound range!  You might want to have some UV treated baits with though as McQuoid has found that they can out produce the standard lures by ten to one on any given day.

See you on the ice.

Ron Anlauf is a contributing writer to the Outdoors page.

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