Jumbo Perch and Devils Lake go hand-in-hand. Devils Lake is a glacial lake tucked away in North Central North Dakota that provides some outstanding perch fishing and an opportunity at a true trophy jumbo perch!
A big component of having success with perch fishing on Devils Lake is the ability to be mobile. When one arrives, they must have a hunting mindset and be ready to drill, drill & drill. Unlike walleyes, the perch in Devils Lake do not relate to structure and are nomadic basin roamers that can be found anywhere in the lake from 10 feet all the way out to as deep as 50+ feet!
Most anglers utilize portable ice houses behind ATVs and UTVs to remain mobile and on top of an active school of perch. What I like to do best when pulling into a new spot is to get all of the hole drilling out of the way and make an “X” pattern. Once I have my holes drilled, I will then hole hop and fish each hole for five minutes to see if I can mark any fish below the ice. Once I start to find fish, I then set up the house and get dialed in on presentations.
The perch bite on Devils Lake is very notorious for being a subtle light bite, so the lighter the rod and reel setup you have the better. A couple of great lures to have in your tackle box at any given time when perch fishing will be a Genz Worm, tiny small tungsten jigs, the Perch Talker and the old staple Northland Buckshot. Anglers may notice fish following but not committing, this is when anglers will want to start downsizing lures or even adding dropper chains to make it an even smaller profile.
A key component to staying on a feeding frenzy of active perch is to get the lure back down to the bottom as soon as you unhook your fish or rebait. This is where having two-rod setups ready at all times will help you put fish on the ice quicker. When you find an active school of perch, remember not to fish the bottom foot like you do with walleyes but instead fish 2-3 feet off bottom to generate some competition between the perch, trust me on this it may seem a little different at first but you will notice a big difference in bites when you start raising your lure that far off bottom.
Weather can play a key role in how the perch bite is if you have any control over when you can make a trip to Devils Lake look for a stable weather system that is around for a few days. Perch are very notorious for biting best on bright sunny days.
Lastly, have fun and check out the local bait shops in Devils Lake to learn more about the hot bites and what colors are working best when you are up fishing. Visit www.devilslakend.com to see updated fishing reports throughout the season. If you are looking to set your hook into a once-in-a-lifetime jumbo perch, then look no further than Devils Lake!