This 2014 spring has been late, wet and cool in some parts of the state but open water fishing opportunities are in full swing. Devils Lake traditionally offers some tremendous walleye fishing for shore anglers early in the season, particular springs where there is some heavy runoff coming into the lake. The heavier runoff causes fish to run up the coulees and ditches where they get concentrated for anglers casting from shore. Because the Devils Lake basin did have much less snow this past season than past years, some anglers speculated that there would not be enough runoff to concentrate fish. While Devils Lake is not expected to rise dramatically this season, there is enough moving water right now where anglers are doing well all the way beyond Cando on the Mauvais Coulee.
For many anglers, this is the best fishing of the season because it is accessible. There are many locations where anglers can fish from shore. This doesn't take much equipment and is a great opportunity to get kids out fishing. Focus on culverts, bridges and current breaks along any primary channel that has moving water. Move around until you find some fish. Many anglers cast jigs with grub bodies or twister tails. Soft plastic swim baits like Northland Tackle Mimic Minnows are popular. At times, shallow running crank baits work well. Some anglers will also use a slip bobber and leech.
For anglers looking to get out and experiencing some of the best shore fishing for walleyes available anywhere, be conscience of blocking traffic. Farmers will be moving equipment soon and will need to use the roads. Remember that while the road is public, the land next to the road is usually private. Some landowners who used to allow access for shore anglers have now posted their land because of littering. Be conscience of the people who live in the area, be respectful to landowners who in some cases have lost several acres of land to a rising lake and make sure that roads have enough right of way for large farm equipment.
This spring is on fire right now for walleyes but northern pike and white bass also add to the spring run excitement. Because fish are concentrated, anglers can experience some incredible fishing. This type of fishing does take some restraint from the angler. Target the smaller walleyes for eating and release the large females that can be so common at this time. There are not many locations in the Midwest where anglers can experience this type of fishing and catch this quality of fish with such little equipment. No boat, no worries, you just have to get out and do it.