The Peluso Report: Hardwater Hunting

Mike Peluso

By Mike Peluso

Ice fishing remains pretty good all over the state of North Dakota. Many of the northern and eastern sloughs continue to produce. Some of these bodies of water are well known, while others are not. In order to keep all my friends, I will not name the ones I know or have been told are red hot right now. It’s no secret I’m personally fishing Devils Lake, and it wouldn’t be my place to let the cat out of the bag on the names of lakes I’m not fishing. I will say this, if you do a little game and fish research, I think you will find some really good North Dakota slough action!

Now on to Devils Lake where ice fishing overall has been good. We are finally finding decent enough ice in that 10-to-12-inch average, but still remember a spot or two will have less, in order to get around a little more safely. We will have to watch out for the ice ridges, cracks and heaves, but another major battle we will be facing here in the very near future is snow! Access and just getting around Devils Lake could prove to get extremely tricky here. We already have a decent amount of snow on the lake, and this next round could be crippling. We will see.

Not much has changed as far as the fishing goes. The perch have been hanging in the old sloughs of the lake in 20-to-29 feet of water. Tungsten lures with spikes and waxies are working for the finicky ones. The more active and bigger perch are hitting spoons and Northland Buck-Shot spoons with waxies and/or minnow heads. They are roaming around so you have to be willing to move and drill lots of holes.

The walleyes have been a little tougher for me personally as of late. We are actually catching the bulk of our walleyes while fishing for perch. They must be chasing the same forage at the moment. Another issue we had recently was the full moon. Devils Lake walleyes and a full moon usually don’t see eye to eye. They bite best during the full moon during the daytime. This is weird since Devils Lake walleyes are usually early morning and late evening biters. Recently that bite hasn’t been as consistent. Rattle baits like the PK Lures Ridge Ratt’r and Rapala Jigging Raps are getting the aggressive eyes. A Northland Buck-Shot spoon tipped with a minnow head is still hard to beat day in and day out.

Again, my reports are more of a general starting point. Not waypoints, not actual spots, just general ideas with some of the conditions I am seeing personally to help folks out. For all you that appreciate these reports, I want to say thank you!

I have only a couple openings left for this winter. Feel free to get ahold of me if you are looking for a trip. I’m also booking trips as we speak for the spring river bite near Bismarck and on Lake Sakakawea for this coming summer. It’s been a great 2021 fishing season! Happy New Year to everyone!

Mike Peluso is a Dakota Edge Outdoors contributing writer and a licensed ND fishing guide specializing in walleyes on the state’s premier waters.

Featured Photo: Aggressive walleyes are hitting offerings like the PK Lures Ridge Rattl’r (pictured) and the Northland Buck-Shot rattle spoon tipped with a minnow head on Devils Lake this time of year. DEO Photo by Mike Peluso.

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