The Peluso Report: Winter’s Back Nine

Mike Peluso

By Mike Peluso

We have finally seen a bit of a warming trend up here in North Dakota. We have also seen some strong winds and major pressure changes along the way as well. All of these changes seem to shift the mood of the fish. Unfortunately, it usually means the fish get finicky.

We have had a lot of ups and downs these past few days, especially on Devils Lake. The perch are there, but they are definitely negative. When you get one to bite however, it’s usually on the large side! The problem is they are kind of few and far between for us.

With the perch being in a bad mood, we have concentrated our efforts more towards the walleyes. The one thing to focus on with the walleyes this time of year is that our days are getting longer, this makes for more of an early and later evening bite. It is hard to keep the walleyes feeding all day long unless you have heavy overcast conditions. We are using larger baits to try and draw the fish in. Again, they are not actively feeding all day long and you need to entice them to you.

Overall, if you work hard and grind your areas, you will end up with a decent days’ catch. I anticipate the bite to pick up here soon. Ice fishing, no matter where you are in this country, always goes through the lull of the winter blues. When the light switch comes on though, look out because these fish put the feed bag on heavy!

This is also the time of year where some of the smaller slough lakes across North Dakota catch fire! In fact, some are popping pretty good right now for both perch and walleyes.

I do have admit we are on the back nine of the ice fishing season. For me this means I’ll be shifting gears as soon as I’m done up here on Devils Lake in mid-March and transitioning to the open water of the Missouri River near Bismarck. If you are looking for big walleyes, that is the place to be! In fact, I have hired two extra guides for this upcoming spring. Get ahold of me if you are looking to get on the open water in April and May at a chance of fish of a lifetime!

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

Featured Photo: Anglers are targeting the more aggressive walleyes on Devils Lake by drawing them in with active baits and converting with other more subtle offerings and presentations. DEO Photo by Mike Peluso.

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