Rookie On Tour – PWT Devils Lake 2006



The Outdoor Channel/Berkley Pro-am is over. It was quite the experience. It was walleye fishing that I have never experienced before. Trees, trees, and more trees. Areas of the lake, in 30ft of water going full throttle, then all of a sudden you have a stump right in your line of travel. With that said, I can’t wait to go back. Devil’s Lake is a heck of a fishery.

Pre-fishing

After a few mishaps, my prefishing went pretty good. I had a couple incidents with my trolling motor that were my fault that kept me off the water for at least half a day.

The first day of pre-fish I was lucky enough to get a partner in the boat, that fishes Devil’s Lake 4-5 times a week. He showed me some very productive areas. It was a lot to get used to. We were casting crankbaits, weaving in and out of trees, getting hung up very often. FireLine is a necessity out there, unless you want to want to retie often and lose a lot of crankbaits. I believe I only lost two cranks for the 10 days I was out there.

The days leading up to the tournament, I did a lot of casting crankbaits, trolling lead core, and slipbobbering. I found some areas slipbobbering, but I failed to go to those areas until the last half a day on day 3. That was my biggest mistake.

I had a few good areas where I picked up some good fish. I felt I could get 15lbs a day, without a kicker, with the program I had. Throw in a kicker, and I could weigh 18-20lbs a day.

Day 1

Day 1 started with driving the 15 miles in a steady rain. I went to my first area, couldn’t pick up a fish in the first hour, I moved to another area. We picked up a couple 16’s right away. We put those in the box. We could keep 7 fish and weigh 5. With those two 16’s I just wanted to be able to weigh fish, not knowing how the weather would affect my bite.

That was all we got in that area. We went to an area I knew there were big fish. The sun came out and the fish started biting. In the first 5 minutes my co-angler had a 20. Right after that we had a 24 inch walleye that weighed 7.25lbs. One thing about the fish out there. They are very fat and healthy.

Then the walleyes started following the lures up to the boat, they were comparable to the 7lb’er that we had in the boat. I have experienced follow up’s with muskies, but never with walleyes. I was getting very frustrated seeing all the big eyes following up to the boat. I had to try something, the next follow I had, I could see the fish had an orange jig in its mouth. When it got about 10ft from the boat, I put the rod tip in the water, went from one side of the boat, around the bow to the other side, still nothing. I started figure eighting. The fish came up and nailed the crankbait, but I missed it.

We ended up throwing some 17’s back, which ended up haunting me. The dark clouds started rolling in; guys were calling the PWT on the radio, trying to see if there were any bad storms around the area. It got pretty ugly out there, I decided to leave. I didn’t want to get caught in a bad storm out there. We made the run back in a downpour. Pulled in to some trees around Grahams Island and did some slipbobbering for the next hour. We picked up a lot of fish, just not the right size. I ended up weighing just over 14 pounds, weighing those two 16 inchers.

Day 2

I was pretty excited about going to the area where we pulled that 7lb’er out of. I thought I could pull a big weight out of there, knowing what to do with the follows. There was one problem, it was overcast and because of the wave action, I couldn’t see down in the water very far.

We ended up with 1 19incher out of there. I made the decision to make a run south of Graham’s Island, around a point. I had picked up some decent fish in the area, but nothing big. The first 5 casts we had fish on, we put a 19 and a 17 ½ in the box. We picked up a lot of fish from the area. The shoreline to out about 100 yards was all trees, but there were pockets where I could get up to the shoreline. The areas were wide enough to where I could get my Tracker 21 Tundra into. We would cast into 2ft of water, that’s where the fish were. We picked up 2 or 3 fish every time through the areas, but nothing big. I ended up with 10 1/2lbs for day 2.

There were a lot of big baskets brought in on day 2, I knew they were slipbobbering; I need to make a decision on what tactic to use on day 3. What will I do?

Day 3

We woke up to high winds on day 3. I needed at least 20lbs to cash a check. I decided to cast cranks again on day 3, what a mistake. We went to some of the same areas I was in on days 1 and 2. We couldn’t pick up a fish. I told my co-angler we were going slipbobbering. I had a couple areas in Pelican Lake that I had prefished and picked up some decent fish.

The first area I moved into, I realized then that I made the wrong decision on day 2. There were 17 boats in this area, on day 2 they were the guys with the big weights. We didn’t pick up a fish in the area, but we did see a few large fish caught. I had one other area to slipbobber in Pelican. I was pulling into my area, when a local angler cut me off. We went 50 yards south of him.
I was tying up the boat to a tree, when my co-angler said get the net. He picked up 3 fish before I had my lines in the water.
The gentleman that was fishing in front of us picked up a 24 right after that. I was encouraged by the fish we picked up and what the gentleman in front of us caught. We caught a lot of fish from the area; we just couldn’t get any large ones. Day 3 was my early day; I had to be in at 3:15. I ended up weighing 11.5 lbs.

I ended up in 78th place, I improved from the last tournament, but it’s still not where I would like to be. I made some bad decisions on what tactics and areas to fish. Never fishing Devil’s Lake before, I am encouraged that I was able to find the quality fish, I just didn’t fish the areas when I should have.

If you have never fished Devil’s lake, it is one lake you should put on your list to go to. The northern fishing is also unbelievable. One place I would suggest to stay at is Woodland Resort, Kyle, the owner was more than willing to help me with the problems I had with my trolling motor. The grounds are well kept, very clean.

I have a lot of ground to make up in the next two tournaments, but I think I can do it.

Good fishing,
Eric Schuelke