Dakota Country Magazine October 2016 Edition - Page 78

Walleyes Catch rates up in Devils Lake netting surveys A As if the Devils Lake walleye populations wasn’t rated one of the best in the Midwest, last summer’s fisheries netting surveys proved, “All size groups had a bump in catch rates,” according to area biologist Todd Caspers. The total number of walleyes caught per net this year was 24, compared to 18 last season, a 33 percent increase. “The above-average catch of big fish indicates these year-classes are doing pretty good,” he said. Also, the up-and-coming class of 15to 20-inchers is above average, with eight per net compared to six on average over many years of research. Fisheries crews spread 39 nets at 15 designated locations. To supplement what might be lower than normal walleye hatches the past two years, Caspers and crew stocked 1.7 million walleye fingerlings recently. Local guides tell the world that the Devils Lake walleye fishery is one of the most diverse in the country. There’s unlimited structure from shallow weeds to hundreds of shoreline miles, plus flooded roadbeds, mid-depth flats and deep humps. This prairie lake is unique, because as Devils Lake gained more than 20 feet in depth over the past 30 years, all the exposed rocky shorelines that were created as the water rose still offer thousands of miles of “underwater shorelines.” Guide and world walleye champion Johnnie Candle (johnnie@gondtc.com) said, “Walleyes utilize nearly all the habi- Devils Lake guide, Johnnie Candle Page 78, Dakota Country, October 2016 www.dakotacountrymagazine.com