KFAN's "The Captain" Billy Hildebrand and Devils Lake guide Aaron McQuoid show off the day's catch

KFAN's "The Captain" Billy Hildebrand and Devils Lake guide Aaron McQuoid show off the day's catch

I traveled to Devils Lake, North Dakota with my good friend "The Captain" Billy Hildebrand of FAN Outdoors radio last week for a pair of live radio broadcasts (available by podcast). What we found was an incredibly healthy fishery and the epicenter of North America's duck factory. 
KFAN's Billy Hildebrand prefers bucketmouths, but had fun using bass tactics for walleyes

KFAN's Billy Hildebrand prefers bucketmouths, but had fun using bass tactics for walleyes

 
 
The Fishing
I like to fish, but I prefer to catch. Consequently, you can typically find my boat alongside a patch of lillypads focused on top-water bass or spawning sunnies. In Devils Lake, pro angler and outdoor television personality Jason Mitchell proved even my rudimentary angling skills could boat walleyes.   
Jason Mitchell with a devil of a walleye

Jason Mitchell with a devil of a walleye

 
 
In addition to "Ol' Marble Eyes," we had a lot of pike action with Aaron McQuoid, our guide on Friday. Aaron, formerly a guide on Mille Lacs, now makes his living putting visiting anglers on top of limits of Devils Lake walleye year round. One thing I believe McQuoid understates is his ability to also put anglers on pike; lots of big pike. If a 20-pound northern is on your bucket list, then drop Aaron an email at fishon@mcquoidguides.com.
Guide Aaron McQuoid knows how to find northerns lots bigger than this one

Guide Aaron McQuoid knows how to find northerns lots bigger than this one

 
Throughout our two days of fishing, we focused on 4 to 6 feet of water along shorelines to catch fish. When casting, I used shallow running Rapala Husky Jerks and Flat Raps with the majority of my strikes occurring while the lure was paused. 
 
One final fishing nugget: if you don't own a boat, Devils Lake might be the perfect destination for you. Not only are there countess miles of the lake open to shore fishing, you can legitimately hope to have as much success as anglers floating in boats with lots of fish habitat within a cast of dry land.
 
The Duck Factory
While I enjoyed the fishing on Devils Lake, I couldn't help but wish I was visiting during October. I have never seen as many ducks or a wider variety of duck species in my life. In particular, I was amazed at the populations of pintails, bluebills and red heads. It would certainly appear waterfowl are experiencing prime nesting conditions this spring in NoDak. Wish I could say the same about pheasants and sharp-tailed grouse.
 
So, how does one solve the Devils Lake Dilemma? Get your calendar out. Find some available time in October to spend the morning duck hunting and the afternoon hauling in monster walleyes into the boat.
Even a bird hunter can be a walleye commander on Devils Lake

Even a bird hunter can be a walleye commander on Devils Lake

 
I Wanna Go Needs to Know
Woodland Resort: Owner Kyle Blanchfield takes great pride in making every inch of Woodland feel like a "shiny penny," and goes to even greater lengths in making every guest feel like a long lost family member returning home for a reunion. He's also an avid duck hunter eager to talk about cupping wings.
 
McQuoid Outdoors: Owner Aaron McQuoid is based on the western end of Devils Lake in the small town of Minnewaukan, where his wife Trish is the town's mayor. Not only does Aaron know where the fish live on Devils Lake and is willing to take you to them, he also has two rentals available for the visiting group of anglers or waterfowl hunters. Aaron also has some tasty fish recipes. Ask him about 7-UP Pike!
 
Mitchell's Guide Service: You'd be hard pressed to find a nicer, softer spoken and knowledgeable walleye angler than Jason Mitchell. He's eager to teach you the latest techniques for hooking walleyes and he knows all the "secret" spots.
 
The Perch Express: Head Perch, Zippy Dahl, is known across the Midwest as the guy who can put 2- pound perch in your ice shack, but he also spends his summers working with Jason Mitchell out of Woodland Resort guiding walleye anglers.
 
 
The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever's Vice President of Marketing. Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre.

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