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2011-2012 Fishing Reports

Sunday, March 18 2012

Turn out the lights the party's over...The 2012 ice fishing season came to an abrupt end this past week and put an end to one of the best ice fishing seasons in the history of Perch Patrol Guide Service.  Record high temperatures all week long, wind and the lack of freezing at night, were all contributing factors that made for unsafe ice conditions on Devils Lake.  We have never seen our ice go so fast as it did this past week.  We went from driving our vehicles on Monday, to ATV's on Tuesday, to quitting on Thursday.  I talked to a few local diehards last night that were walking out yesterday (Saturday) and they said by the end of the day they could feel the ice flexing as they walked and they were all very happy to get back on shore yesterday afternoon. It is time to be done!!!  No fish is worth a potential tragedy.

We want to Thank all of our guests that made the trip to Devils Lake to fish with us this season.  We had a phenomenal season.  Not every group hammered them but a large majority of you had some pretty incredible fishing.  The perch numbers are definitely up from what they have been in the past and of course our walleye fishing and northern pike fishing is still some of the best on the planet.

We also want to encourage those of you that we had to cancel this past week.  It was one of the tougher phone calls to make because we know how much the people in your party looked forward to coming up here and fishing.  We hope you will strongly consider rescheduling for next season.

We also want to encourage all of our guests to come and fish with us this summer.  All of the guides on the Perch Patrol guide for Mitchell's Guide Service based out of Woodland Resort.  All of us run 20 foot boats and can handle groups of 2 or 3 people in our boats.  We mainly target walleyes, northern pike, and white bass.  The perch for the most part, get the summers off!

This is our last fishing report for this ice fishing season.  If you would like to continue reading fishing reports all summer long we would like to invite you to visit the Mitchell's Guide Service web site at

Again, we would like to Thank all of you for coming and fishing with us this season and we hope to see you again very soon!!!

Tuesday, March 13 2012

Well things have changed considerably since our last report.  We apologize for the delayed report and sorry there are no pics to accompany this report.  We will post them in a day or two...

For now we need to focus on the ice conditions.  In the 18 year history of the Perch Patrol Guide Service, we have never seen ice conditions deteriorate so rapidly.  Record high temperatures and 20 to 30 mph hour winds the last 4 days have taken their toll on the ice covering Devils Lake.  The other major issue is that we are not freezing at night, so we basically have a 24 hour meltdown going on here.

In the interest of safety and safety only the Perch Patrol Guide Service is calling it a year on Thursday, March 15th.  We have called the remaining groups on our schedule and if you have not heard from us yet, we will be calling you very shortly.  There is just no hope for this ice...The forecast for this Saturday is 72 degrees!!!

We are as disappointed as the rest of you, we have been enjoying one of the best years on Devils Lake for both Perch and Walleyes that we have ever seen!  We want to Thank all of you that fished with us this year and also those of you that booked a trip with us that we had to cancel.  We want to make sure we are both here next year to do it all over again.  Please be safe if you choose to venture out on the ice no matter where you live and just remember no fish is worth risking a life over...

Good Luck and God Bless!

Steve "Zippy" Dahl

Director, Perch Patrol Guide Service

Saturday, March 3 2012

Its Here!!!  March Madness is officially underway!   The schools of fish are larger, the weather is beautiful and the fishing is EXCELLENT!!!  The forecast the next 10 days is looking absolutely dynamite!  There is talk of highs in the mid to high 30s and lower 40s with not a lot of wind.  This is one of our favorite times of year.  When it is nice enough to fish outside and do a little hole hoppin, it is so much easier to stay on the schools of perch.

The past week and a half was the most winter type weather we had all winter on Devils Lake.  We seemed to experience a major front about every three days.  The fishing was a little more challenging as the perch did develop a small case of lock jaw on certain days but we also had some pretty incredible days between and on a couple of occasions during the fronts.  We have had some groups do incredibly well some others maybe struggled at times but the last couple of days the perch fishing has really picked up.

Looking through the schedule, things look very busy and it is very hard to find openings on certain days.  We are going to try and simplify things a bit and post some of the dates we do have some room.  If any of these dates work for you, give us a call and we will do our best to work your group in:  The dates not listed below are full:


Perch Patrol Hotline (701) 351-3474 

Woodland Resort (701) 662-5996.

March 11-  Room for 2

March 12 - Room for 2


March 19 - Room for 10

March 20 - Room for 12

March 21 - Room for 4

March 23 - Room for 6

March 24 - Room for 2

March 25 - Room for 4

March 26 - Room for 4

March 27 - Room for 8

March 28 - Room for 8

March 29 - Room for 8

March 30 - Room for 4

March 31 - Room for 4



Thursday, February 23 2012

Not quite as much fun to write this week's fishing report.  The tops turvy weather pattern began on Monday and the incredible perch fishing we have enjoyed so far this season went right down the crapper!  The bite since mid afternoon Monday has been darn tough.  We are still marking fish but it is very difficult to get them to bite.  The biters turned in to sniffers on us and we have not yet found another aggressive school since.  We have been all over the lake, hitting traditional spots that are normally producing this time of year but it seems to be the same sniffers every where.  The good news is that we did find a lot more spots that definitely deserve a pay back visit to in the near future when our weather stabilizes.

Without sounding too negative we want to tell you that earlier in the week and over the weekend we did enjoy some pretty incredible fishing.  We did have some groups limit out on perch and we did catch some very nice walleyes with the perch.  We are still finding most of our fish deep.  We have been still catching most of our fish on Northland Buckshot Rattlespoon tipped with a minnow head and Forage minnows have been working as well.

The ice conditions are still about the same.  Crystal clear 24 inches of ice with very little snow on it.  We have never enjoyed such easy access on Devils Lake as we have this year. 

The schedule is really booking up.  It is starting to get challenging to find room for groups that desire to fish 3 days in a row.  We do still have room but it is gradually filling up.  With February coming to a close a lot of groups are looking forward to March Madness. 

Good luck fishing this week everybody!

Wednesday, February 15  2012

Wow!  Another incredible week of fishing!  The Perch fishing has been very good this past week for both numbers and size.  We are not quite catching limits, we did have a few groups limit out but most others came pretty close.  What is most impressive is the overall size of the perch.  These are true Devils Lake Jumbos.  The kind of perch that stop you from reeling and take out a little drag on the way up!  This has been an absolute incredible ice fishing season so far and barring cold fronts and bad weather, we expect it to get better with each passing week.

The walleye fishing and pike fishing remain very strong as well.  Honestly, we haven't fished much of either with the perch fishing being so good.   We are still having our best luck on minnow heads below a Northland Buckshot Rattle spoon.  Perch eyes have been working good too.

We are still enjoying very little snow on all parts of Devils Lake.  The ice conditions have been growing as well.  We are finding 20 to 24 inches of crystal clear - premium ice.  This is good to see, we need this ice to last through the month of March.

The schedule is filling fast.  It is hard to find room on a lot of days.  We have several dates that are sold out but we do still have plenty of dates that are half to 3/4 full.  We are enjoying one of the best ice fishing seasons we have had in recent years and if you are planning a trip in late February or the month of March, you need to get this trip scheduled immediately.  We don't like turning anyone away but when we are full we are full.

Have a great week of fishing everybody.

Tuesday, February 7 2012

It has been an interesting week weather wise and the fishing has followed suit.  Towards, the beginning of the week we were pretty fogged in for the most part.  We did have some decent catches of fish but we also had some pretty slow days as well.  When the sun came back out over the weekend fishing improved dramatically.  Our concentration has shifted more to the perch but we also had some groups that fished walleyes and northern pike and as you can see from the photos below, they did have some success.

Our best perch bite has been in anywhere from 26 feet to 54 feet of water.  We have been getting some decent walleyes with the perch.  It is so fun to find schools of fish that are two to three feet thick at times, on the vexilar.  Every time we set the hook you're not real sure what its is going to be.  We are still having the best luck jigging Northland Buckshot Rattle Spoons tipped with either a minnow head or a perch eye.

Our ice conditions continue to grow.  We are finding 20 to 22 inches of ice now most everywhere.  The weather did turn cold on us today and I am sure we are growing more ice as I type this report.

To sum it all up, we had a little slower week of fishing but we did have some days and groups that were very good.  The best is still yet to come.  It has been a phenomenal season so far and Devils Lake has some of the best ice fishing conditions throughout the ice belt.  Come on up and see us...You won't be disappointed!!!  We would love to have you!

Have a great week and we hope to see you on the ice.


Tuesday, January 31 2012

The fishing on Devils Lake still remains very good.  We have had some changing weather patterns and some fronts come through since our last report.  These changing conditions definitely slowed things down but the good news is the bite did rebound quite nicely when the weather straightened out.  We have had some excellent perch days on the nice days and some very good walleye fishing as well.  With less snow on the ice this year, the perch pattern seems to revolve more around the sunshine.  In other words sunny days have been producing better perch fishing than the cloudy days.

Whether we are fishing walleyes or perch the go to lure has been the Northland Buckshot Rattle spoon tipped with a minnow head.  This has been by far out producing jigs with waxies or eurolarvea.  For the Perch we have been using the 1/16 or 1/8 oz buckshot spoons and for walleyes we have been using the 1/8 or 1/4 oz spoons.  Our best depths for perch have been anywhere from 26 to 60 feet of water.  Quite a depth range but honestly with the perch numbers on the upside the depths we are finding them are many.  Our best walleye spots have been in a number of locations as well.  We have had success along and on top of flooded roadbeds, humps, flooded points and in 6 to 8 feet of water along shorelines.

The ice conditions on Devils Lake are very good.  We are finding 18 to 20 inches pretty much everywhere now but you still have to be careful around pressure ridges and cracks.  Shallow flooded roads can be a danger zone too especially if there are old culverts and it is very important to know where they once existed.

Our schedule has kept us very busy.  With the month of February here we do have quite a bit of room available on certain days and we would love to have you.  March is filling fast and if you are planning a March trip you need to make that reservation soon or we may not have room for you.

Have a great week, be safe, and we hope to see you very soon!

Friday, January 20 2012












It has been another pretty incredible week of fishing!  We had some solid walleye fishing at the beginning of the week and we ended the week with some awesome perch fishing including today.  All this despite a major cold front during the middle of the week.  A big congratulations goes out to Matt Anderson from Forest Lake, MN on his 11 pound 1 ounce whopper club walleye!  Matt's wife Lisa bought him the 2 day Perch Express keeper package for his birthday.  Congratulations Matt and Happy Birthday!

The best walleye fishing has been on the humps both right away in the morning and right before dark.  Number 3 Northland Buckshot Rattle spoons tipped with a minnow head has been by far the go to combination.  For the Perch, we have been fishing a lot of 30 to 40 foot depths.  Number 2 Northland Buckshot Rattle spoons with smaller minnow heads or Forage minnows tipped with minnow heads have been working the best.  We have tried wax worms and maggots but the minnow heads seem to work better.

We have been on quite a roll so far this season.  It is amazing how with very little snow how much more active the fish seem to be.  Not to mention we can go places that we couldn't dream of getting to the past couple of seasons.  If you are venturing out on your own...Be careful!!!  We are not driving everywhere.  We currently have 16 to 18 inches of ice but please find out from the local bait shops where some of the late open water spots are and exercise caution when navigation around or over pressure ridges and cracks.

The schedule is filling fast.  We hope to see you on the ice!

Have a Great week Everybody.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sorry everyone for the delayed report.  Things have been very BUSY around here.  The fish are biting, the phones are ringing, emails are pouring in...It's hard to keep up!  It has been a very hectic week but the good news is the fishing has been spectacular.  When I say spectacular, I mean we are hitting on all cylinders.  Excellent Walleye fishing, Excellent Perch Fishing, Excellent Northern Pike Fishing, heck we've even caught some 3 pound White Bass.  It is hard to know where to start the day and where to end the day.  I know one thing for sure, it isn't going to stay like this forever.

We just experienced a major cold front.  Yesterday we had winds that gusted over 40 mph and this morning it was 25 below with the wind chill.  The good news is we are back in the ice making business.  We have started driving our trucks to many of the locations we are fishing.  We are finding ice in the 14 to 16 inch range.  We still have NO SNOW!!!  It sure is nice to have a season that we can go where ever we want.  If you are venturing out on your own keep your eyes peeled for pressure ridges and cracks, we do have a lot of them.  Most of the them we are able to either find a way around em or we find a flat spot that we can get across.  You should check the ice thickness if you are going to cross them with a vehicle.

Our schedule is really starting to fill up.  We do still have room available but it is getting a little more challenging finding room for larger groups.  If you are planning to fish Devils Lake this winter with the Perch Patrol, you need to put some dates together and get your group coordinated and get on our schedule immediately.  We certainly don't want you to miss out on what is shaping up to be one of our best seasons in a long time.

Have a great Week of Fishing and We hope it is with us!!!

Tuesday, January 3 2012

We hope everyone had a Happy New Year.  Another solid week of fishing on Devils Lake but it ended with our first major cold front of the season.  We had winds that gusted over 50 miles an hour on New Years Day followed by some frigid cold temperatures yesterday.  Now today back to 40 degrees.  This weather is definitely on a roller coaster ride.  The sad part is we are not building a whole lot of ice.  We are able to drive our trucks on some parts of the lake where we find 14 to 16 inches but the main lake and all parts east are still in that 10 to 12 inch range.  We are lucky to have as much ice as we currently have. 

The walleye fishing and pike fishing is still very good, the exception being the cold front we just had.  During that time the bite was very short lived, right at dark.  Most of the day it was hard to even mark a fish.  But today was significantly better, the northern pike came back to life first and the from noon on the walleyes decided to eat.  We also managed to get some perch in the same areas.  One of our guides, Tom Backer, even got a 14 3/4 inch 2 pound 2 oz. perch this past week.  Take a look at below in the photos, you won't miss it.

We are still catching the majority of our fish on Northland Buckshot Rattle spoons and Lindy Rattlin Flyer spoons tipped with minnow heads.  We are still finding most of our fish shallow in 8 to 14 feet of water.

We do still have plenty of room the rest of this week and this weekend and the fishing could not get a whole lot better.  So if you have the time and want to experience some great days on the ice...Give us a call.  From January 13th on things get crazy around here and it is getting tough to find room on certain days.

Have a Great week of fishing, and we hope to see you on the ice.

Monday, December 26 2011

We hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas.  It hardly seemed like Christmas with no snow but it was a nice break for all of us to spend some time with our families.  This past week the Perch Patrol has been continuing to enjoy some of the best walleye fishing we have ever had this time of year.  We have been fortunate enough to bring in our limits everyday but the impressive part is the average size of them.  The northern pike fishing has been nothing short of spectacular at times as well.

Our best success has been jigging Northland Buckshot Rattlespoons, Lindy Rattlin Flyer Spoons, and the Rapala Jigging Shad Rap.  All of course tipped with a minnow head.  We have been finding most of our better fishing in anywhere from 7 to 9 feet of water.

As much fun as it is to enjoy the "no snow" conditions we do need some cold weather.  Our ice conditions have not been changing much.  Currently we still are sitting at anywhere from 11 to 13 inches on the west part of the lake and 9 to 10 inches on the main lake and all parts east of it.  We have heard some reports of open water by the bridges, in front of the Pepsi Barn on the north end of 6 mile bay, and along highway 20 on the west side of Black Tiger Bay.  Why the latter of the two spots remain open is a mystery.  We do still have some waterfall in the area and perhaps they are the culprets keeping this water open.  Be careful out there and make sure you know the ice thickness you are travelling on!

We have very busy answering the Perch Patrol Hotline and the fishermen are scheduling trips.  We have a staff of 6 guides this year and it takes a lot to fill us.  We do have some sold out dates but we have a lot that are not and we would love to get your group scheduled into some of these as soon as possible.  The conditions are setting up to be the best for getting around the lake that we have seen in years and this could go down as one of the best ice fishing seasons Devils Lake has had in twenty years!  I am going to leave you with a quote from our former ND Game and Fish Director the late Dean Hildebrand..."The Good Old Days on Devils Lake are happening right now!" 

Happy Holidays Everybody!


Sunday, December 18 2011

What a great week of fishing!  This is easily shaping up to be one of the best early ice seasons on Devils Lake in the past five years.  There is ZERO snow.  Did you catch that?  Let me say that again...ZERO Snow!!! Anglers are able to go anywhere they want to fish right now and the way the walleye fishing has been this past week it's hardly even fair!  Both for numbers and size, the walleye fishing has been incredible.  We have also been catching a lot of nice northern pike and a few perch, but I have to admit we have not spent any time pursuing the perch yet. In the areas that we normally fish perch, the ice thickness has been quite a bit behind the areas that we are fishing walleyes and northerns, but it is catching up rather quickly. 

The ice conditions on the main lake, including Creel Bay, the Towers, and East Bay are nearing the 8 inch mark.  The ice on all parts west of the main lake are anywhere from 11 to 13 inches.  We are still using ATV's and are ferrying our guests out in trailers.  Makes for quite the adventure.  Christmas carols are encouraged!

Our schedule really picks up after Christmas and yes, we are guiding through the New Years Holiday.  If you want to experience some of this incredible fishing, we strongly encourage you to organize your group and make that reservation as soon as possible as things are filling in quite rapidly.  As long as we have no snow, we do have glare ice and it is VERY slippery.  We strongly encourage you and everyone in your fishing party to bring ice cleats. 

Have a great week and be safe out there!  We hope to see you very soon!


Sunday, December 11 2011


            Game ON!!!


We have ice and the fish are biting!!!  Dave Randash of the Perch Patrol along with Jay Kula and John Adams had an excellent day limiting out on Walleyes today.  Yesterday they did very well northern pike fishing but forgot to bring the camera along.  These walleyes averaged between two and three pounds and they had a couple of four pounders as well.  A fun day on the ice and they were even back in time to watch the Vikings fumble away a game winning touchdown.

Ice conditions are improving but the weather the past two days has been around 30 degrees so it hasn't made much over the weekend.  We have kind of a 2 phase ice report to tell you about.  The western and Northwestern parts of the lake have had ice for about three weeks and it is very common to find 9 to 11 inches of good ice.  The main lake and the all parts east of it just froze over last Sunday afternoon.  So on these parts of the lake it is considerable less ice but the reports we have been hearing so far are anywhere from 3 to 6 inches.

We have not done any perch fishing as of yet just because the areas where we would be more inclined to find perch does not have enough ice yet for us to be comfortable with.  We need another cold snap and the ice will grow rapidly.  We have absolutely no snow to insulate the ice and this is a good thing.  Wouldn't it be nice to grow 12 to 18 inches of ice before the snow starts to fall?  Imagine no slush issues!  I don't think we would know how to even navigate.

We would like to thank all of you that stopped by to visit us at our booth at the St. Paul Ice Fishing Show.  The show was a huge success with record crowds and we would like to doubly thank all of you that booked trips at the show and this past week.  Things are really picking up reservation wise and we want to encourage all of you who are thinking about a Perch Express trip or an outing with The Perch Patrol this winter to call and reserve this as soon as possible as dates are starting fill quite rapidly.  We are looking forward to an excellent winter on Devils Lake this season and so far mother nature is cooperating fully with holding off on all the snowfall we have experienced in years past.

Good Luck Fishing Everybody!  Have a Great week and above all be SAFE out there!

Wednesday, November 30 2011

Greetings everybody!  No ice conditions to report yet but the weather is definitely getting colder.  We had a wild and crazy summer.  The walleye fishing could not have been better.  I have fished Devils Lake all of my life and it is amazing to me how every year tops the previous one.  It really is incredible.  Lots of good news to report according to our friends at the ND Game and Fish Department the perch numbers are up!!!  We believe them too as we did catch more this summer while walleye fishing that any of us can ever remember. 


We are gearing up for the St. Paul Ice Fishing Show once again at the Excel Energy Center in downtown St. Paul.  The dates of the show are December 1,2,and 3rd.  We are again teaming up with Woodland Resort and will be answering questions and passing out our new brochures.

We are looking forward to an excellent winter.  Based on last winter's success and this summer, there should be plenty of perch, walleyes, and northern pike to chase.  Hopefully we can get a winter without 3 feet of snow covering the ice.  Oh well, if we be it.  We are more geared up than ever with mattrack machines to handle it.  We have a great staff of guides again this year and I gaurantee you there's no quit in these guys!!!

Now is the perfect time to gather your ice fishing buddies and pick a time to come and fish with us this winter.  We encourage all larger groups to call in and make your reservations early while the schedule has room.  The phones and reservations have already picked up and will continue to do so as we get winter started.  We invite you to come and fish with us...We would love to have you!

Steve "Zippy" Dahl

Director, Perch Patrol Guide Service


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