- Devils Lake, Part 2: Legend of the Lake Monster
- Walleye, Northern Pike, Crappie, lots of fish here
- Lures and Baits of all sorts Catch Fish on Devils Lake
By Bob Holzhei
Early European-Americans termed the lake “Bad Spirit Lake” because of high salinity water, making it unfit to drink. With summer, mirages were often seen across the water and the lake was referred to as “Spirit Lake,” as reflected in the Spirit Lake Indian Tribe.
Published reports of a “Lake Monster” date as far back as 1894, while Native American legends go back much further about a Loch Ness serpent in Devil’s Lake.
Whether fact or fiction, stories of the Devil’s Lake Monster have been reportedly sighted and recounted in many newspapers, including the New York Sun in 1984, the Bismarck Tribune in 1895 and the Wichita Beacon in 1904.
All descriptions of the serpent indicate it has alligator jaws and glaring red eyes, a tail stretching to 80 feet long and it usually appears at sunset during August. The serpent moves slowly, often seen about a half mile from shore and reported to circle the lake twice a day. A slimy green color, the serpent’s motion sends gentle surface waves along from head to tail with the wake visible as it pushes along.
Early accounts of the Devil’s Lake Monster may be sensationalized accounts reported in newspapers in order to draw tourists to the area. Whether fact or fiction, my camera did accompany me on a guided fishing trip to Devil’s Lake in August. Today I can attest that our guide did fish more than a half mile from the mainland shore. Hmmmm.
While we chuckled about the fabled monster chronicles, Devils Lake in North Dakota is an angler’s dream and is open to fishing all year long. Ice fishing is especially fun here with heated huts and the aroma of smoked sausage on the grill.
No matter the time of year, multiple species here keep every angler in action for most of the fishing day. Foot-long perch are common, walleye in all-sizes – from eaters to wall hangers are the usual resident and non-resident angler focus, northern pike ranging from 5 to 10 pounds are the largest predator fish, while white bass, panfish (crappie and bluegill) and trout, provide a variety of fishing opportunities at Devil’s Lake. It’s fun to fish here.
A variety of popular fishing strategies include slip bobber fishing, rigging, jigging, casting, trolling with crankbaits and enticing hungry fish with bottom-bouncers when the usual hot bite is off, which is not very often. We caught over 50 walleye each day of our fishing.
The Devil’s Lake Basin is the second largest body of water in North Dakota after Lake Sakakawea. Once the lake reaches a high level of 1,458 feet, it flows into the Sheyenne and Red Rivers, though overflow occurred only twice in the last 4,000 years. Historically the area is the site of the Dakota people who relocated there as a result of The 1867 Treaty with the United States.
The lake stretches over 380 square miles with an average maximum depth of about 47 feet. Lots of room for fish and fishermen, and the Devils Lake monster.
Hold onto your rod. You never know, you could become a legendary friend.
For more info on where to stay or who to call for guide services, contact: https://www.ndtourism.com/cities/devils-lake.