UPCOMING EVENT: FLW Pro Circuit - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Devils Lake domination

Devils Lake domination
Pro Jason Feldner (right) and co-angler Don Karlgaard caught a five-fish limit Saturday weighing 15 pounds, 13 ounces. Each won their respective divisions.

DEVILS LAKE, N.D. - As a full time guide, Jason Feldner spends over 200 days a year on Devils Lake, his favorite body of water. To say he's in tune with its seasonal walleye migration is a severe understatement. But when the ice finally receded on Devils this spring, even he struggled with the high-water conditions.

After coming up empty in his traditional honeyholes, Feldner finally gave up and began treating Devils as a new body of water. Some of his favorite trees had been ripped away by the ice and other productive areas suddenly had an additional five feet of water on them. It took some time, but the Minnewaukan, N.D., native finally figured it out. He started putting his clients on good fish and then a few months later the FLW Walleye Tour rolled into town.

Most of the Tour pros started practice by returning to their favorite trees. Just like Feldner and other locals learned months earlier, this is a different Devils Lake. The bobber bite was off altogether and the crankbait bite was just so-so.

Feldner was dialed in from the start. On day one he caught a limit weighing 17 pounds, 15 ounces - taking over a lead he would never relinquish. Days two and three were more difficult, but he still Pro winner Jason Feldner holds up his trophy. managed sizeable stringers - 15-2 and 15-13 to be precise.

"I was pulling Lindy spinners in Pelican Lake in 9 to 12 feet of water," said Feldner. "The blades I'm using just came out at ICAST a few weeks ago. Bluegill, perch and fathead minnow were my main three patterns. Fathead minnow was better in the sun and perch and bluegill were good when it was cloudy."

Earlier in the week, Feldner also mixed in the new Lindy Shadling, but on the final day all of his keepers came on the spinners. Behind those blades was a two-hook crawler harness.

"I was fishing the bottom of the water column and trolling at approximately 1 to 1.5 mph."

The bite was slow early Saturday. In fact, Feldner's first two spots, the same areas that produced nearly all of his opening-round weight, were void of fish.

"We had nothing in the livewell at 11 a.m. Then we moved to our third spot, a spot I'd been saving for the finals, and finally we found active fish. We had one 400- to 500-yard stretch where we caught all eight. At about noon, the big kicker hit. In those two hours, I bet we caught 20 or so. Once they turn on, they turn on. And you've got to be in the right place at the right time."

With the addition of optional pot money the 37-year-old earned $17,750.

For more information on his guide service, visit www.percheyes.com.

"Once I saw 15 pounds come up on the screen, all my anxiety just seeped out. It was such a nerve-wracking day."

Larson second

Running virtually the same program and fishing the same areas as Feldner, pro Scott Larson finished second with a total weight of 46 pounds, 10 ounces. Larson's final-day stringer weighed 14 pounds, 15 ounces.

"My goal coming in was 15 pounds a day and we exceeded that," said Larson, the Mayville, N.D., native. "The first two days it was easy, but today was tough. They weren't in our primary areas, but once we'd find them, we'd get doubles and then spin around and get another one."

In addition to traditional spinners, Larson also used Slow Death along the weedline. He noted that the best areas were where the bank transitioned from gravel to sand.

"The schools of fish I found were all solid 18- to 22-inchers. I'm afraid not getting a big bite cost me (the win)."

For second place, Larson earned $12,286 thanks to Ranger and Evinrude contingencies.Cabela

McQuoid third

Outside of Feldner and Larson, the rest of the top 10 struggled in Saturday's heat and humidity. Kevin McQuoid caught only a 12-pound, 13-ounce stringer, his lightest of the week, yet rose from eighth to third. The Cabela's pro finished with a three-day weight of 41 pounds, 5 ounces, earning $10,240.

Like the first- and second-place pros, McQuoid pulled spinners outside of the weeds. He used a 1 1/2-ounce bottom bouncer, a 6-foot leader and night crawlers. On the final day, he caught and threw back numerous cookie-cutter 19-inchers.

"The bobber bite is not there, the casting bite isn't quite there so we trolled spinners along the weed edge."

National Guard pro Mark Courts and co-angler Bryan Bayerkohler hold up four nice Devils Lake walleyes.Courts fourth

Devils Lake has always been a special body of water for Courts. Years ago, when the Walleye Tour visited Devils in June, Courts would tie off to a few of his favorite trees and wait for five of the right bites. But those days are long gone so Courts had to adjust. Not surprisingly, he did so by pulling bottom bouncers along shoreline breaks.

"We worked the tree lines and the outside of the weeds trying to find active fish," the National Guard pro said. "The key was just covering water."

After three 11th place finishes since last year's championship, Courts was very happy to back in the top 10.

"I love this lake; I really do. To get back in the top 10, especially at Devils, means a lot."

Courts caught some of the right fish early and never was able to put No. 8 in the box. His day-three limit weighed 12 pounds, 5 ounces and pushed his total weight to 41-4.

The Harris, Minn., native earned $6,024 thanks to Ranger and Evinrude contingencies.

Pro Gary Maher and co-angler William Drake caught five walleyes Saturday weighing 12 pounds, 3 ounces.Maher rises to fifth

Menoken, N.D., pro Gary Maher rose from ninth to fifth on the strength of a day-three limit weighing 12 pounds, 3 ounces. Maher finished the tournament with a total weight of 40 pounds, 11 ounces, earning $5,534 with contingencies and optional pot money.

"It was a slow morning," he said. "We were pretty much done fishing by 10 a.m. the first two days but today we had zero at 10. We kept at it and eventually ran into some fish."

Like most, Maher was dragging spinners along the weed edge.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 pro finalists at the FLW Walleye Tour event on Devils Lake:

6th: Paul Meleen of Isle, Minn., 40-4 (three-day total), $1,893 + $746 optional pot + $1,500 Evinrude bonus
7th: Tommy Skarlis of Waukon, Iowa, 40-1, $1,623 + $1,500 Evinrude bonus
8th: Eric Olson of Red Wing, Minn., 39-5, $1,352 + $1,500 Evinrude bonus
9th: Chad Schilling of Akaska, S.D., 34-2, $1,082
10th: Chris Burns of Davenport, Iowa, 31-8, $811 + $1,500 Evinrude bonus

The 2010 FLW Walleye Tour regular season has concluded. Up next is the year-end championship, held Sept.22-25 on Leech Lake in Walker, Minn.

Tags: brett-carlson  headline-story  2010-07-29-devils-lake 

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