All systems are go for Saturday’s 30th annual Devils Lake Volunteer fire Department Ice Fishing Tournament. The fishing portion of the big event will be from 1 to 3:30 p.m. on Six-Mile Bay.
The ice fishing tournament is the largest event of its kind in North Dakota, and if you don’t have a ticket, better luck next year. According to Alvin Schroeder, a member of the Fire Department and one of the tourney’s organizers, the 18,000 tickets that were available for the event are gone.
Ice conditions are good, Schroeder said, and crews will be on the lake bright and early Saturday morning to drill some 5,000 holes. Fishing on Devils Lake has been excellent this winter, and that could tighten the competition for the top five prizes in the perch, walleye and pike categories.
Rising water that flooded the old parking area forced organizers to move the tournament farther east in Six-Mile Bay last winter, Schroeder said, and the holes tournament anglers will be fishing Saturday will be in depths ranging from 9 feet to 35 feet of water.
First prize is $2,000 for largest perch, walleye and pike, and prizes will be awarded for the five largest fish in each category. To make things interesting, it’s not always about the biggest fish, and this year’s tournament features a 2014 Dodge Ram truck for the third-largest perch, an ATV for the third-largest walleye and a hard shell fish house for the second-largest pike.
The forecast for the tournament isn’t bad, either. According to the National Weather Service, there’s a 30 percent chance of snow Saturday in Devils Lake with a high of 16 degrees.
The drawing for raffle prizes will be held after the tournament, beginning at 7 p.m. in the Devils Lake Memorial Building. This year’s tournament features more than $225,000 in prizes, including the grand prize of a 2014 Ford F-15 Super Crew XLT four-door pickup. Ticket holders don’t have to be present to win.
On the Web:
A link to a live broadcast of the tournament will be on the event’s website here. Photos from the tournament should be online by 5:30 p.m. Saturday and results from the raffle will be available online shortly after the drawing.