S.D. angler leads Cabela’s NWT championship on Devils Lake

Walleye pro Chad Schilling of Akaska, S.D., weighed in five walleyes for 31.18 pounds — better than a 6-pound average — to lead the pack after Thursday’s first day of the Cabela’s National Walleye Tour championship on Devils Lake.

A total of 77 pro anglers and 77 amateur co-anglers are fishing the tournament, which continues Friday. The top 10 pros and co-anglers after Friday will face off Saturday for the championship. Grahams Island State Park is tournament headquarters.

Rounding out the top five were:

  • Second: Scott Larson, Mayville, N.D., 27.52 pounds, five walleyes.
  • Third: Ed Stachowski, Canton, Mich., 26.41 pounds, five walleyes.
  • Fourth: Paul Steffen, Pierre, S.D., 25.14 pounds, five walleyes.
  • Fifth: Rick Olson, Mina Lake, S.D., 22.46 pounds, five walleyes.

Co-anglers fishing with the top five pros were, from first to fifth: Mike Utley, Zumbrota, Minn.; Clint Glass, Colorado Springs, Colo.; Scott Cisewski, Stevens Point, Wis.; Jimmy Cox, Bono, Ark; and John Hoyer, Orono, Minn.

Brian Brosdahl, a northern Minnesota fishing guide and ice fishing promoter who’ll be featured in a story on the Herald’s Sunday Outdoors section cover, was in 37th place after the first day, with four walleyes for 13.22 pounds.

For a full listing of day one results, click here.

Fishing with “Bro”

I had a chance to spend Monday with Brian “Bro” Brosdahl, who is prefishing for the Cabela’s National Walleye Tour Championship that gets underway Thursday on Devils Lake. The three-day tourney continues through Saturday, and Grahams Island State Park is tournament headquarters.

Brian "Bro" Brosdahl admires a walleye he caught Monday on Devils Lake. (Brad Dokken photo)

Brian “Bro” Brosdahl admires a walleye he caught Monday on Devils Lake. (Brad Dokken photo)

One of the best-known faces in the fishing industry, the burly Brosdahl is a northern Minnesota fishing guide and product pitchman.

Bro and I go back some 15 years, having fished together numerous times since the early 2000s. He’s always good for a story and a quote. Best of all, he knows how to put fish in the boat.

Tournament fishing is a competitive game so I won’t give any details on our fishing Monday, other than to say we caught some walleyes, and Brosdahl learned enough to know where he’ll be spending his time when the tournament starts.

I’ll have a profile on Brosdahl, who lives in Max, Minn., with his wife, Heather, running in Sunday’s Northland Outdoors section. Tournament results won’t be available before the story goes to press, so I’ll be focusing on Brosdahl the person and fisherman more than Brosdahl the tournament angler. Be sure to check it out.

In other tournament news, the last TESTRIDE event featuring Ranger boats and Evinrude outboards will be on Devils Lake from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday offering test rides in the decked-out boats.

TESTRIDE is free and open to the public, and the first 50 attendees who take a TESTRIDE receive a free logoed gift.

Click here for more details.

Lake Alice to open for ice fishing

Ice fishing enthusiasts in the Devils Lake region will have even more water to explore this winter.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Tuesday that Lake Alice will be open to ice fishing beginning this winter. A proposal to open the lake to ice fishing has been in the works for the past year or so.

Lake Alice, which covers about 11,000 acres, is the centerpiece of Lake Alice National Wildlife Refuge.

Matt Sprenger, project leader of the service’s Devils Lake Wetland Management District, said Lake Alice will be open to ice fishing as soon as ice conditions permit. Access will mostly be through section line rights of way that terminate in the lake or via adjacent Lake Irvine, Sprenger said.

In addition, ice fishing only will be permitted from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sprenger said, which means permanent houses or other shelters that can be left overnight will not be allowed. That’s basically to minimize garbage and litter that sometimes results from overnight ice fishing activities, he said.

The Lake Region Anglers Association spent more than three years working with the Service on plans to open the federal refuge to ice fishing.

“Folks view it as an untapped fishery even though those fish move back and forth,” Sprenger said. “But obviously, there are several thousand acres that haven’t been fished.”

The Service’s announcement Tuesday also expanded fishing opportunities at three easement refuges in the Devils Lake Wetland Management District — Lake Ardoch, Rose Lake and Silver Lake. The new opportunities go into effect Wednesday when they are published in the Federal Register, Sprenger said. A closer look:

Lake Ardoch: Open to shore fishing and ice fishing.

Rose Lake: Will be open to shore fishing and ice fishing. Sprenger said parts of Rose Lake that are interconnected with Devils Lake also will be open to boats.

Silver Lake: Will be open to boat fishing until Oct. 1 each year and then will be closed through ice-up to serve as a migratory bird sanctuary.