In the fall hundreds of thousands of waterfowl migrate through the area and give both local and visiting hunters outstanding hunting opportunities. "Devils Lake, ND is a waterfowler's mecca. The snow goose hunting is beyond comparison...and ducks? Let me put it this way... I can't imagine an area on the continent that's better, and, the big lake offers the best diver duck hunting I've ever seen." - Tony Dean, Outdoor Celebrity
Devils Lake is right in the middle of the Prairie Pot Hole Region raising more ducks than anywhere else in the United States and waterfowl migrate through the area by the millions. Devils Lake is approximately 135,000 acres, with literally hundreds of miles of flooded timber and pasture lined shore. This habitat, combined with the abundant fresh water shrimp, is like a bluebill magnet. The other thing that makes this place special is that it is almost completely ignored by local hunters. Very few North Dakota hunters consider divers a desirable bird. Local hunters prefer field hunting for snow geese, mallards and pintails.
Devils Lake is OPEN for Public Hunting! This should give you a lot of security, knowing you will have a place to hunt , when planning your trip.
When is the best time to hunt Devils Lake? The first couple of weeks of the season is outstanding. You will already see plenty of divers on the lake but you will also see the greatest variety of birds. Weather is usually very good so it is a great time to bring novice or young hunters. Next choice is the beginning of November. Late season hunting is for experienced hunters. Pot holes are frozen and the big water holds huge numbers of both divers and puddlers. Both of these times see the least hunting pressure.
Devils Lake is a big lake, where do I start looking for concentrations of birds?
You will not believe it until you see it but there is excellent hunting in every major bay on Devils Lake. Tony Dean has the best advice for people new to the area, use your vehicle and a good pair of binoculars to spot concentrations of birds on the lake and plan your hunt accordingly. Watch for wind changes it will change the bird movement in any area.
How many decoys do I need?
In other parts of the country the saying, "more is better", when it comes to decoy numbers is true. On Devils Lake smaller numbers of decoys is often an advantage. Most of the time the birds are not decoy shy like in heavily hunted areas. Weather changes often in North Dakota so be prepared to move to where the birds want to be and you will have much greater success. The best duck callers are the guys that know where to set their decoys. It makes their calling look good, but the truth is, the birds wanted to be there anyway. Your decoy anchor lines should be at least 20' long as the water depth is deep on the edge of the flooded timber.
What size boat do I need to hunt Devils Lake?
Depending on your experience, smaller boats can be used but you have to remember that this is big water and it does not take much wind to create some big rollers. You can use your fishing boat if you buy some camouflage to break up its silhouette. The ducks do not see a lot of pressure on the lake so they react more to movement than they do to a boat tied up to timber or brush. Remember to bring a couple of anchors to help stabilize your boat in deeper water.
You promote diver hunting on Devils Lake but I like Mallards, are they on the lake as well?
At different times of the season mallards are more numerous than the divers. There are areas on this lake that hold excellent numbers of mallards, pintails, gadwalls, teal and every other specie that travels this flyway. The key to success is to target which specie you want and than find the cover they prefer. Puddlers like secluded, wind protected bays that are shallow. The divers are more at home in the deeper more open water.
I hear that a lot of snow geese migrate through your area, is Devils Lake a good place to hunt them?
There are millions of geese that travel through our area but the lake just does not hold many birds. They prefer smaller, more shallow water, that offers them good visibility to see potential predators. Sloughs were Snows can stand are their favorite over-night resting areas. We have been seeing an increase in the numbers of Canadian Geese using the lake.
What if it is to rough on the lake to hunt, are there other areas to hunt?
Devils Lake is right in the middle of what is known as the duck factory.This high water should allow plenty of hunting opportunities in the pot holes that are all over this area. During Mid-October some of these spots get hit pretty hard both by our local hunters and non-residents so hunting can be tough. During the late season (November) the big water may be the only water that is not frozen. Field hunting during this time of the year can be outstanding as the ducks need to eat more during this time of the year.
Address: 5 mi W of Devils Lake on Hwy 20
Come visit us in North Dakota, North Dakota