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Organizers adapt one-day format for Devils Lake Chamber Walleye Tournament

Tournament director Johnnie Candle said the change was made to accommodate the schedules of tournament anglers.

DL Chamber 1.jpg
Boats launch at the start of a Devils Lake Chamber of Commerce Walleye Tournament in this undated photo.
Contributed/Devils Lake Tourism

DEVILS LAKE – The 47th annual Devils Lake Chamber of Commerce Walleye Tournament will be a one-day event this year, organizers said Thursday. The popular fishing contest will be held Friday, June 23, with Saturday, June 24, reserved as a “weather day” if needed.

Tournament director Johnnie Candle said the change was made to accommodate the schedules of tournament anglers. Last year, the two-day tournament was reduced to just one day because of high winds.

“Some may call it a one-day shoot-out, but after fishing hundreds of major league tournaments myself, I know the competitors will work hard to locate and catch fish,” said Candle, a Devils Lake fishing guide, tournament angler and educator. “They’ll do it for one-day of fishing instead of two.”


Tournament organizers surveyed past teams and learned that time, travel and expenses were all important when making decisions to enter, Candle said.

“We will continue to provide the best experience for participants,” he said.


As in previous tournaments, the community will host a special complimentary meal during the rules meeting Thursday, June 22. Entry fee is $275 per team, with a guaranteed first prize of $6,500 and the same payout as previous tournaments.

The Chamber tournament has been one of the area's most anticipated events of the year, said Suzie Kenner, executive director of Devils Lake Tourism. The tournament committee took into account the recommendations and feedback from contestants for the new one-day format, she said.

“The amount of great prizes donated by the business community makes this tournament unique,” she said. “These prizes plus all the cash are unbelievable and create some very happy fishermen.”

The current level of entries is actually ahead of past years, organizers said. Boat numbers and take-off order on tournament day will be based on the date entries are received, with Grahams Island State Park as tournament headquarters. Early bird deadline is March 31, and all entries postmarked by then will go into a drawing in which five teams will receive a full refund of entry fees. Enter at devilslakend.com or call (701) 662-4903.

“Devils Lake is one of those places where the lake is almost a ‘new’ lake every year,” Candle said. “It changes. Last year, it came up more than 3 feet. With all the snow on the ground, it will come up 1 or 2 feet this spring.”

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