The Devils Lake and Lake of the Woods visitors centers are ceasing cutting bait and commencing to get after it. Rod tip to rod tip, auger to auger, ice house to ice house they’re going. No more talking, it’s step-up time.

It’s a fish-off! 

The Devils Lake and Lake of the Woods visitors centers are ceasing cutting bait and commencing to get after it.  Rod tip to rod tip, auger to auger, ice house to ice house they’re going.  No more talking, it’s step-up time.  Devils Lake’s Tanner Cherney and Lake of the Woods’ Joe Henry are taking it to the ice to settle this fishing feud once and for all.  And you can watch it live on Facebook.

“I was at a conference in Arizona,” said Cherney, “and St. Paul, Minnesota’s tourism director was talking about the bet they made with Winnipeg’s tourism director when the two hockey teams played.  They did a lot of things over Twitter and through Facebook.  I thought something like this would be great fun and when I saw Joe at a trade show in St. Paul, I mentioned it to him.”

“This is going to be a lot of fun,” said Henry.  “Tanner and I are really good friends and we love what we do and we love our lakes.  Tanner does a great job promoting Devils Lake.  This will be a great opportunity for us to both talk about our lakes and the fishing and tourism in our regions.”

The contest will take place high-skies and warm sun or whiteout conditions Thursday, Jan. 3, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., on each center’s Facebook page.  LOW will start out first at 9 a.m., and go FB Live on the hour after that, and Devils Lake will go live at the bottom of the hour.  Each one will have guests throughout the day, too. 

“But I’m not giving up who’s coming in,” said Cherney.  “I don’t want to give Joe any ideas.”

Each guy will have four holes.  There will be one point for the largest walleye; one point for the largest fish; and one point for the most fish.  The largest walleye can’t count as the largest fish.

“Both of us live on world-class fisheries,” said Cherney.  “This will allow fisherman to see both lakes in action. We’ll be able to give fishing tips and talk about the lake and all that each of our regions offers regarding resorts and tourism.  This live fishing contest between us has the potential to be seen by a lot of people.  We have nearly 45,000 followers and Lake of the Woods has over 135,000.  Anyone watching will be able to ask questions, too, during the day.  I may be moving around the lake a little during the day, but I imagine Joe will stay put.” 

“We aren’t really competing regions or lakes,” said Henry.  “We are four hours apart and that means we can work together to attract anglers and tourists to this area together.  This is really about a partnership in success.  We both can succeed, Lake of the Woods and Devils Lake.  We both have great walleye fisheries, outstanding walleye fisheries, but we also offer sauger, perch, eelpout, crappies.  Devils Lake offers huge perch, big crappies, and white bass.  We both have great resorts for visitors.  I’ll probably stay put for the day, but I imagine Tanner will be moving around the lake.”

Both men are adamant that their friendship will not prevent a lot of smack talking.  “I saw on Facebook the other day that Tanner’s getting in shape for this contest,” said Henry.  “He was lifting ice augers and curling fishing rods.  My hope is that January 3, is the most unproductive day of work anyone has between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.”

You can follow Devils Lake on Facebook at Visit Devils Lake, North Dakota, and Lake of the Woods on their Facebook page at Lake of the Woods Tourism Bureau.