Three weeks later the the final results are in: over 16 million. That’s how many people saw or heard about the first Walleye War between Devils Lake and Lake of the Woods.
“It was really incredible,” said Tanner Cherney of the Devils Lake Chamber of Commerce. “Incredible how far a single news release went.”

Three weeks later the the final results are in: over 16 million.  That’s how many people saw or heard about the first Walleye War between Devils Lake and Lake of the Woods.

“It was really incredible,” said Tanner Cherney of the Devils Lake Chamber of Commerce.  “Incredible how far a single news release went.”  

“Yeah, Tanner and I planned to launch this idea at the St. Paul Ice Fishing Show, and it got picked up by a couple of larger newspapers,” said Joe Henry, Lake of the Woods Tourism.  “It was amazing how much coverage we got.”

Coverage and viewers.  There were 16 million people who heard about the War, but there were over 170,000 viewers livestreaming the event on Facebook, and more than 500,000 who viewed the videos of the War afterwards.  Henry had the top of the hour for livestreaming and Cherney the bottom of the hour.

“We had guests throughout the day,” said Cherney.  “We had Boom Stelmach who gave an out-of-stater’s perspective on fishing Devils.  Johnnie Candle, a local guide and member of the Lake Region Anglers here in Devils Lake.  At noon we had pizza delivered by Doug Darling, president of Lake Region State College, and we sat and talked about all that the college offers.  And then Zippy Dahl of the Perch Patrol pulled up and I went out with him for a while—and caught a nice jumbo perch for the camera.”

“We got to talk about our lakes and communities,” said Henry.  “And we got to talk about fishing tactics and techniques on our respective lakes—jig sizes, colors, depth.  It was a great time, although with having to mark the board, visit with people, take questions, I don’t feel like I got to fish much!  Heck, I even had to give up my hole and Vexlar at one point!”

It was Cherney who presented the idea of the Walleye War to Henry.  Together they went Facebook Live on January 3, and spent the day ice fishing and interviewing local experts.  They had three categories each worth one point:  largest walleye; one point for the largest fish; and one point for the most fish. The largest walleye couldn’t count as the largest fish.   

“We’re certainly talking about doing this next year,” said Henry.  “Maybe a little bigger, too.”

“I’m thinking maybe we have a summer fishing walleye war,” said Cherney.  “We need a little redemption.”

The final score:  LOW won all three points and pulled in seventy-five fish to Devils Lake’s fourteen.

“Next time,” said Cherney.

“That’s fishing,” said Henry.