I was born and raised in Devil's Lake, and didn't leave until I went to college in 1994. Here's some random stuff about the area. Feel free to post this if you're inclined; I don't have a metafilter account but am a daily visitor to the site. I'll get an account when paypal is governed under FIPS, or when they allow you to send cash in your balance to someone other than eBay. :)
Yeah, the lake is a mess. There's so much algae in the lake that the water is very, very green. It might be from fertilizer runoff, I don't know. My mom's house is at 1455 or 1460 ft elevation. I don't remember which, but it's the elevation at which the lake flows naturally into the Cheyenne river and from there, into Canada. I used to literally drive through the lake to visit my dad by Starkweather along highway 20 -- the lake was about 6" to 1' above the road. There was a pickup truck that you'd follow so you wouldn't drive off the road. One of my childhood buddies lost his car trying to drive at night without the navigational aid of the truck.
The situation with our northern neighbors is a bummer. I'm not aware of any locals that harbor any ill will towards Canada. Young adults, ages 18-20, would make pilgrimages to drink legally up there.
As for the politics, it's been that way since the lake started flooding and the Army corp. of engineers started floating ideas in the 90s. The flooding is more or less a train wreck, just like the flooding of Grand Forks in '97. The train wreck of D.L. is just in slow motion and with larger dikes.
The fishing is ridiculously great. You're likely to catch walleye, northern pike, and perch. There's some white bass and a wee bit of rock bass as well.
Devil's Lake (called Spirit Lake by the native Lakota tribes; D.L. was a mistranslation) is a remnant of Lake Agassiz, which if memory serves, is the same glacial lake that formed Lake Winnipeg.
Our high school mascot used to be the Satans. I think it's the Firebirds now; they changed it in the last few years. It was a big hullabaloo. There's probably still some hullabaloo; my 7th grade social studies teacher only referred to the town as Angel Lake.
I don't know where mk1gti got the root beer floats; maybe at Pugsley's if it was recent. There was a Woolworth's there until the late 80s or so. There was also a Bridgeman's ice cream place, though that has also either closed or moved.
I've had dozens of high school friends lose their homes due to the lake flooding. From what I hear, most of the kids that I went to high school with have left the area for Fargo, Grand Forks, or Minneapolis / St. Paul.
The mosquitos aren't too bad, though if you search around long enough (or go to Creative Impressions), you'll probably find a shirt that proudly proclaims the mosquito as the state bird.
They use a cordoned-off section of the lake to treat wastewater. It's affectionately referred to as the Lemna project. I didn't know this until searching for a picture, but apparently the Greens love it. There's a picture of the project here: http://greenmuseum.org/c/ecovention/lemna2.html
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