Target Walleye/Ice email

Bass cranks on wing dams, Trolling speed tip, Reservoir fish go deep

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Today’s Top 5

Fish wing dams this fall!

Wing dams are man-made structures made to deflect current. Not sure why, but we only seem to hear about ’em is when someone wins a tourney off of ’em? Here’s how/why THE river rat Tim Hutchinson, picks ’em apart for chunky walleyes in the fall. Full write-up here, few excerpts below:

> “Walleyes spent their summers in the backwaters, feasting on bluegills, shad, crayfish and frogs. In October, they’re heading out to the main channel, where they use wing dams, rockpiles, riprap — any kind of current break — as they fatten up for winter.

> “On the river, I like a cloudy day with a 5- to 10-mph wind. A wind against the current creates riffles to expose a wing dam’s location. A wind with the current makes it harder to locate the structure.

> “The fish will pull into the inside (shore side) of the wing dams first. As fall progresses, they’ll move out toward the main channel.

> “Active walleyes hold in the trough in front of a wing dam, but the most aggressive fish are on the very top of the structure in 2-4′ of water. The food is there, but the fish are easily spooked.

> “Cast jigs tipped with plastic, such as ringworms, ringers, twister-tails or shad bodies. Anchor upstream of a wing dam and throw to its top. Work the jig into the current, down the wing dam’s face, and into the trough in front.”

This graphic from a Jeff Samsel post might help to visualize what you’re working:

Lots of walleyes guys prefer “bass-style crankbaits” when fishing wing dams because they do a better job of getting down quickly and can be easier to cast:

> “I also like crankbaits such as Bombers and Rebel Crawdads. On the inside portion of a wing dam, run them 4-6′ down. On the outside portion, run them at 6-10′.

> “Don’t troll…that spooks active fish. Instead, hover upstream of the wing dam and work back and forth, casting the crankbaits.

> “If walleyes won’t hit plastics or cranks, I’ll break out a 3-way rig and bait up with a crawler.

> “Use a [braided line] such as Sufix or Power Pro [to feel] soft pickups. I also like hi-viz line: It doesn’t bother the fish in murky river water and you can see hits when the line moves.

> “I’m not worried about fronts, but dealing with river flow is hard…increased flow can change everything: it takes too much energy for the fish to forage. Under stable water conditions, the wing dams are a smorgasbord for active fish.”

Tail-hooking redtails wins Gull Lake derby…again.

Some bigguns were weighed in at the Fishing To End Hunger tourney, and father/son sticks Butch and Nate Blasing — for the second year in a row — took the top spot. Congrats guys! Their 15.86-lb bag (5 fish with 1 over 20″ allowed) fattened up their wallets by $15K:

Caught their fish rigging big chubs, but found they got more and bigger bites by tail-hooking their dragged minnows vs lip-hooking them. They were kind of hesitant to talk about it if that tells you anything…. #Works

> Nate: “We had trouble finding unders, but had 8 or 9 overs…biggest was 27″ [weighed 6.79 lbs]. Fishing deeper water…kind of a mud transition…with redtails and moving really slow.”

Travis Sorokie and Doug Robinson nabbed 2nd with 15.02 lbs and were…you guessed it…tail-hooking 4-7″ redtails:

> Travis: “Walleyes were positioned on inside turns and underwater points with wind blowing in on them. We Lindy-rigged minnows…using a red Daiichi hook, a 4-5′ leader of 6-lb mono, a 1-oz egg sinker and tail-hooking the minnow.

> “Anything faster than 0.5 mph we didn’t get bit — anything slower than 0.4 mph we didn’t get bit. My new MinnKota Ulterra has a cruise control feature…I set it on 0.5 and worked into or quartered the wind.”

Few tails we don’t recommend pulling:

Fall crankbait trolling: more tip, less speed.

General rule of thumb: start slowing down as the season progresses and you’ll catch more fish. People get so focused on what exact mph they should be trolling at, but Brad Hawthorne will actually watch his rod tip more often than he looks at the speed:

We know you analytical folks out there probably skipped the vid thinking:

Don’t worry, this will get you started:

> 62-66 degrees – 1.8-2.2 mph
> 56-59 degrees – 1.6-1.8 mph

> 50-55 degrees – 1.2-1.4 mph

But like Brad said, don’t be afraid to go by the wobble of the bait if you feel good about the action.

What do you want to see from greenback country?

Might only be one Target Walleye next week ‘cuz TWs Brett McComas will be up chasing Manitoba greenbacks (and maybe giant catfish??) at three different Lake Winnipeg tributaries: the Red River, Winnipeg River and Bloodvein River.

Letting you know ahead of time in case there’s anything in particular you’d like to see from the land of the greenbacks: Techniques you want us to (attempt to) use, baits to throw, vids of the experience, etc. Let us know here.

Can never guarantee that fish will cooperate because…well…they’re fish. Hopefully we can find a couple like insta user @burbotbros did on the Red River:

[heart-eyes emoji] How B-E-A-Utiful is THAT fish?!

A fisherman’s favorite kind of 2-for-1s.

This happy hour was courtesy of a Berkley Flicker Shad:


1. MN: Mille Lacs walleye assessment underway.

Here we go — all eyes are watching! Find out soon-ish if the lake is jam-packed full of walleyes or if “the fish are just hungrier which makes ’em easier to catch….”

2. The last thing SD anglers want to see:

*Almost last thing, second only to out-of-state plates:

Used to indicate closure of non-meandered waters for recreational use…areas where water has risen and is now “overlying their flooded land.”

How we understand it: even if you’re able to access “non-meandered” lakes from public land, you would be trespassing, because the land under the water is considered private property?

3. SD: Walleye length limit might be nixed…

…on Lake Poinsett. Looking to remove the 15″ minimum ‘cuz:

> The walleye population has a large year class present. Fish growth is slow and walleyes are succumbing to natural mortality prior to attaining 15″ and being available for anglers to harvest.

4. IA: Zeebz may be in Big Spirit Lake.

All we can do is clean, drain, dry…. Not sure if other states spending millions per year to ask people to check their boats and trailers works?

5. New smaller-er Rippin’ Rap.

Rapala made an even smaller, #3 size Ultra Light Rippin’ Rap this year. It’s 1/16-oz (1-1/8″) and we’d guess an on-ice crappie killer. Can’t wait to try one!

Brad Hawthorne is holdin’ out on us, ‘cuz we all know he has a pile of “pink tiger UV” and some custom colors stashed in a different Utility Box for safekeeping:

6. MN: Apply for DNR fish work groups.

> “Fisheries work groups help improve discussion between citizens and the DNR. Group members can talk about angler points of view and fisheries issues in detail.”

7. Shimano has a new marketing guru.

Grayce Weber, congrats to her. She’s coming over from Pure Fishing and was with Seaguar prior to that.

8. Big Rock Sports parent buys Maurice.

Maurice Sporting Goods is one of the largest outdoor sporting goods distributors in North America.

Tip of the Day

Joel Vasek says people fish too shallow for reservoir walleyes in the fall. Check his full breakdown here, few excerpts below:

> “People fish too shallow for fall reservoir walleyes. As fall progresses, reservoir walleyes migrate to deeper water — that’s where the baitfish go.

> “In later fall — when water temps are 56 degrees or below — you want a calm, bluebird day. Earlier in the fall, when water temps are in the higher 50s or above, you’re better off on a cloudy day with a little chop.

> “I look for anywhere from 28-40′ with a nearby drop to even deeper water. I always look for sharp dropoffs, steep banks and rocky points. You always want very deep water adjacent to these rocky spots.

> “Vertical jigging is effective, especially on bluebird days. Use a 3/8- to 1/2-oz jig tipped with a shiner or 3-4” sucker minnow. That’s a heavy jig, but the water is deep. I recommend 6-lb FireLine for better feel. You can also use a 4″ white twister tail. White imitates gizzard shad, primary forage for reservoir walleyes.

> “Use a Lindy rig with fatheads when there’s a little chop and you need to move around to locate active fish.”

Meme of the Day

When someone wants to leave while the fish are biting. #ClickIt

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

David Shmyr Jr. said they knew IT WAS ON when they walked into Tim Hortons and the Rocky theme song was playing. Tied on a custom-painted Bagley Rumble B and thwacked this paunchy night hawg:

Sign up another fish-head!

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Who is Target Walleye/Ice?
Target Walleye/Ice — walleye during open water and all species during hardwater — is brought to you by Al and Ron Lindner, Jim Kalkofen, Brett McComas and other diehard fish-nuts like you! #fishheads
Brett McComas is the main man for Target Walleye/Ice. He was discovered in Brainerd, MN after years of wondering how in the heck people break into the fishing biz. He’s in it now, but still can’t answer that question…. Brett is one of those guys who majored in marketing, only because there was no such thing as a “fishing degree” at the time…. Get him at

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