Target Walleye/Ice email

Bass plastics for walleyes, Flukes for tough bites, Hawgs of the week

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Today’s Top 4

Why you should be using Flukes when the bite’s tough.

Flukes = soft jerkbaits, and big-fish junkie Ryan T. King has been putting the new B-Fish-N Tackle Rib-Finn to work on the Mississippi River — check this paunchy cold-front rock melon:

> When fish are holding tight to cover – or are in a negative-bite pattern from pressure/temp changes — the action of the Paddle Tail or Moxi may be more than they’re looking for. This is when the Fluke-style Rib-Finn is a must.

> The subtle action of that tail when twitched off cover perfectly mimics dying shad. Fish are lazy and drawn to an easy meal — especially in spring when water temps are just beginning to rise.

> When selecting a color I always choose darker colors for stained or muddy water. If I had to choose an all around go-to it’s the new purple/chartreuse tail.

Here’s how he fishes ’em:

> Current seams: Pitch it out to the seam and let the current sweep the bait just over the rocks or timber, and give it a few pops.

> Rocks: Pitch it out and let it sink to the rocks, then twitch it down the face of the rocks letting it come to rest every foot or so. Then twitch it off and let it fall again.

> Sand: The “great white” Rib-Finn shines in the sand. Let it sink to bottom then rip it up 8″ and let fall…twitch it…then rip it again. Drives walleyes crazy.

Twitch, twitch, BOOM baby!

FishZillas of the week!

Check this pair of dumbbells [!] Ross Robertson thwacked on Lake Erie — place grows ’em BIG. The walleye population has exploded to the point they’re actually INCREASING the daily bag limit starting May 1. #RoadTrip

PerchZilla has officially been captured [mind-blown emoji] out of Woodland Resort on Devils Lake, ND. That butterball weighed a 2.27 lbs. #GirthFerDayz

Big pike are heavy moving in at Lake of the Woods. Tim Schmid had a group out for Walking On Water Outdoors and stuck some MEGAS soaking dead bait in 12′ — got it all on video too:

Maddy Ogg was looking for big Upper Red Lake crappies, but hooked into a Midwest gator instead. Caught jigging a Northland Forage Minnow Spoon 4′ off bottom in 9′ and measured just under 38″. Congrats on the new PB!

Finesse-trolling stickbaits for early-season ‘eyes.

The last few years, Ross Robertson has been targeting overlooked Lake Erie GIANTS by finesse-trolling stickbaits — with snap-weights — using planer boards. Full tip on, few excerpts below:

> For whatever reason our big walleyes have been deeper the past couple years. Most of my biggest fish come right on the bottom in 20-30′ — adjacent to spawning areas — on hard-to-soft-bottom transitions.

> In the past we wouldn’t have even targeted these fish because they’re neutral, so we’d go after the suspended fish.

> Pull your cranks like you’d pull spinners. Don’t run your kicker — use your electric. I’m trolling with the Minn Kota Ulterra on the bow, running a max of 0.8-1.2 mph with slight turns and bouncing in the chop.

> Think about the precision a good leadcore fisherman has with increasing speed to rise over a hump or decreasing to go down the back. Same deal with this approach.

> I see guys dropping giant lead, and that’s just a recipe for snags. With a 1-oz snap-weight (or less) at slow speed, I can pull baits 2-4′ above the fish. Every once in awhile I’ll shut off the motor to stall the planer boards for a few seconds, letting the bait stall, suspend or drop a little bit.

> A lot of times, stalling your boards is the big-fish ticket. A Rapala Husky Jerk will perfectly suspend and the fish hate that. Another bait that’s really rocking is the Reef Runner 800, which I wouldn’t normally use until later in the season — it’s perfect for getting down right into their faces

> Muddy water has a lot of junk fish and a poor strike zone. Gin-clear water is often a few degrees colder and serves more as a fish highway. But chalky water? Game on!

Ever seen a 6-lb perch?

Not ice- or walleye-related, but whoa! European of course:

[star-struck emoji]


1. Your family might not be covered…

…under YOUR boat insurance policy. This is messed up:

> Twin Cities TV reporter Courtney Godfrey lost part of her leg in a boating accident over the summer, she [wasn’t covered under the] boat owner’s insurance policy…because the boat was owned by her husband.

> Courtney: “If it would’ve happened the summer before — when we weren’t married — I would’ve been covered.”

> But in MN (like many other states) boat liability coverage can (and nearly always does) exclude spouses and children.

Never heard of anything like this before — another reason why it’s important to work with someone who specializes in boat insurance…definitely going to have to call Bob at Worldwide Marine insurance and get the scoop.

2. MN: The Rainy River bite is en fuego.

Hopefully this cold snap doesn’t (temporarily) screw things up, ‘cuz the Rainy River walleye bite has been Captain Insano. Kyle Hildreth’s boat had a 140 fish day [!] with a pile of hawgs mixed in:

Got word this AM the Frontier access was busted open for all boats. The river runs (opens up) from east-ish to west-ish. Check this map if you’re trying to get your bearings:

3. NY: 15.9-lb walleye wins Winter Classic.

Was also the first walleye Josh Allein had ever caught through the ice. Might as well retire from ‘eye fishing now man lol.

4. ON: Guy fined $13K for WAY overlimit.

> Upon further inspection of the trailer, the officers discovered a chest freezer with a built-in compartment under a false bottom containing 64 bags of frozen, skinless fish.


5. MN/CAN: 5 snowmobiles seized on Rainy Lake…

…from fisher-peoples crossing the border:

> While open water at the border has unique requirements when traveling by boat, once it becomes a solid surface, it is treated as a land boundary. Once a border is crossed you have to seek re-admission at a designated port of entry.

Learn up on border-crossing rules before you head up, else that walleye dinner’s gonna cost you about $5K/lb.

6. ME ice-fishing season closes tomorrow?

Some years they extend it if there’s still “good” ice late. Didn’t realize there were places that ever made ice fishing 100% off-limits. ‘Round here you can ice-fish until whenever so long as the fish you’re targeting are open.

7. MI: Shelters gotta be off by Apr 1.

8. Premier Pontoons coming out of bankruptcy.

Tip of the Day

Full Jim Edlund write-up on, but here’s a sneak peek:

> Anywhere you have larger forage (from perch to ciscoes) big plastics will catch walleyes. Maybe not the numbers that you’ll catch dragging ‘crawlers on bottom-bouncers, but the fish you do catch will probably be bigger.

> Basically, what I’m doing is using bigger swimbaits like 4″ Berkley Rib Shads on heavy saltwater bullet-style jigheads. You let it hit bottom and some days it’s a faster hop — basically rip-jigging — and other days it’s a slow lift: 8-10″ and let the bait flutter down. Walleyes then pin the bait down and suck it in.

> You can actually see walleyes hit your baits! I’ve had days when 6, 8 or 10 walleyes were chasing the bait. I’ve never seen groups of walleyes competing for the same bait. I was catching 15-20 fish a day doing this, all big mommas.

> Work structure fast, casting the windward side first. Make a pass shallow, then deeper. Some days I’ll work the opposite side of the structure…if the wind is blowing really hard, it’ll blow the forage over the side. Especially if you get a dirty-water cloud that builds up on the back side, that’s where you’ll find the bait.

Video Meme of the Day

Walleye fishing has been known to test friendships:

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

Jason Matity has been leaning on the Qu’Appelle Lakes, SK burbot — like this pair over 30″ — using 1/2-oz Reelbait Flasher Jigs and minnows.

> Jason: We hammered 28 of them one day recently and kept only 6 juveniles. As burbot stack up to spawn they are highly vulnerable to over-harvest. This is why we selectively harvest a few wee ones and let hawg spawners go so they can make more burbot.

What’s more difficult: Getting burbot to hang straight for a pic, or convinving a toddler to sit still during church? Lol

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