Target Walleye/Ice email

Bladed treble underwater, Unicorn walleye caught, Crank size matters

Today’s Top 5

Use VMC Bladed Trebles to make Jigging Raps flash.

Case you still haven’t seen the new VMC Bladed Hybrid Treble (where ya been?!) it has a resin-sealed swivel with a BLADE for flashy goodness:

Lot of folks are adding ’em to their crankbaits — of course it adds a fish-sexy little flash, but putting ’em on the middle or front treble can also give fish a focal point of where YOU want ’em to hit the bait…’stead of nipping at the back.


First thing I thought of when seeing ’em at ICAST was how I absolutely “needed” to try it on a Rapala Jigging Rap lol. Here’s a slow-motion look at the flash and flutter it can add to an already deadly technique — click to see the full 33 second video:


That’s a #6 Bladed Hybrid Treble on the big #9 Jigging Rap in the video = perfect fit:


If you can find the slightly smaller #8 Bladed Hybrid Treble in stock somewhere, I think it’d be killer on the super-popular #7 size Jigging Rap.

I haven’t been able to get my hands on ’em yet, so tried upsizing to the #6 hook on a #7 Jigging Rap and was able to stick a Whitefish Chain (central MN) waldo in the first 10-15 minutes of slinging the setup. Pumped to get out there and play with ’em more!

Beef briskets of the week!

Derek Samson and his 14-year-old son Jack were on vacation at the 1,000 Islands area of the St. Lawrence River….decided to “target bigger fish” by busting out the linecounters and cranking a deep weedline with a “green chrome orange” color Storm ThunderStick MadFlash Deep. Worked to the tune of 28″ — congrats dude!


Reese Mack popped this chunk on a Berkley Flicker Shad — appears to be plenty o’ forage in ND’s Lake Sakakawea lol:


Jason (@rumlly) sent in this snap of a 30.5″ beef brisket he caught while bottom-bouncing a homemade ‘crawler harness. Don’t get much prettier than this:

Afterwards, Jason ^ slow-smoked it on his Traeger wood-pellet grill for 19 hours…results looks pretty dang tasty [drooling emoji]:

Okay I made that last part up! He actually released that bruiser to get even more bigger-er. Dude’s Instagram made me do it ‘cuz when I’m not fishing, I’m Traegering too. And no, they’re not a sponsor or anything…just something I literally use 3-5X a week so of course I’m gonna talk about it. 😉

Crankbait size matters.

When choosing a crankbait, Gary Parsons and Keith Kavajecz say: “Action is always the first question, depth is the second, and color is last….”

So where does crank SIZE fit into the equation? Some super-interesting info in their full Midwest Outdoors write-up here, but a few excerpts below:


> …shiners and shad spawn in May to July depending on latitude. Shad are generally 5 cm long in early fall, 7 cm long by late fall, and much larger (an almost inedible 6-9″) by the next spring.

> Shiners grow slower than shad, with 1-year-old bait often 4-5 cm and 2-year-old bait 6-7 cm long.

> Perch spawn earlier in the year (late spring) and are generally 7 cm after 1 year.

> …look to the first few bites to start the pattern and use the next 5-10 bites to help dial in size and color preferences. Sometimes these bites will take hours, and other times it will take a few days of fishing….

> Take a simple trolling situation, with 6 lines spread out on a shallow flat using side planers. Starting with action details, the lines might have 2 Flicker Shads, 2 Flicker Minnows, and 2 Berkley Diggers running near the bottom. Sizes for these lures can be based on the biology discussed earlier or simply a guess based on previous experience. The first few bites generate an action-triggered trend suggesting a path forward for the rest of the day.

> At this point, 4 or more of the lines will be changed to similar, but not the same lure as the first pattern details. One size up and one size down are an easy plan, with small color adjustments okay at this point.

> As fish bite larger or smaller sizes, keep adding the next size to the spread and subtracting the ignored offering. Always reserve a line or 2 in order to try something totally different.

Unicorn walleye caught?

Interesting dorsal fin on this one. Robert Ressen caught the 26″ Brainerd Lakes Area unicorn trolling a Rapala DT-10 at 1.8 mph:


Yo bass guys: The dorsal fin usually looks a bit more like this [heart-eyes emoji]:

You’ve got something in your teeth, bud.

Insta user @antes_moments cracked this toothy critter somewheres in Manitoba. Still trying to figure out which Land Before Time character it reminds me of?


1. MI: Guy caught with 1,400 panfish [!] over limit.

Just plain gross.

2. My dream boat is for sale.

Almost wasn’t gonna share this ‘cuz I was feeling greedy (lol) but have many more pennies to pinch before I can get serious…..

Mille Lacs guide Brad Hawthorne just listed his black-on-black Lund 2025 Impact w/ 200 Merc Pro XS for sale. Thing’s decked-out with all the goods:

Have had the chance to fish in it and absolutely LOVE the layout. Definitely won’t last long — more info here.

3. Ladies get ICE FORCE.

Big congrats to Ana Leschishin and Nicole Stone as the first ladies to join ICE FORCE. I’ve had the chance to meet both — awesome, down-to-earth gals who loooove to fish and are pretty dang good at it.

Swear every time I open up social media they are is at some new destination chasin’ big fish. One of their last trips was to Bakers Narrows Lodge in northern Manitoba where they chased lake trout, pike and of course walleyes:

How freakin’ jacked does Ana look in that thumbnail lol.

Dang! Fishing ‘lectronics have been exploding with new schtuff. Almost scared to buy something ‘cuz I don’t want a new version to come out a day later lol.

Anotha one! ***DJ Khaled voice

6. How to revive your outboard.

Click the pic ^ to read the post. That’s with regular Sea Foam Motor Treatment, but the new Sea Foam Marine PRO is even better for outboards.

7. ND: Devils Lake fishing report (video).

8. NY/VT: Eels washing up dead at Lake Champlain?

Don’t know why yet. Honestly didn’t even know they had ’em.

9. WI: How Ron Johnson’s catching ’em on Green Bay.

> Water temps were 78-82 degrees…stained water with 2-3′ visibility. Specifically looking for reefs/shoals with weeds and chunk rock…long flats on the inside edge in 6-8′, and I would set up on the drop in 8-12′ where the outside weededge was.

> Green Bay is massive body of water, so moving around a lot was key to cover water and locate schools of walleye. My favorite way bait in the arsenal for doing this is the “real perch” color Yo-Zuri 3DR Shad.

10. New normal for Great Lakes water levels.

> …we believe rapid transitions between extreme high and low water levels in the Great Lakes represent the new normal.

11. AAA says gas might fall 25 cents this fall.

Good excuse to plan a fishin’ roadtrip!

All-new ION G2 Giveaway!

How’d you like to be the FIRST person to get your mits on the all-new 8″ ION G2 lithium ice auger? It’s lighter, faster, smoother and runs longer:

– Lightest power auger ever made at 17 lbs.

– Cuts a foot of ice in just 6 seconds.

– Drills up to 2,000″ of ice on a single charge.

– Easily re-drills old holes.

Check this fish-sexy ION G2 launch video!

Here’s your shot! Takes 10 seconds to enter and can share the link you get for bonus entries — good luck!

Tip of the Day

Pull leadcore for scattered basin walleyes.

Lot of fish push out into the basin this time of year ‘cuz that’s where the coolest water is. Hard part is they can scatter out ‘cuz there’s bait everywhere and they’re on the move. Best way to get to ’em is pulling cranks to cover a ton of water and track down active fish:

Quote of the Day

“Launch boats should be plowing through corpses if the lake was 16,000 lbs of hooking mortality.”

– Hilarious comment from a Mille Lacs Fisheries Advisory Committee member talking about “hooking mortality rates” on The Big Pond.

Soooo WTHeck are hooking mortality rates? It’s the ESTIMATED weight of walleyes that die after being caught and released.

> The warmer the water, the more fish die from hooking mortality…especially when water temps get above 70.
> Hooking mortality ranges from nearly zero during ice fishing to as high as 20% in a summer heat wave.
> Small fish and large fish die more often than medium-length walleyes.
> Fish hooked with live bait die more often than artificial lures.

Mille Lacs has a yearly cap of the total walleye poundage that can be taken out of the lake each year. Can’t remember what that number is this year, but they’re at 91% of it with 3 months left of the open-water season to go.

Now thanks to the “hooking mortality rate,” Mille Lacs could potentially close (to walleye fishing) early…even though it’s catch and release only…which makes as much sense as this pic:

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

Not sure John Hoyer knows how to catch small ones:

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Who is Target Walleye
Target Walleye — 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 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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