Target Walleye/Ice email

Boats banned on record lake, Greenback smashfest, Best merp bait

Today’s Top 4

Trailered boats banned on lake with state-record walleye.

Apparently the city of Westminster, CO has banned trailered boats from Standley Lake because:

> “…a recent review of the policies and methods used to prevent an infestation [of zebra and quagga mussels] found decontamination is not fully effective for many trailered boats.

> “They’re a growing threat to CO water resources because once they’re established in a body of water, they decimate local ecosystems…also clog potable water infrastructure and cause algae blooms that threaten water quality.

> Water comes directly from the lake into our treatment system. If these mussels establish themselves in the lake, there would be significant, ongoing costs to keep our system running. Protecting our community’s water supply will always be the chief concern.

> “…data from 2018 found 24 instances where people boating in Standley Lake deliberately bypassed protective measures.”

So why is this causing such a buzz??

Standley Lake is where Scott Regan caught the CO state record walleye in 1997. Working on getting a better pic and more deets, but shoutout to TW fan Steve Wark for tracking down this throwback shot of the 18-lb 13-oz (34″) slaunch:

And you know that ain’t the only big walldawg swimmin’ in there. Might still be a way to catch ’em though…if you’re dedicated…. Write-up also said:

> “Permits can still be purchased for non-trailered watercraft such as kayaks, canoes, rafts and paddleboards. Those types of watercraft will still have to go through the city’s on-site decontamination procedure.”

So here’s a few other “non-trailered watercraft” ideas that might get you within casting distance of a 20-lber on Standley Lake this summer:

Hoyer’s greenback smashfest!

No such thing as an “off-season” for NWT pro John Hoyer — first tour stop of the 2019 season is barely a month out so what’s he doing? Leaning into the BIGS on Manitoba’s Lake Winnipeg. #DoubleWhammy

Hoyer always seems to be doing things a bit differently — in a really good way — so had to get the scoop on how they landed a baker’s dozen Master Angler greenbacks (28″+) during their trip.

Said fishin’ in 14-15′ out from the Red River was the jam. Caught ’em using a few different baits/techniques depending on the mood of the fish…some of which I know you’ve never seen before (me either!) and others equally interesting.

When the fish were angry:

He was fishin’ a 3/4-oz Berkley Warpig rattlebait. Does a 2′ rip — adds a decent amount of slack in the line after each pump — then follows it down on a tight line. That slack is key ‘cuz it really lets the bait ‘walk’ and get outside the cone angle. “Black gold” and “blue silver” were the best colors:

Heck with barbless…Hoyer doesn’t even need hooks ^ to catch ’em! Lol kiddin’, but would hardly be surprised if that was the case.

Next on the menu:

Switched to BIG flutter spoons for tough(er) midday bites. “Big” as in spoons actually designed for salmon. Said the best way to fish ’em is to NOT mark it the entire time: Let it flutter waaaay outside the cone angle of the flasher…catch it about 6″ off bottom and shake it back to center.

Would shut his brain off to the fact there was a fish down there and not change up how he was working the bait. Opposite of the MN deeper-water game where you’re (typically) playing keep away in the cone. Clearly it worked:

They were not tipping the spoon, which shows how aggressive they were working it. Also get the best-possible fluttering action out of big spoons when they’re fished naked. Doesn’t have the vibration of a rattlebait, but way more movement…they love it when the bite is “off.”

Best catchers were a “sarge” color 4″ Original Moonshine Trolling Spoon (top) and the “viseen” color 4″ Moonshine RV Series Trolling Spoon (bottom):

Secret weapon time:

Here’s a first look [!] at something Berkley has up their sleeve thanks to a mole we’ve got planted deep within the organization…. [*cough* Thanks Dan Spengler! *cough*]

If you still haven’t heard of the new-ish Berkley Snap Jig, it’s a winged jighead that lets you swap out the body with your favorite plastics to change up the color/action/profile. Right now goes up to 3/8-oz, but…

> Dan Spengler: “Here’s Hoyer testing new sizes and colors of the Berkley Snap Jig available soon [this Sept] from Berkley. New sizes will include 1/2- and 3/4-oz, and feature 2 hook sizes to accommodate a wide variety of soft baits.”

Why that’s important? It should open up a ton of plastic trailer options for the back-end. Imo straight-tail plastics seem to work best on those lighter sizes…but a heavier head could overcome the drag of a plastic that has more action (paddletail, curly tail, etc).

On this trip, Hoyer paired a 1/2-oz Snap Jig with a 4″ Gulp! Nemesis...still had enough momentum to swing the bait as far outside the cone as a big flutter spoon. Would do 3 big slack-line snaps then shake the bait down by bottom and they’d crush it.

First I had heard of the 4″ Gulp! Nemesis, so here’s a shot of that too in the “pearl white” color Hoyer was fishin’:


Hoyer spends a ton of time on the water, so had to ask him something I’ve been wondering for awhile now…

Q: How often do you wash all that fish slime off your SIMMS suit? Or do you forever rock the stank like a badge of honor??

A: I’m an annual snowsuit washer.

Note to self: Don’t ride shotgun with Hoyer on day #364 of his annual washing schedule lol. Thanks for all the info, man!

Best bait for catching “merp” walleyes.

Case you’re new here…this is a merp walleye:

So what’s the best bait to catch ’em on? A merp fathead of course! Sent in from TW fan Vance Helgeland:

Maybe the best $5 you could ever spend?

Here’s a different kind of “insurance” posted by Renegade Outdoor Innovations:


1. MN: The Rainy River is opening up.

Finally some open-water creepin’ towards the Birchdale access, and when the ice goes, it goes fast. Some folks are already fishing the far east…but you didn’t hear it from me…. [zipped-mouth emoji]

The river runs (opens up) from east-ish to west-ish as it flows into Lake of the Woods — check this map if you’re trying to get your bearings:

LOW Tourism posts day-to-day reports here on their Facebook page.

…Brainerd Walleye Alliance banquet happenin’ Apr 24.

3. IA: DNR warns to avoid dam on Des Moines River.

> The Fort Dodge Hydroelectric Dam — formerly a 16′ high dam — has been partially removed to about 5’…avoid the stretch between the Hydroelectric Park Access and mouth of Lizard Creek until the rest of the dam is removed this summer.

4. IN: DNR’s sampling northern pike…

…with nets. Just wanted to make that clear ‘cuz when I hear “sampling northern pike” I immediately think of it being deliciously pickled in jars.

Said they use pike as “an indicator of fish habitat quality in Indiana lakes.”

5. ND: Devils Lake Chamber is hiring.

Iso a visitor services and digital media specialist. Have an awesome crew over there, and I’m not just saying that ‘cuz they’re reading this lol! More info here.

6. MN Governor’s fishing opener comin’ to Albert Lea.

Basically the biggest holiday in MN.

7. Blackfish dropped new rain gear.

The first rain suit I’ve ever heard of where frequent washing makes it better — good news if you catch a lot of fish lol! More info soon….

8. MN: Robert Hedlund named decoy “Carver of the Year”.

Raises funds for the non-profit Fishing for Life...a charitable organization that serves kids, families and communities through fishing and outdoor programs.

Headline of the Day

The perfect fishing lure?

An interestin’ read from Dick Martin who’s talkin’ the Lindy Rig which isn’t a lure, but you get what he means.

Mega Otter Giveaway!

Yup, this is real life! Have a shot at winning a $450-ish Otter Outdoors ice-fishing package in time for late-ice!!

Includes an Otter XTH Pro Lodge hub shack with 64 sqft of fishable area for 4-5 anglers! Thing is decked-out with overhead cargo nets, storage pockets, propane hose ports and even rod/tool holders = jackpot.

Otter was also nice enough [thank you!] to throw in an Xtreme Duty LED Light Kit and Ice Anchor Tool Driver, so you can see what you’re doing (in 1200 lumens) and easily stay pinned down in gnarly conditions.

Takes 10 secs to enter — can share the link you get for bonus entries. Good luck!

Tip of the Day

Tips for vertical jigging early-season river walleyes.

From walleye-nut Brian Bashore. His full-write-up here, few excerpts below:

> The most typical approach this time of year is to target walleyes in river systems…they’re usually first to thaw…provide warmer water and great conditions for spawning walleye.

> Warm-water discharges generated by power plants will hold lots of walleye very early in the year. The fish have moved upriver to spawn and once they reach the dam are confined to that area. Most of these tailrace areas provide great riprap habitat for spawning….

> Use a shorter rod than your normal jigging rod…minimizes the distance between the bite and ability to feel it..making for a quicker hookset and ability to feel everything the jig touches.

> Many times early in the season the walleye bite can be very subtle…. Superline will let you to feel the slightest tick on your bait….

> Go slow! With water temps just above freezing the fish’s metabolism isn’t in high-speed…. Work your jigging motion very slow and even drag it…. Pay attention to what you were doing when you got a bite….

> Plastics work great in cold water, especially Berkley Gulp! or heavily-scented products. I feel that with the thicker water viscosity, the scent creates a plume around the bait holding that scent in the strike zone. Have you ever really smelled a live minnow? But I’m sure you can smell the bag of plastics when you open it up….

> If you’re a beginner at vertical jigging, go with a heavier jig until you get a good feel for the bottom…. Will also displace more water — creating more noise — which can be very effective in murky water.

> Boat control will be your biggest factor…make sure you’re communicating with each other in the boat. If one of you have your line dragging 50′ behind the boat and the other vertical, you’re going to have some problems…using the same size jig will keep you both vertical and out of each other’s lines.

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

How ’bout @lastofthereelmen gettin’ his slime on?! That Manitoba-grown burbot is a freakin’ work of art [heart-eyes emoji]:

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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
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