Target Walleye/Ice email

Don’t need no live bait, Bigguns of the week, Insane zander caught

Today’s Top 5

Bigguns of the week!

Fish-head Forrest Leitch (@forrestleitch) took his Lund tiller on the big water and stuffed 6 mud melons over 28″ [!] on Lake of the Woods. Caught ’em running Bandit Walleye Deep Divers, and #7 and #9 Rapala Deep Tail Dancers on leadcore 8-10′ off bottom at 2.2-2.5 mph. Said greens and pinks were hot. #TillerLife #Dialed


It’s always tough to leave a fishery like Devils Lake, ND — especially when it’s kicking out fish of this caliber for Kristine Ostertag (@sportswomankristine) who was using a “fire perch” color Berkley PowerBait Ripple Shad:


@carnation831 whacked this 30.5″ broomtail on Lake Erie running a #2 Sea Striker In-line Planer Diver with a Michigan Stinger Standard Spoon in the “natural born killer” color. @Dustincarneal shot:


Alicia Triemert (@aliciatriemert) Minnesota-nice’d her new PB waldawg to the tune of 28.5″. Got it done with the always-fishy Rapala + Off Shore Tackle Planer Board combo. Congrats!


Dustin “only catches bigguns” Garthus (@gnarthus) had himself a morning on SK’s Lake Diefenbaker where he stuffed a 27″, 28″, 28.5″ and this 31.5″ freak o’ nature on a “glow tiger” #9 Rapala Jigging Rap. And all before 11 am? Wow!

Btw…Dustin got engaged on his boat last weekend. Check this out:

> “Had the ring in my Jigging Rap box…asked her to pick me out one, and she gave me the gears about how many [Jigging Raps] I had before she saw the ring.”

Lol! Well that ring sure looks good with a walleye next to it:

Congrats you two!

We don’t need no stinkin’ live bait.

Love seeing more and more pros slinging the “fake stuff” in big walleye derbies. Not just slinging, but also consistently catching and even winning. One of those teams is Troy Morris and Corey Heiser of Artifishalleyes.

Get a load of this: In early 2014 these guys signed a notarized partnership agreement that they would NEVER use live bait again — no joke (see it here). Since then, they’ve been cleaning up the tourney scene and bringing home a pile of hardware fishing vegetarian style…NO meat. #Hammers

They’re fishing in the Masters Walleye Circuit on Devils Lake, ND right now…an event they won in 2015 and 2016, and baaaarely missed the ‘dubyah’ by 8 oz in 2017. All on artificials: either trolling or finding fish with their electronics and sitting directly on top of ’em with Rapala Jigging Raps, Johnny Darters, or Moonshine Shiver Minnows.

> Heiser: “We primarily targeted big rocks or transition zones between rock and mud that were holding small white bass and perch. We’d spend hours searching for key areas [using structure and side scan on electronics] — most were old shorelines where wave action exposed rocks as the lake was coming up years ago. Now, those spots are 25-40′ under the surface, but walleyes love ’em. They’re not all equal — we concentrate on small key areas.”

What’s even crazier to me:

> Morris: “We never caught a fish in the same spot any of those years.”

– 2015: Won in East Devils Lake with Jigging Raps on deep (35′) rockpiles.
– 2016: Won fishing main lake rocks in 15-20′ with spoons and Jigging Raps.
– 2017: Trolled a mud/rock transition in 15-35′ on the main lake and East Lake.

Their trolling tactics were: 1) Slow Death hooks behind a bottom-bouncer with Berkley Gulp! Crawlers, or 2) slow-rolling cranks across areas holding fish if they had no action on Gulp!

> Heiser “Our artificial presentations are dictated on how active the fish are. It all depends on the walleye’s mood. And unless we see them on our graphs, we don’t even drop a line into the water.”

Of course running artificials only comes with a bit of baggage ‘cuz you need more than just plain hooks and sinkers…. Check this stack of spring fish-catchers Troy and Corey were loading into their rig at the beginning of the season:

Caption of that pic ^ said:

> “57 [!] 3700 Plano boxes, 6 Off Shore Side-Planers, 7 containers of Berkley Gulp! ready to be installed into the new Ranger 620FS for the spring bite.”

Congrats guys, love the artificial movement. Think you can handle it?? Take the pledge to fish 3 full days WITHOUT live bait.

Ogle you a zander!!

This right here is what 24 lbs [39″] of zander looks like! Caught by French Salmo angler Sebastien François. It’s his new PB — would be outrageous if it wasn’t:

Believe he caught it jigging one of the new soft plastics Salmo has coming to this side of the big pond soon-ish…called the Walleye Shad (right) and gonna have 3″ and 4″ sizes in UV colors:

I’ll admit it…I snagged a few packs from their booth display at ICAST. Pretty sure Matt Rand, Salmo’s brand manager in Europe, said it was okay…lol.

I’m digging its wide profile and the fact that it does NOT have a belly slot — lets me rig it with a big jighead instead of having to use those weighted swimbait hooks bass guys use since they never fish deeper than 4-5′ (lol).

Thing is crazy durable yet still has an aggressive swimming action…not sure how they pulled that off ‘cuz most of the time the more durable a paddletail is, the less it kicks — especially at slow speeds. Looking forward to throwing it more soon. Maybe (hopefully!) this weekend:

Check out this predator!

Ever seen the movie Alien vs. Predator? Johnnie Candle was minding his own business on Devils Lake, ND when Predator showed up to the party with his mask off — which I believe is a sign of respect for fighting a good battle, if I’m remembering the movie correctly:

Yup, grosses me out too. Johnnie said the fish was skinny, but clearly still feeding well enough to take down a Mack’s Smile Blade and Berkley Gulp! Fry. Now go wash your hands, man!

Have you ever seen a bald guy catch a muskie…

…with his bare hands talons?

Dan Goff thought he had come across an injured bald eagle on the St. Croix River (MN) but turns out it was just muskie fishing catching:

Said they drove by about 1 hour later and the ‘skie was about half eaten.


1. SK: Father/son team won the Premier’s Walleye Cup…

…taking home over $40K in winnings. This is the 4th time Bob Kirkpatrick won it, and 3 of those wins came fishing with his son Dallas. #ChaChing

The write-up said that “Dallas and his wife have an 18-month-old son and recently moved from Saskatoon back to Swift Current and purchased a house,” so he plans to spend his winnings “like a grownup” lol. Congrats fellas!

2. MN: Took a 10-lb average [!] to win…

…the 4th annual David A Andersen Memorial Walleye Shootout on Lake of the Woods. 10…lb…average. Jim and Dodi Huston caught 5 fish of a lifetime, in a single day, during a tournament! Their 50.93-lb bag included big-fish honors with a massive 31.25-incher:

3. 2020 Masters Walleye Circuit schedule announced.

Here’s your 2020 starting lineup:

  • Mar 20-21 — Illinois River, IL
  • Apr 17-18 — Detroit River, MI
  • May 15-16 — Bay of Green Bay, WI
  • Jun 12-13 — Lake Erie, OH
  • Jun 26-27 — Lake Oahe, SD
  • Jul 10-11 — Lake Sakakawea, ND
  • Sep 18-19 — Cass Lake, MN

4. New Bandit Generator cranks have glow sticks.

Bandit released their new Generator Walleye Deep Divers that have…

> …2 glow stick insertion points that allow the body to illuminate and glow.

Love the custom-looking colors and names…clockwise from the top left: sandstorm, loan shark, Haley’s chameleon, and traffic light:

5. MN: ‘Nother awesome kids event comin’ up.

Called the Youth Outdoor Activity Day and happenin’ Sun Aug 25 in Alexandria. Had over 2,200 kids attend last year (video)! More info on the activities here including: dark-house spearing, bowfishing, knot tying, and way waaaay more.

6. MN: Possible Mississippi River reg changes.

The write-up didn’t say exactly, but I believe they’re looking to lower the walleye/sauger limit from 6 to 4. Either way there’s some gem quotes in here ’bout how nowadays fishing is more than just getting your limit.

7. ND: Krieger/Ellingson win AIM team of the year.


8. MN: Huge lake trout might’ve smashed the record.

Caught with Jordan Korzenowski of Fish North MN charters on Lake Superior:

Fish went 45 1/2″ long with a 30 1/8″ girth. Guess if you plug those dimensions into a fish calculator for lake trout, it comes back at 51.6 lbs. The current record is 43-08 caught in 1955 by an unknown angler fishing in Lake Superior near Hovland in Cook County.

9. Special edition Platinum Power-Pole.

It’s a 20th anniversary edition. Crazy to think shallow-water anchors have been around that long, yet you’ll still get asked what they are at every gas station and ramp you stop at.

10. Supercharged 900-hp pontoons are a thing?!

It is thanks to Harris Pontoons putting a Mercury 450R on the back of their Grand Mariner and Crowne models.

11. New 400/800 watt marine subwoofers for boats.

Which I believe would do the exact opposite of a Hydrowave lol.

Headline of the Day

MN: Experts worry as invasive starry stonewort nears Lake Minnetonka.

The new-ish invasive was first reported in 2015 and has now spread to at least 15 MN lakes, including Medicine Lake just a few miles up from Tonka.

Would honestly be surprised if starry stonewort could “take hold” on Tonka with how all those wake boats rip up the shallow-water weeds….

Tip of the Day

Dylan Nussbaum’s fave leadcore-to-leader knot.

My go-to “joiner” for mono and fluoro leaders has always been the double-uni knot ‘cuz it’s 1) the easiest to tie and 2) hasn’t failed me yet. So not really sure why I’ve never used it for my leadcore setups? If it’s good enough for Dylan Nussbaum, it’s good enough for me:

Here’s a little diagrammatic help for those of you rockin’ the “cheaters” aka reading glasses. Of course need to remove the lead from the line first:

Quote of the Day

“6:50 a.m. means motors off, hands on our hearts and standing up for our National Anthem!”

– That’s the Aim Pro Walleye Series, a catch-record-release tourney, starting things off right!

Parting Shot

Looked like a perfect summer day out on Mille Lacs, yet funny enough Jenny Anderson (@girlof10000lakes) was daydreaming of catching ’em through the ICE instead. I’m not quite there yet, but do agree that 25° sounds pretty refreshing when it’s 90° out:

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