Target Walleye/Ice email

Dropper chains for panfish, Cold front walleye tip, Massive spoons shallow

Today’s Top 5

Instagram ‘stories’ of the day.

Temperature? There isn’t one. Via Brainerd MN’s @loganwaidelich:

You know they’re on the chew when…from fish-head @spenser_samplawski:

If you’re ever gonna buy a used Simms suit off of someone, Spenser ^ is your guy…he does a great job of keeping slime off it by holding the fish waaaay out away from his body…. Kiddin’ man…sort of (lol). #EyeCandy

My Simms Challenger Insulated Jacket was lookin’ fresh, until I ticked off this Lake Manitoba walldawg by sticking a PK Flutter Fish into the side of its face. #FishSlap

Luckily it wasn’t a burbot:

Gotta say after running the new Simms Challenger Insulated Jacket and Bibs for a week straight — basically never taking ’em off — I’m super impressed. Thought it’d be more of a late-fall open-water suit, but kept me plenty warm hole-hopping for an entire afternoon (with only a hoodie underneath) in -20°F. #Stout

Still can’t get over how comfortable and light it is. I’m a self-admitted nerd, so of course I weighed it and was shocked my 3XL Simms suit weighs 4 lbs less [!] than my other suits. Of course it doesn’t have the “floating” properties of some of the other hardwater suits, but there’s a time and a place for each….

Try ‘dropper chains’ for pressured fish.

Talkin’ high-pressure days (thx Mother Nature!),but also works for heavy fishin’ pressure…especially in deeper water where it’s tough to get tiny finesse baits down to ’em. Full Ice Force blog post here, few excerpts below:

> Brad Hawthorne: “If you’re seeing the fish come in and get really close, then go away…try adding a dropper chain to your spoon. A lot of times that one layer of separation away from your bait is enough to get them to come in and bite.”

Baits like the VMC Rocker Spoon already come with a dropper chain on ’em:

> “Works especially well on really high-pressure days when the fish might be a little bit sluggish. [Doesn’t matter if] you’re fishing for panfish or perch, walleye or whitefish…early-ice to late-ice….

> “You have your attractant (which is the spoon) and then you have your food (which is the meat) on the end of the hook…a little worm or minnow head. They wonder what’s making all the flash and the noise and then they see that tempting little offering hanging on the bottom there and then bam, they hit it.”

Can also buy those VMC dropper chains separate — with an octopus hook or treble hook — to add to your favorite spoon:

TW fan Jadyn Thomas put the 5/16-oz “glow orange fire UV” color VMC Rocker Spoon (tipped with a minnow head) to good use on a recent perch search — fishing 10-15′ mud basins in eastern ND slough country. Had to “meme-ify” the pic for him:

Lol. Way to keep after ’em on a tough bite, dude!

Ever try BIG flutter spoons for shallow-water walleyes?

I’m talkin’ yuuuuge 4″ flutter spoons like the Clam Peg Spoon (named after Lake Winnipeg) and the 3/4-oz PK Flutter Fish.

Fish ’em like you would a rattlebait: Big 2-3′ rips — let ’em flutter down on a semi-controlled slack line — then dance ’em in place and repeat if necessary.

Works especially well in shallow water ‘cuz walleyes are only up there for one reason…to feed! #Aggressive

That was the program when we were on Lake Manitoba last week, pluckin’ chunky razorbacks outta just 5-8′! Had cameras running the whole time, if fishin’ vlogs are your thing:

Jason Mitchell: Tips to catch more mid-winter panfish.

Anyone else looking forward to chasing late-ice panfish? Things can feed like piranhas once the melt begins. Right now — during what we like to call the “dog days” of winter — it’s a whole different story.

Here’s 5 quick tips from Jason Mitchell’s Walleye Central post that he uses to ice fussy panfish:

1. Drop down to lighter line.

> 4-lb test combined with the weight of tungsten can shine at early and late ice, but when the bite gets tougher you’ll be amazed how many more fish can be caught by dropping down to fresh 2-lb test.

2. Master the subtle quiver.

> When fishing gets tough, the most delicate and subtle quiver often triggers bites. The right quiver creates a soft vibration on the jig and tail but the jig basically stays in one place. Use a spring bobber or sanded glass tip for mastering this quiver.

3. Spooler reels.

> Clam’s Ice Spooler Elite enables ice anglers to present a jig with little or no twist or turn as the jig hangs in the water. The less you have to do to trigger a bite, the more this type of a reel can increase your success on a tough bite.

4. Experiment with vertical jigs.

> …like Clam Pro Tackle Maggot Drop. Soft plastics can be hooked to hang horizontally, but vertical jigs move less water and have less of a profile which shines on a tough bite. Remember that panfish often rise up to the jig, and when looking from below, vertical jigs look much smaller than a horizontal jig.

5. Force yourself to fish fresh ice.

> …in many [community holes] fish have already been caught so the [ones] that are left aren’t competing against as many fish. If you can force yourself to explore some new locations and find new fish that haven’t been pressured, you’re going to catch more and bigger fish.

Zebra mussels’ best friend: wakeboard boats.

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That's according to a study by the University of MN’s Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center that analyzed water samples from 379 boats on Lake Minnetonka and Gull Lake over 2 years:

> “The best way for invasive zebra mussel larvae to get from one MN lake to another is aboard wakeboard boats…. The ballast tanks of recreational wakeboard boats beat out other leading stowaway suspects, including sterndrive inboard/outboard engines, bilges and livewells….

> “Zebra mussel larvae that make their way into wakeboard ballast take longer to die than those that stow away in smaller areas, such as livewells….”

Tourney guys/gals be like:


1. OH: Family of 7 broke through on Mosquito Lake.

Article says bystanders used rope to help pull all 7 family members (including children) to safety. Scary. Glad everyone was okay.

2. MN: Brandon Newby and Ryan Wilson win NAIFC…

…on North and South Twin lakes. Said they drilled out the entire lake prefishing, and used Aqua-Vu Micro Revolution 5.0 underwater cameras to find the biggest fish without needing to drop a line:

> Gauging size is tricky, but by observing details like the size of their ear-flap in relation to the rest of their body, or the thickness of their torso, you get a good idea as to whether you’re looking at another 6-incher, or a healthy 8.5″ or 9″.

Incredible. Well deserved, fellas!

3. Is Kee Kong getting soft on us?

Ice Force pro Kee Kong is known for being a diehard run-and-gun fisherdude…so was surprised to see him shacked up in a Yetti Fish House….

Didn’t stop him from icing some mega mud melons, including this 28.25-incher he literally jumped outta his slippers to land:

Givin’ me some serious fish-house envy, dude! Especially when it’s -20°F and you’re makin’ a pizza in your skivvies….

4. MN: $150K ice-fishing extravaganza happenin’ this weekend…

…on Gull Lake in Nisswa. Can expect 10,000+ people to fish for a chance at the $150K in prizes. Heck of a time if you’re into this kind of thing:

One guy you won’t see there:

And if you don’t win the Gull Lake derby….

Check the Poles ‘N Holes ice derby in Detroit Lakes, Feb 9. They expect ’round 1,500-ish anglers and have a heck of a prize-to-participant ratio (which is a real made-up thing) with over $30K in prizes.

5. ON: Ice-fishing weigh scales stolen.

Happened in the city of Barrie. Not your grandpappy’s scales…write-up said the 3 were valued at over $7K!

6. PK Lures has Lake Winnipeg spoon kits.

7. New 5-hp propane Merc.

> “Propane doesn’t degrade or contain ethanol, so you don’t need to worry about what type of fuel to run or how fresh it is. The pressurized fuel system eliminates priming, making the outboard easier to start, and the auto shut-off valves are there for safety.”

Says a 20-lb propane tank will run approx 10 hours at full throttle. Wait ’til you see the size of the tank on their 300-hp propane outboard (lol):

8. St. Croix rod is looking for a new CEO.

Have met some awesome peeps working at St. Croix — excited to see who lands the gig.

9. Okuma bought Soft Steel USA.Soft Steel apparently makes fluoro and mono lines. #MakingMoves

10. MN: Advanced catfishing on the Red River seminar.

With Brad Durick and happenin’ Mar 20 in Moorhead. Not sure anyone’s as dialed on the big-kitty bite as Brad…would love to sneak over there for that.

11. Polaris bought another boat company.

Larson Boat Group….

12. Dock fisherman in Australia rammed by angry jetskiers.

Can’t make this stuff up.

Gitcha 20% off all Target Walleye/Ice gear until Friday with the code MLKDAY at checkout! Click here or on the pic below:

Tip of the Day

Jon Thelen says cold weather can shut the bite off on the first day, but if you have 3 or 4 days of stable cold weather in a row, you can still catch walleyes all day long. Fish are still gonna eat, but they’re gonna eat differently…just gotta adapt to the bite.

That’s when Jon busts out the made-of-tin Lindy Quiver Spoon for its slower drop rate…gives the fish more time to look at it and to react to the easy meal:

Love watching how they react on Humminbird’s “graph” view (^ thumbnail clip). Guess there’s a reason the ICE HELIX units are completely sold out on Humminbird’s site….

Quote of the Day

When they said they were biting close to the bank….I don’t think this is what they meant!

Hilarious caption from this Eskimo spotting on the Midwest Angler FB page:

Pretty good place to look for a “greenback” lol.

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

Love me some white baits when fishin’ bigger-profile jigging spoons or rattlebaits…not sure why (tullibee?) but walleyes crush ’em!

Hadn’t seen this “dace” color Salmo Chubby Darter until now and will for sure be picking up a couple:

Something you might not know:

> “Every Salmo lure is assembled by hand, painted by hand, tested in a tank of water and tuned before it goes into the box.”

Like to hear that! Here’s why they work…from Salmo:

> “When you snap-jig it up, the lure darts in different directions, covering a wide cone. On the fall it has a really nice slow wobble that drives fish crazy. You can also slowly lift and pulse the rod for fish that are engaged on the chase…don’t need to tip it with any bait!”


UFO spotted over Lake Winnipeg?

Starting to make sense why those fish get so big and green lol.

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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