Target Walleye/Ice email

Fish slower late fall, How Hoyer hit sticks, Frozen critter fest

Today’s Top 4

Fall crankbait trolling not about speed.

People get so focused on what exact mph they should be trolling at (I’m raising my hand) but John Hoyer will actually pay more attention to the feel of his baits than the GPS speed. That plus a few more quick-hitters in this vid from The Next Bite:


John is ALL about those new Berkley Hit Sticks for late-fall trolling — easy to see why:


Wait, that’s an imposter Hoyer — his bro Andrew — I legit had to do a double-take lol. The “stunt double” landed his new PB wally (28″ and 9.25 lbs) after John marked it on side imaging and they made 2 passes at her.

Here’s the real Hoyer (no offense Andrew!) who also got in on the action:


> John: “The [Berkley Hit Stick] has a perfect roll and apparently a seductive rattle. The addicting part is how hard the fish bite these things, and the way they have it in their mouth when you land them…T-boned or completely choked is the standard look.”

Btw – it’s safe to say Keith Kavajecz is all-in on the Hit Stick too. #StackedDeck

Mille Lacs winter regz announced and…

[Drum-roll sound effect]

> Starting Dec 1…will be a limit of 1 walleye between 21-23″, or 1 over 28″. Same regulation as the last two winter seasons.

Know there’s a plenty o’ meat hunters that may be less than happy with the restrictions, and I’ve got just one question for you:


Anytime you talk about changing regs, folks get a little “passionate” (lol).

My 2 cents: Fishing’s about more than just filling your bucket. If you’re only in it for the meat, it’d be way cheaper to hit the grocery store….

I like a fish dinner as much as the next guy/gal, but I’m just pumped to be able to #TargetWalleye on ‘The Big Pond’:


The bite should be insane by central-MN standards. Most other lakes ’round these parts a great day is 1 or 2 fish. And Mille Lacs, well…


Remember: Still catch and release only on Mille Lacs until Dec 1, even if she freezes over before that. Easy mistake to make with regs that seem to change daily.

Oh, and the results of a DNR fish population study are in:

> Based on these data, the best estimate is that there are 727K walleye longer than 14″, including 400K females and 327K males, in Mille Lacs Lake.

Das a lotta walleyes….

Sloooow down for late-fall walleyes.

Still plenty of fish to be caught if you’re willing to bundle up and sloooow down! No live bait needed [smirk emoji]….

This little warm up is definitely going to extend our open-water opportunities around central MN, and I’ll gladly welcome it! The last time I hopped in the boat there was a dang blizzard rolling in and the high for the day was 30°F…luckily a few fish still decided to hop in the boat.

Water temps were in the mid-40s and I was targeting shallow rock transition areas (anywhere from 7-14′) where I’d expect to catch ’em first-ice. They were munching a 1/4-oz VMC Neon Moon Eye Jig paired with an AuthentX Ribb-Finn — here she be:


Had cameras running the whole time — something I’m going to try to do more consistently. Know the video is a little long for some at 20-ish minutes, but I hope you enjoy it and pick up a few tips you can slap on your local waters:


Make sure to drop a comment over on YouTube to let me know what you liked, hated (lol), or want to see next — thx much for watching!

“He kept slipping and falling because they don’t go very well on glare ice.”

Not talking about the first time you ever took your in-laws ice fishing….

That’s Paul Colson of Jake’s Northwest Angle Resort talking about saving a whitetail they spotted struggling in the water — was chased by a dog out to where it broke through thin ice in a creek that flows into Lake of the Woods:


Full story in this Brad Dokken write-up. Funny enough Brad was scheduled to do an interview with Paul at 9 am for an unrelated story when Paul called and said he’d be a few minutes late because he was rescuing a deer = just another Monday morning in the NW Angle lol!

That story ^ did have a happy ending, now here’s a few (unrelated) critters that weren’t as lucky:


1. You see these new spear-hole markers?? Can also get ’em in a velvet version earlier in the season:

2. What does the fox say? Not much….



3. Anton and Alex Babich stumbled across this bass-eating pike in Indiana:


4. TW fan Brent Meyers found this hardwater honker while ice fishing on Lake Diefenbaker, SK. Would have to say that throwing up the “goose egg” now sounds better than getting “skunked” on the ice:


1. Dudes donate $79K [!] tourney winnings to MN-FISH.

Dave Osborne and his fishing partners Dave Hanson and Jason Berg won the ‘Partners For Charity’ bass derby on Lake Minnetonka earlier this summer. They donated the entire $79K purse [!] to MN-FISH whose mission is “to restore, protect, and enhance sportfishing for the present and future generations to enjoy.”

> Ron Schara, MN-FISH president: “We at MN-FISH are awestruck by this generous donation. We will put it to good use to improve fishing in MN. And I don’t mean digging worms. Bless you, Dave Osborne and associates.”

2. Ice companies expecting record sales this year.

3. WI Fishing Expo cancelled.

Said they cancelled it because of the venue:

> …Madison’s Alliant Energy Center…have extended the closure of their facility until at least 4/1/21, possibly 7/1/21….

And couldn’t find anyplace else to have it.

4. MN: Minneapolis Boat Show cancelled.

Plan to return Jan 20-23, 2022.

5. Warrior’s now making battleships.

Their new V238 is just under 23′ long, has a 101″ beam, and holds 78 gallons of go-go juice:

Whoops, wrong pic…let’s try that again:

Word is you can hang a 450 on the back, which I didn’t even know was a thing. #AllOfThePonies

6. DC: President Trump signed new conservation law.

> …reauthorizes the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and codifies the National Fish Habitat Partnership, 2 of the most successful voluntary conservation efforts in the nation. The law also reauthorizes the Chesapeake Bay Program and creates funding authorizations for other crucial conservation programs.

7. IA: “Cruddy” fish kill in Fayette County

> A fertilizer truck rollover near Wadena resulted in fish-killing products going into Brush Creek.

8. I used to be a fan of PK Rattle Spoons…

…but now I’m an air conditioner (lol) after seeing custom-painter Dane Heid get his hands on ’em:

The stock PK Rattle Spoons straight-up catch fish — I especially like ’em during early-ice when oxygen levels are still high and fish are hot to trot — but these custom colors have me even more excited-er to tie one on. And pretty cool to see the custom painters venturing into the jigging spoon world….

9. If you need boat access near you…

…can weigh in by taking a survey at the link above by Fri Nov 13:

> With the passage of the Great American Outdoors Act this summer, the outdoor recreation community has an unprecedented opportunity to help identify boating access projects in need of funding.

Like in this shot of @mwaldronfishing with a Fort Peck laker??

Well, if you’re sick of your ice hole freezing over you should probably keep reading…. That slick little (made in the USA) gadget from Cold Nation Outdoors is called the Ice Defense Pro Series. It circulates warmer water from below and “creates thermal flow on the surface to defend against slush and ice build up.”

I got my hands on one at the end of last year and thing’s legit.

Strongly recommend watching this on-ice field test video (in 7-9°F) to see a time lapse of it in action — they literally dump extra slush in the whole and you can see the Ice Defense Pro Series eat it right up:

How slick is that?!

11. PA: Small boaters and paddlers have to wear a PFD.

It’s a requirement on boats 16′ or less and paddle crafts from Nov 1-Apr 30.

12. Came across these crazy custom ice shuttles on FB.

Don’t know much (anything) about ’em, but they look pretty ballin’! Highlights

> People are ice fishing, Learn your chisel, Jigging spoon overhaul

> Fishy Halloween costumes, Beasts of the week, Fish-flop friday

Note: The FishUSA links in this email are affiliate links, meaning if you go through them to make a purchase we might earn a commission…at no cost to you. Click here if you want to learn a little more about links in TW.

Tip of the Day

How Jason Mitchell targets first-ice ‘eyes.

Just trying to get you mentally prepared and game-planned for the hard stuff!

> The very best bites for early-ice walleye in shallow water usually happen at sunrise and sunset, but by utilizing the middle of the day and to hunt for new spots with fish, you can be in a much more fluid position of staying on good bites.

> There’s a general rule of thumb that fish slide up on tops of reefs, points or move shallow when the sun gets low — keep with that mentality when you looking for walleye during the day…hit the same spots where you’d expect to find them come sunset….

> …shallow walleyes often don’t slide deeper during the middle of the day, they simply seem to lay on the bottom and quit cruising. That’s why you often can’t sit in one spot and catch multiple fish out of one hole during the middle of the day…. Come sunset when fish are cruising on the prowl, you can catch several out of one hole.

> When looking for fresh fish, focus on the money spots and hit as many as you can. …keep hitting new spots with fresh ice where there has been no pressure yet. If there are a lot of fish on a spot, there will be a few that slide up shallow much earlier than they should.

> When I’m looking for fish during the middle of the day, I like to use the same lures I expect to use at sunset. ….big and aggressive because fish that are laying on the bottom must get turned around. …odds of landing right in front of a fish is slim…the odds of landing within 20′ are much better. The fish might be facing the wrong direction and laying on the bottom…finesse just isn’t going to move them…. Hard pounding can get them to respond.

Keep reading here.

Quote of the Day

“He got so mad he was going to have to troll that he didn’t show up.”

– That’s Johnnie Candle talking on the Bigwater Podcast about the time he became the first walleye pro to drop a 50-lb bag at weigh in…BUT the next day, his amateur partner did NOT show up because he hated trolling that much lol.

Johnnie literally “grabbed a random guy in a suit and tie, and wingtips” that was there watching the take-off, and turned him into a walleye catcher for the day:

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

Halloween weekend included a few tricks and 1 big treat for @canadian_living on the Bay of Quinte:


And I guess this would be the fishing equivalent to the house that passes out pencils or fruit instead of candy lol:

Sign up another fish-head!

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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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