Target Walleye/Ice email

Gargantuan lake trout, Zeebz change spots, Flag freshwater gators tip

Today’s Top 5

Jumbotrons of the week!

My man Brian “Bro” Brosdahl finally took some well-deserved time off from his busy guiding schedule — first March he’s snuck away in 2 decades! — to go on a fun feeshin’ trip to Lake Cascade, ID.

Can’t tell if it was super windy, or if he just slept on his left side (LOL Bro! #BeardProbz), but don’t let that distract you from this pair o’ super slaunches!

Bro said it was a bug bite so fish didn’t wanna chase spoons or rattlebaits. Busted out the Northland Mud Bugs and Bug Heads — tipped with red or white Impulse Skeleton Minnows, or waxies — and leaned into ’em. Just glad to see Heather let you stick some too, man! 😉

Lake Cascade isn’t the only place kickin’ out slobs…. Here’s nearly 3.5 feet [!] of West Shoal Lake, Manitoba tiger stripes Jay Kaltenberger (@hookeddemfishs) put topside on Acme Tungsten Jigs tipped with “bubble gum” 13 Fishing Bernie soft plastics:

Who says you gotta downsize to catch perch? Check these Lake Simcoe #MustardTigers Matt Mitchell (@mgmitchell76) stuck on a Lunkerhunt Straight Up Jig — things are on a whole ‘nother level:

Fish-head Nicole Stone (@nicolestoneoutdoors) mined these Devils Lake, ND golden nuggets on a 1/16-oz PK Predator Spoon in 30′:

Dinner is on @thenorthfish…he’s cookin’ up a batch of Toyota fish Taco-mas:

Speakin’ of perch….

How’s that song go again? Chesnuts Perch roasting on an open fire…. Awesome @thenorthernherd shot:

Guess @miko_tikka prefers that cast-iron taste:

Think I’ll stick to the new-fashioned way….

How to catch GIANT Lake of the Woods pike on tip-ups.

Known for its zillions of walleyes, Lake of the Woods (LOW) has also become a world-class pike fishing destination during the Mar/Apr late-ice period. The border waters’ special regulations mean these fish can be targeted all the way through ice-out. #Jackpot

Mammoth pike will stage for the upcoming spawn in shallow bays all along the south shore and are ready to pop tip-up flags. Believe it or not, 40-inchers are hardly considered “big ones” when the bite is on!

Big-fish junkie Andy Walls has been specifically targeting these toothy critters for years, so we tracked him down to get his scoop on putting these freaks topside. Full write-up on, few excerpts below:


> “Make sure tip-ups are spinning smooth and that they have fresh 50-lb Sufix Performance Tip-Up Ice Braid. From there a quick-strike rig tied right to the tip-up line, and a 1/4-oz weight fixed above the leader to keep the bait in the strike zone.

> “Larger ‘Y yolk’ quick-strike rigs present both live and dead bait really well. They have a solid hook-up ratio with one treble fixed just before the head of the minnow and one rigged right before the tail. I’ve had the most success using 50-lb wire down to two #2 VMC Hybrid Trebles.

> “Lake of The Woods has a 30-40″ protective slot…need to be quickly released back into the water. I’ve found that packing a kit — that we bring with to every flag — helps this process immensely. We keep extra rigs, sinkers, pliers, jaw spreaders, hook cutters, measuring tapes, fish grippers, a hole scoop, and a camera.”


> “LOW northern pike can be caught literally almost anywhere on the lake, but there’s a large concentration of fish that really never leave the south shore.

> “Some of my best success early on in the season is in the 8-12′ range. Look for subtle structure changes like: a slightly quicker depth change, funnel, or ridge the fish may be following. Changes in the bottom content — like a rock or gravel patch — will usually provide even better action.

> By late Mar or early Apr, we’re typically setting lines in less than 5′. The later in the year it gets, begin concentrating your efforts closer to — or directly out in front of — main spawning areas where runoff is the highest…draws fish in”

> “Spread lines out to cover as much water as possible — I like walking at least 25-35 steps between holes. The more areas you can eliminate (or find) quickly gets you more bites in a day.

> “Not getting bit? Try moving north/south (shallower or deeper) first…when you find the right depth those flags will pop.

> “If I’m getting activity but not catching fish…AKA “false flags”…make smaller moves east/west or play with my bait (size, type, depth set, etc). Even if it’s the minnow tripping a flag, it’s likely because a pike spooked it and didn’t eat. Dead bait seems to be better when getting a lot of those false flags.”

Setting baits

> “You’re allowed 2 lines each…makes it a little faster to see what’s working! Mix up the depths you set your baits down to cover the entire water column. I’ve caught them setting lines just inches below the ice all the way to laying baits right on the bottom.

> “Arming your spread with a mixture of live and dead baits will allow you to quickly figure out what the pike want that day. Alewife, smelt, herring, numerous sizes of live suckers, or even large shiners work well.

> “Pay close attention to which flags are going off: If dead baits are getting more bites…switch more lines over to dead bait. If more flags are going off on a certain side of the spread…start shifting the entire spread in that direction. Can turn a good day into a great day!”

When to set the hook

> “Some people like to wait, but I’ll grab the flag as quick as I get to it and set the hook while they’re running…not stopped. My theory is that anytime the fish is moving, they likely have a good grip on the head or tail of the bait…both have hooks. When they’re not moving, they’re adjusting the bait in their mouth…

> “Also doesn’t take nearly as much force for the hook to penetrate when the fish is running since it’s already pulling the other way.”

Check Andy’s full write-up here. Thx for all the info, dude!

Gargantuan lake trout of the week!!

This dang fish is absolutely mind blowing! Was caught outta Bakers Narrows Lodge on Lake Athapapuskow, Manitoba and went a ridonkulous 45″ and 42 lbs!! Wowza:

Can’t forget about our friends out west — here’s a broad-backed laker Clayton Johnson plucked outta Fort Peck Rez, MT. Smoked ’em using “glow” and “white” color Mission Tackle Rigged Lake Trout Tubes (come with that clutch stinger hook built-in). Word is they’re completely sold out of all colors in the 3/4-oz size, but still have some 1/2-oz left…for now….

Just came across this pic from October…but it’s too sick not to share now. It’s a 40.5″ gargantuan (looks more like 167″ lol!) caught by outdoor-shooter Marcel Laferriere (@laferrieremarcel) outta Kenanow Lodge in northern Manitoba. Insane shot:

Marcel said they caught ’em casting musky baits in 4′ [!] for shallow spawners. Caught 8 Master Anglers that morning with the biggest going 42.5″. #MindBoggling

Here’s an actual pic of the auger you’d need to get that big-headed slush melon through the ice:

The calendar might say it’s late-ice…

…but Mother Nature disagrees. Blake Tollefson (@btollefsonfishing) is still finding plenty of fish hanging in the basins. #Stacked

Yo Blake – sure that MarCum LX-7 Lithium Combo isn’t still on demo mode? Lol kiddin’ man…. Hope your graph looks like that again this weekend!


1. SD: State record burbot caught!

Outta Lake Oahe by Joshua Bible. Went 12 lb 7 oz (33.75″ x 16.25″):

> Joshua: “Was really hoping to eat one, but guess I’ll have to catch another since this beauty is going above the bed! Going take awhile to get used to my new name ‘Junk Fish Josh’ but it does have a certain ring to it!”

Lol congrats, dude! Love it.

2. NY still tryin’ to be the sauger capital?

Move over Illinois River:

> Goal is to establish and maintain sauger populations in all suitable waters of native NY watersheds by 2030.

Have pumped over 17K fingerlings and 700K fry into Allegheny Rez from 2014-2018 and said:

> Sauger from all 5 years of stocking are present in the reservoir and fish from the first year of stocking are now reaching over 20″…. Possible sauger spawning activity was even observed in the river this past spring.

3. New PowerPro braid glows for night fishing.

> New ‘Moon Shine’ color Super8Slick V2 braid features a special process that makes the braid glow when used under blacklight.

4. New Garmin ECHOMAP Ultra

> Larger, brighter screens, built-in Panoptix LiveScope support and new g3 maps, charts.

5. AR: Biologists tracking sauger on Arkansas River.

Love this quote from the fisheries supervisor, Frank Leone:

> “I occasionally get photos from anglers asking what the fish was that a person caught in the river while fishing for crappie and bass…. Most of the time, people will ask if it’s a snakehead, and I have to explain to them that it’s not only a native fish, but a good one at that.”

6. First look at the Jackall Deracoup.

Sure Jeff “Gussy” Gustafson might be down at the Bassmaster Classic in Knoxville, TN…but his heart is up north with his pet walleyes lol.

Was sent this shot of him with the new Jackall Deracoup, one of Jackall Japan’s top-selling lures that’s comin’ across the pond:

Will be available in 8 different colors and 3 sizes (1/2, 3/4 and 1 oz).

Last Chance: Freedom Tackle Giveaway!

Have a shot at winning this $200-ish stack of Freedom Tackle walleye- and ice-fishing loot! [fire emoji] Quality stuff that works as good as it looks! Including:

1. Minnow Spoons: Not sure how to describe its action other than WHOA (click for a vid). Basically a jerkbait + rattlebait + jigging spoon + blade bait…all in one.

2. Turnback Shads: Full-metal body so no broken tails, and free spinning so no line twists. Mucho nice!

3. Hammered Minnow Spoons: Have a quick-change clevis on the rear to swap out hooks or bead colors. Side-to-side wobble on the drop.

Same deal: Takes 10 seconds to enter — can share the link you get for bonus entries. Good luck!

Tip of the Day

Ice-fish deeper on lakes with zebra mussels.

Zeebz come in and change the whole ecosystem of the lake. “My grandpa used to catch ’em here” will only work for so long — fish aren’t going to be in the same spots they used to be.

Why? Zeebz filter the water, which increases water clarity and allows vegetation to grow deeper. So the fish are moving deeper and so should you. Clearer water can also make fish “more smarter.”

Jon Thelen likes using baits like the Lindy Quiver Spoon because it’s made out of tin and has a slow-fluttery drop that looks natural to ’em, like a minnow.

> Jon: “One side is either metallic silver or metallic gold. So you’ve got the flash of a natural minnow, but also a little bit of color you’re adding on the other side.”

Here’s the Quiver Spoon in action, puttin’ slabs topside from nearly 50′ in a lake where they used to catch ’em much shallower:

Quote of the Day

Using #9s to catch #10s….

– That’s Joshua Turner’s (@jathunter157) caption under this Instagram post of a cannibalistic perch taking down a “glow yellow perch” Rapala Jigging Rap:

Did you know there actually used to be (is be?) a #11 J-Rap? Have seen a couple floating ’round eBay and on some European-ish lookin’ sites. Sounds like they were about 1″ longer than the #9s and weighed nearly the same.

Definitely gotta get my hands on one and will try my hardest not to use it! #Collector

Got me thinking: Why isn’t there a Jigging Rap big-enough for muskies yet? Know a few lakes where I’d probably use it for late-fall walleyes too….

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

TW fan Colin Johnson landed this thick 28.5-incher in whiteout conditions on Lake of the Woods. Was using a Northland Buck-Shot Spoon tipped with a shiner head. Released her to get even more bigger-er! #Stout

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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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