Target Walleye/Ice email

Gobies for dinner, Complete jigging spoon setup, Fish cleaning tricks

Today’s Top 5

Great Lakes walleye eating more gobies.

Great Lakes walleye diets are (forcibly) changing according to some interesting research from Michigan State U’s Dept of Fisheries and Wildlife…


It’s no coincidence that a lot of Great Lakes NWT events have been won the last few years targeting goby-eaters with Rapala Rippin’ Raps…. Hit the full write-up here, few excerpts below:

> Alewives were once an important food source…but Great Lakes populations started to decline in the early 1980s…finally crashed during the 2000s….

> The [alewife] crash was likely caused by the state putting too many fish into these lakes…because so many game fish were stocked into lakes Huron and Michigan to support the state’s multi-billion-dollar fishing industry….

> “We had this shocking revelation like, ‘Oh, we can’t depend on alewife populations to feed predators anymore’….”

> [MSU’s Dept of Fisheries and Wildlife] researched how the collapse of the alewife population affects fish that used to depend on them to survive and are important to Great Lakes anglers and commercial fisheries. The best way to do that is to look inside the stomachs of those fish for what they’re eating….

> …analyzed over 3,000 [walleye, lake trout and Chinook salmon] stomachs from 2017-2018. …identified all the fish or bugs they could. Sometimes found more interesting contents, such as a Coke label and a bird leg.

> …compared results with those from an earlier [2009-2011] study…found that lake trout and walleye ate more alewives during 2009-2011 than they did in 2017-2018. Instead, they ate many more round gobies….

Those little rock trolls don’t exactly look appetizing to me, but guess it’s better than the alternative:

Fish cleaning tricks: Few cuts you might be missing.

Do you zipper your fillets to remove the mud line? How ’bout take out the walleye cheeks and wings?? Yup, walleyes have wings…sorta…. Learn how to not waste any meat — and eat more! — in this vid from our friends at Fillet Away Fish Mats.


Not a TW sponsor, but pretty slick unit for you folks filleting on the run! Can slap that Fillet Away Fish Mat on your tailgate, top of the cooler, countertop, wherever you’re filleting fish. Keeps ’em from sliding around and contains some of the mess.

What CAN’T Dylan Nussbaum catch?!?!

Of course NWT pro [hammer emoji] Dylan Nussbaum can catch himself a walleye, but he doesn’t stop there…


Check out these recent catches — all of which are ridiculous in their own way:

He quite possibly stuck (and released) the NY state record sauger chucking a Juice Baits 4.8 HD Swimbait rigged on a VMC Neon Moon Eye Jig. Didn’t realize at the time that the current record is just 4.5 lbs, and this looks all of that:


Last month he made the trek across the big pond to knock a fish off the top of his fishing bucket-list…ZANDER! The grind paid off to the tune of 36.6″ and 15.45 lbs!!


Caught that freak o’ nature throwing a Juice Baits 4.8 HD Swimbait on a 3/4-oz VMC Neon Moon Eye Jig (fathead). Rocking a 7′ M (2-piece) KastKing Royal Legend and Bassinator spooled with 12-lb Sufix NanoBraid to a 12-lb Sufix fluorocrabon leader.

Oh, and don’t even get me started on his nearly 3-lb perch:

Keep doing your thing, dude!

My complete jigging spoon setup.

You don’t (always) need live bait to catch hardwater walleyes…. Ever try the “fake” minnow heads on your spoons? How about a feathered- or glow-resin treble hook?? That and waaaay more in this Target Walleye YouTube vid.

It’s 15-min long, so I’ll give you a “Table of Contents” lol:

0:27 – Top 6 jigging spoons to catch walleyes anywhere

5:05 – 3 alternatives to live minnow heads

9:06 – Rest of the setup (line, leader, snap, swivel, etc)

11:25 – Longer ice rods are better….

12:18 – My absolute favorite budget-friendly ice reel

13:10 – Braid gives you better spoon control

Or check the full vid here:

Let me know your go-to jigging spoons — or what you’d like to see next — by dropping a comment under the video. Really appreciate you watching!

New ice rig for Midwesterners.

Came across this post from Caleb Holmen in the Ice Fishing Minnesota FB group. Not a bad investment considering how fast the season changes up here lol:


1. ID: 8yo breaks Gerrard rainbow trout C&R record.

Sophie Egizi caught the 36.5-incher (she nicknamed “Old Man Sparkles”) trolling flies on Lake Pend Oreille. So awesome:

Case you didn’t know either:

> Gerrard rainbow trout are a strain of fish that are unique to the Clark Fork River drainage…because of their massive size, they’re treated as a separate trout species for record-keeping purposes.

2. Lake Erie: Algae blooms and “dead zones” have…

…forced fish to migrate. Interesting because according to this write-up:

> “Algae serves as the base of the food chain for small fish and is among the reasons why Lake Erie, which only holds 2% of the Great Lakes water volume, cradles roughly 50% of the fish.”

But too much of a good thing can mean a bad thing. In this case, monster algae blooms combined with “excessive runoff from farm fields or urban sewage plants” can create dead zones = areas fish can’t survive due to low oxygen levels.

3. MT to cut back on the Holter Rez meat piggin’.

Walleye and perch numbers are way down based on annual fall monitoring so:

> …proposed reducing the perch limit from 50 perch per day with no possession limit [!!] to 25 perch daily and in possession.

> …proposing to reduce the walleye bag limit from 10 walleye daily (1 > 25″) to 5 fish daily (1 > 25″). Possession limit would remain 2x the daily limit.

4. US: Boat registration program picks up 60K rigs.

Guess the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) sent out letters to owners of boats with lapsed registrations in 19 states, and “brought a record number of boats back to the water” when more than 60,000 re-registered.

All good, but do they really think that none of those 60K boats were still being used? Riiiight….. Either way got ’em another $2.23 mil+ in registration fees. #ChaChing

5. PK Lures has Rattle Spoons comin’ soon-ish.

Need. Want. Must. Have.

Keep ya posted when they drop…AFTER I have my order in lol. #sorrynotsorry

6. ON: Canadian Ice Expo, Barrie, Dec 14-15.

New-ish show that folks travel from all over eastern CAN to get to. Different venue this year, Georgian College, at the top end of Lake Simcoe.

7. Brian Brosdahl’s makin’ the rounds.

Here’s The Bro Road Show’s next few stops:

  • Nov 16 – Scheels – St. Cloud, MN
  • Nov 20 – Marine General – Duluth, MN
  • Nov 22 – Fleet Farm – Duluth, MN
  • Nov 23 – Gander Outdoors – Forest Lake, MN
  • Nov 24 – Fleet Farm – Brainerd, MN
  • Nov 29 – Cabela’s – Rogers, MN

S’more info on the prize giveaways and Bro’s full schedule here.

8. American Baitworks bought 50% of STH Bait Co.

STH = Set The Hook Bait Co, which makes hand-poured soft plastics. American Baitworks is the same company that bought a 50% stake in Freedom Tackle earlier this spring.

9. AK: Crazy ice balls on the Wulik River…

…have North American ice experts stumped.

> The balls were locked under a layer of clear ice, so the surface of the river was frozen smooth. They were approximately 10″ around…the smaller ones were like the size of an orange and a cantaloupe.

Man, it’d be a freaky (but cool!) feeling walking on that.

10. MT’s still mussel free.

No offense [flexing emoji]. Talking zeebz, quaggas, invasives.

11. WI: Public hearing on Lake Michigan whitefish rule, Nov 20.

A permanent rule regulating bottom trawling. Guess a “trawl” looks like a large, mesh sock and is drug across the lake bottom behind a boat. #NowYouKnow

> Under this proposed rule, commercial fishers could elect to bottom trawl in this area as an alternative to using nets to fill their preexisting lake whitefish quotas.

12. Wanna catch some poachers?

ME’s hiring game wardens and,

MI’s looking for conservation officers.

13. Yup, my next wheelhouse…

…will FOR SURE have hydraulics for lowering and raising the “shack” with the push of a button. Standard feature on all 17′ and 21′ Yetti Fish House models:

Having to crank our old shack up and down wasn’t a big deal, but was definitely one of the main reasons we didn’t move as much as we should have.

14. SD wants to change flathead cat regs.

Currently no size restrictions. New regs would allow 1 over 28″ per day as part of the daily limit. Guess the proposal originated from a public petition = voices heard.

15. Did you enter the $150 Yo-Zuri giveaway yet??

Last chance!

Have a shot at winning this pile of Yo-Zuri loot, including the brand new Rattl’N Vibe Mini!! It’s a tasty 1-5/8″ (3/16-oz) size for you ice-heads. Comes in 12 different colors, 4 of which are UV and designed specifically for ice fishing.

Will be 3 different winners for this one. Takes 10 seconds to enter by clicking the picture below and can share the link you get for bonus entries. Good luck!

Tip of the Day

Lots of good info in Dan Durbin’s full Outdoor News write-up here, few things that stood out to me:

> The Rock River is a draining river, so the flow is primarily dictated by runoff. In most rivers, the fish almost set up a ‘mock run’ as they move up and set-up for the winter. These fish come in from Lake Koshkonong. The Wolf River sees fish move in from Winnebago. You can find this scenario in many systems all over the Midwest.

> If there’s a dam on the system, many times that will concentrate the fish because it blocks the migration.

> …as the water levels rise and fall over the course of the winter, they’ll move into and out of current as water levels change. But there are also other factors….

> MN’s Lake of the Woods sees a change in winter patterns during the shiner spawn. In other systems it could be a frog migration. Another change is a water event like a lot of rain or melting snow. The walleye will react to all these things in different ways.

> Right now, we’re fishing after a ton of rain entered into the system. …these flooded banks with a lot of brush on them is a good start. The key is having deeper water next to them the fish can slide into when needed.

> As water temps drop…walleyes prefer more of a steady, natural glide versus an erratic action. Let them pin it to the bottom and eat it.

> The tough part when dragging jigs is that with flooding comes debris like sticks and other things for jigs to snag on. Most standard jigs will tip over as soon as they hit the bottom which can lead to a snag. The problem here is that you really need to be on the bottom to get bit.

> For fishing these flooded areas — which can be good all winter because water fluctuates so much — [these prototype Strike King walleye jigs with a crater/concave head] really will help increase your bites and decrease your snags for this pattern.

Keep reading here.

Quote of the Day

“I put it on a 50-lb scale and it broke.”

– That’s George Washington (real name!) talking about his 60-lb (4-foot) flathead he caught outta OK’s East Cache Creek. Won him a shopping spree at Academy Sports. Nice fish dude!

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

Cool Mike Borovic edit of a Detroit River gravel lizard that scarfed up his Lunkerhunt Bento Minnow:

Awesome thing you might not know about Lunkerhunt’s Bento Baits: The plastic is molded around — and fuses into — a holographic fabric in the middle…sorta like rebar and concrete. I’ve fished with one an entire day without losing it. Go to take it off and it’s like trying to get a hook out of a t-shirt. #works

They also make a paddletail version called the Swim Bento:

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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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