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Hit shallow “eelgrass” midday, Green Bay slugfest, Vertical trolling cranks

Today’s Top 4

Hit “eelgrass” for mid-day walleyes now. 

It’s the ‘dog days’ of summer but walleyes can still be caught during the middle of the day. You just have to get ’em out of the weeds! I just posted the full write-up here on, few excerpts below:


Typically when we’re talking about plucking summertime walleyes out of the weeds, it seems like cabbage and coontail are the go-tos — sometimes even milfoil or chara aka “sand grass.”

But I haven’t heard much talk about “eelgrass” or wild celery (vallisneria americana) as the scientific-y folks call it? Stuff that looks like this:


I stumbled on this bite on accident…sort of…. Was up poking around for walleyes on a long, slow-tapering point — hitting that 10-14′ cabbage/coontail mix where the fish usually are on this central-MN lake — and striking out.

It was sunny and pushing 90 degrees, with water temps on the verge of bath water (81°F). I had seen several fish on my Humminbird MEGA Down Imaging hidden in the weeds, but just couldn’t get them to go. Figured the fish must’ve been straight-up buried down and the odds of ’em even seeing my bait was slim.

Was about to throw in the towel [face-palm emoji] and figured for the heck of it I’d bomb a cast up on the tippy-top of this point = a 6-9′ flat with scattered eelgrass. Flipped the trolling motor to 10 and juuuust started to turn the boat to get to deeper water — so I could get the heck out of there — when I got “thunked.”

What do ya know, it was a chunky 15″ walleye that absolutely inhaled my 4″ Impulse Smelt Minnow on a 1/4-oz VMC Neon Moon Eye Jig. Have that combo tied on no matter what lake I’m heading to. Not sure the jig color makes a big difference since snap-jigging is mostly a reaction bite, but I was trying to mimic a tasty-little perch:


I like to rig it with 10-lb Sufix 832 Advanced Superline and a 5-6′ leader of 8- or 10-lb Sufix Advance Fluorocarbon. Smooth + strong combo and can still feel ’em “donk” the bait on the drop. Heavier leader when snapping out of thick weeds, and drop down to 8-lb for the sparser stuff.

I immediately hit Spot-Lock and fired another cast up top. Ended up catching 3 walleyes in 4 casts [!] snap-jigging my bait so hard that every stroke looked like a hookset…and sometimes was. Yup, my shoulder’s still sore today after just an hour of that type of fishing lol.

Noticed on the 3rd cast (the one where I didn’t catch a walleye) I had a piece of “eelgrass” hanging from my bait. The next few casts after that flurry of fish helped me put together the pieces of that puzzle. Ended up catching a couple of largemouth bass, brought in a little more eelgrass, and snagged 2 small-ish perch in the belly. So now I knew what they were feeding on and where.

That “eelgrass” typically grows in 10′ or less…sometimes out to 15′. Likes growing on a semi-hard bottom…like sand covered with a thin layer of muck. It can get thick, but these fish were relating to thinner patches of the stuff. Only thing I can think of is it was enough cover to hold bait (perch) but thin enough those fish could easily feed in and around it. Especially since the cabbage/coontail mix I normally get ’em out of was soooo thick and overgrown = a nightmare to snap jig through.

The “X” marks the spot(s) where I found ’em relating to that shallow eelgrass, and I highlighted in yellow where I normally catch ’em midsummer on this point:


You’ve got your typical “flash bites” for walleye — about 45 minutes near sunrise and sunset — but there seems to be another bite window for these shallow weed fish: they LOVE to eat midday. Not sure what it is — maybe that’s when the forage is congregated around these areas?

Full scoop here.

Good people still exist…

…and so do BIG walleyes — gotta love when the 2 come together….

Got this awesome feel-good story from TW reader Greg Perz about a recent experience they had on Lake of the Woods. It’s a little long, but it’s all good:

> Greg: “My wife and I were headed up to the NW Angle (Flag Island) for our annual 4th of July trip. We were roughly an hour away from Sportsman’s Lodge (where we stay the night before driving the boat up to the Angle) and a car in the other lane hit a deer and launched it onto our windshield.

> “I did everything I could to stop but that’s a difficult task when pulling my [Ranger] 620 at 60 mph. Luckily it was sunny enough that my wife had her sunglasses on because the deer shattered our windshield and covered the inside of my truck (and her) with shards of glass. We were both totally fine but it was one heck of a scare.”


Glad everyone was okay! Here’s where the story gets good…

> “The first car that pulled over was an off-duty EMT and instantly started making sure that everyone was okay. I don’t remember her name but she was a huge help getting all the glass off my wife and helping her change clothes.

> “At the time we didn’t know what we were going to do about the trip but we decided to get to Baudette and figure it out in the AM. We towed the truck to Custom Auto Body & Repair and then took the boat to Sportman’s Lodge. When we were checking in and telling our story to the person at the front desk, she said ‘I’m sure we can find someone to launch your boat.’

> “The next morning we made the hard decision to cancel the trip to Flag Island and gave them a call. Since we were canceling the day that we were supposed to check in I assumed we’d lose our deposit and potentially have to pay for some of the nights. …explained our situation and they didn’t charge us anything…actually rolled our deposit over to next year.

> “We then went to the front desk to see if they had any open rooms/slips (my bro in-law said he’d drive up from the north metro to get us) and to see if someone would really launch our boat so that we could salvage some fishing.

> “The lady at the desk called a guy and in about 10-15 min he was out front hooking up to my boat. He drove me down to the launch and said that he would put the trailer back in their shop to keep it out of the way. We fished a little on Thurs and Fri and ended up with enough to bring home a meal.

> “Since my truck was going to take 2 weeks we actually figured out a way to leave my boat at my dad’s friends house just east of town. I couldn’t imagine driving up to LOTW to get the truck and not going fishing…haha!

> “The 2 weeks passed and we headed back up to get the truck and do a little fishing (this past weekend). The fishing was a little tough on Fri with the high winds but we managed 8 keepers and then a giant on the last pass. The fish went 31″ and is my new PB.”


> “We were fishing between Rocky Point and Long Point in 28-32′. There is a nice rock spine that runs northeast that I could fish with the wind…. …was blowing 15-20 mph and I had to have both drift socks out, the kicker down, and angle the kicker and big motor together to get the desired speed (1.0-1.2 mph). I was pulling a 3-oz bottom-bouncer with a crawler harness and a #5 Colorado blade. …can’t remember who painted the blade but it’s a hammered copper with some pink/red.”


> “All in all it was a crazy experience and I can’t say enough about the people at Sportman’s, Flag Island, and the people that stopped to help.”

How awesome is that? Thx much for sharing with us, Greg!

How Sprengel caught ’em on Green Bay.

And when I say caught ’em, what I really mean is WHACKED ’em. It’s usually a good sign when it takes 2 dudes to carry in a bag of fish [flex emoji] lol — especially when they’re weighing in HOURS early, and Korey Sprengel was done both days at 12:20:


His 2-day bag (10 fish) went 77.48 lbs and beat out 2nd-place by over 17 lbs! Earned him a $92,130 payday [!!] and added another big-boy check to his stack. #ChaChing


TONS of information on how he got it done in this NWT recap, few interesting excerpts below:

> …he limited himself to only 1 day of official practice. Instead, he was going to trust himself and make decisions on the fly.

> “The whole key this week was my first bite on day 1. With the northeast wind, I knew it was going to be a needle in the haystack. But I also knew the recipe…I just needed to know if the recipe was going to work. That first fish bit twice, if not 3 times. It was only like a 20-incher, but I knew if they were going to bite multiple times, there was something to be had. From there, it was all about fine tuning it.”

> …a small 100-yard stretch up in the islands area, located roughly 30 miles from takeoff at Breakwater Park and Harbor. This rocky stretch had gobies, but more importantly it had current and warm water. The warm water was especially important and rare with the northeast wind.

> “[On day 2] when I put the trolling motor down and saw the color and temperature of the water, I knew I was going to win. That sounds cocky, but the water was perfectly murky, algae stained and warm. I don’t know where it came from, but I knew that’s where I was going to live.”

> With no company around initially, Sprengel made his first full pass and caught an 8.5, a 7.5 and a 6.5. …proceeded to catch another 6-lber on his 2nd pass.

> “With 27 lbs for 4 fish by 8:30, I’m thinking I want to head back ASAP and get off the water as easy/safe as possible. But I knew I needed 1 more bite. …with more and more company showing up, that didn’t come until noon. At one point I counted 21 boats…it was like a parking lot. …finally was able to get through the same area and caught a 24”. About 20 min later I caught another 6-lber [and was done].

> “In the middle of the summer, the fish start suspending, and that’s when crawler harnesses shine. The crawler harnesses allowed me to have multiple doubles and a key triple [day 2]. The other thing was that you don’t lose fish with harnesses. I would use a Fusion19 Octopus Hook on the front and round-bend trebles on the back. Plus, with mono line and planer boards, the fish almost swim in with you. They have no bait to fling around, no weight to throw around when they fight.”

Said he was running 14-lb Trilene XL for his main line with a 15-lb Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon leader. His blades were a combination of Colorado and willow. Gold was the best color blade day 1, and purple the top-producer on day 2.

Used 1/2- or 1-oz  Off Shore Tackle Guppy Weights and would troll between 1.4-2.0 mph depending on how deep he wanted ’em to run. Would bump up his speed when he saw the biggest boulders on his Lowrance SideScan.

> “I watched a lot of boards act like submarines. These Green Bay fish hit hard and are built for speed. It’s all rock down there, but there are giant boulders that act as current breaks. I was always looking at my side imaging on my Lowrances, so I knew when the rocks were going to come up.

> “I wanted my baits close to the bottom [in 10-20′] without touching. The fish were relating to the current and warm water. The current was basically putting them there because that’s where the warm water was. This morning the water was over 70 degrees. If I got out of that little stretch, it would change by 3 degrees. If I ran 2 miles, the water would be around 57 degrees. That’s how much it varied.”

Here’s Sprengel’s take on the win:

> “It was all about trusting myself. I knew it was going to take time. After that first bite, I knew the bigger fish would show mid-morning or mid-afternoon, and they did.

> “This reiterates that confidence in yourself is how you win tournaments. Very few tournaments are won because a guy had a spot and it held up all week. You may not have had the best practice, but you can win if you trust yourself and your electronics. Where I was putting my planer boards, I don’t know that I’ve ever trolled that stretch in my life.

> “I’m happy with the win, but it just gives me another start to a consistent year. The biggest accomplishment for me is not a win because wins take some luck. I’m more proud of my AOY finishes over the past 8 years. For all those years, I’ve been in contention to win the AOY. That consistency means more to me than winning.”

HUGE props, dude! Just incredible.

How walleye fishermen cool off.

Been NASTY hot lately. I’m over it. Here’s a few folks that have it figured out tho:

1) Jeremy got himself a float tube walldawg strolling down Manitoba’s Pinawa River with an ice rod in hand. Freakin’ LOVE it!


2) The dog days of summer don’t stop Derek Lamash (@banger_up_outdoors) from enjoying the lake. Instead of sweating the small stuff, he turns himself into a fish finder:


3)  Troy “Mr. Bluegill” Peterson said this one “ate a 3-oz Snickers just 3′ behind the boat and buried the planer board” yet he was somehow able to get that giant water-wallowing sucker in the net:


1. How you can help support a fishing brother in need.

This from Lee Gould’s FB:

> “Most of you know Tommy Skarlis and the trials and tribulations he’s been going through for quite some time now. …suffered a seizure that was linked to the discovery of a massive brain tumor. After a very risky surgery, he’s been battling back through physical therapy, trying to regain motor skills he’s lost. Most recently, he’s now battling cancer….

> “Tommy has been taking these blows in stride with the support of God, family, friends and the fishing community! He’s a model of strength and perseverance!

> “In efforts to help Tommy relieve some other burdens, I have teamed up with Off Shore Tackle Company to come out with these Tommy Strong decals to show your support for Tommy!!!”

More info here on how you can purchase a decal to support Tommy.

2. MN: Mille Lacs walleye fishing re-opens Aug 1.

Tentatively back open for catch-and-release fishing through the fall. Tentatively:

> “The planned July closure reduced, but did not eliminate, the likelihood of an unplanned closure later in the season. An unplanned closure would be triggered if the state reaches its share of the safe harvest amount agreed upon by the state and 8 Ojibwe nations that have treaty fishing rights on Mille Lacs. Through Jul 15, state-licensed anglers had harvested 58,437 lbs of the state’s 87,800-lb walleye allocation for the 2020 season.”

3. Al Lindner hopped on the JMO Podcast…

…to talk weed walleyes. He’s the first to say they’re “not for the faint of heart” lol. But can pay off BIG time if you’re willing to grind ’em out. Unbelievable amount of info in this podcast — FOR SURE worth a listen.

4. MN invasives update.

New lakes with zebra mussels: Bowstring (Itasca), Long Lake (Hubbard), Pickerel Lake (Otter Tail), Long Lake (Becker), Ball Club Lake (Itasca), and Lake Aaron (Douglas).

And Big Mantrap gots the Eurasian watermilfoils.

5. SD: Zeebz found in Pickerel Lake.

First documented zebra mussel in the northeast, glacial lakes region.

6. Ever seen anything like this before?

Takes probably the 2 most popular walleye fishin’ techniques — jigs and rigs — and combines ’em into one unit called the Mission Tackle Jig’n Crawler Harness:

Gonna have to play around with one here soon-ish.

7. ND: Devils Lake walleye bite is hot.

Thx in part to decent year classes each spring from 2016-2019. Those 4-yr-old walleyes average 14-15″ long, and go by the name of “eaters.” And still a pile of bigger fish out there.

8. WY: Folks now have 46.5K more acres to fish/hunt.

Thx to Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s $15K donation to the Access Yes program:

> Access Yes is a program that facilitates the partnership between private landowners and the WY Game and Fish Dept to provide hunters and anglers free public hunting and fishing access on private land and inaccessible public land.

> Each dollar donated to Access Yes equates to approximately 3.1 acres of public access.

> In 2019, donations provided more than 2.8 mil acres of hunting access on otherwise inaccessible private, state and landlocked public lands and 4,007 lake acres and 89 stream miles were provided for fishing.

Pretty cool.

9. MN DNR gets $1.1 mil fed grant.

> “…to support the work of MN’s Lake Superior Coastal Program, fund 3 significant local projects and continue the program’s quarterly Short Term Action Request (STAR) grants.”

10. New DIESEL outboard coming to the US.

Company called Cox is making a 300-hp diesel outboard called the CXO300 that puts out 480 ft-lbs of torque:

Headline of the Day

Yes! lol Highlights

> Sprengel is on ’em, High speed line-counters, Summer wingdam tip

> Small garage probz, DIY line storage hacks, Best leadcore knot

> Special ICAST new-product issues: Part 1 and part 2.

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

No matter how good boat control you have, if there’s a lot of line out, lures don’t necessarily take the same path as the boat…they cut corners. Snap-weights are a great way to troll cranks tight to specific structure or contour lines. Full throwback Jason Mitchell write-up here, few excerpts below:

> [I’ve been] trolling small tight locations by using the bow-mount trolling motor [and] heavy snap-weights that fish straight below the boat as deep as 40′.

> The key is to use enough weight (5-6 oz) and the lead between the lure and the snap-weight only needs to be a rod length. Use a longer lead and monofilament when the water is extremely clear [thx zebra mussels].

> The heavy snap-weight system allows you to put the lures right below the boat so they stick tight to the contour. You can fish through locations fast and turn around faster after you find fish, [even] doing figure 8s over the school.

> Traditional trolling speed might range around 2 mph…with snap-weights a slightly slower speed can be extremely effective where I often move at about 1.5 mph, but the lures speed up and stall with every turn.

> Where this system has been productive for me is deep rock structure when the fish will tightly hold on one specific ledge or depth range. Following the sharp edges of reefs or deep primary points is simple and fast.

Jason’s from NoDak, so the only other weights he’s ever needed were:

Meme of the Day

Your secret’s safe with us:

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

Gotta say I’m not missing #TillerLife yet lol. Absolutely LOVING our new Lund 2025 Impact XS! Incredible layout = fishes hard and is family friendly:

The real test will be re-learning the Jigging Rap bite where I used to whip around with the tiller to stay right on top of the fish, but maybe you can teach an old-ish dog new tricks…. Will bring a new-found appreciation for just how good the Spot-Lock is on the Minn Kota Ultrex.

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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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