Target Walleye/Ice email

How much pros spend, Tagged 31 incher caught, Stop blaming bananas

Today’s Top 5

Tagged 31-incher caught on Devils Lake. 

Scott Phipps caught and released this tagged 31″ walldawg bottom-bouncing spinners with leeches in 14-17′ on Devils Lake, ND’s Creel Bay:

The fish had been tagged 11 years earlier by Game and Fish (when it was 23″ long) at the north end of Six-Mile Bay…that’s sort of the same section of Devils Lake, but roughly 10 miles away by water.

From this Brad Dokken write-up:

> “…the department tagged 1,000 walleyes for 3 consecutive years from 2007-2009 at various sites around Devils Lake to learn more about walleye mortality and movements of the fish within and out of the big lake.”

> Given that amount of time, many of those fish likely either have been caught by anglers or died from natural causes.

> “We have gotten very few tag returns in the past few years. In 2017 we got 9 returns…in 2018 there were 2…in 2019 just 1…and in 2020 there’s been 1 so far.”

Wonder how old that tagged 31-incher would’ve been then? Gotta be 15-ish yrs old I’d think?? Also pretty cool of Scott to put her back in for the next dude/dudette to catch. Congrats man!

Who is this…

…and what did they do with central-MN tourney dude Will Pappenfus?


Yup, that’s ^ the same guy just a few months apart! Will said he wanted to drop a few lbs so that he “could at least make it to the end of the dock and not be winded,” and now dude’s down over 115 lbs!!!

Don’t worry, Will’s fish aren’t getting any smaller:


Had to give Big Little Willie Style a shout to congratulate him on the amazing progress, and figured I might as well ask him a few super serious Qs while I had him on the hook…

1.  Can you still set the hook as hard as you used to, or is there less ‘momentum’ now?

> “I gotta get a little more of a swing into it now. Used to just do a little turn and now I need to get my body into it.”

2.  What do you think is a more rigorous workout — rip jigging plastics all day or 3 miles on the treadmill?

> “[Laughs] Probably plastics. Try ripping blade baits on the river for 8 hours…arms turn to Jell-O. Actually had to switch to left hand for a bit this spring!”

3.  What’s the one food thing you have the hardest time saying no to? Like a Jigging Rap flying past a fish’s face that’s not hungry, but eats it anyway??

> “Probably fish…fish for sure. That’s my cheat meal. Any time we keep fish…I can have THAT.”

4.  Okay, serious question now…. How are you catching your biggest fish RIGHT NOW. Not talkin’ dinks…I want the cheeseburger-eaters. If you had to go out and catch a 26- to 28-incher, what would you be doing.

> “Have to be creekers [creek chubs] or ‘crawlers…meat-eaters! Half of my big fish are coming in 10-12′ in weeds…otherwise out on the edge of deep (25-30’) rockpiles.

> “That 7’3″ ML fast-action Elliott Rod is soooo dirty for rigs. …right length for a good sweeping hookset. Light enough you can feel the creek chub wiggle when she gets nervous, but enough backbone to drive her home on the sweep. The backbone-to-tip-sensitivity ratio is just perfect.”

Sorry all, that rod is sold-out right now…actually looks like half of Elliott’s open-water spinning rods have been wiped out…but they expect to get more in stock early July.

Keep doing your thing, Will! Amazing.

Free boats. *Local pickup only.

Mille Lacs guide Brad Hawthorne found “another” sunken boat using his Humminbird MEGA Side Imaging, sitting right on the breakline. Btw those ruts in the top-right corner are from boats taking off in the shallow water…must be a fairly trafficked area:


Fishing guide Ryan Fehn found himself a new canoe in 24′ [!] on North Long Lake. Oh, and the pollen count was high that day:


And if trucks are more your thing, Paul Simpson’s got you covered. Insane detail!


Really wasn’t all that long ago when fish symbols/alarms were the big thing lol:

Now the newest MEGA Imaging+ has 20% more detail than the already-insane MEGA Imaging [!] plus an extended range and depth. Can literally tell which beds have fish sitting on ’em [mind-blown emoji]:

How much $$$ does the NWT bring to a community?

NWT = National Walleye Tour. And as of right now they’re bringing $none.00 to communities thx to the Covid-related tourney cancellations all spring…but word is they’ll be (hopefully) dropping the new 2020 schedule by the end of the week.

So when things get back up and running…you ever wonder how much $$$ an NWT derby brings to a community?

Is it $50K?…$100K?…$200K??…or maybe:


Okay…it’s not quite to Dr. Evil Hoyer’s level, but it is a ton of dough according to a survey done in this write-up. They polled the 174 fisherpeeps (I hate the word angler for some reason) in the 2019 NWT Championship at Devils Lake, ND and found that:

> “The average expenditure per angler was $1,375…. Those dollars totaled nearly $250K and they revolved throughout the community many times.”

Of course the 174 peoples surveyed doesn’t include any friends or family that made the trek, or locals who came out to watch all the fishy shenanigans.

Also, believe there were 87 boats that qualified to fish this championship. The 3 other NWT stops this season averaged 138 boats per event (2-person teams), so about 276 fisherpeoples. Using the same $1,375/person figure above would mean roughly $380K is dumped into each community from the dudes/dudettes fishin’.


> “…the fishery and the area receive positive news coverage in social media, magazines, websites, TV and media throughout the country.”

No doubt you can expect more people and $$$ to make their way over to fish after watching the pros wallop on fish, and spitting out exactly how they caught ’em.

Another interesting fact from the Devils Lake NWT stop:

> “The average angler spent 7 nights in the area: 36% stayed at resorts, 32% at motels, 16% at campgrounds and 11% with friends. The average angler traveled 575 miles round trip to fish Devils Lake, and 14% drove more than 1,000 miles.”

And here’s how much John Hoyer dropped on dinner after winning lol….

Pumped for the NWT and all involved to get back up and running soon-ish!

Stop blaming bananas for your lack of fishin’ skillzzzzz.

Cap’n Ross Robertson’s spitting [fire emoji] [fire emoji] [fire emoji] again:


Speakin’ of those poor, defenseless ‘nanners…If you’ve never seen this OG Uncut Angling video from 2013, it’s def worth a watch. Aaron Wiebe and Clayton Schick absolutely smashfest the walleyes, and somehow never even mention the fact that there’s hundreds of bananas in the boat.

My favorite comment under the vid:

> “These are the fishermen your math teacher warned you about.”

Lol! Enjoy:

Rip jigging with 3/4-oz PK Flutter Fish spoons (not just for ice fishing!) and Jackall TN60 rattlebaits:


1. TN: Suspect caught with 28 bags of…

…illegal frozen walleye fillets, after OH officers tipped off the TWRA that the suspect was coming back to TN with the fishy contraband.

> TWRA officers confiscated the fish after setting up surveillance and performing a traffic stop. Each bag contained fillets from 3 fish for a total of 84 fish.

2. ID: 3 tagged walleyes worth $1K each caught…

…during May outta Lake Pend Oreille, where ID Fish and Game added some $$$ incentive to help “control” the non-native fish population.

> “These tags…injected in the snout…are invisible to anglers, but turning in heads [!] from legally-caught walleye offers anglers a chance at 2 types of cash rewards. Anglers will receive $1K for a head that’s turned in from a tagged walleye, [and] every walleye head turned in enters anglers in the monthly drawing for 10 cash prizes of $100 each.”

> Walleye were essentially non-existent in Lake Pend Oreille 10 years ago, but numbers have been rapidly increasing since 2014…likely from an illegal introduction into Noxon Reservoir in the early ’90s….

> Keeping the walleye population low is important for sustaining other fish populations in the lake, such as kokanee….

In unrelated, but extremely-related news…Lake Pend Oreille sees highest kokanee density in 2 decades…. [chin-scratch emoji]

3. What’s Minn Kota got up their sleeve?

Us common folk get to find out what THIS is Jun 29:

4. ME: Half of fishing guides might go out of biz.

Thx to the Covid lockdowns.

5. Lund Boats is going Facebook live…

…w/ Mandy Uhrich tomorrow (June 18) at 7pm CST.

6. SD: No-wake restriction on Lake Mitchell.

Gotta keep her under 5 mph until “the water level has dropped below 6″ from above the spillway.”

7. Gami’s got new Shiner Hooks.

Think they’re new, unless I’m just late to the party? Straight eye (left) for tying direct, or upturned eye (right) for snelling:

8. OH: June = mayfly month along Lake Erie shores.

> They only live a couple of days after emerging from the bottom of Lake Erie, barely enough time for their short breeding cycle. But long enough to coat vehicles and buildings, especially when a light is shining nearby.

Gets so bad that the Port Clinton street dept literally turns off city street lights and encourages businesses, sotres, parking lots and residences to do the same…or they’ll regret it lol.

9. Valerie Dixon’s now at American Baitworks.

New pro staff manager and event coordinator. Was with Strike King for 11 years where she “managed more than 200 pro staff team members and coordinated marketing and special events for the company.”

10. MN: Zeebz found in Farm Island Lake.

11. DC: Senate passes Great American Outdoors Act.

> Senate approved a bipartisan bill that would double spending on a popular conservation program and devote nearly $2 bil a year to improve and maintain national parks.

> …sends GAOA to the House, where approval is expected. It would be the most significant conservation legislation enacted in nearly half a century.

> …one of the bill’s chief sponsors, said the bill will create at least 100,000 jobs, while restoring national parks and repairing trails and forest systems. Highlights

Tip of the Day

Catch more short-biters on spinner rigs.

Big bug hatches are happening right now, which means it’s spinner season baby! Connecting with these bug-stuffed fish can be frustrating, so we reached out to Joel Nelson for a few tricks on how to boost your hookup ratio:

> If fish are really scattered, you’ll want to run crankbaits. If you find ’em in big ol’ monkey piles, then why not just sit on them with a Jigging Rap? Spinners are the perfect application for the in-between when there’s scattered pods of fish along an isolated stretch.

> On a good spinner bite I’ll experiment with the hookset, but I usually try to hit them right away. It’s not like a Lindy rig where you want to give them much time to eat it- bottom-bouncers have a lot of extra hardware for the fish to feel and want to drop.

> If you’re catching fish on the tail hook only, then they’re likely following it for a long time and just nipping at it. Same thing goes if you’re missing a lot of fish. You need to cut that tag end! Sure you can pinch it, but why not just nip it with your superline scissors and you’re good to go?

> If you’re still having a tough time, then settle down with that hookset. Instead of wrenching on ’em, simply dip back to give them some line and do a slow power-sweep to let the rod load up. You can even leave it in the rod holder to let them hang themselves.

Meme of the Day

It’s tourney SZN. Dunno how your season is going, but let’s just say I can DEFINITELY relate to this one so far. #StruggleBus

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

Lauren Preston hoisting up a slimy pair of bookends she thwacked throwing Rapala Rippin’ Raps after dark. Although if those were bookends, there wouldn’t be any room for books on that shelf. @jacobzipperer shot:

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