Hey everyone – this is the only Target Walleye this week because we’re up chasin’ #greenbacks on Lake Winnipeg, and don’t want our cell-phone bills to look like a mortgage payment…. Have a great week!
Reminder: If you’re getting this Target Walleye/Ice email for the first time, a friend probably signed you up!
Today’s Top 5
Gravel lizards of the week!
Mike Niedzielski gettin’ in on the greenback action with a Northland Rippin’ Shad:
David Shmyr Jr. cracked this golden goodness on a Bagley Rattlin’ B:
Insta user @a.guy.and.his.tiller [but.sometimes.a.windshield.boat] slow trolled a LIVETARGET BaitBall Yearling Crankbait in 16′ to stick this Erie open-water lizzie:
How Roger Stearns tracks down Lake Winnipeg greenbacks.
Lake Winnipeg is famous for its portly “greenback” walleyes that loooooooove to eat rattlebaits. The lake is 258 miles across with little structure, so finding walleyes requires a different approach. Read Doug Stange’s full write-up here, but here’s a few excerpts on how Roger Stearns gets it done:
> When we’re starting from scratch, our initial moves are about a mile. Drill some holes and monitor your electronics as you fish. If we don’t catch or mark a fish in 15 minutes we move another mile.
> Once we find fish, we need to read their attitude. Say we’re marking and catching some fish, but they’re tight to the bottom or only 1/3 of them bite…a small move is in order — say 40 yards or so.
> We’re dealing with neutral to negative fish that are just milling along. They may have just fed or they’re waiting to feed when they find baitfish. It often takes these fish 3 hours to move 200 yards.
> To follow fish like these we usually leave one guy behind as we move. If we get into them again and they’re biting better, the stay-behind guy moves to our location. Occasionally, the school reappears under the angler that was left behind.
> Say two of us put 15 fish on the ice in about an hour. If we’re not marking many baitfish, we probably hit the tail end of a baitfish collision. Suspended fish are hunting fish — and while they may stay in an area for a time, they’re likely to be moving.
> When we move in this instance it’s at least 75 yards — sometimes 150. Again, the activity or lack thereof below is all unfolding on our electronics and we’re always trying to get a sense which direction the fish are drifting.
> The beauty of fishing on Lake Winnipeg is that you never know when an even bigger school of fish is going to move in from a different direction.
Greenbacks are like:
Two new ways to rig your panfish plastics.
Ice-fishing with plastics is a relatively new thing, so most of us haven’t played with different rigging techniques much. Here’s 2 ways that Dave Genz rigs his pannie plastics to give fish something they haven’t seen before:
The only two times you DON’T want to see a stacked flasher.
The other bad kind of stacked graph is when that same buddy secretly “BaitClouds” your hole once you finally get there. Right Nick Schmautz?
If you didn’t know, BaitCloud is a fish-attracting ball you toss down the hole to bring the fish to you. But there’s a reason you’re supposed to drop it down a different hole that’s 5′ to 10′ away and fish around it, not right on top of it lol. It’s powerful stuff.
Show this to your bassin’ buddies…
This weekend! The river is already kicking out some great fish. Last year:
> “Joe Perez and Troy Tregoning won the event fishing jigs and floater rigs in a shallow-water riprap area that had the right combination of current and baitfish.”
Good luck guys!
> Gary Merkel and partner John Smith won more than $6,300 with a huge weight total for the Illinois River at 17.58 lbs.
…IF there is any. North half of the state needs ’em off by Mar 20. South half either already has a ticket, or it’s been turned into a #CrappieCrib.
Everything you need to know about the special regs/seasons up yonder.
Including three MN stores: Rogers, Mankato and Woodbury.
Chase Parsons and Korey Sprengel used larger-sized Berkley Flicker Shad Crankbaits to help stand out from the pile o’ bait already in the system. Had fun just watching these two dissect this stretch of river — guys are good.
> 797,815 of the 6-8″ extended growth walleye were stocked in 150 Wisconsin waterbodies in 2016, up from the 760,969 stocked in 133 waters in 2015.
On federal lands.
We smell a fisherman somewhere in Google HQ….
> Big pike can be specifically targeted on many bodies of water right now [check your local regs and ice conditions]. The late-ice window might be one of the most coveted primetime opportunities for the biggest pike each season.
> Most big pike are caught at late ice in the back third of a bay. As a general rule, warm weather that thaws and moves water into the backs of these bays will typically pull fish shallow, whereas cold fronts will push the fish deeper into the channels.
> Set tip-ups perpendicular across creek arms and bays to intersect pike as they push in and out of these locations. Instead of following a specific contour, cut across the bay perpendicular so you have baits set at different depths.
> Still one of the best rigs for catching large pike is a simple steel or titanium leader with a snap connected to a large treble hook. Unsnap the hook and push the eye and shank of the treble through a large dead smelt, herring or alewife.
> After the eye of the hook is pushed through the bait, snap the hook back on to the leader. This causes the bait to ride horizontal, and the larger hook has a better gap and penetration particularly when dealing with large pike.
> Big dead baits typically catch the biggest fish. Use baits that are at least 8″ or longer. Smelt are often the most popular and easiest to find. The advantage of smelt is that they’re soft and bend easy in the mouth of fish, so the batting average can be much higher.
> Some other baits like frozen anchovies and herring seem to have much more oil and smell, and often get more bites.
Today’s ‘Eye Candy
Lovin’ this shot from Winnipegonian Josh McFaddin. Sour apple, sucka!