Target Walleye/Ice email

New Rapala leaked, Humpback walleye caught, Bigguns after dark

Today’s Top 5

New Rapala lure leaked.

Rapala wasn’t going to release it until spring, but those noisy media people got to diggin’ and scratched up some info early. Heard it’s gonna be called the Rapala “X-Ray” — Jordan Powell got his hands on one early:

How to catch trophy walleyes at night.

Still lots of fish to be caught if you’re willing to bundle up and step away from the decoys! No better time to stick a bruiser than the after-dark bite. Full Ross Robertson write-up here on, few excerpts below. Raise ’em if you got ’em:

River mouths

Go-to lure: #14 Rapala Husky Jerk

> When walleyes move to river mouths in fall, nighttime is the right time to cash in. In this scenario, it’s tough to beat a long, thin stickbait…can be fished close to the surface or down to approximately 8′, and you can cast them or troll them.

> Target the edges of deep holes or eddies where baitfish can rest out of the current. If there’s a pier or breakwall with lights shining in the water close by, that’s often the jackpot because light naturally attracts baitfish.

> I’ll start by casting a stickbait behind the boat on a spinning rod and then slow-troll it with the electric motor. Every once in a while, I’ll cut the motor to let the lure pause, or snap the rod to make it dart forward. This is a great way to locate a concentration of feeding walleyes, and once I do, I’ll stop the boat and fan-cast.

Shallow reefs

Go-to lure: #7 Rapala Rippin’ Rap

> On smaller bodies of water that don’t feature any bays or river mouths, walleyes typically migrate to shallow reefs — perfect scenario for casting lipless crankbaits. Much like when you’re bass fishing, cast the lure and work it back from deep to shallow until you pinpoint the holding depth of the walleyes.

> Once I start getting bites, I reposition the boat so I can cast parallel to the reef…allows me to keep the lure in that key depth range [the entire cast]. If you find the fish holding on the deep edges, letting the lure sink and then working it back in a series of sharp rod pumps can be very effective.

> Occasionally pausing after snaps causes the lure to flutter down like a wounded baitfish, and that’s often when a fish will strike.

Open basins

Go-to lure: 800 Series Reef Runner

> Don’t overlook trolling deep-­running crankbaits in bays and basins. This is especially effective on larger bodies of water…shad or shiners often migrate to bays and basins, congregating in giant pods in the deeper water within them.

> While it’s true that the bulk of the walleyes will slide shallow in fall, quite often the biggest fish in the system spend the majority of their time out in deeper water, feasting on these open-water baitballs.

> Troll your crankbaits off planer boards to cover as much water as possible. Staggering lures at different depths is critical…baitfish often move up and down in the water column as water temps change. A switch in wind direction can blow in warmer or cooler water…all it takes to quickly alter the holding depth of the baitfish.

Humpback walleye caught!

John Rutten cracked one o’ the biggest humpback walleyes we’ve ever seen pulling Off Shore Tackle Planer Boards on Lake Winnebago:

Some of our favorite comments from the Target Walleye/Ice Facebook page:

  • That’s why they look like arcs on the graph.
  • Make sure you use a flexible fillet knife.
  • Fresh curly fish fries.
  • Must have been caught near a power plant.
  • Looks like my Aunt Regina…only taller. [Better hope she doesn’t see that!]

Keepin’ the unusual trend going….

Don’t see this everyday [chin-scratch emoji]. This paunchy rock melon was plucked outta Rainy Lake, MN with fishin’ guide Donnie O’Bert:

Word is it was caught on the Golden State Warriors Champ Spoon that comes with VMC Glow Resin Trebles straight outta the package:

Lol kiddin’. Post said the fish only had the bulge on one side of its stomach…so maybe some kind of tumor/hernia/virus/thing-a-ma-jigger?

Close encounters of the muskie kind.

Mat Rowan’s been playing real-life video games with his Garmin Panoptix LiveScope. Dragging big ol’ suckers — under a float — 20-50′ behind the boat for ‘skies:

Can’t wait to see LiveScope in action on the ice.


1. We lost the inventor of the curly-tail grub.

Has to be one of the biggest inventions in fishin’ ever. Glynn Carver was 82:

> …was a professor of biochemistry at McNeese State College in Lake Charles, LA. In 1972, Carver…invented the Mister Twister curly tail worm.

> Legendary outdoor writer, the late Homer Circle, was impressed with Carver’s invention. “The curly tail concept is the most exciting built-in action I have seen in soft lures. This amazing principle of animation doubtless will be added to many new types of lures in the future.”

> Carver: “I’d always heard folks say they’d like to see a worm that swam. I was at a show in Chicago and there was a French lure that had a curly tail but it was a stiff type lure. I felt like it would work on soft-plastics.”

> Carver moved from the world of academia to president and owner of a lure manufacturing firm, capable of producing 400K units a day. Carver eventually sold his company to Mepps, one of the nation’s largest lure manufacturers.

Thank you and bless you fishin’ brother.

2. MB: Protest to save Lake Winnipeg walleye fishery.

Don’t see protests happening too often in the fishin’ world, but those greenback walleyes hold a special place in fisher-people’s hearts.

Btw if you’ve never seen/caught a Manitoba “greenback” before, here’s what you’re missing out on:

That one ^ was guided by Lee Nolden on MB’s Red River — part of a 200-fish day! #YesPlease

> Lee: Found the fish deep in the middle of the channel…not on the break where most guys fish. A lot of the better fish were suspended about 3′ off bottom. Chartreuse flasher jigs were best…stinger hooks were a must have. Very light current so 3/8-oz is plenty. Forgot what the water temp was, but it’s time!

3. MB: New fine system for boaters…

…in effort to stop invasive species.

> Fines start at $174 and climb all the way to $2,542 for failing to decontaminate a watercraft.

That’s one expensive boat wash.

4. World’s fastest spinning reel.

Called the KastKing Speed Demon and has a 7.2:1 gear ratio. Lots of high-speed reels in the bassin’ world, but this is the first I’d ever heard of ’em in spinning gear. Oh and they look purrrrtty:

Haven’t had the chance to try one (yet), but instantly think of all the times I see fish on the graph — under the boat — after I’ve already casted. Dang near tear my rotator cuff trying to speed crank in with 5:1s lol.

5. MI: Over 12,000 juvie sturgeon stocked.

6. Costa’s Dave Bulthuis gets Lifetime Achievement Award…

…from the American Sportfishing Association (the folks that represent rec fishing interests in DC). Dave’s been with Costa Sunglasses since 2003 so you can partially blame him for this:

Lol congrats man!

7. WI: Sturgeon spearing license deadline Oct 31.

Case you’re into that. I prefer to catch ’em this way.

8. PK Flutterfish goes horizontal.

Called the PK Crossover. Increased action + vibration = tighter lines:

Got my hands on a couple of ’em the other day — look killer. Can’t wait to test ’em out in fishy’er conditions than my garage lol.

9. Merc no longer supplying engines to Alumacraft.

‘Cuz Evinrude bought Alumacraft….

10. Phantom Tillys on sale at FishUSA.

Have ’em buy 2 get 1 free right now. Has a no-hook front that’s great for snaggy areas, weeds, and doesn’t get hung up on the bottom of the ice when you’re hawg-wrasslin’. #TillyTilly

11. 10-yr-old gal has 400 pink baits…

…to raise money for breast cancer. Only time I’ve seen more pink baits is Al Lindner’s jerkbait box….

12. MN: Lake of the Woods still kicking ’em out.

The spring Rainy River run is no secret, but the fall walleye bite can be just as good-er. As temps drop, more and more shiners will pile along the south shore — and into the Rainy River — triggering a walleye feeding frenzy.

Bonus points: there’s way less boat traffic this time of year. Which means:

Tip of the Day

Don Lamont (Hooked Magazine) breaks down his two favorite ways of targeting late-fall walleyes in natural lakes. Full write-up here, few excerpts below:

> As September moves into October, walleyes can move deeper, shallower or anywhere in between. It pays to start shallow for active fish, then gradually look out deeper — covering water is key.

> Some of the most untapped areas are deep weed edges with extensive sand, marl flats. These areas hold a multitude of food options (minnows, crayfish, insect larvae and perch). One of the most effective ways to locate these fish is by trolling with crankbaits and bottom-bouncers with spinners.

> On sand flats you’ll usually find scattered weed clumps in 10-15′. Long-line trolling a medium-diving crankbait like a #7 Berkley Flicker Shad can cover water and trigger strikes. If the fish are finicky — or the weeds a bit denser — switching over to a bottom-bouncer/spinner combo can be the ticket.

> Make sure the spinner is up off bottom when fishing heavier weeds or sunken lumber…cuts down on snags, but also allow the fish to see the bait better. A lot of times walleye in these areas will be off the bottom, roaming for forage…especially with a good ‘walleye chop’ or overcast conditions.

> I prefer trolling 1.1-1.7 mph. Sometimes this can’t be achieved with the big motor…. If you don’t have [a front trolling motor], you can adjust the speed by putting your big motor in and out of gear…allows your bait to slow down, then dart forward, triggering strikes in the process.

More on Hooked Magazine’s website here.

Quote of the Day

No better feeling than realizing the snag is actually a fish.

– What David Shmyr Jr. said ’bout catching this dump-truck-sized Canadian walligator that hit his “yellow perch” color Bagley Deep Diving Minnow B so hard it peeled out 40′ of line before he could get her turned around:

Sheesh! Usually those hits end up looking more like this:

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

My kind of on-ice “daddy daycare.” Via Catch Cover:

Imagine THAT scramble when a Rattlesnake Reel dings….

Sign up another fish-head!

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