Target Walleye/Ice email

Night bite slabs, Complete burbot guide, Stretch out your mono

Today’s Top 4

Hunker down for after-dark crappies.     

I’m typically preaching to “move, move move!” on the ice to put more fish topside, but there’s times when hunkering down in one spot can pay off BIG — especially when it comes to after-dark crappies. We tracked down fish-head Konnor Kleist to get his take on the finicky mid-season bite.

Might recognize Konnor from his appearances on In-Depth Outdoors, like this episode where they waxed some monster night-bite slabs. Full write-up here, few excerpts below:


> Konnor: “By mid-winter, most crappies have left shallow weeds and are roaming deeper stuff — making ’em tough to find during the day. Instead of plopping down in the middle of a basin…look for differences among stuff that’s mostly the same.

> “[Example] A steep break might run for a long way and be pretty much the same, but then makes an inside turn or jut out into a point — that’s what I’m looking for. Technically I’m still fishing the basin (25-30′) but the spot is close to some variance.

> “…best lakes have good water clarity and a mud bottom that’s conducive to zooplankton…the main forage source. Fish will be tight to the bottom at dusk and rise as the night goes on…following bugs as they rise out of the mud.”


> “I like using loud/aggressive stuff to call fish in from a distance…#3 Rapala Ultra Light Rippin’ Raps and 1/16-oz VMC Tingler Spoons are heavy in my rotation. I like the ‘pink tiger UV’…amazing the difference the glow makes at night and the white/pink combo really stands out.

> “On the Rippin’ Rap, I’ll run a few spikes on the rear trebles to weigh the back down…and add a little scent — be careful not to overdo it…can screw up the action.

> “It’s critical to run a deadstick for this deal — a lot of times the more-aggressive bait will bring fish into the zone, but they’ll shy away from actually eating.

> “Run a small tungsten jig/crappie minnow combo on a noodle rod instead of a traditional bobber setup…makes adjusting the depth of the set-line way quicker than to adjusting a bobber-stop every time.

> “You’ll get a feel of where in the water column fish are coming through as the night progresses — adjust the deadstick as needed.”


> “Moon phase can play a big role…the best time is a full moon, but the waxing period approaching the full can be killer too.

> “Not to say that you can’t catch ’em during a new moon, but that big orb in the sky definitely helps fire up fish after dark.”

Pregnancy can cause stretch marks in perch too…?   

And she’s never looked more beautiful [heart-eyes emoji]:


That 2 lb 6 oz [!!] egg-wagon was plucked out of ID’s Lake Cascade by Don Cox. Gorgeous fish, dude!


Don was also nice enough to let his buddy Jason “you might have heard of him” Mitchell get in on the action…. Jason said they were battling “tough slush conditions” but that their crew had “caught 5 or 6 fish so far at 2 lbs or larger…been epic!”

Said they were catching ’em with Salmo Chubby Darters. Fish of THIS caliber might actually be one of the few times where the word “epic” is justified:


Know these two had a new “secret fishing handshake” after a trip like that:

EVERYTHING you need to know about ice fishing for burbot. 

The burbot/eelpout bite is comin’ in hot around the upper Midwest, so of course we’re gonna show ’em some love! The fight is incredible, they’re so ugly they’re pretty (can relate), and the bite lines up with workin’-man’s hours.

This complete burbot guide on is jammed full of the best spots, gear and techniques…plus videos on how to fillet ’em and the craziest underwater footage we’ve ever seen:

Btw it’s still a few weeks early for “prime time” but burbs are already showing up (and biting!) around central MN. Here’s one from a couple nights ago when I was out fishing with dragon-slayer Jeremy Smith:

Walleye swims up the hole on its own?!   

Try to explain this?! McKeon “Keys” Roberts (@mckeonhugh) had a random walleye swim up his hole while he was battling a burbot on Lake of the Woods…. Now that’s my kind of 2-for-1s!

Btw dude hadn’t caught any fish in that size range that day…so wipes out my only possible explanation of it being caught earlier out of deep water and maybe disoriented or whatnot…. Crazy.


1. ME: We lost another fishing brother.

> “Brian Wardwell was with his dog and was driving on Alamoosook Lake in Orland last night at approximately 7:15 when his truck broke through the ice.

> “A person on the shore heard someone yelling and attempted to rescue him but was unable to as he went through the ice himself, but was able to get out of the water.”

Prayers to the family.

2. NY: Great Lakes lamprey numbers dropping.

Thanks to treatments with “lampricides:”

> [Hoisington Brook] received it’s first-ever treatment in Oct 2019…within 6 hours, thousands of larval sea lamprey emerged from the sediment.

Here’s why the DEC declared war on ’em:

> Without sea lamprey control, the world-class sport fisheries that anglers continue to enjoy wouldn’t exist.

> Sea lampreys feed on the blood and body fluids of fish by attaching to them with a tooth-filled, suction cup mouth and file a hole through the fish’s scales and skin with a razor-sharp tongue.

> The average sea lamprey kills up to 40 lbs of fish during its adult parasitic stage. Sea lampreys prefer trout, salmon, whitefish and sturgeon, but they also attack smaller fish such as walleye and perch.

I wonder how they cook ’em up? Lol #nothanks

3. MI’s gotta new license sales system comin’ Feb 18.

Little unrelated-but-sorta-related tiddlybit: MI issues nearly 4 million licenses/permits = roughly $77 mil in revenue. #ChaChing

4. T-H Marine acquires First Source.

First Source was the marine accessory division of distributor Maurice.

And if you haven’t heard of T-H, they make some awesome products and are growing like crazy — this is their 8th acquisition in the past decade.

5. WI: Charity derby happenin’ Feb 29 at Lake Dubay.

Called Fishin’ For a Mission and has raised over $176K for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital since 2008.

6. Outboard sales reach 13-yr high.

Huge chunk of those sales are 200 ponies or better:

> …2019 led by engines 200hp+, accounting for 27% of sales…and sales of 300hp+ engines up 18%….

7. Brunswick says better boat/motor sales coming?

> For 2020, we project U.S. marine industry retail unit demand for the year to be flat to slightly up versus 2019.

8. WI: James Lindner’s speakin’ at the…

Central Wisconsin Sports Show Feb 14-16. One of his topics will be “modern walleye fishing.” Full seminar schedule here.

9. Some custom-painted goodness!

Had Dane Heid of DH Custom Baits do-up some #5 lipless cranks for me, and WHOA. Almost gonna feel bad getting teeth marks on ’em…almost!

Legit can’t stop staring at ’em — huge props dude!

10. WY: How stream trout survive winter…

…when the stream/creek completely freezes over. Sorta interesting read on something I’ve always been curious about. Highlights

Tip of the Day

On the first drop of the day, Tony Roach “pulls the memory out of his line” to get rid of coiling. Gives him better control over the bait and less headaches. Something I now do EVERY trip out when fishing with mono. Here’s how:

Quote of the Day

“I said when I turned 60 I was gonna start sleeping in my own bed.”

– Lol! Tourney legend Pete “Mr. Tiller” Harsh talking about the day he retired from professional tourney fishing to become a full-time guide on Devils Lake, ND:

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

Christian Fournier’s fav kind of “Ice Ice Baby” is rollin’ with his 5.0 (amp-hour) ION X — brrrrrr:


Now there’s a 6Ah ION G2 [new for this year] that weighs just 17 lbs and can drill 2,000″ of ice on a single charge. If you’re in the market, FishUSA has ’em $100 buckaroos off right now.

I’ve always been a sucker for brunettes lime green [heart-eyes emoji]. Great Dustin Samplawski shot:


Since there’s no #TargetPheasant that I know of…check this pic of an IA hunter who dropped a rooster with a 27.5″ tail feather — love that he’s long-arming it like a 27.5″ walleye LOL!

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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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