Target Walleye/Ice email

Panfish too big for pans, Daytime crappies hide, Slush melons of the week

Today’s Top 5

Panfish too big for pans!

Taylor Mellenthin Striker Ice’d this blimp bluegill out west (Dakotas?) on a 5mm Acme Tungsten Jig and plastic combo. Crazy tall:

Few thick reasons why Garett Svir’s guide service earned the name Slab Seeker Fishing…including “Walleye Willie’s” (left) mega 14.75″ Otter Tail County, MN bruiser:

Pretty sure @mountain_anglerss’s lucky fishin’ hat should come mandatory with every Eskimo pop-up shack — love it. That freshwater peacock bass isn’t half bad either, wowza!

Speaking of panfish too big for pans….

“If we were permanently destroying walleye populations, fishermen in this state would be showing up with torches and pitchforks.”

– That’s a fired-up Brad Hawthorne talkin’ ’bout the over-harvest of big bluegills in MN. A topic/species that’s near and dear to his heart…’cept for when he holds ’em way out for the camera. 😉

The AnglingBuzz crew rounded up a handful of ice-fishing pros — some of the biggest names in the biz! — and asked them what they thought upper Midwest panfish regs should really be. For sure worth a watch/listen:

And the answer is, “yes”…I did put Dave Genz in the thumbnail twice…’cuz he’s the dang “Godfather of Ice Fishing!” Also because there was an odd number of pros and it made my insides hurt that it wasn’t symmetrical otherwise lol.

Wait, where were we? Oh yeah:

Anytime you talk about tweaking regs, folks get a little “passionate” (lol).

My 2 cents: Something needs to be done to protect those big pannies. Fishing’s about more than just filling your bucket. If you’re only in it for the meat, it’d be way cheaper to hit the grocery store….

Q: Do you still play golf even though you can’t eat the golf balls?

Current MN limits are 20 sunfish, 10 crappies and 20 perch. Das alotta fishhh! Not really my place to say what people should keep to eat…but do know that just a few schmedium-sized pannies is more than enough to feed our fam.

I’d be in favor of reducing the limit to say 5 or 10 sunfish, 5 crappies and 10 jumbos.

Some lakes have a stunted population of fish and may need some of ’em taken out. On those lakes it wouldn’t really make sense to drop the daily bag limit. That’s one reason I think it’s even more important to get some sort of a special slot in place to protect those bigger fish.

Something along the lines of say 1 sunfish over 9″ per day — and 1 crappie over 13″ — would still allow a trophy to be kept for guys that don’t believe in replicas.

Love me some special-reg lakes! My guess is there isn’t more — or any state-wide slots on panfish — because it’d be a nightmare for the DNR to manage. Would almost need to be done on a lake-by-lake basis too.

Let us know what you think ’bout all this by leaving a comment under the AnglingBuzz video. *Keep it friendly!

Slush melons of the week!!

Hear a lot about “March madness” on Manitoba’s Lake Winnipeg, but the reality is they smack ’em all season long. @haarsma01 and @teal_erin have been doing a killer job of turning the big marks on their Humminbird ice units into real life big, green giants. Here’s 1 of their 8 fish over 26″ on the day. #Doin’Work

TW fan Chase Miller thwacked this stout 28.25-incher jigging a big 1/2-oz Northland Buck-Shot Spoon in the Lake Superior harbor:

Fish-head Jon Thelen’s been lighting ’em up [!] on Lake Kabetogama with an 1/8-oz “orange tiger” Lindy Glow Spoon. Great way to end the day, dude! #CherryOnTop

Good ol’ Devils Lake, ND has been kicking out quantity and quality, like Frank Baker’s 11.14-lber plucked out of a Woodland Resort permie. One of my fave places visited last year — they have ice-fishing packages that start at just $99, all the way up to baller (lol) status. #SlaunchesInSlippers

The night shift paid off BIG for @bshinski, cashing in on everyone’s favorite kind of gold with a PK Spoon in 22′:

How Roger Stearns tracks down Lake Winnipeg greenbacks.

Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba 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, few excerpts below on how Roger Stearns gets it done:

Btw – you can duplicate this type of deal in basin areas or on larger pieces of structure on yer local lakes too, just scale it down a bit. #Works

> “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.”

Greenbacks are like:

> “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.”

Great info! And lots more of it in the full write-up.

Side note: I was hipped to a new-ish product that might change the way people go about tracking down greenbacks (thx Rob McDougall!)….

Company called Angler’s Edge Mapping just dropped a Lake Winnipeg 2019: Early Ice map chip that has (finally!) mapped out a decent chunk of Lake Winnipeg’s south basin…has the northern chunk of the Red River too:

Heads up, the chip only works with “modern Lowrance units.” Haven’t seen one in person yet, but I’ve got one on order for our next trip up. Will keep you posted once I have the chance to try it out.

If I lived closer than 7-ish hours away, I would’ve been all over the south basin (during open-water) making my own maps with Humminbird AutoChart Live. Know some guys have done it…and you could never offer them enough $$$ for the data.

How ’bout a couple of open-water buttah melons?!

‘Cuz she aint froze over everywhere….

Will Nalley’s been leaning into the St. Lawrence River walters with Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow Walleye Deep Divers. For sure need to get my hands on that “purple wonderbread” color:

Case you’re too distracted by that ^ perky fish:

Diggin’ the “solar” color Bagley Balsa Diving Stick attached to the face of this David Shmyr Jr guided razorback:

Guess I’m a sucker for any of those “wonderbread” type of patterns…probably ‘cuz the fish are too:

$150-ish Lunkerhunt Giveaway!!!

Have a shot at winning this $150-ish spread of Lunkerhunt walleye-fishing loot! Quality stuff that works as good as it looks! Same deal: Click here to enter. Can share the link you get for bonus entries. Good luck!!

Awesome thing you might not know about the Lunkerhunt Bento Baits: The plastic is molded around — and fuses into — a holographic fabric in the middle…sorta like rebar and concrete. I’ve fished with one an entire day without losing it. Go to take it off and it’s like trying to get a hook out of a t-shirt. #works

Tip of the Day

How Jason Mitchell targets mid-winter crappies in the weeds.

A big % of crappies start to pile in deep holes this time of year, but those spots can shut down in the middle of the day. Depending on the lake…sunshine, predators and angling pressure can all push slabs up into the weeds around the edge of the hole.

Jason Mitchell likes fishing areas where there’s 4-7′ of water between the top of the weeds and the bottom of the ice. He fishes the top-half of the water column for nicer fish ‘cuz the smaller ones are more reluctant to lift up out of the weeds (since they’re prey for bass, pike, etc).

Crazy how now-a-days we can learn a lifetime of crappie knowledge in a few minutes:

Jason was using a Clam Drop Jig XL (white/pink glow) with a Maki Spiiki (red). Said he can make it look like anything a crappie eats: quiver ’em to replicate an invertebrate or use bigger strokes to look like a minnow.

Seen it in person, but still can’t believe how hard he pounds his bait to call fish in. Almost looks fake until you see him set the hook (again and again). #Works

Meme of the Day

Stay strong, ice-heads!

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas spent with family and friends! And that you maybe even got to sneak in a little walleye action like @fisher_man_sam. That sweater is [fire emoji] [fire emoji] [fire emoji]:

Don’t think I’ve seen any fish pics posted with our Target Walleye/Ice Ugly Fishmas Sweater yet — chop chop! Sold out of ’em right quick, but just got some more in stock. Why? ‘Cuz ugly sweater season is more than just a couple days way up here in the ice belt:

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