Target Walleye/Ice email

Rainy River hawgs, Troll for dough, Last ice bluegills

Today’s Top 5

How Minnesotans celebrate spring.

Spring is done a bit differently in MN…. In-Fisherman video guru Christian Hoffman sacrificed sleep to pack SO MANY ACTIVITIES into a single weekend — walleyes and sturgeon and burbots oh my!

He hit the ice in north-central MN for the burbs, then baja’d up to the Rainy River to get his open-water fix. Nicely done dude!

Feel like I’m getting too old to survive a turn-and-burn day trip, but still young enough to give it a try lol. Especially if I keep seeing all these pics of Rainy River walldawgs floating ’round….

Did someone mention Rainy River walldawgs?!

‘Tis the season — here we go!

Matt Newell broke the magical 30″ mark when this Rainy River broomtail thwacked his 3/8-oz Northland Buck-A-Roo Jig paired with a Berkley Ripple Shad:

Here’s 28 reasons why (all in inches) fish-head Forrest Leitch makes it an annual spring trip. #Perky

Here we thought the Hunchback of Notre Dame was in Paris, but Andrew Kraft (@krafty_38) proved us wrong:

Guide Tommy Hicks Blackfish’d these razorbacks running cranks 6′ behind a 2-oz bottom bouncer. He said, “When the water cools and the jig bite slows, the cranks seem to produce.” And produce they did:

Might also help that Tommy ^ runs a 1″ Gulp! Alive! Minnow on the back treble — a little scent can help convert followers into biters when they’re cold and fussy:

Get up and gitcha one…or 50! The Rainy River catch-and-release walleye season is open until Apr 14. Can’t make it up in the next couple weeks? Still usually a pile of fish in the river once the regular season opens May 11.

What does Dylan Nussbaum have against sunlight?

Check the tinted windshield on NWT pro Dylan Nussbaum’s rig, a black-on-black Lund 2075 Pro-V. #JohnnyCash< /div>

Dylan can get away with it ‘cuz he doesn’t need to fish at night to catch walleyes (lol)! Proved he can catch ’em all day at the MLF format (catch, record, release) artificial-only walleye tourney on Mille Lacs…and when he became the youngest NWT champ ever at Devils Lake. #BeastMode

Probably gonna have to copy the tint job if I ever get a windshield boat…. Been eyeing up a Lund 2025 Impact for a couple years — ever since hopping in Brad Hawthorne’s on Lake of the Woods — but for now my mortgage takes priority lol.

In the meantime, it IS possible to rock the tinted windshield in a tiller boat:

Shoutout to photog-magician Matt Addington for (somehow) making me look good while rainy-day bombin’ in my Lund 1825 Pro Guide.

WTHeck is wrong with people?!

Snow melting off our lakes will reveal an entire season’s worth of garbage that’s been left behind by disrespectful anglers.

Can’t believe I have to say this but…if you bring it out, bring it back with you! One lazy person can make us all look bad — like these pics posted by the MN DNR:

So wrong. BIG shout-out to those that not only pick up after themselves, but also after others.

To be fair, the bottom-right pic tells me there’s probably a hot crappie bite goin’ on…. Long as they pick up the planks afterwards — doesn’t look like a big deal ’til one of ’em takes a chunk out of your prop…or worse.

“Learned 20 years ago…ya wanna cash checks, ya better learn how to troll.”

– That’s walleye pro Jason Przekurat preachin’ in the caption of this pic. #SpecialDelivery

Some might think there’s more exciting ways to catch ’em than pulling Off Shore Tackle Planer Boards, but it’s hard to be more efficient. Proof is in the payouts….


1. MN/CAN: Heading up to the Rainy River?

No doubt it’s easier now than ever to fish the CAN side of the river. Main reason being you don’t necessarily need to get a Remote Area Border Crossing (RABC) permit or call in anymore when crossing…so long as you’re not touching land, docks, ice, etc or exchanging items.

Lot more info on that and other FAQ here.

Heads up: Can’t be drinking beer on the CAN side of the river…only mentioning ‘cuz I know it happens. But with how good the fishing can be, you shouldn’t have time for that anyways lol.

Also might wanna check pages 17-32 of Transport Canada’s new Safe Boating Guide to make sure you meet the safety equipment requirements….

2. MI: Detroit River MWC happenin’ Apr 12-13.

Last week to register.

3. KastKing has an IM9 nano-resin rod…

… for less than $100 = unheard of. Called the KastKing WideEye walleye rods and start at 3.45 oz. Haven’t tried one yet, but for that price I’m gonna:

Let me know what you think if you have.

4. MN: Upper Red Lake regs tweaked.

Now allowing 1 walleye over 20″ in the 4-fish limit. Rest (or all) would need to be under 17″. #FishTacos

5. Ever heard of AquaTraction before?

Not a TW sponsor, but am totally diggin’ it. First saw ’em in one of John Hoyer’s Instagram stories, which are always worth a click.

AquaTraction makes custom non-slip marine flooring — looks freakin’ saweeeet and the extra cushin’ is supposed to help with the feets and back. Have a bunch of different textures, colors, and styles:

6. Lowrance LiveSight Sonar available next month.

7. BC: Fraser River sturgeon closure.

> Province calls it a ‘precautionary measure’ as populations struggle — spawning channels close May 15.

8. Motion-detecting reel pings your phone if there’s a bite.

Seriously. Might be good for those of you that like to sleep on the job.

9. Big outboard shipments WAY up.

> Shipments of outboard engines 200 hp and greater in total were up 30.4% year-to-date through Feb….

Can’t tell if that means more people are buyin’ the big ponies, or if companies are getting caught up and shipping ’em out faster. Probably both.

Tip of the Day

Look for last-ice bluegills in the weeds.

Still have fishable ice where you’re at? Then you’re likely in that magical period when meltwater drains back into the lakes and pushes panfish shallow. Joel Nelson struggles to catch walleyes, so he looks forward to this panfish bite all year (kidding man lol).

Check the full Joel Nelson write-up here, few excerpts below. Kicking it off with this awesome [!] Ben Larson (In-Depth Media Productions) shot:

> Eventually the fish move away from those midwinter locations and focus their efforts shallow. While I don’t know the exact reason, I suspect it has as much to do with the fact that weeds provide cover AND food during this time of year.

> Melting snow and light penetration into the shallows gets life going again. So does the meltwater from shore areas, cracks in the ice, and old holes. The lake becomes increasingly porous, letting in snacks along the way.

> Typically I’m looking for the best weedbeds adjacent to deep-water chutes, inside turns or steep breaks. A strong individual weedbed is far better than acres of the stuff…the smaller the bed, the easier your job targeting gills….

> You’ll need lots of holes with large beds, and will likely spook panfish in the process…needing time to let them settle down…this can be a time-consuming process. Isolate [shallower areas] with weeds near deeper areas they previously suspended in front of….

> Not all weeds are created equal. You’re looking for cabbage, coontail or a mix of the two in that order. The good broadleaf stuff (cabbage) tends to be the main attraction…and will be easy to spot on electronics and underwater cameras.

Meme of the Day

Hopefully “it” has some #11 Original Floaters…”clown” color of course lol:

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

Will Pappenfus (@walleyewillfishing) found this late-ice butterball crawling ’round bottom in northern MN [heart-eyes emoji]:

That mud leopard scarfed a Northland Glo-Shot Jig…don’t think they were specifically designed for burbot, but apparently they crush it. Comes with replaceable light sticks (red, green, chart) that’ll keep it glowing for 8+hours:

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