Target Walleye/Ice email

Real-life video games, Better crawler action, Rigging with mono vs fluoro

Today’s Top 4

These fishin’ kiddos are hooked on real-life video games!

Kids, this is what can happen when you spend too much time on your phone — freaky Toby Kvalevog shot:


Here’s a few young guns that are probably already winning local daycare derbies…

Shout-out to Nicholas Cox’s (@tonkanick) 3-yr-old son Greyson for catching his first walleye ever! Tough to tell who was more PUMPED in this pic — what it’s all about:


How about @bshinski’s kiddo testing out the waters — getting some SK fish slime on those phalanges:


@Fishyb_403 and crew got it done in a big way [!!] throwing the fuzz. Kid is for sure hooked on wally fishing — good job dad!


@b.bear86 spent Father’s Day weekend at Bakers Narrows Lodge, MB. Know things are getting serious when the juice box comes out!


Joseppi Pedersen said he had his personal-best Father’s Day getting some bank fishing in near Edmonton, AB. Nice job you two!


Hope you get some water time in with the kiddos this weekend too!

How locals dominated the Mississippi River AIM.

Brothers Chris and Joe Kujawa took home the ‘dubyah’ at AIM’s first-ever “Quest For The Best” on the Mississippi River — weighing 65.37 lbs over the 2 days — for a $16,550 payday + some killer hardware. Congrats fellas!


One of the hardest things about dialing fish in on any river system is how the conditions are constantly changing — sometimes those changes are subtle, other times they’re a nightmare. Full scoop in AIM’s post here, few excerpts below:

> Joe: “When we got back out…the water was just this red, dirty, brown soup, the color of Willy Wonka’s chocolate….”

> Work was being done by the Army Corps raising and then lowering the river water, and winds that churned up the water had “pretty much flipped the system upside down, and the fish just weren’t happy or where they were supposed to be. It was never consistent and repeatable. One day [prefishing] you could put together 30 or 35 lbs and the next it was single digits….”

> The last day of practice…. They put together a program trolling #5 Berkley Flicker Shads and Rapala Shad Raps along Lake Pepin’s WI shoreline. They downsized because of a recent mayfly hatch — to more closely match what the fish were dining on — catching fish up to 29″. The plan was to head to the lake in the morning and return to the WI river channel to finish the day. However…

> “Our first couple of spots [on tourney day] didn’t produce…finally around 10am we decided to head up to the river to collect a limit of whatever it was willing to offer.” What they found were fish flushing down the river. …right spot at the time, pulling now jumbo leeches at 1.1-1.2 mph into the current, faster than anyone else.

> “It’s probably one of the biggest things we’ve ever won, since it was our home water. The system is a river, then a lake, then another river. We usually spend most of our time on the lake and the fact that we won it in the river meant a lot because we’d been trying to figure that out. And the level of competition…local heavy hitters…big-name national tour guys, and we were able to do it, it’s special.”

No doubt they earned that one!


2nd Place

Local duo Kyle Brantner and Nathan Patraw snagged 2nd place with 61.25 lbs — had to pull it off out of a borrowed boat after Kyle whacked a stump with his. Ouch! #RiverLife

Caught all their fish on willow cats — either fished weightless or with up to a 1/4-oz jig — in knee-deep water [!!!] or less. “So shallow you could set the hook and see the fish all the way in….” They also figured that (like the winners) they were finding fish filtering back out to the lake. Nicely done!

Is this bait cheating?

I hadn’t seen these yet, so wanna make sure you know too. The 3″ Gulp! Killer Crawler in the straight-up “nightcrawler” color might be theeee most realistic “fake” stuff I’ve ever seen:


One of the baits in NWT pro Mark Courts’ back of tricks — especially on a #4 or #2 Slow-Turn style hook.

Found out that one of Mark’s favorite colors in any of the Gulp! Crawlers is “watermelon pearl.” Rumor has it that color was gonna be discontinued a couple seasons back because the tourney pros were loving it but REFUSED to talk about it lol. Glad they’re outing it now:


Mark says that color is so good because it can look like anything — not just a ‘crawler. Has that purple hue you see in the throat-latch areas of spottail shiners, perch or smelt — imitates dying baitfish when rigged on a jighead or Slow Death:

Change ‘crawler action with hook placement.

Did you know you can switch up the action of your crawler — to make ’em spin or run straight — by changing where you hook ’em on a crawler harness? Here’s how Mille Lacs guide Brad Hawthorne does it no matter where he’s fishin’:


Btw — here’s the real reason Brad likes trolling more better-er than casting… WARNING don’t look if you’ve got a sensitive stomach:


Sorry man, had to bring that back!


1. Great post remembering Gary Ellis.

Gary passed on earlier this year. The charter captain co-founded the longtime BassEye charity smallie/walleye tourney on Erie.

Over the past 32-ish years, Gary has helped raise more than $30 mil [!] to help find a cure for cystic fibrosis.

RIP fishing brother.

2. MN: Brunswick’s New York Mills operation…

…recognized in the Star Tribune’s Top 150 Workplace list for the 2nd year in a row. Props to the entire team! Oh, and they’re hiring multiple positions.

3. MN: MTT’s headin’ to Lake of the Woods.

Still a few spots open for the July 10-11 CPR derby.

4. We gotta stop letting these bass guys…

…catch all the big shallow-water ‘eyes:

Little bonus bycatch for Cody Krug (@codychug) throwing a bladed jig for bass on Gull Lake, MN — something just in the last Target Walleye.

If you’re looking for a new bladed-jig rod, Cody said that 7′ 3″ MH fast-action Elliott Rod (EC73MH-F) is right.

5. Great Lakes still rising except for Lake Ontario.

6. What does ICAST actually stand for? (video)

The real answer = International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades. News to me too, but I don’t feel as bad after listening to some of these folks guess the meaning:

My favorite answer was definitely from Fat Cat Newton:

> “I Can’t Afford Some of That.”


7. MT: Canyon Ferry Walleye Festival starts this Sat.

8. MN: Muskie are NOT eating all of “your” walleyes.

9. 3,000th muskie boated during University of Esox School.

10. Buy Rapala stars and stripes stuff, help disabled vets.

11. Bunch more deets on the new CCI rods coming out.

12. Fish Monkey has new fall/winter fishing gloves comin’.

I’ve tried a couple different pairs now and been super impressed. Highlights

Tip of the Day

Mono vs fluoro when rigging for walleyes.

Don’t forget: Mono floats! There’s times when that can help keep your bait out of snags and in a walleye’s face. Here’s how/when/why Joel Nelson runs mono for rigging walleyes:

Joel’s really likin’ the new-ish Sufix Advance Mono ‘cuz it has half as much stretch as most others — stuff is legit!

Quote of the Day

“Dad talked a big game on the drive to the lake…he held his word….”

– Absolutely LOVE that comment from Chris Richardson who got a firsthand lesson in the fishing-version of “old man strength” lol. Flex on him, dad!

Meme of the Day

Stay safe out/in there!

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

Nick Price (@n.price93) got in on the after-work special, and said he had to hang up on his buddy when this WI butter-belly bit:

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