Target Walleye/Ice email

Summerize your ice gear, Rainy River DD, Sturgeon fishing now

Today’s Top 4

Don’t forget to “summerize” your ice-fishing gear…

…because we betcha haven’t done it yet…are we right? Lol.

It can be easy to pile all your ice schtuff in the corner of the garage and leave it for next year — I’ll be the first to admit I’ve been “that guy” and it cost me…never again.

Taking the time to properly “summerize” your gear can save you from a big headache next season. Full write-up on, few excerpts below:

Portable fish house storage

> If you’re running a flip-over-style shack, odds are the bottom of your sled is preeeetty gross…take a deck scrub brush with a little warm + soapy water and clean out those nasty crevices.

> One of the biggest killers from long-term shack storage is moisture…ultimately leading to mold. Set your shack(s) up in the yard on a sunny day and really let ’em air out/dry — neighbors might look at you funny but it works.

> Throw some dryer sheets and cheap car air fresheners in your shack to keep the rodents out. Shouts to Brad Hawthorne for the tip! Throws 8-10 of ’em and a pair of air fresheners in each shack…likes the Gain ones ‘cuz they smell horrible (lol).

> Another great way to keep the critters outta your shack is to get it up off the ground. Lots of different budget-friendly ways to do it, but one of the better options we’ve seen (if you’re willing to spend some $$$) is the Racor Ceiling Storage Lift.

Fish-head Steve Kloos just installed one and is already thinking about picking up another — easy to see why.

Rods, reels and tackle

> Dial back the drags on your reels…increases the longevity of drag systems.

> Leaving line on ice reels over the off-season can leave you with a coiled mess come first ice. Way easier to strip the line off your reels now and start fresh come next season. Also the perfect time to grease/oil your reels. It’s cheap and can add years to your gear.

> I like to take all my reels off my ice rods and store separately. You can fit a pile of rods securely in a hard case like this super-popular one from Otter



> Electric augers: Charge your batteries throughout the off season — monthly if possible — to get the most out of ’em. Same goes for electronics.

> Gas augers: Be sure to change the oil and clean the spark plugs. Some like to drain any remaining gas and add fuel stabilizer — making sure to pump through the fuel lines with the primer bulb.

> Draining gas can be a huge pain and sometimes do more harm than good. It can dry out and crack gaskets, and seals…or invite corrosion = no bueno.

> Additives like AMSOIL Gasoline Stabilizer fight fuel deterioration and can “help keep fuel fresh for up to 12 months…prevents the formation of varnish and sludge…eases starting process when taken out of storage.” Only takes 1-oz to treat 2.5 gallons of fuel that contains up to 10% ethanol.

That’s how you summerize…here’s how we summarize: Without Gasoline Stabilizer, your motor could get:


Rainy River kicked out some BIGS for us!

Was hiding/working in my office one day last week when my wife came in and said we needed to talk…. My reaction was something like this only with a lot less hair:


Said she was sick of seeing all the big-fish pics pouring in from the Rainy River and wanted to sneak up there in the morning to get one of her own.

Luckily I had (finally) just switched to a cell provider (rhymes with “Horizon”) that actually has usable service outside the city limits.

After cramming in 4-ish more hours of work from the car — thanks to my wife driving! — we made it to the Frontier access. Hit our first traffic jam…but zero complaints about this kind of morning commute. #TillerLife

And you’ll never guess who took big-fish honors of the day with the fattest 29-incher I’ve ever seen….

Shout-out to my buddy Christian Hoffman for the quality pics!

She stuck that behemoth pitching a 1/4-oz VMC Neon Moon Eye Jig paired with a Juice Baits 3.8 HD Swimmer (green perch) in just 6-7′. Water temps were just 34 degrees, so sloooowly dragging the bait along bottom was the key for us until things warmed up later in the afternoon.

Amanda was nice enough to let Christian and I stick a few slaunches of our own during the 50-ish fish day. All released to get even more bigger-er:

My top producers were 1/4- to 3/8-oz VMC Neon Moon Eye Jigs paired with “chartreuse orange core” AuthentX Moxis or “great white” AuthentX Pulse-Rs…’til I burned through the packs. Time to restock:

Spent more time behind the windshield than fishing, but no doubt it was worth it!

Heads up: River conditions can worsen right quick out there when the Little Fork and Big Fork Rivers “break loose” and dump in dirty water from upstream.

Heard the water clarity has dropped and debris has upped in the last 24 hours — @kkellywalleyes‘ video of the Little Fork letting lose last night might explain why:

Of course you can still catch fish, it’s just not nearly as easy. Make sure you’re giving off as much vibration and/or scent as possible to help ’em find the bait.

Always a good backup plan to throw in a couple sturgeon sticks too just in case…

How to catch Rainy River sturgeon RIGHT NOW.

Each spring massive sturgeon migrate from Lake of the Woods into the Rainy River to spawn — same place Will Pappenfus wrastled in this 67″ sturgeon last week. Dinosaurs do exist:

Hooking up with one is easier than you’d think. Full write-up here on, few snippets below:

> Sturgeon often relate to the deepest holes in the river. That depth will vary from 15-30′ depending which section of water you’re on. Trust your Side Imaging….

> Position the boat on the upcurrent side of the hole. This area seems to hold more active fish as they funnel upriver, following the contour lines right to your bait. If you’re not catching anything: move onto the next hole! For me it’s 45-ish minutes of no action and I’m pulling up my hypothetical anchor [thx Spot-Lock!].

> A stout catfish or musky rod spooled up with 65-lb Sufix 832 Advanced Superline will do the trick. Best leader lengths can vary…usually 10-18″ is a good starting point.

> If the current is really ripping — or the fish are hugging tight to bottom — chop your leader down to 6-10″ to keep your bait closer to bottom. Play with longer 24-36″ leaders if you’re seeing the fish come through high on your electronics.

> A 5/0 VMC 7384 Sport Circle Hook has a large-enough gap to load it up with bait, yet it’s not too large that you’ll sacrifice bites.

> You’re more likely to keep fish pinned with circle hooks, and less likely to gut-hook ’em. Don’t swing for the fences on the hookset…sorry bass guys! Instead, pick up the slack then start steadily reeling while sweeping the rod tip upriver. The circle hook will slide into the corner of the fish’s mouth and whammy — it’s game time.

> Sturgeon are great at feeding by scent, so make sure to frequently re-bait. I like to put on fresh meat about every 20 minutes to keep that scent trail strong.

> Some guys — *cough* me included *cough* — swear by adding a couple frozen shiners to a glob of 3 or 4 ‘crawlers. It’s tough to tell if it makes a big difference, but catch a couple of bigguns while using ’em and you wouldn’t want to switch either!

> Swift current is good at stripping bait clean off the hook — especially frozen emerald shiners. Using BIG GAME Bait Buttons (a small rubber “button” that slips over the hook barb) helps to keep your bait in place. They pay for themselves after just a few trips out. Don’t worry — your buddies will stop making fun of you once they try ’em.

Would you tow your Lund like this?!

Thought it was a pic of a wreck at first. Realized it’s actually someone with places to go and people to see a Lund to tow lol. #Aggressive


1. MN: Pending new lake whitefish record caught…

…outta Lake of the Woods by Billy King. Went 29.5″ and weighed 13.57 lbs on a certified scale:

The current state record was caught Mar 21, 1999 on Leech Lake and weighed 12 lbs 4 oz (28.5″).

2. MN: MTT Walleye Classic on Mille Lacs, Jun 7-8.

Will be dishing out $15K to 1st based on 75 boats. Would be a fun one to jump in on — can catch ’em a bunch of different ways that time of year….

3. Why you should have “guide insurance.”

Feel terrible for the guy in this Facebook post, but for sure worth a read if you’re getting paid to take people fishing.

4. PK Lures giveaway on Instagram.

We’re giving away a $300-ish mountain of PK Lures over on the Target Walleye Instagram page! Why? ‘Cuz they flat-out catch ’em! [drooling emoji]

Chris Drees, promoted from within, replacing John Pfeifer.

Believe that makes ’em the biggest HS fishing team in the state?

Ooooh yeah baby! This $250-ish stack of B-Fish-N Tackle walleye candy could be yours!! Talkin’ proven spring killers — they’ve got what ya need to CRUSH chilly-water walleyes. Takes 10 seconds to enter below — good luck!

Tip of the Day

10 easy ways to catch more walleye this spring.

Some great info in the full Jason Mitchell write-up here. Waaaay too much to fit into this quick email, so just gonna give you a sneak peak at his topics below:

1. Watch your temperature gauge
2. Trust and incorporate side imaging
3. Drink the cool aid
4. Be patient in the morning
5. When to follow the wind
6. When not to follow the wind
7. Deep is an option
8. Slow and slower
9. Cast more
10. Two punch

J-Mitch breaks it all down right here.

Meme of the Day

Came across this meme on walleye nut Theo Toliver’s FB page:

Especially when you pull it off ND style — from the bank — like Theo did this day:

Keep doing your thing, man! And take it easy on those bass-heads lol.

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

Cody Solberg thwacked this Fox River hawgeye on a “gold chartreuse shad” color Salmo Whacky 12. Said showing ’em a lure they haven’t seen was the ticket. #GoldenTicket

And if you haven’t seen the floating/wobbling Salmo Whacky 12 yet either, here’s a closer look at the “silver chartreuse shad” color I’ll be ordering up:

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Who is Target Walleye/Ice
Target Walleye/Ice — 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/Ice. 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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