Target Walleye/Ice email

Tough bite rattle-reel tricks, Rattle vs silent spoons, Fish higher off bottom

Today’s Top 5

The biggest mistake walleye anglers make.     

This quick tip can help pull fish in from much farther away — especially in clear-water lakes — and literally bring walleyes to you. Oh, and as you’ll see in the vid, it doesn’t always mean they’re gonna eat the bait you’re expecting ’em to [chin-scratch emoji]:


Like I said in the vid, there’s a time and a place for everything. Wish there were hard-and-fast rules for walleye [!] but then it wouldn’t be fishing.

Sometimes fish are “feeding down” and pounding bottom is what gets the job done. Really depends if the fish are chasing baitfish up, or focusing on bugs, crayfish — you name it — down below.

Working your presentation high usually does a much better job of bringing fish into the area…then gotta read the mood of the fish to figure out the best way to seal the deal.

Double how many fish you catch in a wheelhouse.  

Sure is easy to get too comfy in a wheelhouse…. Nothing wrong [!] with soaking rattle-reels or deadsticks, but working some jigging into your program can help call fish in from a distance, and even double how many you end up catching:


Watching that fish eat on Joel Nelson’s MarCum LX-7LI for sure got the blood pumping!

Rattle-reel setup for tough midwinter walleyes. 

Do you use your split-shot as a pivot point to adjust how far the minnow is able to swim away from center? Or how about adjusting how/where you hook a minnow to change how much “action” it’s giving off??

Here’s a few rattle-reel tricks I use to get those fussy buggers to go this time of year:


Those VMC Glow Resin Treble Hooks loooove to make Catch Cover Rattlesnake Reels sing. #DingDingDing

Can walleyes get cataracts?   

This fish is taking “marble eye” to a whole ‘nother level:


Derick Berhow said it looked like the skin on its cheek had grown over its eye.

Must’ve been a pretty eventful day for Derick on Manitoba’s Lake Winnipeg, ‘cuz he also tagged the @TargetWalleye Instagram in this story:


Guess they don’t even need to put a hook on the “glow chartreuse pink” Clam Leech Flutter Spoon…but since they did, I’m glad it’s a feathered treble.

Sweet catches, dude!

The one that almost?! got away….   

Someone out there has a “one that got away” story…and Jack Harrington wrote the ending:


No idea how long it was swimming ’round like that, but Jack did say those Rapala Floating Fish Grippers “cleaned up nicely” lol SCORE!


1. Did you know the original Lindy Rigs…

…were only 6″ long? Funny ‘cuz nowadays you hear of people running all the way up to 10- to 12-FOOT leaders. Some detail from Ron Lindner:

> The first snells we did were only 6″ long and had ‘pink’ 6-lb mono…one small little [Eagle Claw] hook for nightcrawlers…this was before leeches were being fished for walleye. Al and I caught fish after fish after fish…we kept records…seemed like the best one was with the short leader.

> I like the bait near the sinker itself. I think fish are attracted to the thumping — you are fishing it like a jig.

Wonder when super-short rigs (s’more throwback info here) are gonna make a comeback?

That reminds me…gonna need to play around with the Mission Tackle Jig’n Crawler Harness this season. Takes probably the 2 most popular walleye fishin’ techniques — jigs and rigs — and combines ’em into one unit:

Speakin’ of Mission Tackle — they need a plant manager in Bemidji, MN.

2. Lake Erie: Perch numbers still good?

But apparently their new diets are making ’em harder to catch. Half their diet used to be made up of baitfish (mostly emerald shiners), but now they’re eating 80% invertebrates and 20% baitfish:

> “With the waning emerald shiner population…perch have backed off eating fish and aren’t hanging around on the bottom anymore.

> “And instead of congregating in larger schools, anglers and scientists believe perch are spreading out in the water column, making it more difficult to locate, hook and land them.”

Lot of really interesting info in this James Proffitt write-up talking perch and emerald shiner populations, movements, habits, and how it’s all affecting the fishery and local businesses.

3. There’s a new trolling app in town.

Called the Troll Master Depth Calculator. Haven’t tried it yet but word it has a “4.8 rating on both app stores, with over 2,000 users.” Lifetime license — with free updates as they add baits — is under $20 bones.

Uses a “physics-based calculation to determine lure depth:”

> Trevor Lewis: “I’m an engineer by trade, so that background + my lifelong interest in fishing is what led to the development of the app. The way it works is that it uses a physics-based calculation to actually determine the curved shape of the line underwater. It does this by taking into account all of the drag and sinking forces that different pieces of tackle impose on the line….”

Can click the pic below for a video screen capture of the app in use:

4. NY: Fishing brings some serious $$$ in.

Not just a New Yawk thing, but check out the size of this number from 2017 in “The Empire State.” #ChaChing

> “…an estimated $2.1 bil [!!!] of economic activity was generated [from freshwater anglers] and 10,961 jobs were supported in 2017 in NY.

5. Diggin’ NWT pro Drake Herd’s new truck wrap.

That “rust bucket” is still a work in progress — will be adding sponsor’s logos — can’t wait to see the rusted-out boat wrap next.

6. Great Lakes water levels are ultra high.

> …3 of the 5 Great Lakes — Michigan, Huron and Superior — broke all Jan records for water levels

Some folks’ homes have even gone into the drink thx to erosion. Scary deal.

7. ND: Kid’s fishing clinic happening Feb 16.

Huge props to NWT pros JR Carter and Kris Walcker for putting on a Kid’s Fishing Clinic — at the 50th annual Bismarck Tribune Sports Show — this Sunday at nooner:

> “…technology unfortunately makes mummies out of kids and gears them toward tablets and electronics when they should be enjoying the outdoors…seeing what there is to offer, realizing that there’s more in life than staring at a phone….

> “…teach kids about everything from water safety, to aquatic nuisance species, to identifying fish…. The parents usually get just as much out of the seminars as the kids do….”

No doubt! Especially when it comes to identifying a walleye vs sauger vs saugeye:

Keep it up, fellas!

8. MN: 12-yr-old boy won an Ice Castle fish house…

…by taking home 1st (4.66-lb northern) at the Poles ‘N Holes Fishing Derby. The family hasn’t decided if they’re going to keep it or sell it ‘cuz “that kind of money could go a long way towards a healthy college fund for Brody.” Congrats dude!

9. WI: Lady spears 92-lb sturgeon outta Lake Winnebago.

Got it done on opening day. Said she used large Christmas ornaments and deer antlers as decoys in the water — how crazy is that?

Thing’s an absolute giant. Reminded me of this pic:

Nicely done, Brandi!

10. Feds propose new rules for cormorant control.

Few Highlights

Tip of the Day

Rattle vs flash for midwinter ‘eyes (jigging spoons).

Rattle spoons are GREAT for calling fish in, but this time of year — “the dog days of winter” — you might be able to finesse more walleyes into biting with the silent-but-deadly option:

Joel Nelson was switching between the “gold shiner” color VMC Tingler Spoon and VMC Rattle Spoon — switching it up on the fly as he watched the fish’s mood change on his graph.

Meme of the Day

Love me some walleye fishin’ [!!] but it’s getting to be that time of year…. #BurbotSZN

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

Yup, Lake of the Woods is still kicking ’em out! Don Winter caught this tank outta Border View Lodge:


Btw being a border water, MN’s side of Lake of the Woods has different regz than the rest of the state. Instead of the walleye season closing on Feb 23, LOW is open until I believe Apr 14.

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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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