Target Walleye/Ice email

Underwater burbot vid, Dirty river walleye rig, Massive crappie caught

Today’s Top 5

Daytime burbot with UNDERWATER footage! (fishing Vlog) 

Just had one of the craziest days of ice fishing I’ve EVER had, and it was all for the love of burbot! It’s hard to even put this bite into words, so we’ll just have to let the underwater camera do most of the talking lol.

Btw all the gear I used (sizes, weights, rods, reels, you name it) is linked in the vid’s description. Hope you dig it!


Speaking of burbs…still not a whole lot known about these mysterious belly-draggers, but that might be changing soon. The MN DNR has multiple tracking/behavioral studies in the works right now — here’s a cool look into what they’re already seeing:

Is this the year of MASSIVE crappies?!

Mark Sandquist kicked off March madness with a mondo 3-lb 15-oz (18″!) slab that engulfed a “red glow” color Clam Drop-Kick Jig:


Seriously can’t even imagine. Congrats on the fish of a lifetime, man!

“Cheater rig” for dirty-river walleyes.

I’m usually an artifical-only enthusiast chasin’ walleyes, but sometimes you gotta bust out all the tricks when it comes to outfishing your buddies lol. This simple “cheater rig” straight-up catches ’em when you’re dealing with swift current and cold, dirty water.

Note: We shot this late last fall on the US side of the Rainy River near Baudette, MN…but the same “cheater rig” trick can work even more better-er in the spring as well if you’re dealing with dirtier than normal water:

Got any fishin’ buddies that always…

…break off on the “big ones?” Let ’em know that Dave Westphal finally caught it:

Funny how many of the exact same baits are wrapped up in there — probably someone breaking off…retying…then making the same cast again lol. Been there!

In a time of suggested self-quarantine…

…you can still get your “road trip” color Rapala Rippin’ Rap on lol:


That’s ^ one of the cool new “custom colors” Rapala released at ICAST.

One of the best ways to catch a truly BIG walleye is fishing Rapala Rippin’ Raps just like the name says…big 3-5′ rips and letting it crash back down to bottom.

Pumped about these new “custom colors” Rapala’s bringing to the table — here’s a few others available right now:


1. US/CAN border closing now?

Guess they’re temporarily closing the border to “non-essential traffic” thx to the coronavirus pandemic.

Can interpret that however you want, but a #MarchMadness fishing trip could definitely be considered “essential traffic” to some of us ice enthusiasts….

2. MN: Open-water Mille Lacs regz announced.

> …walleye will be catch-and-release only….

> …walleye fishing will be closed in July….

> …will NOT be allowed to use live bait for any species in July, except sucker minnows greater than 8″ for targeting northern pike and muskie….

And the DNR sayz:

> “The restrictive walleye rule for the open-water season is due in part to a record ice-fishing season on Mille Lacs this winter….”

That record season presumes a bunch of ice fishing catch/release mortality. From a post:

> Tom Neustrom, a veteran fishing guide based in Grand Rapids who sits on the DNR’s citizen advisory committee for Mille Lacs, said he and others believe the DNR over-estimates the mortality rate of walleyes caught and released.

Guess the good news (?) is folks can maybe actually plan for the walleye closure this year vs finding out a few days before. Also looking forward to (hopefully) being able to target walleyes during the fall bite…something we haven’t been able to do on Mille Lacs in YEARS.

3. IL: Spring Valley MWC tourney cancelled.

> “…after a meeting of the various mayors in and around the Spring Valley area, the IL Public Health Dept and the local County Sheriff’s dept….”

4. IL closed all state-owned fisheries.

‘Cuz of, you guessed it: coronavirus.


Here’s one dude’s take on it all, hoping other states don’t follow:

> Walker Smith: “One of the worst things for your immune system is stress. Myself and millions of others combat stress with fishing. Let us continue to take our kids on the water. Let us continue to breathe fresh, clean air. Let us enjoy these budding spring colors. Let us continue to create memories and pretend like everything is fine. Let us turn the news off and choose joy over panic.”

5. One-Boat Challenge drops tomorrow.

I’m all for fishing-related entertainment — especially in a time when we can’t watch “normal sports” on TV. Some more info on what the One-Boat Challenge video series is here, along with a teaser vid.

6. Waxworms the answer to some environmental probs?

They are according to this write-up, but the same post also calls waxworms…um, caterpillars? So take it for what it’s worth. Says waxworms “can live on a diet of non-biodegradable plastic bags currently clogging up landfills around the world.”

So expect a shortage of waxies at a bait shop near you this spring lol.

7. Troll Master’s got a free trial for Android users.

Sounds like a free iPhone-version is coming too. Let’s you play around in the app with 6 free lures to get a feel for how it works before buying.

The Troll Master Depth Calculator app uses a “physics-based calculation to determine lure depth.”


Some background info from the guy who created:

> 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….”

Currently less than $15 for a lifetime license with free updates as they add baits. Can only imagine that number will go up…so for sure a good time to get in on it.

8. Teacher has introduced 1,000+ kids to ice fishing.


9. Pumped throw plastics on this new jig.Called the VMC Sleek Jig and has a longer + stouter  “Tech Set” hook than the VMC Neon Moon Eye Jig. Also has a weight-forward head which to me screams snap jigging:


Definitely not made to replace the VMC Neon Moon Eye jig — both will have their time and place. Will keep you posted after I’ve personally fished it and learned more on what those times/places are.

10. DC: Interior Dept will fight zeebz in…

…lower Colorado River basin.

11. 90,000 U.S. dams need repair?

Environmentalists want them gone in a bad way…but wouldn’t that mean losing about 90,000 lakes? [chin-scratch emoji]

12. My EDC pocket knife right now.

You probably hear the term EDC or “everyday carry” a lot when talking concealed-carry handguns…but EDC is more than just hand-cannons….

If you’re an outdoorsman/woman a pocket knife is probably a big part of your EDC rotation ‘cuz it seems like you’re always needing one for something or other (retying, getting into kid-proof packaging, you name it).

I’ve been “packing” the Buck Knives 840 Sprint Select for about a month now and am absolutely lovin’ it for the $60 price tag. It’s lightweight, compact, and looks dang good but not overly flashy. Even more important to me is being able to open it up quickly with one hand:


Don’t normally throw in review-type-stuff like this…but I’m diggin’ it and hope this might help some of you looking for a new “Arkansas toothpick.” Highlights

Note: The FishUSA links in this email are affiliate links, meaning if you go through them to make a purchase we might earn a commission…at no cost to you. Click here if you want to learn a little more about links in TW.

Tip of the Day

Look for late-ice bluegills in the weeds.

Getting to be 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 lol). Check Joel’s full write-up here, but there’s a few excerpts below:

> 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 of 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.

> Small differences in location — holes even 2′ apart — can be the difference in consistently getting bit and consistently not marking a target.

> Some [lakes] may have a great shallow bite for weeks, while others only give up those gems when the main-lake ice sheet has separated from shore and later.

Keep reading here.

Meme of the Day

Absolutely LOVE ice fishing, but sometimes it’s nice to daydream about hopping back in the boat:


Sad to say I just sold that ^ 2008 Lund 1825 Pro Guide last week, so I’m currently sleepless boatless in Seattle Brainerd.

Good news is she went to a good home — sounds like the dude is already gonna be taking it down to the Mississippi River in southern MN, then on up to the Rainy River soon after that. Good thing I wiped all my waypoints off her lol!

Now it’s time to start the boat-shopping process. Planning on getting into a bigger windshield rig this time (sorry #TillerLife gang!). Not sure what brand/model/layout I’m going with yet, but gotta say I’m reeeeally digging Lund’s Boat Builder tool for looking at some different options….

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

Ty Sjodin smoked his new PB freshwater gator on Lake of the Woods earlier this week. Didn’t say any measurements (yet), but check out this girth:


Learn ya how to find and catch one for yourself in this write-up, but should probably warn ya:

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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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