Target Walleye/Ice email

Walleye kills pelican, Spring crappie guide, Homemade spinner rigs

Today’s Top 5

Pelican chokes to death on walleye…


…and the fish survived!

Was a fat ‘n sassy 25-26 incher that DNR officer Demosthenes Regas saved while out working spring fish-run activity on the Tamarack River in northern MN:


Love the quote in the last line of this Adam Uren Bring Me The New write-up:

> “In fairness, the walleye falls within the protected slot limit of 17-26″ for the 2020 season, so the pelican would had to have released it anyway….”

Lol! +1 for team walleye.

Complete guide to spring crappies.

No doubt the hardest part about catching spring crappies — or any fish for that matter — is making sure you’re putting your bait in front of ’em. This Joel Nelson AnglingBuzz write-up does an awesome job of breaking down the spring transition. Full write-up at the link, but a few excerpts below:

> I start with mid-winter community holes…. …in most instances, you can draw a nearly straight line from these holes to pre-spawn staging areas and the eventual spawning shallows. Start deeper, and move to shallower staging areas like a weedline or edge of a flat in 10-12′, then move all the way up to the shallows beyond, shallower than 6-8′.


> The best areas have a well-defined basin that gives way to an inside turn or “chute” that fish follow back and forth as water temps and weather change. Animals of all kinds are well known for using topographic funnels and land contours for movement, and fish are no exception. Underwater topography concentrates movement, making inside turns and the inward directions that point towards the shallows great locations to start.

> On cooler, overcast or rainy days within the spring period, consider following this line outward to the depths. On the warmer days focus your efforts shallower, knowing again that activity will be better from the middle to late part of the day, especially in the earlier part of the spring…. Proceed slowly with the bow-mount down, using your electronics…. If you have side-imaging, make sure to use it…tailor-made for locating big schools of early-season panfish.

> As far as the spawning locations themselves, you’re looking for back bays, coves, and boat canals with warmer-than-main-lake water temps. …zones within these warmer locations that fish congregate in more heavily…docks, brushpiles, bulrushes, pencil-reeds and lilypad root stems where only soft-bottom is available. Cover…is secondary to water temp so keep that in mind.

> …spawning location depth is relative for the lake you’re fishing and its clarity. Fish in clear water can spawn well outside of the reedbeds in 6′ or more…while murky-water fish can be right up against the bank.

Keep reading here for way more info on how Joel targets these fish:

Check out Ike’s homegrown line-spooling station…


That’s bassin’ pro Mike “Ike” Iaconelli with some serious garage goals. Said he runs line over to top (horizontal spools) for baitcasters, and has it coming off the side (vertical spools) counter clockwise for spinning.

When ice fishing meets spring cleaning.

Apparently those Catch Cover Hole Sleeves aren’t just for ice fishing anymore…. These clever folks store ’em in a raised garden during the off season — I can only assume this is how you grow cabbage weeds? #DoubleDuty


Spring cleaning is always more fun when you incorporate fishing…but we know the real reason behind this:

Tan lines you gotta earn.

Know you’ve logged a pile of hours on the water (already this season) when you legit have tan fingertips lol:


That’s Tom Boley giving those Simms Headwaters Half-Finger Gloves — and the fish! — a serious workout. And don’t worry, Tom’s self fish-isolating:


Tom’s newest YouTube video on float fishing for spring crappies hits the spot right now. A few warm days in a row have pushed a lot of crappies into the back of shallow, muck-bottom bays = a super-fun bite while you’re likely waiting for the walleye season to open back up.

At the 5:29 mark, Tom breaks down his setup for those skinny-water ‘pies. Said he likes using tiny 1/32-oz (sometimes 1/64-oz) jigs — lighter the better so you get that gliding action to the bait as a lot of the fish are sitting fairy high off bottom:


1. OH: Ex-natural resources director cited…

…for taking a “free walleye fishing trip” with 40 other state employees and several state legislators.

2. IA DNR still crushed walleye-netting goals.

Reduced staff + drastically cut hours = but still collected enough “broadstock” to pump 82.9 mil walleye fry tin IA lakes this spring. Important because there’s very little natural walleye reproduction happenin’ in IA.

3. WA expected to reopen rec. fishing next month.

> Fish and Wildlife said it closed fishing because in some areas people were lining banks and docks to fish without maintaining 6′ of distance from each other to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It also protected its officers who check permits and monitor catches.

> …was concerned about people traveling to hunt and fish, spreading the new coronavirus to areas not yet infected with they stopped to buy food and gas.

Protesters have been letting ’em know what they think:

> “What is the difference between a public boat launch, which seems to be a main concern, and a Walmart parking lot, especially when folks are being respectful about social distancing (while boating)?”

Knew it was a big number, but did you know it was THIS big?

> “The combined direct, indirect, and induced economic impacts of freshwater angling in NY totaled an estimated $2.14 billion and supported 10,961 jobs [in 2017]. Out-of-state anglers contributed approximately 26% ($564 million) to that total.”

5. MN has zebra mussel sniffing K9s.


And apparently MN’s effort to slow the spread of AIS is working.

> “Zebra mussels have now been confirmed in 214 lakes and wetlands in the state and are considered likely in 194 other water bodies connected to those lakes. Still, that’s only 408 out of 11,842 MN lakes, or 3.5%.

> “What we’ve learned is that it’s not inevitable that every lake is going to get them. That’s not what’s happening. And the numbers show that the spread is much, much slower than if we had done nothing at all.”

6. MB: Commercial fishers say $62.5 mil won’t keep ’em afloat.

Walleye and other fish sales are down 98%, putting the commercial fishing industry in a bad spot.

Some commercial fishers are saying the majority of the $62.5 mil in federal funding is going towards “processors to help them protect workers and comply with health guidelines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.” And that commercial fishers “would just be putting fish into a freezer to be discarded” or sold at a lower cost.

7. WTHeck is “Syncork?”

If you’ve never had the chance to hold a rod with a Syncork handle before, you’re missing out! Gregg Thorne actually developed the schtuff in 2005. The term “game changer” gets thrown around far too much in the fishing industry, but this stuff is legit:

> “Syncork (made in the USA) is synthetic-based duplication of natural cork. It’s lighter in physical weight, extremely sensitive and durable enough to last many lifetimes.

> “…cannot absorb water, dry out or rot, and is resistant to UV rays and other chemicals and products commonly used in fishing situations. It also provides a far superior grip — especially when your hands are wet from rain, cold from frigid temps or slick with fish slime….”

Gregg is speakin’ TOMORROW at 3pm CST on Reeds Fishing Week online webinars to talk Elliott Rods and their new high-performance rod lineup. Great chance to learn more about the history of the company and what they’ve got new for 2020.

8. MN: Walleye Alliance hosting an online derby.

Through the FishDonkey app. Can fish from anywhere in MN during May 9-31 for a $50 entry fee. Believe they’re paying out $$$ for the top 10 longest walleyes registered, but also having several random $500 winners for fish that don’t make the cut.

9. Live Q&A with Joel Nelson TOMORROW.

Happenin’ over on the Lund Boats Facebook page at 7pm CST. Great chance to ask Joel anything.

10. WA: Alligator gar found in Yakima River.

Alligator gar are native to southern US, Cuba, Mexico and Central America…so how they ended up in WA is anybody’s guess….

Did you know that alligator gar are mouth breathers?

> “All fish have air bladders, which they use to regulate their buoyancy, but the air bladder of a gar can extract oxygen from swallowed air. This feature allows them to survive in stagnant water.”

11. Marine industry has a new Boating United website.

“Digital advocacy” for protecting boating rights, which all of a sudden is a thing….

12. Another #SeaFoamWorks story.

Chris L. from IA:

> “I had a young kid bring me an outboard that was his grandpa’s who recently passed. It had been sitting in a basement for 10-15 years. I filled the entire fuel system with Sea Foam, and the cylinders. 24 hours later after draining everything I put fresh gas in it with a mix of Sea Foam, and the little motor came to life. The young boy was in tears. It is still running today, making memories. And the boy is using Sea Foam in all of his engines now too. Thank you for a great product!” Highlights

Tip of the Day

How Dylan Nussbaum ties homemade spinner rigs.

Good down-time stuff to be workin’ on right now. And more importantly, look at the stack of tackle trays D-Baum has in his fishin’ bunker!


Dylan said he loves running 4 and 5mm beads with the smaller #1 Northland Butterfly Blades, and the #2 VMC SpinDrift Hooks to get ‘crawlers twirling.

Meme of the Day

Lots of online shopping happenin’ right now since many brick-and-mortar retailers are still shut down. Just a friendly reminder to be safe with your CC info. 😉

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

Get a wide load of this massive 31″ Cornhusker @stevenmweeks caught outta NE’s Lake McConaughy throwing a “sexy shad” color 4″ Keitech Swing Impact on an 1/8-oz jig. His expression says it all!

Parting Shot

Another ice season has come and gone, so we’re gonna send it off with this shot of fish-head Brent Relopez with one of his last fish of the 2019-2020 hardwater season. Caught dunking a Clam Dave Genz Drop-Kick Jig “with a little hair tied on [shushing-face emoji]” under his 30″ extra-fast Elliott Rods Noodle Lite solid-glass rod:


Brent’s hardwater season stretched from Nov 2 to Apr 15 in northern MN! So when you think about it, we’re only 6 months away from the next go-around — crazy. Cheers until next year!

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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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