Target Walleye/Ice email

World walleye champs, Blade baits still overlooked, Turnover tips

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Today’s Top 3

World Walleye Championship deets.

Tommy Skarlis and Jeff Lahr grinded out a brutal bite to win the World Walleye Championship on Cass Lake, MN. Had a 2-day bag of 28-03 that fattened up their wallets and earned ’em a lifetime of bragging rights. Love this shot:

Word is they caught ’em casting Jigging Raps and Shiver Minnows, but switched to drifting live-bait rigs with redtail chubs and home-made 3/4- to 1-oz sinkers for the BIG bites…fishing up to 32′ near Allen’s Bay and Wishbone Bar:

> Skarlis: “This is why I got into competitive walleye fishing on the MWC 27 years ago and I was finally able to achieve it. Besides the birth of my children, marrying my wife and finding Christ, this is one of the greatest days of my life.”

Well deserved guys! And Tommy that’s one heck of a comeback!!

If you haven’t heard the story of Tommy’s horrific bow-hunting accident yet, have yourself a listen here. Powerful stuff:

Use blade baits for cold-water walleyes.

Rippin’ blade baits is still one of the most overlooked and not-talked-about techniques for cold-water walleye. Lucky for us Gary Parsons and Keith Kavajecz were willing to leak a few secrets. Full write-up on The Next Bite’s website, but a few excerpts below:

> Rocks in deep water are a great place to target. “Deep” is a relative term. In 80′ it can be a 25′ hump. In 15′ it could be a rockpile that tops out at 10-12′.

> If we’re fishing a hump that tops out at 12′, we’ll cast a 1/4- or 1/2-oz ThinFisher…deeper and we use a 1/2-oz.

> Vertically: Drop the lure to the bottom and aggressively lift it up 6-12″. You’ll be able to feel the vibration of the lure on each stroke. It’s the combination of flash and vibration that makes this lure work.

> Casting: Work [them] just like you would a jig, moving it just enough to make it flutter. Hold your rod at the 11:00 position and let it swim back to you. You can be aggressive as you lift your rod, but it shouldn’t be a giant sweep.

> Once you get the lure back to the boat, don’t be afraid to vertical-jig it — sometimes the fish will follow the lure and then hit it when you change the action.

Gary sees ’em as a cross between a jig and a crankbait. Here he is talking ’bout one of his fav…the 1/2-oz Johnson ThinFisher:

Gary likes to use chrome/blue and chrome/gold in clear water, firetiger when it’s dirty, and says purple tiger works well in both. Rigs ’em with 10-lb Berkley NanoFil and a 2′ Berkley 100% Fluorocarbon leader on a M to MH 6-7′ rod with a lot of backbone.

Give it a try — blade baits are the bomb….

How they spend lunch breaks in Manitoba.

It’s a little different in Manitoba — Travis Gudbjartson spends his lunchtime running down to Cross Lake to hit up the au naturel vending machine:

Rest of us have to catch our rock melons the old-fashioned way….


1. MN: Husband/wife win MTT Championship…

…on Lake of the Woods. Todd and Diane Warmbold sacked up 33.81 lbs, putting a new Skeeter WX1850 with a 150 Yamaha in their driveway. Don’t know the winning deets yet, but check the winning fish:

Sheesh them are some bigguns! Congrats you two.

2. ON: Fishermen fined $14.9K.

For a whole slew of charges around illegal fishing. Guess it beats the slap on the wrist they give out in other areas….

3. MI: 19 mil walleye stocked across state.

And your buddy still can’t catch one [crying-laughing emoji].

4. MN: Help design the new walleye stamp.

It’s the ultimate food stamp:

> “Walleye stamps help fund an account used only for walleye stocking. We use the money to buy walleye from certified private producers that we stock in lakes.”

5. MN: Apply for LOW fisheries input group.

> Input the group provides will be used to update the Lake of the Woods fisheries management plan for 2018 to 2023.

6. MN: Red Lake Tribe walleye guts go to good use.

The tribe is using the walleye guts from its processing facility to fertilize their 4-acre garden that’ll help feed 5,000 members.

Said the tomatoes grow much larger thanks to the fish-gut fertilizer. Should be this big by first frost:

7. Outdoor News partners with Cabela’s…

…for a youth writing contest. More deets here for you outoors-obsessed youngters.

8. Yammy wins innovation award…

…in the outboard category with their new 25hp tiller called the F25.

> “…has the best power-to-weight ratio of all 25hp outboards and features no-battery-required electronic fuel injection and an all-new 2-cylinder powerhead. Two valves per cylinder and a single overhead cam mean (it’s) lighter than any of its competitors.”

9. DC: Interior Secy wants more fishing/hunting on public land.

10. NE: Can oscars survive in NE’s climate?

And you thought the trout/salmon guys hated walleyes??

Headline of the Day

Mille Lacs tougher as fish have wised up.

Yeah, those brown bass maybe. Walleyes are still like:

Can’t wait for the ice season to (hopefully) open up!

Tip of the Day

Timely. Make sure you understand it!

> “Water temps reach a seasonal high during the summer, causing a layering process to occur. The end result is an upper warmer layer and a cooler lower layer — separated by a quickly changing narrow band known as the thermocline.
> “You’ll actually be able to see the thermocline as a consistent narrow band on a quality graph. If it’s still there you could still expect to find quite a few fish clinging to deeper summer patterns. If not, it’s time to make some adjustments.
> “The turnover is a thorough mixing of the upper and lower layers of water in a system that had been separated by a thermocline — usually coinciding with the first hard frost of fall. Some years the change is so gradual that it becomes difficult to pin down. When the surface temp drops into the lower 60s and upper 50s, you can figure you’re in the turnover zone.
> “The quick cool-off of the turnover will shut fish down until they’ve had time to adjust. Even lakes that don’t experience a thermocline still go through a period of cooling off with tough conditions.
> “Lakes that experience the turnover first are more shallow and windswept compared to the deeper and more protected.
> “In the middle of a turnover you can avoid the negative effects by spending your time on a deeper lake. The shallower lakes may be a good choice after the cooling process has taken place everywhere because fish will have had more time to adjust.

> “The move to shallow water will depend on how much good shallow-water cover is available (shallow weed-choked bays, rocky bars/reefs, as well as larger weed flats). The food [baitfish] that has been hiding out in shallow cover is now getting pushed out into the open where it becomes extremely vulnerable.”

Read Rick’s full write-up here on Walleye Central.

Quote/Shot of the Day

They kept trying to push it up on shore to get it to go and relax and perhaps sleep because it had done a lot of swimming.

They’re not talking ’bout your uncle at the last family reunion….

That’s what David Rave of the DNR said about a bull moose spotted swimming ’round in Lake Bemidji, MN. Not something you see everyday, unless you live in Manitoba of course lol.

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

Gindian Dupuis stuffed this finned-out razorback night-trollin’ a silver/blue Williams Wabler:

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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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