Target Walleye/Ice email

Artificials better than bait, Spooling up for walleye, NAIFC deets

Today’s Top 4

Lots of artificials now used in walleye fishing.

We ran a survey a couple weeks back to find out your favorite ways to target walleyes. After creepin’ on the results, it’s easy to see walleye fishing has changed BIG-TIME over the last few decades.

The most interesting thing is the amount of walleye fishing done with artificial lures: Nearly 75% of Target Walleye readers use lures for at least half of their walleye fishing. Only 3% only fish live bait!

Q: In a given open-water season, how much of your walleye fishing is done with artificial vs live bait?


Readers also broke down their favorite techniques by how frequently they use ’em:

Then we asked some random guy named Al what he thought about the results:

> Al Lindner: “Anglers today are extremely versatile. Fishing walleyes with artificials has gained widespread acceptance, and I’m glad to see it because it’s very effective.


> “Thanks to Target Walleye, more and more fishermen are learning about the latest walleye-fishing tactics and are incorporating them with tried-and-true techniques like bottom bouncers.”


Al noted that the survey showed that many anglers are jigging hard-bodied baits like Rapala Jigging Raps, an open-water craze that Al helped get the word out on less than 5 years ago. Jigs with soft-plastics also play a key role for most Target Walleye subscribers. #AlKnows

Full results are here on


How the NAIFC championship was won.

Matt Thayer and Aaron Berg won the NAIFC National Championship on Mille Lacs last weekend with a 2-day bag of 20.84 lbs (16 fish). They took home: a $6K payday + ultimate bragging rights + two gold-diamond championship #rangz

> The championship was a two-day tourney on separate sections of Mille Lacs, so pre-fishing was like two separate tournaments. The fish were far more scattered in Wahkon Bay than Isle Bay.

> Pre-fishing both areas was spent using Aqua-Vu Micros almost exclusively to position ourselves above the best fish for tourney day — rather than wasting time dialing in presentations.

> After 5 days of pre-fishing and thousands of holes camera’d, we concluded that the best fish in Wahkon (bluegills/crappies) were relating to the cleanest bottom near the greenest weeds. In Isle (crappies) it was densest deeper weeds in the fishing area.


When they say “thousands of holes camera’d,” they mean it…. #SwizzCheese

> Day one: The clearer water in Wahkon Bay lent itself to more natural metallic-colored jigs and small live bait. We sorted through plenty of fish, weighing just over 12 lbs and landing in 3rd place after the first day.


> Day two: After an early-morning flurry the fish got extremely picky. Matt downsized to dark-colored small-tungsten jigs (stained water) on palm rods — rather than traditional ice gear — and caught fish when most other competitors couldn’t.


> We used 4 different brands of jigs (Fiska, Kodiak, Larson, Akara). Fish size dictates the jigs we use. Heavier/larger hooks get the best hooksets and holds. You don’t want a hook designed for European roach when targeting crappies with mouths like bass.


> We used meat [live bait] both days…no plastics…we didn’t want any rejections. If you fish meat on some bodies of water, you’ll catch hundreds of fish, that’s not a problem at Mille Lacs.


Anyone that shows up THIS confident for the day 1 take-off is on ’em:

Congrats guys! Sure it won’t be the last time we’re bugging you for the winning deets:

Egg wagons of the week!

Since the NAIFC is still fresh on yer brains…. Here’s Wayne Gstohl’s 2.23-lb slab that took home big-fish honors. Will look good floating next to that plaque on his wall:

Chad M. cracked this 34-incher [!] on a secret body of water that we believe rhymes with “Bolumbia Quiver?” The bottom of that old gal’s tail was worn flat — probably a 25ish year-old fish?! Congrats on the huge release:

Justin Soffa got into a parade of 2-lbers on Lake Gogebic using Fiska Wolfram Tungsten Jigs tipped wigglers. #EggWagons

Kyle Bahr cracked this Rainy River slaunch yesterday — and about 70 others — with a 1/2-oz Northland Fire-Ball Jig (parrot). She went 10.84 lbs on the Rapala Touch Screen Digital Scale — not bad for a tourney bass fisherman:

Another way to use the wind to your advantage while fishing.

Tommy Hicks: “I let my tent set sail and it actually worked! Half mile of no pulling and it went right to the truck! Work smarter not harder.”:

Nicely played, Tommy. Now let’s see you pull it off with the new Clam Big Foot XL6000T Garage….



1. SD: Guaranteed spot in the Mobridge ice tourney.

The Mobridge Ice Fishing Tournament on Lake Oahe does it BIG, but usually has a huge waiting list just to fish it. A loophole: sign up to fish the Denny Palmer Memorial Classic this summer and you could win one of 5 entries.

2. WI: Don’t need to kill a fish for a record.

New catch-and-release records this season for all species…not just for catfish, musky and sturgeon…. *cough* Minnesota *cough*

3. MN: Northwest Sportshow this weekend…

…at the Minneapolis Convention . It’s dang near impossible to miss the Lund booth — better drive down a tow vehicle just in case….

Speaking of which – ever had a chance to visit Lund Boats in New York Mills, MN? Check THIS before-and-after shot from Toby Kvalevog [heart-eye emoji]:

4. MI: DNR collecting 50 mil walleye eggs….

…below the Croton Dam in the Muskegon River this spring.

5. River rats: B FISH N Tackle now at FishUSA.

Dang right! They’ve got the Moxi, Pulse-R, Ringworm, Paddle Tail and H20 Precision Jigs. Click the pic to check ’em all out:

Fishing Reports

1. MN: Rainy River.

The river is opening up quick and the bite has been good! Vidas, Frontier, and Birchdale landings have been cleared and are open to all boats.

> Charles Darmer: “Fish moved deeper than Monday. Instead of 16′ we pulled are numbers out of 21′. Orange, gold and chart did fair. Switched to metallic green/gold with rainbows and that’s what the big ones hit.”


Won’t be long ’til the river reaches 4 Mile Bay. Track the open-water line here.

2. ND: Devils Lake.

> Perch: Buebird days have been best. Work transition lines on the main basin in 25-40′ with small rattling spoons like Northland Buck-Shots or Clam Blade Spoons. A small tungsten jig/waxworm worked 2′ off bottom can create a feeding frenzy that helps activate less aggressive fish.


> Walleye: The bite has been best during low-light conditions. Work rattle spoons 1′ off bottom until a mark shows up, keep raising the lure to tease ’em into biting.


> Ice conditions will soon become a day-to-day thing. As of right now we’re sitting with around 24″ of ice and access points are holding up okay. With the extended forecast showing highs in the mid-50s, it will be ATV/sled travel after tomorrow.

> Shorelines are always the first things to go, so make sure to use caution when getting on and off the lake this time of the year.

Tip of the Day


Ever get to the retailer and stare at all those pretty shapes, color, and brands, wondering which one you’re going to try this year? Eenie, meenie, minee…NO! Stop. We can do much better than randomly stringing up whatever has the most convincing packaging.


Nano braid: Early season is about pitching shallow, and has the potential for long casts. Sufix Nano is superior in situations where you need to get small baits a good ways from the boat, like light jigs in wind.
Superline/braids: I’m a big fan of the sensitivity and low stretch of these line types. Jig-fishing, live-bait rigging and even bottom-bouncing can be improved with these lines. I’ve got some Sufix 832 on rods that I’ve had for about 3 years, and though it’s slightly faded, it performs just like it did when I put it on the reel.
Fluorocarbon: If you fish braid for walleyes, fluoro leader material should always be handy. In most applications, I’ll have a 3-6′ fluoro leader tied off of my 832 with an albright special or uni-to-uni.
Mono: I’ve always got at least 1 or 2 mono rods in the boat, typically with hi-viz coloring, and I reserve them for fishing jigs in current or for crankbaits if I’m having hookup issues. Mono doesn’t cut the water like braid and provides more lift to jigs in moving-water situations – this translates to smooth and contiguous bait movements rather than sharp “bop, drop, and plop” jigging movements.
Leadcore: 832 Advanced Leadcore dives deeper, is thinner, and more sensitive than standard leadcore, so it gets the nod from me. At a 7 foot dive per color vs. 5 foot per color, the Advanced means less line out to get to the desired depth.
Try one spool of something new each year, and mix it into the rotation. If you find yourself picking up that rod more often and enjoying everything about the line, you’ve got a winner

Meme of the Day

The cost of gold ain’t cheap:

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

Pretty sure Amanda was graphin’ another one on her MarCum LX-7 before flingin’ it seven feet outta the way:

Caught fishin’ a silver tiger Clam Blade Spoon on Lake of the Woods, outta Vic & Dot’s Camp. Not bad!



Man gets parents 140-lb paddlefish for anniversary present. Can’t make that up:

Didn’t know the guy from Mystery Tackle Box actually fished:

Sign up another ice-head!
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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 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 quit sports in high school because they were interfering with his fishing time. Get him at
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