Target Walleye/Ice email

Behemoth 19″ crappie, Merp pumpkinseed caught, Flagging gators tip

Today’s Top 5

Behemoth 19″ crappie caught in MN!!!

Absolutely one of the biggest slabs I’ve ever seen/heard of being plucked through the ice! Stacy Ferrell Hedberg caught the 19 1/8″ [!!] freakazoid in southern MN — had it weighed at a local bait shop to the tune of 3-lb 15-oz! Fasten your seatbelts:


Can’t even imagine. That fish could go on the Keto diet…lose 2 lbs…and still be considered obese.


This pic might be my favorite — Stacy sees your beer can, and raises you a wine bottle lol:


Huge congrats on the fish of a lifetime, Stacy!

Btw the current MN state-record crappie is one that’ll likely never (ever!!) be broken…. A 5-lber (21″) caught from the Vermillion River back in 1940.

I’ve never been able to find a picture of it and some think “it’s possible the fish was poorly identified and actually was a hybrid between a black and white crappie.” Guess we’ll never know….

Speaking of nuclear-waste-pond-livin’ mutant hubcap crappies…

Here’s a few more of the biggest slabs we’ve EVER seen iced…

1)  Darren Stokes stuck this paunchy 4.68-lb (19.25″) slabradoodle a couple years back — said the fish inhaled a “chrome red” Rapala Jigging Rap with its bass-sized mouth:

Rumor has it Darren retired from ice fishing on that day. Okay, not really…but I’d bet crappie fishing will never be the same for him again.


2)  Rob Bethke thwacked this MN slab-osaurus on Lake Nevuhtelja (pronounced: neva-tell-ya!) that measured a ridiculous 18″ x 15.5″ and weighed 3 lbs 6 oz:

Caught her on a Custom Jigs & Spins Demon Jig tipped with a small shiner:

> Rob: I was fishing in 9’…it’s a muck bottom but early-ice there’s still green weeds around the area. It’s a little feeding highway for them bigger fish and man are they aggressive.

> That was the biggest of 3 fish over 17″ [!] caught that night (of course you get the dinks too). Honestly it will never happen again…was like hitting the Powerball…unreal to me on a public lake.

Unreal is right! Congrats dude!!


3)  This west-metro MN crappie was so big that Austen thought it was a sheepshead at first. Was 18″ (3.24 lbs) and ate a small glow Demon Jig from Custom Jigs & Spins. Pic on the right is what a 10.5-incher looks like laying on top of her:


4)  Greg Chapman was fishing with Clam pro Tod Todd somewhere in IL when he cracked this 18″ (3.63 lbs) chunk o’ salt and pepper. Tod stuck one nearly as big 4 years earlier and called it that they were going to beat the record that day:


Are we still allowed to call them “paper mouths'” when they’re flirting with the 4-lb mark?! #cardboardmouths

How to catch GIANT Lake of the Woods pike on tip-ups.

Known for its zillions of walleyes, Lake of the Woods (LOW) has also become a world-class pike destination during the Mar/Apr late-ice period. Special regz mean these fish can be targeted all the way through ice-out. #Jackpot

Mammoth pike will stage for the upcoming spawn in shallow bays all along the south shore and are ready to pop tip-up flags. Believe it or not, 40-inchers are hardly considered “big ones” when the bite is really on!


Big-fish junkie Andy Walls has been specifically targeting these toothy critters for years, so we tracked him down to get his scoop on putting these freaks topside. Full write-up on, few excerpts below:


> “Make sure tip-ups are spinning smooth and that they have fresh 50-lb Sufix Performance Tip-Up Ice Braid. From there a quick-strike rig tied right to the tip-up line, and a 1/4-oz weight fixed above the leader to keep the bait in the strike zone.

> “Larger ‘Y yolk’ quick-strike rigs present both live and dead bait really well. They have a solid hook-up ratio with one treble fixed just before the head of the minnow and one rigged right before the tail. I’ve had the most success using 50-lb wire down to two #2 VMC Hybrid Trebles.”


> “LOW northern pike can be caught literally almost anywhere on the lake, but there’s a large concentration of fish that really never leave the south shore.

> “Some of my best success early on in the season is in the 8-12′ range. Look for subtle structure changes like: a slightly quicker depth change, funnel, or ridge the fish may be following. Changes in the bottom content — like a rock or gravel patch — will usually provide even better action.

> By late Mar or early Apr, we’re typically setting lines in less than 5′. The later in the year it gets, begin concentrating your efforts closer to — or directly out in front of — main spawning areas where runoff is the highest…draws fish in”


Way more info in the full write-up here, including: when/how to make moves, how far down to set baits, and when to set the hook.

Biggest “merp” pumpkinseed ever?!

Caught by MN guide Jason Durham, and she sure is purrrrtty:


Believe that’s the “black glow dot” Clam Drop Jig. Here’s a little better perspective as to just how big that ‘seed was:


Awesome fish, dude!

These new Rapala weigh-bags are legit. 

Guess the little potato-sack style bags weren’t cutting it for the Rapala crew lol:


But seriously Rapala has the world record, for most world records.


1. Garmin’s kicking out new Perspective Mode.

> With the new Perspective Mode mount, the LiveScope LVS32 transducer can be easily adjusted to fit an angler’s fishing techniques and preferences, no tools required, and the chartplotter will automatically detect what mode is being used.

> Simply turn the transducer sideways to enable the new ‘top down’ Perspective Mode to see a wide view of what’s in front of the boat up to 50′ away. Point the transducer forward to see around the boat, and point it down to see directly below the boat.

Fishin’ technology is getting crazy! Check this thing out:

2. MN: Bill would make “extreme poaching” a felony.

> “…under state law…each crappie or sunfish over the limit is $5…it’s $400 for bears and turkeys, $500 for deer and $1K for a trophy deer.

> “[The bill would] make it a felony to have game valued at more than $2K in your possession.

> “To reach this level…somebody would need to illegally take 400 crappies, 66 walleyes, 40 ducks, 5 bears, 5 wild turkeys or 4 deer or 2 trophy deer over the limit….”

Still feels like a slap on the wrist to me….

3. ND: Ice tourney cheaters busted…

…on the Missouri River…right below Lake Sakakawea. This write-up said:

> “…allegedly fishing outside of the tournament boundaries…also allegedly using 2 ice houses. (Rules stated only 1 ice house per team was allowed.) Sources say that 1 of the ice houses was covered with a white bed sheet to help it blend in with the surrounding snow and ice.

4. 2020 Lund Ultimate Fish Camp.

Happenin’ Jun 28 – Jul 1 on Leech Lake, MN. Chance to hit the water with legendary Lund pros like: Ted Takasaki, Perry Good and Tony Roach…but heard they’re gonna let Ryan DeChaine come too (lol kiddin’ man).

I got to help out at one a few years back…was AWESOME getting to fish out of each pro’s rig and see why they chose the model they did:

Definitely recommend jumping on the opportunity if you can swing it. Only a few spots left — more info here.

5. IA DNR wants to know what you think ’bout…

…the proposed walleye length limit changes on the Mississippi River:

> …proposing to extend current length limits in Mississippi River Pools 12-20 to include the entire Mississippi River in IA. This change will reflect reg changes in MN and WI waters of Pool 9-12. If approved, the entire IA/WI and IA/IL Mississippi River boundary waters will have the same walleye regs….”

6. OH: Port Clinton walleye eats garbage.

Sorta, guess this one prefers recycling:

Pretty cool way to keep the shoreline clean.

7. MN Pollution Control Agency wants folks lead-free.

To protect loons, and they’re spending big money to see it happen:

> “About $1.2 mil [!] will go toward the public awareness campaign called “Get the Lead Out” over the next 3 years.

> “The campaign was created with money from the federal government’s settlement with BP over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico….

> “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service awarded MN agencies more than $6 mil from the settlement to help support its loon population after researchers found traces of oil and chemicals (used to disperse the spill) in the feathers, eggs and blood of birds in MN.”

8. Awesome ice-fishing book for the kiddos!

Current favorite kid’s book in our house is called Walter: Under the Ice by Bob Allan. For sure recommend snagging one if you’ve got a little one or grandkid you wanna introduce to ice fishing. And our daughter absolutely looooves Scott Alberts’ illustrations in it:

9. MN: Alexandria ice derby raised $75K for charity.

Called Fishing For the Cure and raised $$$ to help with cancer research.

10. NH calls burbot/eelpout = cusks.

Sorta interesting to read how they target ’em over on Lake Winnipesaukee as compared to where I’m at in MN. Highlights

Tip of the Day

How zebra mussles have changed fish locations.

When zeebz come in they pretty much change the whole lake. “My grandpa used to catch ’em here” will only work for so long — fish aren’t going to be in the same spots they used to be.

Why? Zeebz filter the water, which increases water clarity and allows vegetation to grow deeper…. Here’s how Ice Team pro Tony Mariotti has changed up his gameplan for lakes infested with ’em:

Meme of the Day

One of my favorite things about burbot fishing:

The bite lines up with workin’-folks’ hours…. Can eat dinner with the family, put the kiddo to bed, and still be out in time for what’s typically the best bite.

One of my least favorite things about burbot fishing:


Been there, continue to do that. Lol #priorities

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

Speaking of burbs…. Had the chance to sneak out in a Yetti Grand Escape Edition fish house last night and get a little fish slime on ‘er!

Fine, I’ll admit it…Nick Lindner had the hot hand at a ratio of 4:1…but I spent too much time hiding behind the camera and [insert multiple other excuses here] lol! Swear this pic was taken in a fish house and not someone’s living room. #YettiTime

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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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