Target Walleye/Ice email

Big fish in slower current, WA 20-lber, Stinger hook breakdown

Everybody welcome Eagle Claw to the Target Walleye fam! And remember: Sharp hooks save lives lots of catches lol!

Also give a warm fish-head welcome back to Smooth Moves! Suspension seat bases that FOR SURE will have your back thanking you in rough conditions…SO slick.

Today’s Top 5

Bigguns of the week!

Wade Berkseth and Brett Murray snuck up to the Rainy River midweek, and Brett popped himself a pair of 30s [!] jigging white AuthentX Pulse-R Paddle Tails. Where’s yours, Wade? 😉

Mother Nature’s hubcaps — two more and he’d have a full set:

So THIS is what a 2-lb jumbotron looks like — caught by Devan Sundeen outta Woodland Resort on Devils Lake, ND. Holy freakin’ smokes!

Asked Devan the scoop on that freak and…

> “We were hopping around flooded structure anywhere 10-16′. I was using a smaller blade bait…jigging aggressively to specifically target the bigger perch. Only got a couple bites but it paid off.”

Darn right — congrats dude!

Slower current = bigger ‘eyes.

Right when river ice goes out, the fish will relate to the deeper holes in the channel. But as the season goes on, there’s too much current to fish anything mid-channel. Sure some fish will be there, but usually just the smaller males.

Instead IDO’s James Holst focuses on the backside of river turns where there’s less current — big females use these areas as a highway to conserve energy as they work their way upriver to spawn.

Here’s the IDO crew whacking ’em good on the Rainy River a couple springs back, but same info holds true today…or this weekend:

They rigged up every Okuma Helios in the boat with 10-lb (4-lb diameter) Sufix 832 braid, a 3/8-oz VMC Neon Moon Eye Jig paired with a B-Fish-N Tackle AuthentX Moxi. #DeadlyCombo

Story of the WA state 20-lber.

John Grubenhoff shattered the WA state record with a 20.32-lb [!] Columbia River MONSTER back on Feb 28, 2014. Might recognize the pic cuz it makes the rounds on social media every few months with someone else claiming a new record was caught. Peep it:

Fish-head Dan Johnson tracked down the real details for this In-Fisherman write-up, few excerpts below:

> Grubenhoff was fishing the McNary Pool section of Lake Wallula, located between the McNary and Priest Rapids dams at the confluence of the Snake River.

> …targeted a breakline and current edge a short cast from a rocky, windswept shoreline [where the walleyes stage adjacent to spawning areas]….landed a 14-lber [!] minutes before hooking the record.

> A fan of beefy minnowbaits, Grubenhoff was pulling a “silver” J13 Jointed Rapala when the big fish struck. The lure trailed 6′ behind a 2-oz bottom-bouncer in 22’…trolled upstream along the break at 0.8 mph…using 17-lb mono.

“Beefy minnowbaits” is right!

Okay not quite that big…but close! The actual Jointed Rapala he used measures 5.25″ and weighs 5/8-oz. Looks like this:


Mark Romanack: Trolling for early-season walleye.

The Fishing 411 TV father-son duo puts out a ton of quality info — click here to check out their website stacked full of walleye goodness. Full cold-water trolling tip here, few excerpts below:

> In ice-cold water walleye will bite, but they’re reluctant to chase fast moving food. Trollers after early- and late-season walleye are going to find that speeds ranging from 0.7-1.5 mph produce the most bites.

> Second only to speed, the next concern…is lure action. Crankbaits produce the vast majority of the DD walleye caught every year on the Great Lakes. About a thousand different brands, models, sizes and colors of crankbaits are on the market and only a small assortment routinely catch walleye in cold water.

Here’s a short list of Mark’s fav proven cold-water crankbaits:

> Rapala Husky Jerk and Down Deep Husky Jerk series, Reef Runner 800 and 600 series baits, the Storm Deep Jr. ThunderStick, Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow Deep Diver and the Smithwick Perfect 10.

> All of these lures have a subtle action that is best described as a top-to-bottom rolling action…closely imitates a slowly-swimming minnow.

Haven’t personally ran the Deep Jrs (yet), but they do look tasty:

New planer board storage system???

Easter is comin’ up and walleye-nut Joe Knowles has an interesting way to store Off Shore Tackle treats:

Dang! Hope the Easter bunny visits my place too!

Walleye pro Keith Kavajecz has a bit more-practical way he rigs/stores Off Shore Tackle Planer Boards. Dude is dialed in:

> I rig my Off Shore Tackle Planer Boards 2 ways. The setup with 2 clips on the arm is for pulling “heavy” items — deep-diving cranks, lead core and cranks with snap weights. If one clip lets loose you can reel in the board by the other one.

> Putting both clips on the arm also makes it easier to read bites — the board reacts more erratically and will actually do a wheelie when a fish hits.

> The other way I rig them has the tattle flag system. I use the snapper release for this since one clip has to hold the line.

> Board Stor makes a nice system for storing boards in my ZV21 back compartment.


1. MI: DNR tagged a 16.5-lb giant…

…outta the Tittabawassee River. Just 1 lb shy of the state record:

2. MN: Calling all ladies!

Women Anglers of MN’s 42-annual women’s fishin’ tourney is happenin’ Jun 1 on Woman Lake. A multi-species deal with over $10,000 in cash prizes. More info here.

3. MN: Rainy River fishin’ report.

Up-to-date conditions if you’re lucky enough to be headed north:

4. MN: Westonka Walleye Program fundraiser, Apr 25.

Every $20 ticket sold stocks ten 8-13″ walleyes in Lake Minnetonka. #Stout

5. Students start fishing lure company.

Called EJ Jigs and have already sold to customers in 7 states. Keep killin’ it!

6. Googans have a new line.

7. KY restaurant owner says Asian carp tastes like…

…mahi mahi or striped bass…. Guy also said:

> “I expected it to be like catfish. I was totally shocked. I’m very picky about our fish. It’s not fishy at all.”

Will take your word for it!

B-Fish-N Tackle Giveaway!

Ooooh yeah baby! This $250-ish stack of B-Fish-N Tackle walleye candy could be yours!! Talkin’ proven spring killers — they’ve got what ya need to CRUSH chilly-water walleyes. Takes 10 seconds to enter below — good luck!

Headline of the Day

Flooding is fabulous when you’re a fish.

Interesting read talkin’ with the WI DNR:

> “Generally, we see boom years when we have a good spring flood, and we see weaker years when we don’t have a good spring flood….

> “The more flooded grasslands and floodplain forests there are along the river, the more prime habitat certain species have to lay their eggs.”


I messed up the reg changes on MN’s Upper Red Lake — shout out to TW fan Tom Johnson for the heads up!

Now allowing 1 walleye over 20″ in the 4-fish limit. Rest (or all) would need to be under 20″…NOT 17″ like I had said.

Tip of the Day

Use stinger hooks for cold-water jig fishing.

It’s almost overwhelming just how stacked this Mark Romanack write-up is with stinger hook info. He’s got it down to a science and does an incredible job of explaining the “whys” to go with the “whats.”

For sure check the full write-up here, few excerpts below:

> …the biggest advantage comes when fishing in cold water and lethargic fish. Early and late in the season when the water temperatures are 40 degrees or below represent the ideal conditions for stinger hooks.

> …most of the stinger hooks on the market are next to worthless. …steel leader material and/or heavy mono are way too stiff to be effective walleye jigging…the stiffness robs the [bait] of its natural flip action that triggers strikes. I look for stinger hooks tied on 10- to 12-lb fluoro or mono.

> The most productive size treble hooks for walleye stinger fishing tend to be #10 and #12 quality round-bend style treble hook such as the Eagle Claw L960 Lazer Sharp. When targeting exceptionally-large fish a #8 is acceptable.

> An egg-loop knot is ideal for attaching the treble hook because it helps the hook lay straight on the fluoro. At the other end: the small clips that fly fishermen use are ideal for attaching the stinger hook to the jig eye.

> For most walleye applications the stinger hook should be approximately 3″ long. Shorter stinger hooks tend to position the treble hook too close to the jig hook to significantly improve the hooking ratio.

> The heavier the jig used, the more likely a stinger hook will improve fishing success. I generally fish stinger hooks on 3/8- to 1-oz ounce jigs…larger jigs are more difficult for walleye to suck completely into their mouth

Way, way, waaaay more info here.

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

Nick Sparks’s fishing buddy ain’t no lap dog — Smooth Moves is gonna have to come out with a canine-friendly suspension seat:

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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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