Target Walleye/Ice email

Boat ramp fail, Creek chub rigging, Electric vs gas augers

Gotta say — these cold temps in MN got me thinking ice. Not sure if I’m ready or not, but do know Devils Lake guide Zippy Dahl is:

Gonna be seeing more ice-related schtuff in these emails going forward. Remember: We cover all species through the ice, not just walleye…. Have a great weekend fish-heads!

Today’s Top 5

Rock melons of the week!

TW fan Shannon Jerabek stuck this full-moon bruiser — went 30.25″ and a stout 11.8 lbs! — trolling a “perch” color #7 Rapala Shad Rap in 4-8′ near Alexandria, MN:

^^^ Insane fish!! Shannon said they were able to fill the box with 17.5-20″ eaters too, but of course put the bruiser back to be caught again another day. #stout

Decent NoDak shore lizard — bonus points for @mtoutdoors.1’s shirt lol:

Jason Bahr cracked this 29″ rock melon prefishing for the Fishing the End Hunger charity tourney on Gull Lake, MN this weekend — he’s going after a chunk of the $25K prize money! Hint: There’s a Rapala Jigging Rap danglin’ in the back corner….

Yup, he and partner Mike Peterson fish out of BASS boats ^^^ (Lund 2075 Pro-V Bass) and clean up on the walleyes…even won TOY in our local Walleye Wackers league, chock full o’ serious sticks. Good luck tomorrow guys!

Everything you want to know about rigging BIG chubs for fall-eyes.

Since live-bait rigging with giant creek chubs and redtails is one of the best ways to snag a trophy fall-eye, we’re bringing back this write-up — put together with fish-head Travis Sorokie — on the ins and outs of soaking big minnows:

> When I say giant, I mean dragging around minnows up to 10″ long, but most commonly in the 4-7″ range.

> Creek chubs and redtails work best because they’re hardy minnows that will often swim right along with the boat. Sometimes you’ll even feel them ‘getting excited’ the moment before a walleye smacks ’em.

> You can catch fish all year doing this, but I really get excited for the big-minnow bite once the water has cooled down to 62 degrees…ideally 58-60. It stays good until temps hit 45 or so…after that the fish have already fed heavy for a couple of weeks and are now transitioning to winter patterns.

> This time of year…especially in clear-water lakes…you’ll have your best shot at sticking a big fish during low-light periods. Later in the fall you can sleep in [or get yard work done in the morning lol]. The bite will pick up later in the day after the water has a chance to warm up and they’ll bite all day.

> My rigging setups are 7′ M-action rods spooled them with 6-lb “smoke” FireLine for my mainline and a 36-42″ mono leader. The shorter leader allows the minnows to swim freely while still keeping them in the strike zone.

> I run a 1/2- to 1-oz egg sinker depending on minnow size, wind and depth. The 3/4-oz seems to be good all around…bump up to 1-oz anytime fishing 30′ or deeper. I’m trying to fish the sinker like a jig. Keep it 6-18″ off bottom and vertical.

> Trolling between 0.3-0.8 mph covers most scenarios. When it’s calmer…slow down and stay right over the tops of fish. I pick up the speed if the wind is blowing.

> I start out giving them a 25-30 second count before I set the hook. I’ll even wait 35-40 seconds on days they’re sluggish…gives ’em more time to turn that minnow around in their mouths.

> …weeds start to die off when water temps drop below 68. That’s why you’ll notice piles of them floating around. A lot of the baitfish pull out of those dying weeds and school up in open water.

> Wind positions those baitfish on structure and fish follow. Even fishing in deep water (35-50′) the fish will still typically be stacked on the windblown sides of underwater points, bars and breaks.

More info in the full write-up here.

Been awhile since we’ve done a “fish-ink Friday”…

…so here we go. Kids — don’t try this at home….

Bet his weekends fill up fast this time of year. #HuntinFishinSomethingEveryDay

Gonna have to pinch the barbs on that Mepps Aglia when you cross into Manitoba:

Ever heard of fishing the loon pattern? Seriously. Supposed to mean there’s loads of baitfish around, which = gravel lizard feeding frenzy. @jglendenning18 knows:

Betcha I can guess what kind of electronics @murremichael runs:

One more reason artificials > live bait…don’t have to feel bad dropping ’em in front of fish [crying-laughing emoji]:

“The average person thinks they drill more holes than they do.”

That’s NAIFC champ Tony Boshold speaking truth while chatting gas-vs-electric ice augers. So will electric ever completely replace gas? Short answer: nope…not yet, anyway. But the technology is definitely getting better and more better-er…and the gas-vs-electric debate is nothing new:

Lol okay now back to biz. Where I’m at:

> Hole-cutters like the sold-out StrikeMaster Lithium 40v, the drills-though-1,600″-of-ice ION X, and power-drill conversions are changing the way we punch holes for the better: They’re rotator-cuff friendly, start on the first “pull” every time, lightweight and don’t carbon-monoxide you out of the fish house.

> Of course there’s times you need the extra oomph of gas. Especially true for our fishing brothers to the north in Manitoba where later in the season a 12″ or 20″ extension [!] barely sneaks through the ice. Would also be scared to fish with a bit smaller than 10″ there (bigguns!).

Exhibit 1A: This Lake Winnipeg slush melon that scarfed a “blue hologram” PK Panic:

> I sold all my gas augers and am running a 3-prong approach of 1) an 8″ StrikeMaster Lithium 40v, 2) a K-Drill powered by a Milwaukee M18 Fuel Brushless Drill, and 3) a 6″ Clam Conversion Kit + drill combo.

> I’d say 99.99% of the time those get it done for me with a lot of battery juice left. If not, I’ll let my buddy drill the rest of the holes while I fish lol. Can’t imagine ever going back to gas now…least not for around central MN.

Btw be careful of the type of people you hang out with if you’re still running gas….

Roller vs bunk trailer debate…continued.

And round 2 goes to bunk trailers:

As seen at Woodland Resort. Only reason I’m allowed to poke fun is: 1) heard everything turned out okay (thumbs up emoji), 2) it happened to me, and 3) it’s a public pic.


1. MN: Know the bite is good when…

…this guy crashes the party on Lake of the Woods:

Pic from TW fan Jim B — thx! Get the current LOTW fishing report here, but one more way to tell the bite is en fuego. #Dibs

2. MI: Stay away from the dang nets…

…on Lake Erie ‘cuz the fall walleye assessment is starting. Shouldn’t be hard to miss considering they’re 1,300′ long and marked with big orange buoys.

3. MT: Full list of 2018/2019 ice-fishing contests.

Kinda cool they’re all listed in one spot, but wouldn’t be fun planning ’em by the Jul 1 deadline.

4. SD: Ever thought about adopting a lake?

Gotta keep its hygiene up…don’t have to buy it food, clothes, etc for 18 years….

5. Garmin pulls a 4-peat.

Named “Manufacturer of the Year” — for the 4th consecutive year — by the National Marine Electronics Association. Also won a pile of other awards.

Might have a little something to do with Garmin’s new Panoptix LiveScope…daaaaaaaang:

6. Mepps wants your squirrel tails.

Case you’ve got any laying around lol. They use ’em to make their hand-tied dressed hooks and will PAY you for ’em.

7. Finally got myself a 10-lber this year!

Threw her on the Rapala High Contrast Digital Scale so you knew I wasn’t rounding up. 😉

8. Lowrance parent co intros new info display.

9. Water Puppets not just for ice fishing.

Takes some practice, but you can make Water Puppets dart off or swim in a figure-8 motion…super unique! Vid shows what the they look like underwater — rigged different ways:

Can check all the different colors and sizes right here.

Tip of the Day

Just gotta charge the battery if you’ve got a smokeless ice-cuttin’ machine like the StrikeMaster Lithium 40v…. Since the majority of hole-cutters out there are gas, here’s a few tips from StrikeMaster Engine Tech Jason Culp on how to get ’em ready for the hard stuff:

Replace Old Gas And Oil

> If you forgot to stabilize your leftover gas last season, replace it before first-ice with fresh premium winter-grade fuel.

> Always be sure to empty the tank completely and fill with fresh fuel at the beginning of every ice season. Any old fuel will begin to deteriorate, which will cause issues with the carburetor and prevent the engine from starting and performing correctly.

> Use a quality brand of oil and mix it at a 40:1 ratio (3.2 oz of oil / 1 gallon of gas). Don’t add more oil than needed. Extra oil can cause poor performance, rough idle and cause unused oil to leak out your muffler.

> Your best bet is to buy oil in pre-measured 3.2-oz bottles that you can simply add per gallon of gas you put in the tank. Also, it’s okay to use a 40:1 gas-to-oil mixture even if your engine calls for 24:1. You’ll use less oil and your auger will run better and cleaner.

Inspect Your Spark Plug

> Fire up your auger in the garage before first-ice. Is it running rough or back-firing? Change the spark plug. Is it running pretty smooth? Just to be sure, remove the plug and check it for deposits around — or on — the electrode, cracks in the insulator or other signs of wear.

Check Your Blades

> Was your auger cutting slower at the end of last season? Did you have to push down? Did your auger cover stay in place over the summer and fall? Did something hit the blades? Did the blades hit the garage floor?

> If the answer to any of those questions is a ‘Maybe’ or ‘Yes,’ it’s time to replace the blades. Don’t wait until after your first trip out on the ice. Poor blade condition accounts for 90% of all cutting problems. Highly consider picking up a spare extra set as well.

Starter Rope

> Don’t pull your starter rope all the way to the end. Most recoil problems are caused by this, including frayed ropes, broken spools and springs. To prevent such damage, make shorter pulls on your starter rope and be sure to begin each pull with a slow motion until proper recoil engagement to flywheel is felt.

Air Filter

> Over time, air filters can get dirty and clog, restricting airflow to your engine, causing your engine to hesitate upon acceleration or lose power completely. If your air filter is dirty, replace it.

Meme of the Day

Anyone else get this message? Read closely….

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

Almost be a shame to get tooth marks on these Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow Walleye Deep Divers. #DeathRow

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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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