Target Walleye/Ice email

Find ice spots now, Parade of pigs, Fishy Halloween costumes

Today’s Top 4

Parade of pigs!

Kickin’ off today’s email with a “parade of pigs” jammed full of shots sent in from Target Walleye/Ice fans. We get sent a pile of pics, so can’t always sneak every one into the emails…but know we see and appreciate ’em — thx all! Heeeere we go:

Charlie “Turk” Gierke of Croixsippi Guide Service runs into a lot of monster flathead cats trolling Rapalas in the fall. Said he can usually tell it’s a cat right away by their BIG pole-smacking bites…but this 28-incher changed species by the time it got to the net — nice surprise! Engulfed a #5 Rapala Shad Rap:

Kelsey Schwerdtfeger’s 13-yr-old son caught and released this mondo 45.5″ [!] Ontario pike — smile says it all:

Derek Keim cracked his new PB (31.5″) trolling a “chrome/blue” Reef Runner Little Ripper on Lake Erie. Know they’re fat when the scales are all stretched-out like that:

Justin and Jennifer Haverluk had themselves a day on MT’s Canyon Ferry Reservoir! His 27-incher and her (new PB!) 30-incher came trolling Rapala Deep Tail Dancers. Don’t worry…I get out-fished by my wife too, man. 😉

Nate Sevcik and fam got into a multi-species beatdown on Lake of the Woods downrigging in 32′ with Bandit B-Shads on 10-lb Berkley FireLine and a 10-lb fluoro leader. Both were released, including that 44″ x 21″ (22.4-lb) freshwater gator:

Brainerd, MN’s (small world) Joe Smude road-tripped to Devils Lake, ND and was rewarded with this 27.5″ stump knocker:

Jerome Guyot said this one was less than 28″ yet hit the scales at over 10 lbs. “Big Windy” aka Lake Winnipeg grows ’em THICK:

Bill Lenz’s son Evan popped this 27″ gold bar in WI’s northwoods trolling a cisco-color Rapala Down Deep Husky Jerk in 24′. Bill said:

> My son thought he snagged a log. With a few adjustments to the drag…and no logs in sight on the Humminbird…I assured him it was a fish. Didn’t realize I could be so happy without catching it myself!

Austin Przybylski (@bilskifishing) caught this 29″ lean, green, current-fightin’ machine in less than 5′ on a small river in northwest MN. Said the “best part is it was on a Ned Rig fishing for schooled-up fall smallies…I know you a bass boy Brett! [hang-loose emoji].” Lol love it dude:

Jake Jacobs stuck this Mille Lacs mud melon pulling bottom-bouncers with Northland Butterfly Blades. See that Okuma Low Profile Line-Counter and Dead Eye Pro trolling rod? Awesome set-up and we’re giving away a pair of ’em (and more!) down below….

The one that almost got away.

Look on the bright side, Jason Makela…you didn’t lose your Rapala Jigging Rap:

Imagine the stories that fish will tell its grandkids:

Which ice-fishing line is best for panfish?

Mono, fluoro or braid? Each has its own time and place depending on how/where you’re fishing. Check my full write-up here on, few excerpts below to consider the next time you’re spooling up for hardwater pannies like this slab:

The versatility of mono

> If I was heading to a lake I had never fished before – and could only bring one rod – I’d grab one that’s spooled up with 3-lb Sufix Ice Magic monofilament. Mono is lo-vis, has less memory than fluorocarbon (less coiling) and offers just the right amount of stretch to help keep fish pinned.

> That slight stretch is going to act as a shock absorber to the fish’s thrashing head. At the end of the day you’ll have less torn-out hooks and put more fish topside. Even better…mono is the cheapest option out there.

> For most situations you’re going to want to run a clear line. One exception to that rule is for a technique called ‘tightlining.’ The key component to this technique is running a high-vis line (neon orange or hi-vis gold) and detecting the bites by watching the coils in your line as you pound the jig.

Finesse ’em in with fluoro

> If fish are finicky or just straight up smart, I’ll reach for my rod rigged up with 100% fluorocarbon. Fluoro is going to be more ‘invisible’ than mono, making it one heck of a weapon in ultra-clear water, or when targeting heavily-pressured fish.

> Sufix InvisiLine Ice Fluorocarbon also sinks 4 times faster than mono, which allows you to get those tiny ice jigs back down the hole more quickly when there’s a hot school waiting below.

> The downfall to fluoro is that it needs to be replaced more often. The added memory means it’s going to get ‘the coils’ more quickly on the tiny spools of micro ice reels. You can make it more affordable by filling the spool with cheap ‘backing’ or old line, then put on just enough fluoro (say 50′ or 60′) to be able to fish for the day.

Braided line in ridiculously deep water

> Braided line like Sufix 832 Advanced Ice Braid shines in ultra-deep water, say 30′, 40′, or 50′. Can come into play during early-ice when crappies (on some lakes) are still piled in the deep main-lake basins you left ’em in late-fall.

> Same can be true late-ice if you find ’em gorging on bugs in deep mud basins. But unless you’re fishing ridiculously deep water, leave the super lines at home….

> Personally, I think braided line is overrated in the panfish world. Don’t get me wrong: I love it for a ton of different applications, but most of the time hardwater panfish just isn’t one of them. The obvious disadvantage is that it’s much more visible to the fish.

> Also, braid is not your friend if you’re someone that likes to hole-hop outside the shack — it’s going to freeze up far more often since it absorbs moisture.

> Sure you have a little better feel thanks to the no-stretch qualities…also means you’re more likely to set the hook too early and/or rip the bait from the fish’s mouth.

Fishing Halloween costumes.

If you’ll be celebrating All Hallows Eve with the kiddos — or you’re a big kid at heart — send in those pics of your fishy Halloween costumes! Click here or on the pic below for a bunch of faves we’ve seen floating around the interwebz:


1. MN: 3 hunters, 2 dogs rescued…

…after boat capsizes near Garrison. 71-yr-old John Pufahl spotted the group in trouble while drinking his morning coffee — lucky for them he likes to fish and still had his pontoon in the lake. Nicely done, fella! Glad everyone was okay….

‘Nother scary reminder why you should wear a PFD! Especially with these cold water temps. Just never know.

2. NWT: Sprengel is a beast.

Came across this graphic breaking down “top 20 by category” across all seasons of the National Walleye Tour on pro Ed Stachowski’s FB page. Fish-head Korey Sprengel is leading in every category:

Asked Sprengel what he thought about it and he just smiled:

3. The Next Bite TV’s comin’ to the Discovery channel.

Wow congrats guys! Will be kicking off Season 15 this January.

4. MB: Need some more greenbacks in my life.

Caught myself daydreaming about the fall “greenback” run Amanda and I went on last Octobrrrrr in Manitoba. Might just need to make a quick trip back up again before things lock up….

Case you missed it, you can check that full write-up here.

Rather go after something even more bigger-er? Then here’s some insane drive-to destinations for giant Manitoba lakers, where right now guys are catching ’em casting large swimbaits in 6′ around spawning areas. Talkin’ THIS big:

Hope they have 18″ auger bits up there lol.

5. Chip Leer earns Fishing Hall of Fame induction.

Well-deserved, man!

6. Two minutes of non-stop underwater strikes…

…all filmed with a standard Aqua-Vu camera. If this doesn’t get you pumped for ice, nothing will:

7. MT: Brakes pumped on proposed mgmt plan…

…after “strong opposition from walleye anglers” testifying at Wednesday’s meeting in Helena.

8. KS: 5,000 walleyes stocked in El Dorado Lake.

Yup, KS as in Kansas:

> Craig Johnson with the KDWPT: “And there are plans to improve each year to increase productivity for this program so hopefully we can stock more bigger walleye across the state.

Case you’re curious: The KS state-record walleye was a 13.16-lber (29″) Dustin Ritter caught on a Rapala outta Wilson Reservoir in 1996.

9. Pure Fishing sale rumors still flying.

Pure Fishing = brands like Berkley, Abu Garcia, Stren, Fenwick, etc. Could all be yours if you’ve got a cool $624.4 million [!] laying around lol.

Are you freakin’ kidding me?! Have a shot at winning 1 of 3 Okuma packages totaling $850-ish! Jigging- and trolling-specific setups that are a great add to any walleye-nut’s arsenal. Full rod/reel deets below.

BIG thanks to Okuma for making quality gear and hooking 3 lucky fish-heads up!

Same deal: Takes 10 seconds to enter here — can share the link you get for bonus entries. Good luck!!!

Prize 1. Okuma open-water trolling package worth $500-ish.

Two Dead Eye Pro Series trolling rods — 7′ 10″ M, mod-fast, telescopic (DEP-CBR-7101M-T):

> Custom technique-specific walleye trolling rods designed with the latest technology and insight from leading walleye tournament anglers from around the Midwest. More forgiving 24-ton graphite.

> Marries all the benefits of our low-profile platform (ergonomics, full aluminum frame, 24-lbs of drag, thumb bar spool release) to a precision line-counter.

Prize 2. Okuma jigging package worth $250-ish

Dead Eye Pro Series spinning rod — 6′ MH, fast-action (DEP-S-601MHFT):

> Custom technique-specific walleye jigging rods designed with the latest technology and insight from leading walleye tournament anglers from around the Midwest. Ultra responsive 30-ton graphite.

Helios SX spinning reel — 20-size (HSX-20):

> Constructed of C-40X carbon and the torsion-control armor design make the reel extremely rigid and lighter, also reduces twist and torque keeping the internal parts in perfect alignment.

Prize 3. Okuma jigging rod and hoodie worth $100-ish

Dead Eye Pro Series spinning rod — 6′ 6″ ML, fast-action (DEP-S-661MLFT):

> Custom technique-specific walleye jigging rods designed with the latest technology and insight from leading walleye tournament anglers from around the Midwest. Ultra responsive 30-ton graphite.

Tip of the Day

SPOTS, not necessarily fish!

> Our mobility is better than it’s ever been as ice anglers, but it’s drastically limited by the need to drill a hole to gather info. So why not put in the work when it’s easy?

> Using electronics from a boat to find fish — more importantly find areas that will gather fish — is far easier on a 60-degree fall day than a 10-degree winter one.

> Many times these locations are consistent producers during all months, yet others are specifically good for ice, like: shallow transitions from mud-to-sand, or sand-to-rock, as well as small gravel or rock patches in shallow weeds.

> Early-ice fish push to these places, especially after sundown in clear-water systems. Spots no larger than a kitchen table can seem impossible to drill out and find, while they stick out like a sore thumb on side-scan.

> Side-scan technology could be the #1 asset to an ice angler this time of year, as few things hide from it. If you don’t own this technology, chances are you know someone who does and you could get out for a day on the boat with them.

> Harder-bottom areas generally show up brighter or “whiter” (timber, fish-cribs, or other sunken gems). Soft bottom shows up darker. You’re looking for any break or transition in the substrate — the more sudden that change is, the more valuable it can be.

> Shallow water usually provides the first opportunities to fish on safe ice, so don’t worry about anything more than 15′ at first.

> Think about how/where you access the water-body. Focus on the areas immediately adjacent to shore…chances are (even if you’re walking out) your spots will be need to be within a 1/2 mile of your access point.

Keep reading Joel’s full write-up here.

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

Ashley Thomas (@ashleythomas11) took 3rd in the JT Outdoor Products Big Fish Cup last weekend on Mille Lacs with a 28.25″ rock melon!

Caught on a “purple/chartreuse” teardrop jig paired with a “watermelon blue pearl” Ripper she made herself [!] with a Do-It Mold. Wowza:

Also said the 7′ 1″ JTX-MAG was key to feeling bites and getting good hook penetration on long casts…of course, you don’t miss many when they’re eating it like THIS lol!

Sign up another fish-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, 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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