Target Walleye/Ice email

Late fall jerkbait tips, Upsize for early-ice walleye, Mille Lacs winter regz

Today’s Top 4

The iceman cometh.

Anyone else wake up to this emergency alert?


Believe it or not, people are already hitting the hardwater [PLEASE BE SAFE]. Back in the day (okay, maybe even just last year) I’d be one of the crazies driving north with a spud bar in one hand, large dark roast in the other…vigorously pacing any shoreline I could get my two left feet on….

For whatever reason I’m just not there yet this year…. Don’t get me wrong — I’m pumped for hardwater! — but I’ve been having to ease myself into the thought of it, if that makes sense.

Maybe having kids changes things? Maybe it’s ‘cuz I’m getting soft in my old(er) age?? Whatever it may be, I’m more than okay letting the lakes lock up and gain a few extra inches before I kick off my hardwater season this year.

Heck, I might even hop take a nap in a deerstand this weekend. Maybe doesn’t sound all that crazy to you, since it’s likely what a bunch of you will be doing too…but that’s not the ‘normal’ me when I KNOW there’s already people ice fishing.

I actually sold most of my hunting schtuff (dozenzzzz of decoys, layout blinds, calls, etc) 5-ish years back because I didn’t want it interfering with my fishin’ time. Same reason I stopped playing sports when I was younger…instead rushed home after school to hop in my 14′ Lund.


If you are hitting the ice soon-ish: Learn your chisel! Take your time and check the whole way out — and back — not just at the ramp.

Ice picks ’round your neck are a must and probably the cheapest insurance you can get. Wear a life jacket and/or consider treating yourself to a “flotation-assisting” suit. Flat out: If you break through the ice, it’ll help get you back out…not weigh you down.

What more does a guy need to say?

Now that I’m done spewing my thoughts all over the keyboard…

Here’s some cool shots that’ll get you pumped for ice.

1) Lovin’ this snap posted on Catch Cover’s Instagram of an Eskimo Pistol Bit rippin’ a window open:

Believe they’re the lightest bits on the market at 3.2 lbs (6″) and 3.9 lbs (8″). Literally weigh less than a half-gallon of milk….

2) These cold temps have Theo Toliver (@k9guy82) reminiscing ’bout this greenback BLIMP he plucked outta Manitoba’s Lake Winnipeg. Understandable man!

3) Jay Siemens and his way more better-er half Sam already got their fist fish through the ice this season! Made a 9-hour trek to northern Manitoba where they introduced some brook trout to an Otter:

Just a few days earlier, Sam ^ pulled off a much longer grip-n-grin:

Nicely done you two!

4) Ever seen how they wave goodbye at Wekusko Falls Lodge? Sorta like sneezing without covering your mouth. #SmellYaLater

5) That time Mother Nature decided to give Colorado fishin’ guide Bernie Keefe a little reminder of who’s in control:

Don’t you just love the highs and lows of ice fishing? Crazy to think about the type of stuff we’re willing to sit through — for hours or even days on end — just to catch a fish through a dang hole in the ice LOL!

Ice fishers are definitely a different breed, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

When you should upsize baits for hardwater walleyes.

Sometimes bigger is better, especially during early-ice when oxygen levels are still high and fish are hot to trot. Soak up a pile of great info from Brad Hawthorne in this Wired2Fish vid:

Mille Lacs winter regz finally announced.

[Drum-roll sound effect]

> Starting Dec 1…will be a limit of 1 walleye between 21-23″, or 1 over 28″.

Know there’s a plenty o’ meat hunters that may be less than happy with the restrictions, and I’ve got just one question for you:

Anytime you talk about changing regs, folks get a little “passionate” (lol).

My 2 cents: Fishing’s about more than just filling your bucket. If you’re only in it for the meat, it’d be way cheaper to hit the grocery store….

I like a fish dinner as much as the next guy/gal, but I’m just pumped to be able to #TargetWalleye on ‘The Big Pond’ again soon:

The bite should be insane since the fish haven’t seen a bait in months:

Remember: Still no targeting walleyes on Mille Lacs until Dec 1, even if she freezes over before that. Easy mistake to make with regs that seem to change daily.


1. ON: Walleyes changing how and what they eat.

Studies showin’ walleyes are eating more and more bugs, ‘cuz as you can imagine they’re easier to catch than baitfish.

This researcher isn’t so worried about walleye populations declining, as he is about insects declining…and how that would impact walleyes.

2. Sorta interesting ice fish handling study.

Posted by American Fisheries Society and talks about how long fish can be kept out of water and still be successfully released:

> Numerous catch-and-release studies have been conducted during warmer months, with little work during winter, when ice anglers in temperate regions target fish.

> We conducted an ice-angling simulation that quantified the impacts of air temperature and air exposure duration [30 secs or 5 mins] on swimming performance and gill physiology of bluegill and largemouth bass.

> Results showed bluegill subjected to 5 min air exposure at -7º C [19.4º F] suffered impaired swimming….. Treatment had no impact on burst swimming or gill damage in largemouth bass.

Wait – who ice fishes for largemouth bass on purpose? Lol kiddin’…sorta….

Would love to have seen some results on walleyes, crappies, northern, lake trout, perch, burbot…basically everything that gets targeted through the ice waaaay more commonly than bass seem to.

3. This might be the closest you can come to…

…ice fishing from shore…yet Mr. and Mrs. Uncut Angling caught themselves a tiger. Click the pic to watch ’em catch it through a massive sight-fishing hole:

4. WI/MN/ND: 2020 AIM schedule announced.

Tentative until they get all the permits:

5. SD: Dakota Ice Institute happenin’ this weekend.

In Sioux Falls.

6. Fish Addictions TV is looking for a videographer…

…for the upcoming hardwater season. Drop ’em a DM for more details if you’re willing to set down the fishing rod and pick up a camera. 😉

7. SIMMS has a new rain jacket.

Called the G4 Pro Rain Jacket and supposed to be their “most water resistant and durable jacket ever.” Even more so (somehow?!) than their Pro Dry:

And in typical SIMMS fashion, they made the G4 schtuff earn its starting spot on the roster:

> Collectively, this collection has endured over 20,000 hours of rigorous testing by a stable of Simms pros and ambassadors that guide in some of the world’s most unforgiving fishing locations.

For now the rest of the G4 line is geared towards fly-fisherpeoples (waders and boots) but would have to guess there’d be some matchin’ bibs in the future…?

8. PA anglers might not have to wear their licenses anymore.

Would just need to have it on their person, instead of on their person [smirk emoji] when/if the amendment passes.

9. IL: Asian carp DNA spikes in Chicago River?

Guess they didn’t find any live fish, but had “76 hits of environmental DNA, or eDNA, for silver and bighead carp.” So, ummm…fish poop or???

Yo-Zuri Giveaway!

Here we go! Have a shot at winning this pile of Yo-Zuri loot, including the brand new Rattl’N Vibe Mini!! It’s a tasty 1-5/8″ (3/16-oz) size for you ice-heads. Comes in 12 different colors, 4 of which are UV and designed specifically for ice fishing.

Also throwing in a few of Yo-Zuri’s Crystal Minnow Walleye Deep Divers that are specially designed for trolling and need ZERO TUNING out of the box. Vibrant/holographic colors, oversized 3D eyes, and raised molded gill plates…yes please. #Durability

Will be 3 different winners for this one. Takes 10 seconds to enter by clicking the picture below and can share the link you get for bonus entries. Good luck! Highlights

Note: The FishUSA links in this email are affiliate links, meaning if you go through them to make a purchase we might earn a commission…at no cost to you. Click here if you want to learn a little more about links in TW.

Tip of the Day

Brandon Owczarzak: Late-fall jerkbait walleye.

> As the nights get longer and colder, baitfish gather in large schools and migrate into shallow water. Rocky river edges, wind-blown points, creek mouths, marinas, and cuts…. If you can find these schools after dark, there’s no doubt walleye will be right behind them and gorging all night.

> A full moon, dock light, street light, or even hanging a lantern can really help. …overhead lighting gives the lure a silhouette from underneath and really makes it stand out. …baitfish are naturally attracted to light sources. It isn’t uncommon to see walleye and pike sharking on bait near dock lights this time of year.

> The suspending feature of the Salmo Rattlin’ Sting is what makes it the perfect bait for these nighttime walleye. When you pause this lure, it stops in its tracks and holds its depth perfectly. [Has an] Infinity Cast System = you’re able to cover more water than traditional jerkbaits.

> A very slow retrieve with twitches, and pauses is what you’re looking for. It’s not uncommon to get a strike when letting the lure sit in place for multiple seconds. …should feel the loud internal rattles on every twitch…helps draw the fish in.

> It isn’t possible to fish the lure too slow in this application, but in clearer water you can get away with working the lure a little faster. In dirty water…fish as slow as you can, with even longer pauses.

> The bite is often very subtle, so I like to use a rod with soft tip, braided line, and a fluorocarbon leader for detecting strikes and driving hooksets.

Keep reading here.

Quote of the Day

“…after he flipped the vehicle, he crawled out and proceeded to grab his fishing pole and tackle box in the back….”

– Guess this [unnamed] guy wasn’t gonna let a little rollover ruin his fishin’ plans…

> “…an ambulance pulled over to help him. When they asked if he was all right, the man replied with ‘I’m going fishing,’ as he walked away.”

Sheesh — talk about priorities. Glad he was okay and no one else was hurt.

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

Late fall can be downright nasty — think today’s the first time I’ve seen the sun in 2 weeks — but that hasn’t stopped Hayden (@lightscameronactionn) from busting out the headlamp and sticking his fattest walleye of the year! Caught trolling secret plus-sized cranks across sand flats in the balmy -6°C (21°F) temps:

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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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