Target Walleye/Ice email

Learn your ice chisel, Behemoth bluegills, Water clarity jig colors

Hope everyone had a great/safe Thanksgiving weekend! If you missed the Special Early-Ice Baits and Gear Issue, check it here on!!

If you’re getting this Target Walleye/Ice email for the first time, a friend probably signed you up!

Today’s Top 5

How to use a “spud bar” to check ice thickness.

Stop using your “spud bar” (aka, ice chisel) as a walking stick, and start learning what each swing means for you in actual inches of ice. Three hard swings might mean 2″ of ice for some…might mean 5″ for others. Depends which chisel you’re using and how hard you’re swinging it:

Couple things we gotta say:

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 like the IceArmor Ascent in the vid above. 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?

Or, wait until the ice thickens and enjoy the other kind of “spud bar” in the meantime:

PLEASE be safe everyone!

Bluegills that fill up an 8″ hole!

The Team Yukon Outdoors crew puts on a TON o’ miles in the name of bull ‘gills. This time they road-tripped to NoDak, put in the work [!] and were rewarded with “panfish” waaaay too big for a pan — all caught in about an hour of fishing….

Adam Bartusek schmattered his PB thanks to a 1/32-oz Clam Drop-Kick Jig (black chartreuse) matched with a Maki Matdi plastic (chartreuse glow). Don’t know exact weight, but if it wasn’t a 2-lber, it was only a couple of bugs away from being there:

GillZilla! Andrew Osowski thwacked this 1-lb 13.2-oz bruiser on a Northland Tungsten Fire-Ball Jig (glo white) tipped with waxies:

Aaron Knott fooled this mammoth hen (female) soakin’ a Clam Snow Drop XL Jig (green apple) sprinkled with waxies:

What you don’t see in the pics is that it took drilling over 1,000 holes, catching 300+ dinky perch and fishing for 19 hours without catching a single bluegill…until the bomb went off. Got it all on video — can’t fake this excitement:

All these hubcaps were released to keep those big-fish genetics in the lake — also ‘cuz those big males are the ones that protect the nests in the spring. You’ll never catch a 12″ bluegill if you’re putting a knife to all the 10s….

Here’s a different kind of “stuffed” walleye.

Anybody else stuff their face like THIS over the weekend? Awesome shot from @theitchtofish’s IG page. We aren’t the only ones that pig out on Thanksgiving:

Some peeps were saying it was staged ‘cuz the crappie isn’t going in head first…. Who knows? Maybe we aren’t the only ones that “eat wrong” when we’re gorging:

Go-to jig colors for first-ice panfish.

The #1 factor is water clarity: Dingy/stained water often has a muck bottom where panfish will be stuffing their faces with bloodworms. On clearer bodies of water they’re more likely to be eating on zooplankton or small minnows.

We were able to track down Ice Force pro Joel Nelson during the St. Paul Ice Show last year and have him (in-between signing autographs lol) give us a rundown of the first jig colors he ties on based on the water clarity:

One of Joel’s favorite combos is a VMC Tungsten Tubby Jig tipped with a Trigger X Mustache Worm — which he talked about modifying in the video. Works!

We’ll be at the ice show again this Fri-Sun. Drop us an email if there’s anything specific you want to see or have us ask the pros.

Free boat wraps up north!

Mika Vornanen won’t let Mother Nature stop him from enjoying a little quality time with his Lund 1900 Tyee. #diehard


1. MN: Two ice anglers drown…

…in Upper Red Lake accident. Gone too soon, dangit. RIP Melissa and Zeth.

2. ON: Ear Falls man reported missing.

Friends found a hole in the ice on Pakwash Lake, along with his snowmobile, helmet and jacket nearby. Prayers fishing brother.

3. MN: LOW walleye pop strong….

…based on the results from the DNR’s annual fall survey.

> “There hasn’t been a weak walleye year-class in the lake since 2008…been 6 average to moderate hatches on top of the banner hatches in 2011 and 2013.”

Know what that means for this winter?

4. MN: Wheel houses now need shelter tags/licenses.

Used to be considered “portable” and didn’t need ’em. Now the definition of portable shelters has been updated to:

> “One that collapses, folds or is disassembled for transportation.”

Makes sense, but guys with the hydraulic frames will be salty lol. More info here.

5. MI: Bill for flexible shanty removal dates.

Probably a smart idea since ice conditions are different every year….

6. Bored at work?

Check this tasty underwater footage of some jumbo perch and a surprise visitor — can’t get over how clear the new Aqua-Vu HD units are:

7. Newest Catch Cover giveaway.

‘Nother chance to win some Catch Cover goodies for your shack! Click here to enter on their page.

8. New ultralight 4-stroke Merc.

Comes in 15/20-hp models, and is 11 lbs lighter (99 lbs).

New tiller handle is adjustable and “can be set up for right- or left-hand operation, and the vertical down-stop is adjustable to accommodate specific boat layouts and body frames.”

9. Distributor Maurice $100 mil in debt.

Ouch! Dats a lotta dough!! Filed for bankruptcy, are restructuring and a deal may be in the works? From an email sent by to “unsecured creditors” (companies Maurice owes):

> …Maurice Sporting Goods faced several challenges that impaired their cash flow, investment in new distribution center, several bankruptcies including Sports Authority, Michigan Sporting Good Distributors, Gander Mountain, and Sport Chalet. This also overlapped with a weakening Canadian dollar [Maurice is Canadian] and poor management.

10. Rapala Pro Series vid game now out.

For PS4 and X1. Bass on the cover, but there are walleyes in the game:

11. Olympian partners with Wilcraft.

If you haven’t seen one yet, it’s an “amphibious ice-fishing vehicle” that floats and can crawl back out if it breaks through the ice. Guess they start at about $16K, which is actually quite a bit less than you’d think.

12. Win a Garmin Panoptix Ice Fishing bundle!We’re giving away one of Garmin’s top-of-the-line $1,800 ice fishing bundles just in time for Christmas! Yup, this is real life!! Just enter your email addy, then share the link you get for more chances to win. Good luck!!!

Target Walleye/Ice Merch Sale!

Just realized we’ve NEVER done a sale on our Target Walleye/Ice gear [!] so let’s gitcha 30% off until Friday at midnight. Use the discount code “CYBER” at checkout, click here or on the pic below:

Btw — some new stuff coming soon-ish!

Tip of the Day

How fluorocarbon fishes compared to mono and braid.

There’s no one specific line type that’s ideal for all situations. Here’s how fluorocarbon stacks up against the other lines and why you need to have a rod or two rigged up with it:

How it compares to mono

> Fluoro is going to be more ‘invisible’ than mono, making it the ultimate line in ultra-clear water or on heavily-pressured fish in community holes. You’ll really notice the difference when sight-fishing for finicky panfish in shallow water. Fewer fish hesitate to bite — try it side by side with a buddy who’s not using fluoro.

> It also has less stretch than mono, which is going to make it much more sensitive and help to feel those light bites. Less stretch means more solid hooksets, to really drive those hooks home into the tough upper snout of a walleye.

How it compares to braid

> There’s no better option for outside hole-hopping than fluoro. Braided lines will hold moisture, which can freeze up in really cold temps — especially when fishing outside the shack. Won’t have that problem with fluoro.

> Fluoro does offer a little more stretch than braided line, but that will help keep fish pinned. That slight stretch acts 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.

The downside

> The downside to fluoro is that it’s going to need to be replaced more often than braid or mono. Braided line may last you an entire season or two, whereas fluoro is going to have more memory and will get ‘the coils’ quicker on the tiny spools of micro ice reels.

> 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. When the line begins to coil, pull it off and throw on fresh stuff. That way a small spool can last you up to a half dozen trips instead of just one.

Bear in mind: Sufix InvisiLine Ice Fluorocarbon sinks 4 times more quickly than mono. Read the full tip on to see how that changes the action of your bait, and what sizes of fluoro I (Brett) recommend spooling up with.

Quote of the Day

When somebody suggests it’s time to go walleye fishing, you’d expect them to say it in a flat, Midwestern accent…but there may come a day when walleye anglers will say that with an Alabama drawl.

– Article talking ’bout how Alabamie is looking to increase it’s walleye population and “wants it to be a fishery that’s something people will make a trip for.” Pay attention, westerners….

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

Can’t stop gawkin’ over Nick Speckman’s sunset snap. Caught jerkin’ a Rapala Slab Rap on Upper Red Lake:

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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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