Target Walleye/Ice email

Loons eat Jigging Raps, Ice fishermen are crazy, Whitefish-spawn walleyes

Today’s Top 5

Loons eat Rapala Jigging Raps?

This one did anyway….

> Jay Epping: Another year…another Rapala Jigging Rap loon caught, patched up and sent back on her way (trashed my lucky HowlerBros Gaucho shirt though):

This isn’t the first time Jay’s accidentally Jigging Rap‘d himself a loony toon:

> Jay: “Yikes…Jigging Raps catch everything…. After a little minor vet work, he’s happily back fattening up for his winter migration!”

Least that time it didn’t trash your Simms DOWNstream Insulated Sweater lol. #ChaChing #ButOhSoComfy #Dibs

Btw those birds lucked out: Jay’s an actual veterinarian when he’s not fishing walleye derbies. Guessing he’d rather stick to taking walleyes off the hook:

> “They bite!! A lot!! You should see what my hand looks like!!”

Still think we oughta send you a one of those fashionable Rapala fillet gloves, man!

Fish wing dams this fall.

Wing dams are man-made structures made to deflect current. Not sure why, but we only seem to hear about ’em is when someone wins a tourney off of ’em? *cough* Mark Courts *cough*

Here’s how/why THE river rat Tim Hutchinson, picks ’em apart for chunky walleyes in the fall. Full write-up here, few excerpts below:

> “Walleyes spent their summers in the backwaters, feasting on bluegills, shad, crayfish and frogs. In Oct they’re heading out to the main channel, where they use wing dams, rockpiles, riprap — any kind of current break — as they fatten up for winter.

> “On the river, I like a cloudy day with a 5- to 10-mph wind. A wind against the current creates riffles to expose a wing dam’s location. A wind with the current makes it harder to locate the structure.

> “The fish will pull into the inside (shore side) of the wing dams first. As fall progresses, they’ll move out toward the main channel.

> “Active walleyes hold in the trough in front of a wing dam, but the most aggressive fish are on the very top of the structure in 2-4′ of water. The food is there, but the fish are easily spooked.

> “Cast jigs tipped with plastic, such as ringworms, ringers, twister-tails or shad bodies. Anchor upstream of a wing dam and throw to its top. Work the jig into the current, down the wing dam’s face, and into the trough in front.”

This graphic from a Jeff Samsel post might help to visualize what you’re working:

Lots of walleyes guys prefer “bass-style crankbaits” — like the Berkley Dredger — when fishing wing dams because they do a better job of getting down quickly and can be easier to cast:

> “I also like crankbaits such as Bombers and Rebel Crawdads. On the inside portion of a wing dam, run them 4-6′ down. On the outside portion, run them at 6-10′.

> “Don’t troll…that spooks active fish. Instead, hover upstream of the wing dam and work back and forth, casting the crankbaits.

> “If walleyes won’t hit plastics or cranks, I’ll break out a 3-way rig with a crawler.

> “Use a [braided line] such as Sufix or PowerPro [to feel] soft pickups. I also like hi-viz line: It doesn’t bother the fish in murky river water and you can see hits when the line moves.

> “I’m not worried about fronts, but dealing with river flow is hard…increased flow can change everything: it takes too much energy for the fish to forage. Under stable water conditions, the wing dams are a smorgasbord for active fish.”

Secret Lake of the Woods cranks finally leaked.

We mention lots of non-sponsor stuff in the Target Walleye/Ice emails. We also mention lots of sponsor stuff because they of course support TWI and your enjoyment of it. What it comes down to: If it’s interesting, gonna help you catch more fishes, or something we think people should know about…we’re gonna talk about it.

Renegade Outdoor Innovations is one of those non-sponsors we’ve name dropped in the past ‘cuz they’ve got something new and different that catches fish.

They FINALLY leaked the baits — outta their personal stash — that have been winning a ton of $$$ in Lake of the Woods walleye derbies the last couple seasons:

Things look downright tasty! They’re custom “Craw” pattern Rapala Deep Tail Dancers and Bandit Walleye Deep Divers that helped Mike Olson and Drake Herd finish in the top 10 at the NWT Championship, among other tourney paydays.

Same company kickin’ out those custom-painted soft plastics we mentioned before:

Love it. Keep doing your thing, guys! But no more secrets this time….

“Fine line between fish-crazy and stupid.”

It’s gettin’ frosty in northern Manitoba! Bryan Bogdan (owner of Wekusko Falls Lodge) has been “flirting with the line” — and occasionally crossing it — the last couple weeks:

Bryan said some smaller lakes have already “locked up” and that he could be hitting the ice as early as next week waaaay up yonder [shocked emoji].

In the meantime, he’s snooping ’round out on the big water — making his own maps with Humminbird’s AutoChart Live — picking out his first-ice spots. They don’t make enough layers for this kind of #dedication

I made the trip up to Wekusko Falls Lodge last April for a late-ice, multi-species beatdown — had the time of my life. Favorite part was not knowing what was gonna come out of the hole (walleye, northern, burbot, lake trout, etc) but knowing that whatever it was, it could be HUGE.

Here’s a few quick screenshots from the vlog I shot that trip:

AnglingBuzz’s Nick Lindner and I had a few hours to kill our first evening at Wekusko, so decided to have ourselves a little fish-off. The catch? We each got to choose 3 baits the other guy HAD to use…spinnerbaits and Beetle Spins and pickerel rigs, oh my (lol).

If you missed that video — or are stuck at work bored — check it here:

Btw – I’m currently planning trips for this upcoming ice season. Leave a comment under ^ this vid if there’s any other “fishing challenges” or whatnot you’d like to see next.

Some other vlogs from our trips last winter:

Really appreciate you following along! Hope to drop a few more vids this season….

When will transom trolling motors have an anchor mode???

Been thinking about all the crazy advancements in fishin’ technology lately and wonderin’ when there will finally be a transom-mount (back of the boat) trolling motor with PinPoint (MotorGuide), Spot-Lock, (Minn Kota), or some other type of anchor mode…I mean the technology’s already there….

Only time I’m running my Minn Kota Vantage is when I’m holding RIGHT on a super specific something or other…so an “anchor mode” just makes sense to me.

Heck, sometimes I’ll even drop down the bow-mount on windy days — just to use it for Spot-Lock — case I stick a fish from the back of the boat. Maybe one day…?


1. MN: Pike catch-and-release record set.

Check this giant 43.5″ pike fish-head Maddy Ogg whacked and released pulling a “chrome” Llungen Lures .22 Short on Mille Lacs — BIG congrats!

Case you’re wondering, MN has 2 different kinds of state records:

> One for catching and keeping [aka killing] the biggest fish in each species based on certified weight…the other for the length of a caught-and-released muskellunge, northern pike, lake sturgeon or flathead catfish.

Still don’t understand why there’s no catch-and-release record for walleyes? Or say any/all other species?? Talkin’ to you, DNR guys/gals….

2. IA: John Campbell earns Fishing Hall of Fame induction.

Longtime fishing educator, tourney angler and fishing guide. Congrats man!

3. IL walleye trail getting kiddos involved.

> …Encouraged the competing 2-person teams to bring along a son, daughter, grandchild or any other young person….

Better yet, one of the teams that had a youngster with won that tourney.

4. ND: Oahe’s walleye population on the rise…

…but that’s not necessarily a good thing:

> ND G&F’s Scott Gangl: “This is the fourth good year-class out of the last five years, leaving a lot of small fish out there right now. Lake Oahe is lacking forage, which causes fish to grow slower than they should.”

5. OH: Lake Erie Fall Brawl payouts announced.

Sorry, too late to enter now if you haven’t (we mentioned it before!). Have over $230K in cash + prizes on the line and only need 1 bite to get in on the goods!

6. How NOT to fish a Rat-L-Trap.

Basically no wrong way to fish one, other than what Tree Richards did:

Ouch! Hey man – no need to make your own “Bleeding Shad” series…Rat-L-Traps already got ’em lol. At least you’re fishin’ with the right stuff:

7. MI: 21 million fish stocked in 2018.

14.4 million of those were walleye fingerlings and fry [thumbs-up emoji].

8. IA: Zeebz found in Lost Island lake.

9. New 2019 Lund catalog is out.

[Insert drool here] One of the few things we still like getting a paper copy of, but you can also view the online version here:

Headline of the Day

Can trophy walleyes be kept without hurting their population?

Interesting read specifically talkin’ Lake Erie, OH walldawgs.

According to Lake Erie program administrator Travis Hartman there’s no biological justification for trophy-walleye restrictions for the OH fishery…based on research done a decade ago that showed all sizes/ages of walleyes produce quality eggs in Lake Erie.

But that research was done a DECADE ago [chin-scratch emoji]….

Now there’s a 2016 study catching their attention that says “in Lake Erie, larger maternal walleyes may have a better ability to produce larger eggs and contribute significantly to the spawn in years when there is a long, cold winter.”

Might wanna dig into that a bit deeper…just in case…ya know?

Tip of the Day

Late-fall walleyes follow the whitefish spawn.

Brian “Bro” Brosdahl:

> This is a great time of year to catch some of the biggest walleyes in the lake as they follow the whitefish spawning migration.

> Key is finding surviving green weedbeds on shoreline-connected structures. Add rocks and direct access to deep, open water, and you’ve found gold.

> I usually start in the areas that are facing open water. Sometimes bays can be good too. They don’t need to be huge, just big enough to hold a nice weedbed.

> When you do find the whitefish, you’ll know because they will break the surface at different times, especially when it calms down during the evening. Some of the younger whitefish that come up are excellent forage for big walleyes.

> You can vertically fish them with live bait rigs or artificial baits like Northland Puppet Minnows or Buck-Shot Rattle Spoons. Pitching crankbaits and reeling them really slow can also be effective. And this is the time of year I really love dragging a big, live minnow through that whitefish soup.

Quote of the Day

He and his friend once ate chicken subs 5 nights in a row before a Lake Oahe event, and left the tournament with 1st and 2nd place.

– That’s a Mercury Marine post talkin’ about one of Keith Kavajecz’s secrets to catching fish: Superstitions.

Lucky you didn’t get on the bite after eating that turnip-and-spinach-stuffed cow liver dinner, man!

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

Chef Cameron Tait and cook ’em AND catch ’em — he whacked this 28″ slobeye on a 5/8-oz “purple UV” Freedom Tackle Turnback Shad:

That Freedom Turnback Shad looks pretty nasty (in a good way) underwater. Has a full-metal body so no broken tails…free spinning so no line twists. Mucho nice:

FishUSA has ’em on sale right now.

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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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