Target Walleye/Ice email

Merp walleye month, Late-ice crappies, Melons of the week

Hey everyone, we’ll only be sending you one Target Walleye next week because we’re off to the land of the #greenbacks, Lake Winnipeg. Heard the bite’s been painfully slow…hope to change that! Have a great weekend!


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

Today’s Top 5

It’s merp walleye month!

IG user @northwestmitch cracked this greenback merp somewhere in Alberta:

Mike L. first thought this 20″ merp was a sucker! On Reetz Lake, northeast SD:

Remember the merp walleye that cost a tourney win at Glendo Reservoir, WY?!

Chad LaChance: “[Merp] was caught during a walleye derby which is judged by total length, rather than total weight. [Merp’s] short face cost the angler $7K — who finished in 2nd place by 1/2 inch.”



Blake M. joined the merp party with this snub-nose Lake Nippising, ON walleye:

Jon N. caught the 19″ dork fish at a small dam in SW Saskatchewan. Goofy:

It’s not just a walleye thing — Troy Lindner caught this bug-eyed smallie on a Rapala Shadow Rap Deep:

How Joel Nelson targets late-ice crappies.

It’s been a confusing season, and downright tough to tell if we should be fishing mid-winter or late-ice patterns. Here’s what Joel Nelson considers “true late ice:”

> True late-ice conditions to me mean a pattern of melt during the day, with below-freezing temps at night, over the course of a few weeks. As ice separates from shore, some of the best angling is still to be had…provided you can find a [safe] way onto the ice sheet. Wear a floating suit like a Striker and always be mindful of your exit plan.
> Late ice is great for a few reasons: movement of water washes in nutrients, while increased sun angle and light penetration breathes life to the shallows.


> I’m looking in less than 15′ around the best standing cabbage/coontail weed growth in the lake. One of the best big-crappie patterns I’ve been on is a sight-fishing gig that happens over these expansive weed flats.

> Start with a clear lake that holds quality crappies. Focus on the closest flat to traditional mid-winter holes. Drill across the flat in as shallow as 5′, down to 15′.

> VMC Tungsten Flies and Tungsten Tubby Jigs tipped with a Trigger X Wingding, Nymph, or Wax Tail are what I use for this bite — especially in the largest sizes — as they are “buggy” yet offer plenty of lifelike action.

> Don’t lean over the hole…stand back and let your line drape across the front of the hole and down. Position yourself on a chair or focus on being as still as possible — any quick movement can spook the fish.


When Joel’s in stealth mode, he’ll sometimes take his ice cleats off so the fish don’t hear him crunchin’, do his best not to yell at Brad Hawthorne for diggin’ through his tackle box, and has a cat-like way of becoming one with his surroundings. #Stealth

Ever been “ice surfing” before?

Check this crazy run that Lake of the Woods guide Drew Dorholt pulled off:

Even the Russian judge was impressed:

Looks fun, but we gotta say Aaron Guthrie has the right idea…. Heavy baskin’ with a couple of furry co-pilots, waiting for those Catch Cover Rattlesnake Reels to sing:

Slush melons of the week!

This broad-backed greenie munched a glow tiger shrimp Northland Rippin’ Shad:

TW fan Wiley Josh cracked this Erie walligator while trolling a Rapala Down Deep Husky Jerk with a 2-oz weight:

Will Pappenfoosball cracked this MN stumpknocker on a 1/28-oz Tungsten UV Fire-Ball Jig (yup, there’s a killer panfish version of the trusty ol’ Fire-Ball Jig). Will said she was just a hair under 2 lbs and could talk like a human:

Another Tungsten UV Fire-Ball Jig fish, you guys feeshin’ together? This one was caught by Brent D. who iced this 10.5″ x 7.0″ hubcap somewheres near Bemidji, MN:



1. MN: White Bear Lake Assoc. suing DNR…

…over low water levels. Okaaaay….

> Luke Skinner (DNR): “Over the last several years the lake has dropped significantly…primarily due to [the lack of] rainfall and evaporation…we can’t control that.”


Hey DNR – while you’re working on that rain-making machine, consider whipping up a cold-air-making one too — we’d like the ice season to last a bit longer…. Lol

2. IN: Whitefish record broken twice in 2 weeks.

But no pics!! That’s the fifth IN state-record whitey to be caught in 5 years, and the DNR doesn’t think it will last long:

> “We consistently see whitefish over 6 lbs in our netting assessments, and last year we had several weighing over 7 lbs…probably hundreds of fish swimming around IN waters right now that would break the record.”

3. Lund Ultimate Fish Camp chock-full.


Would recommend pre-registering for 2018 early…like nowish. Get to fish out of a bunch of new Lund boats and learn from legendary anglers like Ted Takasaki, Perry Good, Tony and Gary Roach, and more.

4. Cabela’s is new “School of Fish” title sponsor.

5. BaitCloud comes stateside.

> “We’ve organized an additional production facility which will service all of our American customers, allow us to label as ‘Made in the USA,’ and will eliminate customs shipping delays.”


Will for sure speed things up. Here’s an actual video of Customs going through the last prize pack we shipped to America’s hat.

6. IA: Bro is comin’ to town….

…to catch bullheads and talk fishin’! At the Eastern IA Sportshow happening now.

Didja win the Rapala loot?

We sent an email out to a random winner that took our walleye-techniques survey — you’re running out of time to claim the goods!


Fishing Reports

1. MN: Lake of the Woods.

> Our ice remains 24-30″ and a very active bite continues in 29-33′ on glow pink/red or chartreuse jigging spoons. Northern pike have started staging near spawning areas and are active. #GameTime

> The Rainy River is open from Birchdale to the east. Shore ice remains and a few anglers have already started pushing boats over the ice [!!]. We’ll be reporting open-water progress at the Rainy River page of our website.


TW reader Craig “gets to fish too much” Buck said they caught and released 50+ walleye and sauger each day during their trip…this double came while deadsticking a minnow on one rod, and jigging a Rapala Slab Rap with the other:

2. ND: Devils Lake.

One of the few places left to still have “GREAT ice.” Just gotta keep on the move in search of active fish.

Craig “gets to fish/travel too much” Buck [see above photo] stuck this Devils Laker on a 1/16-oz super-glo redfish Buck-Shot Rattle Spoon:

We are jealous dude!

Tip of the Day


> In my river experience, 90% of the big fish are caught in 10′ or less. I’ll pull Dubuque rigs in 6-15′, but I prefer to pitch plastics in shallow water.


> You’ve gotta get out of the fast current. The big fish aren’t there. Don’t be scared to cast into the wood and sticks. Walleyes feel safe there — they’ll even spawn in there. Boggles my mind that you have guys in $50k boats who cringe at losing a bait. Burn through jigs if you have to.


With water temps of 40 degrees through 50 degrees — he’s pitching a B FISH N Tackle Ringworm to find fish, then sizing up to a Moxi on a 3/16-oz H20 Precision Jig Head.

> Beefier-profile plastics like the Moxi just do better on big fish this time of year. Stick to fluorescents and the occasional dark pattern for dirty water, and natural colors like oystershell for clear water.

> It kind of depends on the day, but I usually cast upstream and lift the jig off bottom, reel in slack, and keep the line tight as the current sweeps the jig. Then repeat when the jig hits bottom or lightly shake the rod tip as I reel in slow.

Quote of the Day

Anytime you can get outside and toast a sandwich on a stick, with an open fire, is a great day.


– That’s how Canadian-wonder Tom Batiuk measures a good day on the ice, instead of by how many fish he catches. We dig it! #Dibs

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

Luke Fehr’s kind of “March Madness.” Knowing him that’s probably a mid-40:

Sign up another ice-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 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 quit sports in high school because they were interfering with his fishing time. Get him at

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