Target Walleye/Ice email

Near record ID perch, Tungsten vs lead, Mille Lacs shenanigans


This Lake Cascade jumbo perch was flirting with the ID state record!

Those Cascade jumbos are something special, but this one is on a whole ‘nother level. Patrick Miles recently caught this paunchy 15-incher that weighed 2.87 lbs 🤯 which is just 5 oz shy of the state record:

Here’s another angle to help get your bearings as to just how ridiculous that fish was:

I seriously can’t even imagine. 😳

The current ID record is a 3.22-lber caught March 2021 by Adam Mann outta Lake Cascade and went 16.25” long with a 15.5” girth:


Slabbage of the week!

How’d you like to break your PB (personal best) multiple times in a single outing?! 🤯 That’s exactly what Adam “Bart” Bartusek did after smashing three 16”+ crappies while fishing in the Twin Cities Metro, MN area. It’s all documented while filming Episode 11 of The Crappie Chronicles.

The biggest was a 16.25” hybrid (white + black crappie) that weighed 2.82 lbs

He also caught his biggest pure black crappie ever at 16” and 2.60 lbs (left) and then a bonus 16-incher (right) that “wasn’t as built” but obviously still an absolute giant lol:

All three were caught using a 4mm Clam Drop-Kick Jig (black chartreuse) with a Maki Mino Head (white) on 3-lb Clam Frost Ice Fluoro. Here’s a look at that little treat:

Man, is that ever going to be a tough day to beat! But The Crappie Chronicles crew is going to try on their quest for an 18-incher…. 🙌

DNR will tighten Mille Lacs (MN) walleye limit this year.

That’s the headline from this StarTribune write-up, which strangely reminds me of this scene from the movie Super Troopers. 🤔🥴🙃😅

Here’s the CliffsNotes version of what was said:

> The DNR will tighten fishing regulations on Lake Mille Lacs this year in response to a downturn in the lake’s walleye population.

> DNR fisheries biologists presented the data Tuesday night at a meeting of the lake’s citizens advisory committee. The population decline was not unexpected, nor is it dire, state fisheries chief Brad Parsons said. But it has translated into a 10% reduction in 2024′s allowable harvest level, recently negotiated between the DNR and Ojibwe bands with treaty rights.

> The new overall allowance is set at 157,500 lbs, down from last year’s safe harvest level of 175,000 lbs. The state’s allocation of that combined walleye quota is 91,550, lbs – down 9% from last year’s allocation of 100,300 lbs of walleyes….

> “Last year, throughout the open-water fishing season, state-licensed anglers were allowed a 1-fish walleye bag limit if the catch measured between 21-23 inches. This year’s regulation – yet to be decided – will be more stringent….”

I mean they’re already pretty dang tight LOL:

> “We’re going to pump the brakes a little bit this year so we don’t have to take more drastic action later on.”

> The group discussed a range of potential regulations, including a season long, catch-and-release option with no keepers. Other possibilities outlined for the group were to allow a 1-fish bag for a few weeks early in the year, followed by a catch-and-release period and a temporary midsummer shutdown of all walleye fishing. In that case, there could possibly be a fall harvest season.

> The agency said the overall population decline of walleyes in the 207-square-mile lake was detected 3 different ways: By computer modeling, fall netting surveys and a once-every-5-years population estimate by an independent expert.

> Advisory committee members were told that Mille Lacs walleyes are challenged by a shortage of baby perch, a key fish on which they forage. The hungry state of the fish (noticeable by a prevalent skinny body condition) ignited high catch rates in the fall, and the strong bite has continued this winter.

I must be fishing on a different lake because “prevalent skinny body condition” is wild:

> This winter’s harvest counts against the state’s 2024 quota. …walleye harvest this winter is estimated so far at nearly 8,000 lbs, almost double last year’s total kill of 4,300 lbs when anglers put in far more hours on the ice.

> “The fall bite was good and January’s bite was really good. The bite matters.”

This whole thing just confuses me and I think it always will. I’m obviously no expert, but I do spend a ton of days fishing Mille Lacs each season both open-water and on the ice.

This is legit one of the healthiest populations of walleyes I’ve ever seen out there…from the sheer numbers, size structure, different year classes of fish, and probably 95% of ‘em have been very healthy looking. 🤷‍♂️

When Valentine’s Day meets fishing.

We’ve already got “Fishmas” (for Christmas) but is there a fishy name for Valentine’s Day yet? Fishentines?? Valenslimes??? You tell me hahaha.

Your newsfeed has probably been cluttered with more sappy-love posts than fish pics today (thx a lot Valentine’s Day!) so here’s a little something(s) to switch it up….

1. Move over, Hallmark, Berkley is comin’ in hot! 🔥

> “You didn’t forget, you were just waiting for us to post our custom Valentines to send to your special someone. 👀”

Pure gold! 👏👏👏

2. This straight-up DIALED Valentine’s box was posted a few years back by Stephen Kolobakken. 👏👏👏 Great job, Akira!

3. Betcha this kiddo occasionally gets to do his homework while waiting on a rattle reel to sing! Posted by Team Lodge on FB:

4. I can’t wait for my next open-water date with CrushCity. ❤️🥵

5. Usually they say “X marks the spot,” but on Valentine’s Day you wanna look for heart-shaped clues…. Would love to see Tom DeMers hook up with a walleye big enough to plug this 16” heart-shaped hole he had hidden below the Catch Cover:

6. Northern-MN guide Matt Breuer knows my love language will always be burbot haha!

The latest “Top 5” of the week! 🍿🎥

In case you missed it on YouTube, here’s episode 66. Hope you enjoy!


1. ME: 88-yr-old man drowns after side-by-side breaks thru.

On Spring River Lake in Hancock County. Broke thru about 400′ from shore on their way back in after a day of fishing. The grandson was able to make it out, but Floyd Hardison was not. 😔

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, and the crews on the rescue. ✝️🙏

2. MN: “Night with the fishing pros” fundraiser Fri, Apr 5

At Rice Creek Hunting, Recreation and Event Center in Little Falls.

Limited number of tickets being sold for this rare opportunity to meet over 20 pro-anglers, guides, and sports media personalities (Gary Roach, Ray Gildow, Mark Strand, Brian “Bro” Brosdahl…just to name a few). There will be auction items provided by the pros including their favorite lures, autographed items, guided trips and more.

3. What a dam looks like underwater…

…thx to Humminbird MEGA Down Imaging. 😮 Pretty unreal!

4. WI: DNR explains how warm winters…

…could impact fishing for years to come:

> “The issue is that with these warmer winters, you actually kind of can cause these fish to be unable to reproduce effectively in the spring indirectly over the long term (particularly impacting species like walleye and yellow perch)….. We can see potential declines in the numbers of cold-water species.”

> …an early spring could disrupt crucial events like the emergence of zooplankton, a vital food source for young fish.

> “It could be as small as a few degrees warmer, and you’re losing habitat for coldwater species like walleye, and you’re gaining habitat for largemouth bass. That kind of flips that ecosystem.”

5. IA: $42K up for grabs in this year’s Walleye Weekend…

…in Spirit Lake. 1 of the 10 tagged walleyes is worth $42K and the 42nd-annual event that’s happening May 4-5 thru the FishDonkey app.

6. MB: 135-mil liters of raw sewage dumped into Red River.

Another “pipe leak” (near Fort Garry Bridge in Winnipeg) just caused the biggest sewage spill in at least a decade, and shows no signs of stopping.

In 2022, another 59.6-million liters went into the Red River from three points after “the south end plant exceeded its capacity.”

And in March 2022 a “combined sewer overflow…dumped 74.5 million liters of sewage into the Assiniboine River over nine days….”

The biggest spill in the city’s records happened in Sept 2002, when a “mechanical failure at the North End Water Pollution Control Centre caused a spill into the Red River of 427 million liters of untreated sewage over a 57-hr period.”

Gonna have to start calling greenbacks, brownbacks….

7. MN: Chance to voice your opinion on Lake of the Woods.

Speak up where it counts, not just in some Facebook fishing group (lol).

Link to the DNR’s online questionnaire here – they’ll be using your thoughts/ideas/info to determine values and goals that will be part of a new Lake of the Woods fisheries management plan for 2024-2029.

8. Heads up! TUCR just got a few more…

…of the Target Walleye Signature Edition 38” Commanders in stock. 😍

I absolutely love the sensitivity and power of the Commander when fishing medium rattlebaits, glide baits, and bigger spoons for walleyes! The Gold REC Recoil Ice Guides are a super classy + sharp touch. The 7” Carbon-Fiber Handle doesn’t get dirty like cork, has a flat bottom for mounting/keeping reels straight, is light, sensitive and looks awesome. Black main wraps with a gold trim – TUCR nailed it!

This is a limited run, but TUCR has ‘em ready to ship right meow! (while supplies last)

9. Garmin live sonar can now see 1,000′ down. 👀

Of course walleye folks don’t need it, but it’s interesting and you never know what it will lead to next:

> Powered by Garmin RapidReturn sonar technology, the [Panoptix ] PS70…the fastest live sonar at 1,000′ on the market today provides a smooth, video-like view that updates a minimum of 10 frames per second – 6 to 8 times faster than the leading competitor at 1,000′ depth.

> LiveVü Down – Anglers can see small baitfish and target game fish in real-time up to 1,000′ below the boat, while the wide 120-degree beam angle covers huge areas of water.

> RealVü 3D Historical – Historical scanning technology helps find fish and build a map of the ocean floor while the boat is moving. It shows the entire water column in 3D, from the bottom to the surface and all fish in between. The True Motion 3D sonar returns feature follows the vessel’s course over the ground.

10. Yamaha acquires electric marine propulsion manufacturer Torqeedo.

> “Yamaha’s acquisition of Torqeedo…helps to accelerate the company’s efforts toward achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. …Yamaha will have the ability to fast-track the establishment of a small electric propulsion lineup, complimenting the company’s efforts with hydrogen and sustainable fuels as additional means of reducing the carbon footprint on the water.”

11. New ePropulsion portable electric outboard.

I don’t see a HP rating. Says it goes up to 5 mph, weighs under 15 lbs and costs about $1K.

12. Tohatsu, Ilmor partnering on a little electric outboard.

Supposed to appear this year.

13. MN: Walleye Alliance Spring Banquet is happening Apr 25.

At The Woods Event Center from 5:30-9:00pm. This year’s special guest speaker is tourney-hammer Tom Huynh 🙌 who I believe will be speaking at 7:30pm following the social + dinner. Can’t wait!

14. WI: Milwaukee Muskie Expo, Feb 16-18.

Washington County Fair Park in West Bend.

15. MN: Northwest Sportshow happenin’ Mar 14-17…

…at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

16. MN: Lund Mania is set for July 12.

17. MN: Swanson’s Bait & Tackle under new ownership.

In Hackensack.

Did YOU win the Garmin LiveScope Plus Ice Fishing Bundle giveaway?!

And the winner is…drum roll…awkward pause…drummer continues to jam…okay put the drumsticks down dude:

🎊 jerry****tad@*******.com 🎊 you win dude/dudette!!

I also just sent you a private email right before this. You’ve got 1 week to respond to that private message directly or our giveaway app gets to random draw a new winner. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

On right now…

📲 Ridiculous 18-lb walleye, Wild URL crappie video, Line spooling hacks

📲 Airplane ice shack, Tom Boley’s secret basin bite, Dirty-30 club

📲 Rattlebait breakdown, Community hole probz, Jigging Raps bite back

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.


Tungsten vs lead jigs for panfish.

You likely already know the benefits of tungsten panfish jigs…but there’s still a time and place for lead. This Jason Mitchell write-up on Virtual Angling breaks down the advantages of each, but here’s a few excerpts specifically geared towards lead to get you started:

> There are several situations where traditional lead gives the ice angler a distinct advantage and most of those situations occur with tough bites. Perhaps the most reliable way to counter a tough bite is to decrease the profile of the presentation and make the presentation more subtle by moving less water or slowing the presentation down.

> Vertical lead jigs in particular leave a much smaller footprint that more closely mimics a lot of the small invertebrates and large zooplankton. There are other scenarios where the slower fall of lead can be incorporated into the presentation where a slow fall can often trigger strikes. Lead can also aid with some styles of bite detection.

> Remember above where we made the comment that tungsten can make 4-lb test feel like 2-lb test? That comment was implied because the added weight of tungsten will take out any memory or coil that can develop in the heavier line, making the presentation feel more sensitive. This strategy can work well when using a spring bobber or any bite detection where you can either watch for or feel a bite with the end of the rod. When fish suck in the jig and coast forward, this style of bite detection is often optimum.

> There are other situations however where fish will suck in and spit out the jig or suck in the jig and stay in one place sometimes slowly backing up. This type of bite can be much more challenging and anglers often have to watch the line for indication of a strike instead of having a focus on the rod tip. When the bite dictates that the angler watches the line, some coil in the line offers an advantage. This is a prime situation where lead catches fish over tungsten because the added weight of tungsten can reduce your ability to watch for this type of bite. The toughest bites often dictate lead jigs combined with 1-lb test.

> Basically, if the coil in the line gets bigger or less, you set the hook. On the toughest bites, this is the only way you will be able to catch fish. For years, there were pockets of ice anglers that used the old 4-lb and 2-lb hi-vis Stren that was discontinued years ago. In today’s world, line has gotten more specialized for today’s ice anglers targeting panfish. The Clam Pro Tackle Frost Line features thread diameter monofilament in 1- thru 4-lb test that features a high-vis orange interval for better visibility when watching the line.

Keep reading here.


“Education is the state’s alternative solution to an outright ban of soft-plastic bait.”

– That’s a line from a post on (Maine) titled: “Rubber worms may be bad news for Maine fishery.” Keep in mind this is in a state that has already banned lead tackle and that apparently tried to sneak in a bass tournament ban for part of the state last year.

Some more from that post:

> The only state law people break when they allow soft-plastic bait to land at the bottoms of lakes and ponds is littering.

> Biologists estimate that only 2% of the state’s fish are carrying synthetic bait in their stomachs, but the opportunity for the problem to increase is there as more people take up the sport….

> The fish affected by plastic bait increases to 5% in waters that are primarily bass fisheries….

> “If you let people know it is littering and could have an impact on fish, most people want to do the right thing for the environment. Fishermen gladly protect the fishery,” Latti said [ME DNR guy].

So does that mean if a fish shakes off a plastic, and a ME warden sees ‘em leave without picking up the already-sunk worm, that the fisherman can get a ticket for littering? 🧐


Cool snap of James Friesen staring down the barrel of a loaded Manitoba greenback!

Thanks SO much for reading! 👊 See you back on Friday….

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National Professional Anglers Assoc.



Target Walleye – walleye during open water and all species during hardwater – is brought to you by Al Lindner, Jay Kumar, Chris Philen, Brett McComas and other diehard fish-heads like you!

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

To send us walleye pics, ice shots or whatever, just respond to this email or click here to email us. Or post it on the Target Walleye Facebook page.

Target Walleye LLC

422 Laurel Street

P.O. BOX 541

Brainerd, MN 56401

 (218) 824 5026

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