Today’s Top 5
Joel Nelson’s go-to jig colors for first-ice panfish.
The #1 factor is going to be 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 keying on zooplankton or small minnows.
We were able to track down Ice Force pro Joel Nelson during the St. Paul Ice Show and have him (in-between signing autographs) 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:
Nick Lindner with Angling Buzz has been using the “natural” color since…puberty?
The iceman cometh!
Believe it or not ice really is on its way. We’ve been seeing a little-bitty flurry of pics/vids of fishable ice — especially from friends way up yonder. TW fan Chris Kindraka hit the ice in northern Alberta over the weekend and struck him some tiger-striped gold:
We’re happy for you man (and maybe a little jealous!), but let’s be honest: You guys probably have ice in July up there! Soon you’ll be busting out THESE extensions:
For now the rest of us are down here waiting not-so patiently:
Rant of the day: Mono vs. braid.
There’s a time and a place for everything — including mono! Here’s a fired-up Ice Team pro Matthew Breuer speaking his mind on something that’s “worked for 8,000 years” but people seem to have forgotten about:
Careful Matt…this guy has been messaging us and asking about you a lot:
Merp walleye costs tourney win.
Just got word that Merp was over causing trouble on the 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 second place by 1/2 inch.”
We’ll apologize for our buddy Merp — he means well.
Blue walleye fishing NOW open on Mille Lacs.
Well…all walleye fishing is open on “The Big Pond” as of Dec 1, but standard gold is too easy for a stick like NPAA president Jimmy Bell — so he opted for the blue version:
Incredible. Waiting on our invite!
1. CO: State record blue catfish caught.
Charlie Black’s pot-bellied water pig weighed 24.7 lbs and was 35.75″ long. He caught it walleye fishing on Pueblo Reservoir with a purpledescent Rapala Jigging Rap. Never know what you’re going to crack on the J-Rap.
How’d you like to hit the ice with Tony Roach…for FREE? Yup, us too! Here’s an awesome opportunity to win a trip for two on MN’s Mille Lacs Lake — plus a bunch of other big prizes. Click here to enter.
- Apr 12-13 – Lake Erie (Sandusky, OH)
- May 11-12 – Lake Sakakawea (Garrison, ND)
- Jun 15-16 – Mississippi River (Prairie du Chien, WI)
- Championship – Aug 16-18 – Green Bay (Marinette, WI)
Can’t wait to see the bags these guys put together.
4. New Dale Stroschein flip-over shack.
Mr. Wacky Walleye himself walked us through his new Frabill Stroschein 1350 Flip-Over Ice Shelter. Love the trunk-storage system for protecting the goods:
5. WY: $1K reward for catching burbot.
They aren’t native to the area and are competing with the trout, so Game and Fish are trying to get people to fish ’em out. They tagged-and-released 25 burbs in the Green River and said:
> “Anybody who catches a tagged burbot from Fontenelle may enter a raffle with a $1,000 grand prize. The drawing will take place at a burbot fishing rally Jan 7-8.”
Here’s a vid on how you prepare “poor man’s lobster” for the after you’ve caught ’em — plus a bonus underwater-CHOMP clip from Jason and Jeff Matity:
6. NE: Accidental on purpose walleye kill on Wehrspann.
Weapon of intentional shad destruction killed 250,000 gizzards. Also took out 51 walleyes (so far) as collateral damage among other gamefish:
> “The chemical rotenone was applied Tuesday to remove the shad, resulting in piles of dead fish around the lake. The gizzard shad…were competing with bluegills, crappie and small bass for food.”
7. MN: Walleye stamps support stocking.
Not required, but your $5 goes towards pumping the lakes full of ‘eyes. #FoodStamps
8. Fishing the Midwest airing 26th season.
Congrats guys, impressive run!
New Target Walleye/Ice gear!
It’s finally here! Check a few of the pieces we were wearing at the St. Paul Ice Show:
See the rest and get some of your own by clicking right here!
1. WI: Milwaukee Ice Fishing Show, Dec 9-11.
2. MN: Arrowhead Ice Fishing Show, Duluth, Dec 9-11.
3. UT: Free ice-fishing clinic, Farmington, Dec 10.
4. SD: Dakota Falls kids ice-fishing derby, Sioux Falls, Feb 4.
Registration opens Dec 12 to the first 200 kids signed up. Frabill, Plano, Aqua-Vu and Humminbird have already sent prizes — better have that number set on speed dial.
5. MN: GRAHA Walleye Shootout, Pokegama, Grand Rapids, Jul 15.
High-energy event with the largest single-day payout in Minnie.
Tip of the Day
Keying in on green weeds for early-ice-panfish.
Greener is better for finding early-ice panfish in the weeds. Lake Commandos host Steve Pennaz uses the lake’s water clarity to determine where to start looking:
Quote of the Day
If you have to ‘go,’ do not go on the ice or down a hole in the ice.
That’s the ND Dept of Health asking anyone fishing Devils Lake to kindly take their poo-poo with them, rather than leaving it on the lake lol. Number 2s contain “pathogens that are harmful to other humans and animals.”
Okay but might have some fights at the Porta Potties:
Today’s ‘Eye Candy
Someone snuck a Rapala into Berkley pro John Hoyer’s boat, and one of John’s pet walleyes was playing for keeps. Scary thing is: That Scatter Rap Deep Husky Jerk is over 4″ long…. #FatHead
TargetWalleye.com | Rapala.com | IceForce.com
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