Only one Target Walleye/Ice email this week, but keep an eye out for our Gotta Have Walleye/Ice Stuff special edition this Sunday night. It’ll be packed with great stuff you know you absolutely “need” lol!
Today’s Top 5
Parade of pigs!
Shaeffer Millett went with an old-school jig/sucker-minnow combo to pop this 13-lb (33″) rock melon near Espanola, ON:
Austin Gates stuck this pair of 30″+ WI gravel lizards — weighing a combined 23 lbs!! — throwing a Rapala Rippin’ Rap from the bank. Incredible, dude!
Hayden Cameron cracked his new PB with this 12-lb (32″) SK sand dragon — caught tossin’ a #12 Rapala X-Rap waaaay past his bedtime:
What’s more impressive: @lastofthereelmen’s Red River greenback or that ‘stache?! Both are pretty stout:
Layne Maier’s last fish of the open-water season came rip-jigging a Rapala Snap Rap in 25′. Those lures aren’t just for hovering over the tops of fish — Layne said he was working ’em at higher speeds to cover ground. Solid fish and a great release:
The Barbie rod challenge.
If you’ve never heard of it, Ryan Kalberer sums it up quite nicely with this snap — betcha that was one heck of a wrasslin’ match:
He completed the #BarbieRodChallenge near Detroit Lakes, MN using a 1/4-oz VMC Neon Moon Eye Jig and a Gulp! 4″ Minnow.
Who’s up next? Make sure you post it @targetwalleye or tag it #targetwalleye.
Joel Nelson: First ice safety.
First-ice safety comes up every year about this time, but basically gets ignored. We’ve all seen the info on how thick the ice should be, but at the first sign of ice some ice-heads literally lose their mind and take crazy risks. So here’s a few guidelines from Ice Force pro Joel Nelson that’ll help keep you dry and alive:
> Every step or two, swing a weighted and aggressive chisel downward. For the first few steps offshore, chip a hole and observe general thickness. Do this several times in the next few feet.
> Just because you see someone else out there, doesn’t mean it’s safe for everyone. It’s not news that inlets/outlets, channels or even narrow spots in a lake can freeze at a much slower rate, especially with flow.
> With good ice in most places and poor ice only in some, that first ice can be the most dangerous.
Why a rope?
> If you do go in, having a throw rope handy not only helps to save you, it helps to keep others at a distance necessary to not go in themselves. Without a rope there’s no safe way for a friend to help you out.
Picks when all else fails
> If you don’t have a rope handy, it’s too short or not throwable, ice picks are your last line of defense.> For thin first ice, however, they’re far less effective — typically the ice around you is easily breakable once there’s already a big hole in it. Still, if they’re on you, they’ll be able to provide some grip to perhaps make your way closer to shore or up onto the ice.
> Use all the tools at your disposal, and allow time to properly chisel and check each of your pathways. First ice isn’t a place for children or those who are inexperienced. It’s simply too easy to forget where you’re safe and where you might not be.
> Start small and fish an area awhile. From experience, there’s a big difference between ‘making-ice’ and ‘cracking-ice,’ so go with your gut on that one, but at least think about it. Ice can bow a great deal under your weight, and if it feels like it’s ‘giving,’ it probably is.
> Macho rants and broad declarations about fishing on 2″ or less are best…not brought out onto the ice with you. Take your time and fight the urge to be the very first person out there. Be the safest, and live to fish another day.
Don’t be that guy:
How did this walleye get hooked like THAT?
Have you ever stuck one under the chin like Charles Darmer did on the Rainy River?
Always hear people talking about walleyes pinning baits to the bottom — maybe a case of that? Or maybe the walleye was only holding onto the jighead when Charles set the hook?
Is this meme about you?
We’ve all got that one friend who needs all the help they can get:
After suffering a broken neck, Tommy made a miraculous recovery and been released from the hospital. Glad to hear it — continued prayers, fishing brother! #TommyStrong
James’ go-to river bait is the 3/8-oz VMC Neon Moon Eye Jig matched with a 4″ Moxi from BFishn Tackle.
3. ON: Nipissing open to walleye ice fishing.
> …We don’t support closing the recreational winter walleye fishing season this year, but we’re concerned about the impact that the winter fishing is having on the population — so the MNRF is commissioning a new study to assess the catch-and-release mortality rate of walleye.
Darts and swims in a semi-circle — looks like it’d be killer tipped with plastics. FishUSA has ’em in stock right here.
5. One of Genz’s early-ice safety tools.
Called the Clam Emergency Throw Rope — a throwable 50′ rescue line that’s a cheap investment you hope to never use.
6. James Holst: Lazer vs. chipper augers.
If you’ve ever wondered why you’d choose one over the other: The Lazer blades cut faster, but chippers are more durable when drilling in “dirty” ice. Check it out:
7. MN: DNR offers grants to grow the outdoors.
Organizations can apply for a $5K to $50K grant to help grow numbers of anglers and hunters:
> “Types of activities could include fishing and hunting educational programs, clinics, workshops and camps, and funding for fishing and hunting equipment and transportation.”
Because parents don’t frame pictures of their kids playing video games….
8. NH: Free ice-fishing day proposed.
Would allow people to try ice fishing, without a license, the third Saturday in Jan. Another proposal being discussed at the hearing:
> “…Would make it illegal to mutilate freshwater fish that are caught and then released back into the waters of the state.”
You don’t say….
9. Where Lake trout hide from spawn to ice.
Veteran guide Bernie Keefe cracks the location code during the awkward in-between stage of spawn to ice. #FeelTheBern
10. Top 10 IGFA World Records…
…caught with Rapala lures. Never seen half those species of fish before, but they’re big!
Been waiting all year for this, and will see you there!
2. WI: Milwaukee Ice Fishing Show, Dec 9-11.
3. MN: Arrowhead ice-fishing show, Duluth, Dec 9-11.
4. WI: 2017 NPAA Annual Conference, Wisconsin Dells, Jan 6-8.
Mingle with the pros. No better way to turn your hobby into a profession. See you there!
> Ice fishing is looking good with ice already forming on bays. We still need a cold snap to begin locking things up, but we’re getting closer.
> A ton of walleyes in the Rainy River — some will stay all winter, others will make their way out to the lake (we believe starting in late December). A brightly-colored or glow jig tipped with a shiner in 10-25′ has been best.
Tip of the Day
How to prepare your boat for winter storage.
It’s a sad day when the Lund needs to go night-night for winter, BUT that does mean that the ice-fishing season is comin’ in hot (or cold?). The guys from Brewer-Agre Outdoors go over a few important dos and don’ts for putting your baby to sleep:
Quote of the Day
I caught the fish — it was a bluegill — but it wasn’t worth it.
– Michael Guntrum talking about the moment when his iPhone 4 slipped off his lap and into the drink while ice fishing. One year later the lake was drained (“structural deficiencies” in the dam) and someone found his phone. They stuck it in some rice and voilà, it turned on! #noway
If your lake isn’t about to be drained, you can use a fishing net and an Aqua-Vu to get your phone back, like these guys did:
Today’s ‘Eye Candy
Now THAT’S how you hold a walleye for a photo!
Awesome pic by snap wizard Spenser Samplawski. Anybody that’s grumblin’ ’bout the hold, remember that would still be a 30.75″ walleye even if he was holding it behind his back…!
Also like seeing the focus put on the fish instead of the angler — no offense!
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