Target Walleye/Ice email

People are ice fishing now, Learn your chisel, Jigging spoon overhaul

Today’s Top 5

People are already ice fishing.

While you were busy mowing your yard, folks are already finding fishable ice…in Oct!

First props goes to Colby Paydli who took over the lead in SK’s Walleye Wars with a 32.6″ hardwater slob’eye! You’re looking at a $9,500 fish [!!!] if no one else registers a longer one by Nov 1. WOW…seriously impressive, dude!

And it’s not just folks fishing waaaay up by Santa getting in on the icey fun…. Scott Olson (@dr_auger) snuck out and put his Vexilar FLX-20 Genz Pack to work on some higher-elevation Black Hills, SD gem. #GlobalWarming

Can you believe it’s already here?! Funny how ice-heads basically become meteorologists this time of year, watching temp and wind forecasts like it’s their job.

Back in the day (okay, maybe even just last year) I’d be one of the crazies driving north with a spud bar in one hand, large dark roast in the other…vigorously pacing any shoreline I could get my two left feet on….

For whatever reason I’m just not there yet this year…. Don’t get me wrong — I’m pumped for hardwater! — but I’ve been having to ease myself into the thought of it, if that makes sense.

Maybe having kids changes things? Maybe it’s ‘cuz I’m getting soft in my old(er) age?? Or maybe it’s the Lund 2025 Impact XS sitting in my garage that I’m refusing to winterize??? Whatever it may be, I’ll be more than okay letting the lakes lock up and gain a few extra inches before I kick off my hardwater season this year.

Lol! How much you wanna bet that dude ^ (Uncut Angling) is snatching tiger trout through the ice on some Manitoba slough as I type this…?

Everyone PLEASE be SAFE this season!

Early ice: How to use a “spud bar” to check thickness.

Annual post ‘cuz it’s that important!

Stop using your “spud bar” (aka chisel) as a walking stick and start learning what each swing means for you in actual inches of ice.

Three hard swings might mean 2″ of ice for some…might mean 5″ for others. Completely depends on which specific chisel you’re using, how hard you’re swinging it, and the quality (hard or soft) of the ice:

Take your time and check the whole way out — and back — not just at the ramp. Ice picks ’round your neck are a must and probably the cheapest insurance you can get. Wear a life jacket and/or consider treating yourself to a “flotation-assisting” suit like in the vid above. Flat out: If you break through the ice, it’ll help get you back out…not weigh you down. What more does a guy need to say?

Btw — don’t think Clam makes ice chisels anymore? If you’re looking for another mean spudster, check out the Rapala Two-Piece Chisel — absolutely shreds ice.

Now, I also like to slap a cut-down 36″ Transparent Boat Ruler from Quik Measure Pro onto my chisel so I can quickly check ice thickness — while “spudding” my way out — by hooking the lip of the chisel on the bottom of the ice. Why? ‘Cuz the less things I have to carry from hole to hole, the better:

A-rigging ‘eyes!

Talk about fishin’ goals [raising-hands emoji]. Nick Battista (@ohioriveranglers) stuck this chunk throwing a dang YUMbrella Rig on the Ohio River! Would you or have you? I NEED to! Lol:

Everything you EVER wanted to know about jigging spoons.

Gotta give huge props to the AnglingBuzz ICE crew again for putting together this ridiculously-comprehensive video last season showin’ everything you need/want to know about fishing jigging spoons through the ice. TONS of underwater footage, spoon hacks/tweaks, and specific jigging techniques to catch you more fish:

Didn’t think I’d ever watch an entire 33-min YouTube video, but then never wanted this one to end! Well, until I saw the bloopers of myself at the end…. #CUT!

New ice rig for Midwesterners.

Came across this post from Caleb Holmen in the Ice Fishing Minnesota FB group. Not a bad investment considering how fast the season changes up here lol:


Longtime fishing guide and outdoor writer — passed on at the age of 63 due to complications related to cancer. RIP fishing brother.

2. ND wants a bigger chunk of tourney $$$?

Word on the street lake is that ND Game & Fish will now require a 10% tournament permit fee — with no limit/cap to the amount — based on “gross receipts/entry fees of the tournament prize purse to be paid to them in order to secure the event permit.”

Of course that would impact any tournaments, but think about those top-level events with a prize purse of $300K…if my algebrateria (lol) is right Game & Fish would snag a $30K chunk of that….

The Walleye Federation is calling it “highway robbery and [saying that] it is purely discriminatory.” Some more info in TWF’s post here.

3. Interesting factoids post-NWT championship.

From the statmaster John Balla here.

4. MN: URL winter walleye regz changing.

Starting Nov 1 on Upper Red Lake:

> …a 3-walleye bag limit, with only 1 walleye longer than 17″ allowed.

> Heavy winter fishing over the last 4 years necessitated more restrictive regulations. Winter angling on Upper Red Lake averaged 1.6 mil angler hours with a harvest of 130K lbs annually over this period.

5. Say hello to the new Vexilar FLX-30BB flasher.

BB stands for broad band. Has a new transducer — designed specifically for the 30BB — that allows you to adjust frequencies higher/lower to make your beam angle wider/narrower (19° beam at 160 kHz down to an 8° at 300 kHz). Which in English means you can adjust it to see farther out to the sides, or tighten things up to only see the fish that are directly below you and on your bait.

And yup, it’s 2020 so comes with a lithium battery right out the box! More info on some of the other features — and what they actually look like on the ice — from Tom Zenanko in this video:

Imagine THAT scramble when a rattle reel dings….

9. Sorta interesting ice fish-handling study.

Posted by American Fisheries Society (scientist group), talks about how long fish can be kept out of water and still be successfully released:

> Numerous catch-and-release studies have been conducted during warmer months, with little work during winter, when ice anglers in temperate regions target fish.

> We conducted an ice-angling simulation [in the lab] that quantified the impacts of air temperature and air exposure duration [30 secs or 5 mins] on swimming performance and gill physiology of bluegill and largemouth bass.

> Results showed bluegill subjected to 5 min air exposure at -7º C [19.4º F] suffered impaired swimming….. Treatment had no impact on burst swimming or gill damage in largemouth bass.

Wait — who ice fishes for largemouth bass on purpose? Lol kiddin’…sorta….

Would love to have seen some stuff on walleyes, crappies, northern, lake trout, perch, burbot…basically everything that gets targeted through the ice waaaay more commonly than bass seem to.

Just saw that FishUSA has ’em in stock now. I finally got my hands on one and the video quality is legit insane. Was so excited to get it on the water, I forgot to throw a micro SD card in it…so will have to wait until next time to record a clip for you — but digging the fact you don’t need any external gadgets to record HD footage. Highlights

> Fishy Halloween costumes, Beasts of the week, Fish-flop friday

> High-speed graphing, Walleye eat burbot, Troy Lindner things

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.

Tip of the Day

Joel Nelson: Find ice-fishing spots right now.

SPOTS, not necessarily fish!

> Our mobility is better than it’s ever been as ice anglers, but it’s drastically limited by the need to drill a hole to gather info. So why not put in the work when it’s easy?

> Using electronics from a boat to find fish — more importantly find areas that will gather fish — is far easier on a 60°F fall day [more like 30°F this year lol] than a 10°F winter one.

> Many times these locations are consistent producers during all months, yet others are specifically good for ice, like: shallow transitions from mud-to-sand, or sand-to-rock, as well as small gravel or rock patches in shallow weeds.

> Early-ice fish push to these places, especially after sundown in clear-water systems. Spots no larger than a kitchen table can seem impossible to drill out and find, while they stick out like a sore thumb on side-scan.

> Side-scan technology could be the #1 asset to an ice angler this time of year, as few things hide from it. If you don’t own this technology, chances are you know someone who does and you could get out for a day on the boat with them.

> Harder-bottom areas generally show up brighter or “whiter” (timber, fish-cribs, or other sunken gems). Soft bottom shows up darker. You’re looking for any break or transition in the substrate — the more sudden that change is, the more valuable it can be.

> Shallow water usually provides the first opportunities to fish on safe ice, so don’t worry about anything more than 15′ at first.

> Think about how/where you access the water-body. Focus on the areas immediately adjacent to shore…chances are (even if you’re walking out) your spots will be need to be within a 1/2 mile of your access point.

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

Still might be my favorite open-water walleye shot ever…. From late last fall when fish-head Jake Caughey road-tripped to Pine Falls, Manitoba and beat the snot outta some last-chance Lake Winnipeg greenbacks. #diehard #tillerlife

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