Target Walleye/Ice email

Possible ND state record, Bass fish for walleyes, Deformed walleye caught

Today’s Top 5

Potential ND record walleye caught…

…and RELEASED! So obviously it can’t technically be a record, but an absolutely insane fish either way. You’ll probably recognize the dude hiding behind this 34″ Missouri River freakazoid:

Yup, that’s Jason Mitchell! And his fish was a full 1.5″ longer than the current ND state record walleye (15 lb 13 oz) caught in May 2018 by Neal Leier on the Missouri River near Fox Island.

Rumor has it Jason got the whole thing on film, but here’s a few details from J-Mitch’s Facebook post in the meantime:

> Jason: “Caught an incredible walleye today that would have been close to — or possibly surpassed — the ND state record. Fish was 34” long [!!] and I’m an idiot for not having a digital scale in the boat.

> “Since I didn’t know the true weight…decided to release the fish…didn’t want to kill [it]…. Incredible fish I’ll remember vividly my entire life. Caught on the Missouri River south of Bismarck casting a Salmo Slick Shad soft plastic up shallow. New PB!”

Man, if that fish wasn’t your new PB (personal best) walleye I’d be feeling pretty embarrassed about my walleye fishin’ skills…or lack thereof lol. Congrats man!!!

Here’s a little info on what makes the Salmo Slick Stick different — a bait that’s “coming soon” but might already be at your local retailer right now…once they open back up, that is:

> “…slender body profile and tail creates a subtle action even at low speeds, cutting currents more efficiently, and triggering strikes from finicky fish in clear water….”

And a look at the tasty “lemon tiger UV” color Jason was slinging that day:

Case you didn’t know: Salmo makes soft-plastics now. Proven fish-catchers for zander — a bigger walleye cousin — in Europe, but they’ve finally brought ’em across the big pond for walleyes. Check the Salmo Spikey Shad (left) and Salmo Walleye Shad (right):

UPDATE: After putting this ^^^ info together, I came across this great Brad Dokken write-up with the story/details of Jason’s catch…and it’s a wild ride! Seriously can’t wait to see the video of that solo landing job.

The Missouri River is kickin’ ’em out!


Jason Mitchell isn’t the only one getting in on the fun — here’s a few other Missouri River slaunches I’ve had sent in recently:

Jeff Essler thwacked and released this 12-lber (31″) on a “silver” Rapala Scatter Rap Minnow. Congrats on the new PB, dude!


TW fan Zach Klabo (@zachklabo34) stuffed a 9-12 and 7-13 on back-to-back casts — then a cool 9.5-lber the next night — throwing a “silver fluorescent chartreuse” color #11 Rapala Original Floater at night:

Bass fishing for walleyes is a thing. 

First off: Case you (somehow) didn’t know, Lunkerhunt is more than just bass fishing — here’s some killer baits that might look more like traditional walleye schtuff:


We talk about “bass fishing for walleyes” from time to time, but there’s still a pile of bassy baits out there you probably haven’t ever thought to throw for walleyes…. Had Lunkerhunt’s Dave MacDonald handpick a few of his secret weapons and chat about when/where he throws ’em:

Flat-sided squarebills on the flats

> Small floating squarebills like the Lunkerhunt Flat Side are great at covering water and triggering reaction strikes….

> Work channel edges and flats outside of spawning areas. If you’re fishing around submerged wood, as soon as you feel a bump = stop your retrieve…strikes will often come after the pause. …soon as your crank passes the obstruction, start reeling again and repeat the technique on the next bump.

> Weedbeds are known for holding healthy populations of walleye. Cranking just above them and ticking their tops with shallow-running cranks can be a great way to lure them from the entanglements below. If your crank gets hung up, rip it free…you will be surprised at how often this will trigger a strike.


Skirted swim jigs

> When post-spawn walleye move onto shallow flats to feed they’re often hard to get at due to snags (submerged logs, flooded bulrushes and emerging weeds). Walleye anglers often overlook swim-jigs to tackle this problem. Lunkerhunt Skirted Swim Jigs excel at working around cover and finding fish. They’re extremely weedless, cast a mile, and mimic a wide range of baitfish….


Finesse swimbaits

> Finesse swimbaits are a must-have for any serious walleye angles, and the Lunkerhunt Finesse Series Swimbait is no exception. As its name suggests, this paddletail is a finesse swimbait that measure in at 3″ when rigged on a standard mushroom head.

> Swim them, jig them, or rip them to catch walleye in a wide range of fishing conditions. If you’re fishing in really choked areas, consider rigging them on a Lunkerhunt Wire Arm or Weedless Mushroom Head Jig to help you avoid snags.


What’s your favorite “bass bait” or technique for catching BIG walleyes? Let us know by dropping a comment on our Facebook post — pics or it didn’t happen. 😉

Nice fish. Big eyes…but a nice fish.

Fishin’ guide Toby Kvalevog caught this shiner-eating martian out of 11′ on Leech Lake, MN a few years back, and said “that eyeball moved around too.” #NopeFish


Yikes!!! Looks like it was raised in a 5-year-old’s fish tank:

How Lund pros choose a new boat.

Most of ’em play on the work-friendly boat builder tool…but Joel Nelson always like to make sure the rod lockers are big enough to double as a babysitter:

Note: No children were harmed in the buying of this boat. LOL


1. TN: Teen saved dude who swam to his bass boat.

Really incredible story on how 18-yr-old Braylon Beason leaped into 50°F water to save a guy. Guess the guy’s boat had drifted away from the dock…tried to swim out to get it, but was too exhausted to get in it.

2. Lake Erie study shows walleye hugging shore.

Interesting study on the changing movements/migrations of some Lake Erie fish that might change where and how you fish ’em.

> “These fish? They shouldn’t be here. We thought they were there, but couldn’t prove it.

> “Of the walleye that spawn here in the eastern basin, 27% stay here. They’re permanent residents, never moving far.

> “You’ve driven over tons of [walleye] getting to the fish that you wanted to catch….”

> Conventional wisdom says when the water warms up, fish deeper. Late-summer anglers follow walleye to 70′, 90′ and deeper. But PA’s near-shore residents never go there.

> “The best place to start is where the thermocline hits the bottom. That’s where the most food will be. Turn up the gain on your depthfinder. It will show the thermocline density. That’s where the forage fish will be. The walleye will follow.”

3. OH: Authorities patrol Maumee River to enforce social distancing.

Hard to imagine folks fishing any closer than this as it is — sheesh:

4. MN: Lake Vermilion walleye population still up.

And the DNR expects the cancellation of fish egg collection operations across the state to have “little to no impact on Vermilion walleye fishing or the success of walleye reproduction.

> “We have a higher level of 19-26″ spawners…than we’ve had for 20 years. There’s enough walleye to create a great spawn.”

5. Merc gets “Energy Efficiency Excellence Award.”

Props! You’d never expect it when ya hear one of those new Pro XS fire up lol. Gives me chills — in a reeeeally good way — every time.

6. This dude found Nemo…

Or I guess “purple Nemo” that is…. A custom-painted Phantom Boogey BG-13 perfected by Matthew Fairbank of @verticaljigs:

Matt’s a straight-up walleye artist, and his Instagram page is for sure worth a loooong scroll — I’ll apologize to your bank account in advance:

7. WI: National Team Championship rescheduled to Sept.

8. VT seeing “unprecedented” rise in license sales.

45% jump in license sales compared to last year at this time. My guess is folks are “social distancing” by about the length of a fishing rod.

Said they’ve noticed surges in fishing licence sales during economic downturns in the past, “such as the stock market crash of 1987 or the Great Recession of the late 2000s….”

9. MN: Gov approves resorts to reopen…

…long as they “operate with sanitary and social distancing practices in place.”

But fishing guides, charters and launches are still shut down. Really feelin’ for  guides…super tough just not knowing in a biz where you’ve gotta book/plan months in advance.

10. Yetti’s got a 24′ fish house now.

Go big or go home, and Yetti’s not going home! Sleeps 7-9 peoples:

11. IA: COVID messed-up the 38th annual Walleye Weekend.

Main portion’s been cancelled, but the IA Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce set up an “Extended Contest” that’ll run from May 4 – Aug 31:

> “10 tagged walleye will be released into the chain of the IA Great Lakes. The first 3 tagged walleye caught during this contest will receive a percentage of the entry fees. The fisherman who catches the first tagged walleye will receive 20%, the 2nd will receive 15% and the 3rd will receive 10%.”

12. How dry is Seth Feider’s sense of humor?

It fills up an entire large Simms Dry Creek Duffel Bag:

Lol kiddin’ man…sorta…. Now someone zip that thing up before Seth drinks MN dry of Mtn Dew.

13. ON: Dryden Walleye Masters cancelled.

14. WI DNR’s looking for conservation officers.

Good of time as any for a career change.

15. Some new Shiver Minnow colors comin’.

Moonshine Lures dropped 5 new holographic colors and 2 new glow colors in their Shiver Minnows. Here’s “Kemos kraw” (left) and “melon shad” (right):

Will let you know when I see ’em on FishUSA.

16. Several factors in record-high Erie levels.

> “If you’ve got high levels of precipitation and runoff, and those levels exceed the amount of water leaving by evaporation, then you’re going to see an increase in water level. Right now, water levels are at a record high, as we’re coming off of last spring’s record-high precipitation levels and really high runoff. That was related to the same precipitation events that caused all the flooding through the Midwest last year. That added just a ton of freshwater to the system, way more than was leaving from the evaporation.”

17. Chip Leer’s got a new fishing podcast.

Called the Wildside Podcast, and episode #1 with John “Only Catches Bigguns” Hoyer is out now:

18. AR: Tagged crappie “wandered” 32 miles.

Why they — and other fish — are here today, gone tomorrow. Guess I’ve wandered pretty far out of my way for food too.

Pretty sure they’re running out of HOFs to put Ron in! He’s been inducted into the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame, MN Fishing Hall of Fame, Normark Hall of Fame…sure I’m missing 7 or 8 others (lol). Well-deserved, man!!! Highlights

Tip of the Day

Sitting, anchoring, drifting…sure you can catch walleyes the old-school way, but you can sometimes catch even more if you approach ’em with a bass-fishing mentality.

Here’s Tony Roach talkin’ how he drives around and hunts for ’em using is Lowrance StructureScan instead of waiting for the fish to come to him:

Quote of the Day

“Whenever I run into tea-stained water, chartreuse/orange core usually gets the nod.”

– That’s IDO’s James Holst talking about throwing the AuthentX Pulse-R paddletail in dirty river water. This vid’s from a few years back, but timely stuff for right now — James busted out the waders and stuck ’em from the bank. A nice reminder that you don’t need a fancy boat or a ton of gear to catch some quality fish…especially in the spring:


Also thought it was pretty cool that he threw one on a TX rig when things got too snaggy for a standard jig. #BassFishingForWalleyes

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

How’d you like to tango with a 65″ sturgeon like this?! Caught on the Rainy River outta Baudette, MN. Joe Cooper (@yeahgojoe) pic:


That’s a popular spring bite on the Rainy River, so it’s super weird not seeing any other boats in the background — sure some of the locals are loving that!

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Who is Target Walleye
Target Walleye — walleye during open water and all species during hardwater — is brought to you by Al and Ron Lindner, Jim Kalkofen, Brett McComas and other diehard fish-nuts like you! #fishheads
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 
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