Target Walleye/Ice email

Secret double-butter rig, Figure 8 walleyes, Merp muskie caught

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Today’s Top 5

Caught myself a big ol’ merp!

Seen plenty of merp walleyes floating ’round the web over the last few years…but was lucky enough to land this magnum merp [!] fishin’ outta Flag Island Resort on Lake of the Woods a couple days ago:

Would love to know the odds of that?! Looks like a stout muskie setup in the background, but I’ll be the first to admit I wasn’t targeting muskies….

That’s actually an 8’6″ Okuma Dead Eye Classic Trolling Rod and (CW-203D) Cold Water Line-Counter Reel spooled with 10-lb Sufix Elite Mono — my go-to trolling setup for walters whether I’m running cranks, spinners, planer boards, you name it:

We were spanking the walleyes pulling 1-oz inline weights and “hex copper” Northland Mr. Walleye Crawler Haulers 45′ back at 0.9-1.3 mph. Area was loaded with fish and once the wind picked up, it helped concentrate ’em in 18-24′ on the edge of a rocky point off an island — looked verrrry similar to this:

Back to the story: Had another walleye hit my rig, so dropped the rod tip back and swept into ’em. ‘Bout halfway through my hookset the rod tip stopped and stayed there — muskie must’ve hit the walter the same time I did.

The first 45 seconds or so it sat on bottom and never moved. Felt like snagging a log that was just big enough you could muscle it off bottom a few inches before it’d drop back down.

Got “the log” up to the edge of the boat fairly quick and saw a small 8-10″ walleye (or sauger?) comin’ outta the corner of her mouth — that’s when she knew something was up and took me for a ride!

Mr. walleye had already made a great escape and the muskie now had a single hook in its top lip…somehow my 30-week prego wife was able to get it in the net. Had the fish outta the water just long enough to snap 2 pics before I could feel she was about to thrash, and got her back over the edge of the boat.

For sure a fish I’ll never forget and a BIG highlight of the trip — though the walleyes were snappin’ too…. Here’s a thiiiique one my wife Amanda stuck — not too long after — running the same setup I mentioned above:

Can catch ’em a pile of different ways on Lake of the Woods…really anyway you want to. Most of our fish came running Northland Spinner Rigs in the mud around bug-hatchy areas or rocky transitions.

Both on the live stuff and Impulse Nightcrawlers, which I like ‘cuz you get twice as much fishing time during a hot bite (no re-baiting after missed bites or fish catches):

Also caught ’em pitching plastics to shallow 4-7′ rocks, like this mid-20 Nick Lindner first-casted with a 1/4-oz VMC Neon Moon Eye Jig and “silver shiner” Juice Baits 3.8 Pro Swimmer:

Overall awesome trip — can’t wait to get back up! Will be bringing you lots of edumacational vids over the next few weeks once I dig out from footage and emails…

Speaking of muskies…

That one ^^^ was caught while fishing for walleyes — here’s a few of the reverse…walters caught fishin’ for ‘skies:

Fish-head Forrest Leitch thwacked this 28.5″ pelagic tullibee eater on a giant muskie bait and said, “Crazy to think of all the giant, untouched fish roaming open water….” No doubt man — love the shot:

Tera Castillo was fishing a big ol’ Hell Hound (pike/muskie bait) and popped this accidental slob-eye:

Muskie/pike guide Steve Pedersen was burning a bucktail just under the surface for mondo musk-ox when he struck true MI gold 😉 #Shoulders

IDO’s James Holst cracked this bonus wall-dawg pike fishing last summer:

Exposing the “Double-Butter Rig” for walleye.

Mille Lacs guide Brad Hawthorne didn’t wanna give this one up…but I made him lol. Ties up his own “Double-Butter Rigs” — using a pair of Northland Butterfly Blades — when he’s on a crayfish-molting bite around rock:

Word is the packaging’s gonna look something like this:

INSANE figure-8 walleyes vid!!

Never seen ANYTHING like this before [shocked emoji]. Was forwarded the video from Fishing Hall of Famer Perry Good of guys catching walleyes figure-8ing big #18 Rapala Original Floaters — gotta see it to believe it.
Spoiler alert: They don’t just catch one….

I’m speechless…which doesn’t happen often lol #Wowza

Wally-mammoths of the week!

Layne Maier had himself a[nother] day to remember, boating 6 walters over the 10-lb mark [!] on Rapala Snap Raps in 25′. Said keeping the boat right over the fish was the deal — bet the custom Vantage bracket for his graph helped with that. Believe he makes ’em himself? No idea if they’re for sale or not, but maybe if you ask him nicely??

Jesse Hipps caught his PB wally-mammoth (11 lbs and 31″) jigging a “wonderbread” color 1 3/8-oz Water Puppet in 50′ on Lake Erie. Had 9 people on the boat with constant doubles and triples until they stopped fishing = hectic in a really good way:

Adam G. said pulling stickbaits on leadcore has been [fire emoji] for Lake Erie slobs:

Ben Lund portaged into a back-country lake and cashed in on some Canadian goodness — got ’em going with a 1/4-oz VMC Neon Moon Eye Jig with a Keitech Swing Impact:


Back with the regular News section next week!

Tip of the Day

Lots of great info in Dave Shmyr’s full write-up on, few excerpts below:

> During the migration to summer-time holes, walleye are often very spread out…but willing to bite. Have to cover ground at different depths…at the same time keeping lures near the bottom.

> The best success I’ve had during this stage is on a 3-way rig with shallow-diving crankbaits. Traditionally walleye fishermen would long-line troll, but during this time you have far too many depths/areas to cover.

> [Look for] slow-tapering flats/drops adjacent to spawning areas and deep holes. Shallow rocky shorelines are also overlooked spawning areas that supply key transition spots adjacent to them. This is by far your highest percentage area hands down!

> I prefer 7.5′ to 8.5′ MH rods: If your rod’s in the holder, there’s a lot more absorption for strikes…also gives you the ability to make tighter turns in awkward hooksetting positions. Keeping your lines further away from the boat can be a huge factor if fish are “boat spooky.”

> Couple different starter options I use faithfully are the 7’10” Okuma Dead Eye Bottom Bouncer and Shimano Clarus 8’6″ MH fast-action. Both extremely versatile for other situations as well (spinner rigging, slow-death and casting crankbaits). Extremely light rods, which is important for long days of trolling.

> I spool my reels with 10- to 15-lb braid to the 3-way swivel. Using braid rather then mono or fluoro allows you to make sure your crankbait is running properly and you haven’t picked up any debris.

> Run 12-18″ of 10-lb fluoro from your swivel to a 2-oz bell sinker — it’s a lot cheaper to replace a bell sinker then a crankbait if you snag up.

> From the 3-way swivel to your crankbait, you want to run 3-5′ leader of 10- to 15-lb fluoro. I base my line size depending on abundance of pike in the area.

> My go-to lures are the Bagley Minnow B and Rapala Original Floaters. Size and color will always vary depending on the prime forage in the lake. If you can match the size and color to the forage you have almost got it completely made.

> Make sure that after hitting bottom, you let out a little more line to maintain bottom contact with your bell sinker. I vary my speeds all day long from 1.2-2.2 mph — always taking a note when getting a strike.

Keep reading the full write-up here.

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

It’s one of the hottest days of the year, so thought we’d do a chilly throwback to Insta user @emjohns12 gettin’ her razorback on:

Sign up another fish-head!

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