Target Walleye/Ice email

Trophy night walleyes, Muskie fishing is torture, Hit wingdams now

Today’s Top 4

How to catch trophy walleyes at night.

Still lots of fish to be caught if you’re willing to bundle up and step away from the decoys! No better time to stick a bruiser than the after-dark bite. Full Ross Robertson write-up here on, few excerpts below. Raise ’em if you got ’em:

River mouths

Go-to lure: #14 Rapala Husky Jerk

> When walleyes move to river mouths in fall, nighttime is the right time to cash in. In this scenario, it’s tough to beat a long, thin stickbait…can be fished close to the surface or down to approximately 8′, and you can cast them or troll them.

> Target the edges of deep holes or eddies where baitfish can rest out of the current. If there’s a pier or breakwall with lights shining in the water close by, that’s often the jackpot because light naturally attracts baitfish.

> I’ll start by casting a stickbait behind the boat on a spinning rod and then slow-troll it with the electric motor. Every once in a while, I’ll cut the motor to let the lure pause, or snap the rod to make it dart forward. This is a great way to locate a concentration of feeding walleyes, and once I do, I’ll stop the boat and fan-cast.

Shallow reefs

Go-to lure: #7 Rapala Rippin’ Rap

> On smaller bodies of water that don’t feature any bays or river mouths, walleyes typically migrate to shallow reefs — perfect scenario for casting lipless crankbaits. Much like when you’re bass fishing, cast the lure and work it back from deep to shallow until you pinpoint the holding depth of the walleyes.

> Once I start getting bites, I reposition the boat so I can cast parallel to the reef…allows me to keep the lure in that key depth range [the entire cast]. If you find the fish holding on the deep edges, letting the lure sink and then working it back in a series of sharp rod pumps can be very effective.

> Occasionally pausing after snaps causes the lure to flutter down like a wounded baitfish, and that’s often when a fish will strike.

Open basins

Go-to lure: 800 Series Reef Runner

> Don’t overlook trolling deep-­running crankbaits in bays and basins. This is especially effective on larger bodies of water…shad or shiners often migrate to bays and basins, congregating in giant pods in the deeper water within them.

> While it’s true that the bulk of the walleyes will slide shallow in fall, quite often the biggest fish in the system spend the majority of their time out in deeper water, feasting on these open-water baitballs.

> Troll your crankbaits off planer boards to cover as much water as possible. Staggering lures at different depths is critical…baitfish often move up and down in the water column as water temps change. A switch in wind direction can blow in warmer or cooler water…all it takes to quickly alter the holding depth of the baitfish.

Fall bruisers of the week!

1) Dustin Garthus (@gnarthus) wasn’t gonna let a broken femur stop him from cashing in on South Saskatchewan River’s fall bite…. With a little help from some patient friends, he was able to get back in the boat and smash a 32.5″ (12 lb 6 oz) bruiser slow-drifting a Northland Long Shank Fire-Ball Jig and minnow in 30′. #PitterPatter #GarthusGotAt’Er

Here’s actual footage from a buddy’s Go-Pro after Dustin’s fish hit the net:

2) TW fan Casey Huxoll has put in his time on the Columbia River (15 years) and was finally able to crack the magical 30″ mark rippin’ a Rapala Jigging Rap in 30′ near McNary Dam. Quick pic then back in the river she went — congrats dude!


3) Adam Beebe says MI’s Saginaw River “is going off right now!” He’s been throwing “pink tiger UV” Rapala Husky Jerks and “unicorn fart” (lol!) paddletails from Judge’s Jaw Jackers on 1/4-oz jigheads.

4) Brandon Owczarzak’s out there testing new Salmo soft plastics coming out this spring, but these BIG ol’ Saginaw River waldos keep getting in the way:

“Some of these fish look like they just came from a pie-eating contest!”

– What Dave Shmyr Jr said in this Hooked Magazine write-up talking the fall walleye migration on the Bay of Quinte. Here’s one of those pie-eaters:


> Dave: In late fall huge numbers of giant walleye migrate from Lake Ontario into the Bay of Quinte, where they stage for the spring spawn. This process starts in early Sep and carries through all winter. Some of these schools of fish can be in the hundreds! Imagine knowing you’re lure is about to intercept a bunch of pigs with fins!!

> A huge factor in this migration is the abundance of gizzard shad that can be in schools of thousands…why these fish look like sumo wrestlers…they’re lined up at the smorg all day and all night!

> Often these walleye and gizzard shad can be within a few feet of surface — the boat itself can spook them out to the sides — making planer boards an essential part of the set up…allows you to get your lines as far away from the boat as possible.

> At times we had planer boards 150′ away from the boat [!] when we were alone on a spot…if you’re around other fishermen…respect their space as well.


> Some days they want it slow — others they want it fast…experiment from 1.2 to 2.2 mph. My belief is the later in the year it gets the more you want to slow down.

> Our key lures were the Bagley Rumble B, Deep Diving Minnow B, Rapala Deep Tail Dancer, and Down Deep Husky Jerks. The ability to stagger multiple lines gives you opportunity to try different models and colors at the same time.

> Don’t be scared to use some wild-looking stuff (start with a good variety)…most of our big fish came from crazy-colored lures.<

When all else fails…Dave busts out the rally cap:

Why didn’t I think of that? [chin-scratch emoji]

Don’t forget to bring your Otter Sled with you to deer camp this year:

Ice Force pro Will Roseberg ^ is smarter than he looks. Kiddin’ man! Sort of…lol!!

Oh, and same goes for you waterfowlers too:

I never shot enough geese to need a dang sled (lol) but back in the day I used one to float out decoys and gear when trekking ’round in waders.


1. MN: 2020 Fishing Hall of Famers named.

Big congrats to Steve Pennaz, Chip Leer, Tim Lesmeister, Babe Winkelman Productions and Kluge Manufactuing.

2. MB’s having a derby where size doesn’t matter.

Probably ‘cuz it’s easier to catch big fish than it is to catch small ones in Manitoba lol.

The 14th Annual Lac du Bonnet Ice Fishing Derby is happenin’ Feb 29, 2020. They said it’s a “hidden length and time derby” where “all you have to do is catch a fish for your chance to walk away with $10K cash.” Pretty cool idea.

3. SD: Zeebz found in Lake Francis Case.

Was just a matter of time after finding ’em upstream in Lake Sharpe this summer.

4. MI: US EPA announced $10 mil in grants for Great Lakes.

Said their 5 main priorities are:

> …[1] the cleanup of toxic chemicals…[2] keeping Asian carp and other invasive species out of the lakes…[3] reducing the causes and extent of harmful algal blooms…[4] protecting and restoring habitat for fish, birds and wildlife…[5] and continuing Great Lakes education and outreach efforts.

5. WI: Vexus demo rides at Neenah Rec Park TOMORROW.

Chance to hop in their DVX22 aka walleye spaceship.

6. How to prepare your outboard for its winter nap.

And you don’t need a bunch of fancy equipment to do it….

Super detailed and educational video on using Sea Foam Motor Treatment (or the new Sea Foam Marine PRO) to clean and lube your outboard for storage:

7. New Garmin Ultra lake maps.

8. AIM pro Matt Jollymore gets KastKing.

9. If you’re looking to kill some (more) time at work…

…check out The Northern Manitoba Walleye Tour – FILM from Jay “born with a camera in his hand”s Siemens. It’s a 36:44-long fishing vlog that’s basically movie-theatre quality. #Cinematic

Tip of the Day

Fall walleyes love wing-dams.

Wing dams are manmade structures made to deflect current. Not sure why, but we only seem to hear about ’em when someone wins a tourney off of ’em? *cough* Mark Courts *cough*

Here’s how/why river rat Tim Hutchinson picks ’em apart for chunky walleyes in the fall. Full write-up here, few excerpts below:

> “Walleyes spent their summers in the backwaters, feasting on bluegills, shad, crayfish and frogs. In Oct they’re heading out to the main channel, where they use wing dams, rockpiles, riprap — any kind of current break — as they fatten up for winter.

> “On the river, I like a cloudy day with 5-10 mph wind. A wind against the current creates riffles to expose a wing dam’s location. A wind with the current makes it harder to locate the structure.

> “The fish will pull into the inside (shore side) of the wing dams first. As fall progresses, they’ll move out toward the main channel.

> “Active walleyes hold in the trough in front of a wing dam, but the most aggressive fish are on the very top of the structure in 2-4′ of water. The food is there, but the fish are easily spooked.

> “Cast jigs tipped with plastic, such as ringworms, ringers, twister-tails or shad bodies. Anchor upstream of a wing dam and throw to its top. Work the jig into the current, down the wing-dam’s face, and into the trough in front.

> “I also like crankbaits such as Bombers and Rebel Crawdads. On the inside portion of a wing dam, run them 4-6′ down. On the outside portion, run them at 6-10′.

> “Don’t troll…that spooks active fish. Instead, hover upstream of the wing-dam and work back and forth, casting the crankbaits.

> “If walleyes won’t hit plastics or cranks, I’ll break out a 3-way rig with a crawler.

> “I’m not worried about fronts, but dealing with river flow is hard…increased flow can change everything: it takes too much energy for the fish to forage. Under stable water condition, the wing dams are a smorgasbord for active fish.”

Quote of the Day

“If you’re a very bad person in this life, your punishment will be casting to muskies for the rest of eternity.”

– Lol! That’s Al Lindner ranting about the fish of 1.7 billion casts in this awesome Steve Hoffman write-up talkin’ fall tips for chasing ‘skies.

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

My kind of on-ice “daddy daycare.” Posted by Yetti Fish Houses:

Imagine THAT scramble when a rattle reel dings….

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