Target Walleye/Ice email

WA 20 lber, Complete sturgeon how to, Ridiculous burbot

If you’re getting this Target Walleye/Ice email for the first time, a friend probably signed you up!

Today’s Top 5

Story of the Washington state 20-lber.

River rat John Grubenhoff shattered the WA state record with a 20.32-lb [!] Columbia River MONSTER back on Feb 28, 2014. Might recognize the pic cuz it makes the rounds on social media every few months with someone else claiming they caught a new record:

Fish-head Dan Johnson tracked down the real details for this In-Fisherman write-up, few excerpts below:

> Grubenhoff was fishing the McNary Pool section of Lake Wallula, located between the McNary and Priest Rapids dams at the confluence of the Snake River.

> …targeted a breakline and current edge a short cast from a rocky, windswept shoreline [where the walleyes stage adjacent to spawning areas]….landed a 14-lber [!] minutes before hooking the record.

> A fan of beefy minnowbaits, Grubenhoff was pulling a “silver” J13 Jointed Rapala when the big fish struck. The lure trailed 6′ behind a 2-oz bottom-bouncer in 22’…trolled upstream along the break at 0.8 mph…using 17-lb mono.
“Beefy minnowbaits” is right!

Okay not quite that big…but close! The actual Jointed Rapala he used measures 5.25″ and weighs 5/8-oz. Like this:

Don’t own one? Snag it outta granpappy’s tackle box or invest in your own. #works

How to catch Rainy River sturgeon RIGHT NOW.

Did you know there’s a place in MN where you could catch a 100-lb fish that’s over 50 years old…RIGHT NOW? Called the Rainy River — same place Jeremiah Johnson wrastled in this 66″ sturgeon. Dinosaurs do exist:

Each spring massive sturgeon migrate from Lake of the Woods into the Rainy River to spawn, and hooking up with one is easier than you’d think. Few excerpts below, check the full write-up here on

> Sturgeon relate to the deepest holes in the river. That depth will vary from 15′ to 30′ depending which section of water you’re on. Some of the best sturgeon fishing all spring long is within a couple-minute boat ride either direction of Border View Lodge.

> Position your boat on the up-current side of the hole. This area seems to hold more active fish as they funnel upriver, following the contour lines right to your bait. If you’re not catching anything: move onto the next hole! For me it’s 45-ish minutes of no action and I’m pulling up anchor.

> A stout catfish or musky rod spooled up with 65-lb Sufix 832 Advanced Superline will do the trick. The best leader length can vary, but usually around 18″ is a good starting point.

> If the current is really ripping — or the fish are hugging tight to bottom — chop your leader down to 6-10″ to keep your bait closer to bottom. Play with longer 24-36″ leaders if you’re seeing the fish come through high on your electronics.

> A 5/0 VMC 7384 Sport Circle Hook has a large-enough gap to load it up with bait, yet it’s not too large that you’ll sacrifice bites.

> You’re more likely to keep fish pinned with circle hooks, and less likely to gut hook ’em. Don’t swing for the fences on the hookset…sorry bass guys! Instead, pick up the slack then start steadily reeling while sweeping the rod tip upriver. The circle hook will slide into the corner of the fish’s mouth and whammy — it’s game time.

> Sturgeon are great at feeding by scent, so make sure to frequently re-bait. I like to put on fresh meat about every 20 minutes to keep that scent trail strong.

> Some guys — *cough* me included *cough* — swear by adding a couple frozen shiners to a glob of 3 or 4 ‘crawlers. It’s tough to tell if it makes a big difference, but catch a couple of bigguns while using ’em and you wouldn’t want to switch either!

> Swift current is good at stripping bait clean off the hook — especially frozen emerald shiners. Using BIG GAME Bait Buttons (a small rubber “button” that slips over the hook barb) helps to keep your bait in place. They pay for themselves after just a few trips out. Don’t worry — your buddies will stop making fun of you once they try ’em.

Wow! Biggest burbot I’ve ever seen!!

Fresh in the door from Wekusko Falls Lodge, MB where we had ourselves a little big trout-n-pout weekend. Pumped to go through the footage — hope to share it with you soon-ish. Here’s a mini 30-sec preview including the biggest burbot I’ve ever seen:

That wasn’t the only big-ugh-licious burb caught — here’s another (of the dozens each day) that came topside for a little camera time with pro-pouter Jason Rylander:

My favorite part of fishing at Wekusko Falls Lodge was not knowing what was gonna come out of the hole (walleye, northern, burbot, lake trout, etc) but knowing that whatever it was, it could be HUGE.

Check the colors of this hawg-belly Nick Lindner stuck ripping a big, white tube in 25′:

Think I’m getting the hang of this gonna-be-a-father thing (coming to a lake near you this Sep!)…. #CoochieCoochieCoo

Will have WAY more pics, vids and details of our trip coming soon-ish. Gotta play a little “catch up” first…easier said than done ‘cuz I’ve got a serious case of fish-brain.

How Tom Brunz targets spring saugers.

Why saugers? Because when the walleye bite gets tough in the spring, saugers will still swim up and punch a bait right in the face! The full Tom Brunz tip is here on, but there’s a few excerpts below. Guy knows his stuff. #Hardware

> While you’ll find spring walleyes away from the current, you’ll find saugers right in the current a majority of the time. Tailrace areas, feeder-creek inlets and deep eddies are excellent spots.

> Look for them deeper, but close to where you find walleyes. During the spring you’ll find walleyes hugging the shorelines in shallow water — look for saugers in deeper pools adjacent to these areas.

> Saugers are a lot less picky than walleyes when it comes to bottom composition. In the spring you’ll find them in rock, gravel and sand, but a lot of times you’ll want to locate those part-sand, part-silt-or-mud bottoms with current. Spawning areas typically involve some kind of grass too.

> The only problem with the classic 3-way rig is that the first stickbait loses action when another stickbait and leader is attached to the back. That’s why I like to incorporate a second 3-way swivel and run two separate stickbait leaders. It preserves the action of both baits and invariably leads to more boated fish.

> I prefer baits like the smaller Storm Thundersticks, floating Rapalas and X-Raps in the strangest and gaudiest colors I can find. Don’t hesitate to try out baits that you wouldn’t consider using for walleyes. Saugers love ’em.

#FishingFails video….

Because we can’t take life too seriously…. Someone let Bill Dance know he isn’t the only one pulling these stunts — been there plenty of times myself:


1. MI: Saginaw Bay getting $1-mil rock reefs.

From the MDNR:

> The locations of 2 artificial rock reefs expected to be constructed by summer 2019 thanks to nearly $1-mil in federal funds from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency…expected to bolster fish populations by providing alternative spawning grounds lost at the turn of the 20th century.

2. MN: Red Wing NWT deadline comin’ in hot.

Guaranteed deadline is Mon, Apr 23. What river rat wouldn’t want in on that $80k-ish payday.

3. MN worried lakes will still have ice…

…for the Governor’s Fishing Opener May 12. Supposed to be on Green Lake (Spicer) this year, but they still have 29″ of solid ice. Maybe they’ll get to fish with two lines….

Meanwhile, ME’s ice season being cut short thanks to warm-up.

4. SD: Walleye pop still dropping…

…on Lewis and Clark Lake. Been going on for over a decade and wildlife officials are trying to figure out why. Think it could be related to the amount of water flowing through the dam limiting the food base. Or maybe:

5. MN: Pike added to catch-and-release record program.

Also includes lake sturgeon, muskie and flathead catfish. Would love to see walleye on that list….

6. DC: Boating industry wants you to say no to ethanol…

…and yes to isobutanol:

> The EPA is evaluating whether to make isobutanol available to the public. Isobutanol is a boat-friendly alternative to E15. The marine industry has done significant testing on isobutanol and determined it to be an ideal solution for marine engines.

> NMMA is working hard to get isobutanol approved for on-highway use and made widely available in retail gas stations. Act NOW and tell EPA to say YES to isobutanol and support boaters!

Click here to do that real quick if you want. Takes less than 1 minute.

7. Former Wright & McGill CEO Donn Schaible passes on.

Ran the show from the ’90s til Jan 1, 2018.

Headline of the Day

Will the late ice-out hurt walleye fishing this year?

Personally am looking forward to it. Had a similar scenario back in 2013 that kept ’em up in the skinny water longer…one of my favorite ways to catch ’em.

Tip of the Day

Get the full tip on

> Walleyes and sauger gather behind any natural or manmade current break….

> Movements across long straight river stretches are followed by rest stops at river bends, where water slows on the inside turns. A good river map will pinpoint those spots quickly.

> Look for gravel, rock, sand, clay and even clam beds. If the current or barge traffic has cut a hole in the bottom nearby where fish can rest or ambush minnows, that’s even better. Rushing water creates rolling washboard bottoms in soft sand and mud.

> You’re looking for eddies…can form on either side of wing dams, when current from a tributary, feeder creek or factory discharge meets the faster moving water of the main river. Also can occur on the upstream and downstream sides of points [or] from neckdowns where the two shorelines pinch together.

> …the critical place to note is the seam where faster moving water meets the slower water. Fish can hold just inside the slower water on one side of the seam and ambush food as it moves by.

> Side Imaging shows important features on wingdams that can hold fish, including trees, or a hole that has opened in the face. Wingdams on river bends are usually best.

> Where there are 3+ wingdams positioned in a row, target the first one upstream and the last one downstream first. If those two don’t hold fish move on.

> A key tactic is trolling with 3-way rigs. You can slide upstream slower (than slip jigging downstream) and have a bait in their faces longer.

> Slow-troll against the current at about the speed of a slow walk on shore. Try putting enough weight on your 3-way so that you can stay on the bottom with about a 45-degree angle between line and water’s surface.

Meme of the Day

Saw Ron Lindner share this one and had to drop it in here:

Though Ron’s been known to whack himself plenty green carp too….

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

John “Only Catches Bigguns” Hoyer DID WORK on Lake Erie, with 56 fish over 28″ in 5 days of trolling. I sat back watching his Instagram story with some serious fish-envy going on. Said the program was finding clear water:

> With the 39-degree water temp, the big ones were up high sunbathing…and chewing our Bandit crankbaits! Seemed the fish wanted gold or white lures up high…dark purple and black deeper in the water column.


Sign up another fish-head!

If you’re forwarding Target Walleye/Ice to a friend who loves to walleye-fish or want your fishing buddies to get these emails, just send us their email addresses and we’ll take care of it! (We won’t sell the addresses, use them for spam, etc.)

Check this stuff out!

Who is Target Walleye/Ice
Target Walleye/Ice — 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/Ice. 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

To send us walleye pics, ice shots or whatever, just respond to this email or click here to email us. Or post it on the Target Walleye Facebook page.

To Top