Target Walleye/Ice email

Why red baits work, Pike engulfs bluegill vid, Find river eyes now

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Today’s Top 4


Why you should use “red” baits for panfish.

Took a break from lake trout fishing to put the SMACKdown on Lake of the Woods panfish out of Vic & Dots Camp. Fished a hard-to-soft transition in 22-26′ where jumbo perch, crappie, walleye and tullibee were gorging themselves on bloodworms:

Best bait for me was a 1/32-oz VMC Flash Champ Spoon (glow red shiner) tipped with a “red” Maki Polli. Same combo works awesome back home in central MN this time of year when those soft-bottom snacks start to show up:

I put together a short-ish vid of the trip below, if fishin’ Vlogs are your thing:

No better way to wrap up the trip than having a fish fry on the shores of Lake of the Woods! Will definitely be back when things thaw out to see if we can get these lake trout in the boat.

How Finding Nemo ended in real life.

Not all stories have happy endings…especially when “Nemo” is living in a pike’s world…. This insane underwater clip of a pike engulfing a bluegill was filmed using an Aqua-Vu Micro Revolution 5.0. Don’t blink:

Still think the original was scarier:

Look for late-ice bluegills in the weeds.

‘Tis the season: that magical period when meltwater drains back into the lakes and pushes panfish shallow. Joel Nelson struggles to catch walleyes, so he looks forward to this panfish bite all year (kidding lol).

Check the full Joel Nelson write-up here, but there’s a few excerpts below. Kicking it off with this awesome [!] Ben Larson (In-Depth Media Productions) shot:

> Eventually the fish move away from those midwinter locations and focus their efforts shallow. While I don’t know the exact reason, I suspect it has as much to do with the fact that weeds provide cover AND food during this time of year.

> Melting snow and light penetration into the shallows gets life going again. So does the meltwater from shore areas, cracks in the ice, and old holes. The lake becomes increasingly porous, letting in snacks along the way.

> Typically I’m looking for the best weedbeds adjacent to deep-water chutes, inside turns or steep breaks. A strong individual weedbed is far better than acres of the stuff…the smaller the bed, the easier your job of targeting gills….

> You’ll need lots of holes with large beds, and will likely spook panfish in the process…needing time to let them settle down…this can be a time-consuming process. Isolate [shallower areas] with weeds near deeper areas they previously suspended in front of….

> Not all weeds are created equal. You’re looking for cabbage, coontail or a mix of the two in that order. The good broadleaf stuff (cabbage) tends to be the main attraction…and will be easy to spot on electronics and underwater cameras.

Joel also said you gotta “be one with the cabbage,” but he might’ve taken it too far this time:

Okay back to it:

> Small differences in location — holes even 2′ apart — can be the difference in consistently getting bit and consistently not marking a target.

> Some [lakes] may have a great shallow bite for weeks, while others only give up those gems when the main-lake ice sheet has separated from shore and later.

Keep reading the full Joel Nelson write-up here.

DIY bimini top for non-windshield boats.

Never know what you’ll see on the river…and Nick Carter saw it:

Offers more privacy than the umbrella trick for Lund’s without a windshield — wait until you see what’s under the pop-up:

That’s my buddy Garett Svir staying busy (lol) at the Northwest Sportshow last weekend. #AnchorDownFeetUp


1. Mark Fisher inducted into MN Fishing Hall of Fame.

Believe “Fish” recently retired as Rapala’s bait design guru — congrats man! Someone’s got big shoes to fill!! Was sporting his favorite suit at the ceremony:

2. IL: Lahr/Hancock win MWC opener…

…on the Illinois River. Jeff Lahr and Jason Hancock’s 2-day bag of 27-09 was good ’nuff for the top spot and $13.7K payday. Was snowing and cold with 20- to 30-mph winds…sounds like every day of spring walleye fishing lol. Congrats!

3. MN: Muskie-vs-walleye war continued.

A new bill — seems to come up every year — was announced to pretty much eradicate muskies in MN. Why??? Many think stocking a few muskies will ruin a walleye fishery — despite DNR research pointing to the contrary.

Some even compare adding muskies to netting…but many of the best walleye lakes in the state have muskies in ’em — e.g., LOTW, Leech, Winnie, Vermillion, Miltona, Rainy, Bemidji, Cass.

Here’s a fired-up Jeremy Smith and Mike Hehner (Lindner’s Angling Edgers) breaking it down:

4. MB: Popular Winnipeg access road closed.

A section of Chalet Beach Road was closed by The Rural Municipality of St. Andrews because the road was…too curvy? The 10-ish families living along that section of road were concerned about the traffic and lack of visibility. Get this:

> Crews from the municipality moved a heap of snow at the end of the Chalet Beach road to make sure people stop driving on or off the ice.

We’ll see how this one shakes out….

5. WI updating its walleye-mgmt plan.

Might be reducing the bag limit — from 5 to 3 fish — for the first time in 27 years.

6. MN: Winter kill reports comin’ in.

Looks bad, but is completely normal and often necessary.

7. Favorite has Sick Stick combos back in stock.

Everything Favorite does sells out in like 24 hours, so better jump on it. Love that they’re all murdered- (blacked-) out:

8. Sea Foam rebate ends THIS SATURDAY.

Here’s Al “only catches bigguns” Lindner jawin’ about it — rebate details at

Tip of the Day

> The #1 thing you need to look for in early-season river situations is clear water. Sometimes that can be difficult to find…with runoffs going into the lake. I like to see around 6″ of visibility…allows the walleye to see your bait better.

> I generally like to start out in the deep holes, specifically deeper pockets close to points, rocks or gravel that the fish will spawn on in the weeks ahead. Finding good staging areas is key…deep holes are where you’re most likely to find a heavy concentration of fish.

> Paying close attention to your electronics can make a huge difference. Scan over potential areas with side-imaging to see how the fish are relating to the structure and cover of the hole. That will help you dial in your overall approach.

> The 4″ Gulp! Crawler in “watermelon pearl” is probably my #1 bait in these situations. I like to contrast my baits, so I would probably use a jighead that is bright orange/chartreuse or dark purple. I love darker baits when there isn’t a ton of water clarity.

Quote of the Day

“…it’s probably the most photographed walleye in the world.”

– Not talking that same fish you posted on your Instagram account 9 times…. That’s Joe Henry talkin’ the 40′ (2.5-ton!) “Willie the Walleye” statue in Baudette, MN. You’ll for sure recognize him if you’ve ever visited the south shore of Lake of the Woods:

Willie is dang near 60 years old and showing his age (thank you concrete). There’s a fundraiser going on for a new fiberglass-version — click here to donate.

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

Cory Dickson popped this 14.5-lb Manitoba donkey that taped out at an impressive 32.5″ x 19″. Caught her using a Road Runner with a salty minnow and released the baby-maker to get even more bigger-er:

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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

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