Target Walleye/Ice email

World record caught, Spring walleye tricks, Mille Lacs shenanigans

Today’s Top 4

Bill to require cane poles on Mille Lacs!

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any nuttier on MN’s Mille Lacs Lake, CANE POLES might be required fishing tools in summer 2022…instead of conventional rods and reels.

The sort-of good news: The bill would only require it for 2 months of the year:

> “If passed, bill HF7203 would require anyone specifically angling for walleyes on Mille Lacs Lake to use a traditional bamboo cane pole rigged with no more than 24′ of line…. …in an effort to reduce hooking mortality due to heavy fishing pressure that the deeper mud flats typically receive during the months of July and Aug.”

BIll HF7203 was approved and sent to the House floor. If you do NOT support this bill, let your representative know! Otherwise welcome to this new reality:

Never know…might be kind of fun tho!

World record walleye caught and released??

Rumor has it was caught outta the Riviere des Has Has in Quebec by Chuck Roast. Said it weighed 25 lbs 3 oz and that he caught it while fishing for catfish:


Okay, not really…. That’s actually a big ol’ zander that Brenden Geeraths (@brendeng01) caught in the Netherlands. Insanely cool shot tho!

Oh, and cane poles will NEVER be required on Mille Lacs.

Sorry, had to get my April Fool’s Day on. Thx for putting up with me lol.

Everything else from here down will be the real deal. [fist-bump emoji]

How Tom Neustrom targets early-spring walleyes.

We asked fishing hall of famer and northern MN fishing guide Tom Neustrom how he tracks down early-spring walleyes — talking the first couple weeks after most “fishing openers” in the Midwest. Full scoop here on, but a few excerpts below to hopefully help gitcha into a razorback like this:

> “At this time of year, you find walleyes between the shoreline and the first major breakline to deeper water. Look for areas where the slope is not too steep.

> “For years, we tended to fish along shorelines where the wind had recently been beating…but after a lot of experimenting, I’ve found that not to be true in many cases.

> …it is easier to fool shallow walleyes in water that’s murkier due to wind or current…. Fortunately, the process of ice-out tends to stir up lake sediments and the shallows are cloudier [all across the lake] than later in the season….makes it easier to sneak up on walleyes.

> If you’re fishing a super-clear lake, it’s critical to be very quiet and make long casts to avoid spooking fish.

> “Walleyes like to hold shallow — but near the break — so they can move deeper quickly when cold fronts come along. When a front hits, we start marking fish in 16-20′. …can still use a jig and minnow to catch them…increase weight to 1/4-oz.

> “I like to cast instead of dragging a rig or jig. That allows you to define the depth preference of walleyes more easily and it tends to keep folks thinking and active, not just holding onto the rod.

> “The key to catching shallow walleyes is presenting the jig and minnow in the most natural fashion possible, so we use 1/16-oz jigs, upsizing to 1/8-oz if it’s a bit breezy or deeper.

> “Walleyes can be lethargic after the spawn, and the water is still chilly as well. My favorite jig for this situation is the VMC Neon Moon Eye Jig. It’s pill-shaped so it falls easily and actually fishes heavy for its weight, due to its slim profile. The key is to present it with a subtle lift-and-drop action.

> “Some anglers have a hard time learning the jigging motion required for this technique. In that case, I have them use either a splitshot rig (1/8- or 3/16-oz split shot) with a hook and lip-hooked minnow on a #2 VMC Octopus Hook, with just enough weight to gently fall. A light slip-sinker rig works, too.”

Still bummed about the Rainy River…  

…and how most of its accesses were closed down. Ugh, thx a lot coronavirus! I get it — and probably the right call — but tough either way. Feel worse for the small businesses up yonder that depend on that massive flood of out-of-towners to keep their doors open the rest of the year.

Was diggin’ through some old Rainy River photos, reminiscing of those early-spring slush melons…had to bring back this crazy pic of Brent Relopez with a honey-comb badger he caught on a 3/8-oz BFishN Tackle H2O Precision Jig (orange chartreuse) tipped with a rainbow:


How crazy is that?! Brent said they had the best luck that day working the ice pack/mud line in 12-14′ outside of Pine Island.

Not sure when things’ll go back to “normal” or if they ever will, but do know that I’m heading up there soon as I safely can.


1. SD: State officials want boat ramps shut down.

Closed in general, but especially to non-residents ‘cuz “they [MN, IA] have the virus worse in their states, and they don’t need to bring it here.” #Touché

But the SD G&F says they are “evaluating circumstances every day, as is the rest of the country” and:

> “We want to make sure folks are following those CDC guidelines and the guidelines Gov. Noem laid out — the social distancing, the handwashing. But we want people to get outside, enjoy the outdoors and still practice those CDC guidelines during this difficult time.”

Until next year. Was supposed to be held in in Otter Tail County.

3. WI DNR wants you to practice “walleye distancing.”

Stay away from those folks who only catch little ones:

4. WI: New walleye regz on the Winnebago system.

As of today (Apr 1). Dropped to a 3-fish bag limit (was 5) with only 1 being a sauger, and no size limit.

Includes Lake Winnebago, Poygan, Winneconne, Butte des Morts, and all tributaries that feed the system.

5. DC: Fishing industry asked governors to support fishing.

> The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) recently sent letters to each of the 50 governors requesting that they keep recreational fishing opportunities and businesses open as much as possible.

> “In no way do we want to stand in the way of states’ efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 and recognize that in certain cases fishing access restrictions are warranted. In general, ASA believes that recreational fishing should be promoted as a safe outdoor activity compatible with physical distancing guidelines.

> “Given that recreational fishing provides health benefits associated with being outdoors, and a source of food for many individuals, we support state efforts to maintain fishing opportunities while keeping physical distance, and to allow sportfishing businesses to stay open as much as possible….”

Legit one piece of equipment every fish-head should own is the Berkley Line Stripper Max —  attaches to a cordless drill so you can peel off a pile of line right quick = serious time-saver:

Work smarter, not harder….

7. Coast Guard: How to clean your Covid PFD.

Who’da thunk this would ever be relevant news. Crazy times.

8. CO calls off walleye spawning operations.

9. IN’s cutting back fish stocking too.

10. Quick Tommy Skarlis update from this AM.

Scans showed that his tumor had slightly shrunk, and his blood numbers showed that his immune system was good. Bless you, fishing brother!

11. Mike Iaconelli joins the NPAA board.

NPAA = National Professional Anglers Association…composed of professional guides, tourney anglers, fishin’ educators and industry folk who are passionate about the sport and want to educate anglers about the business side of it.

12. CT: You now need an AIS Stamp on your boat…

…whether you’re a resident or not. AIS = Aquatic Invasive Species.

13. FishUSA has NFT Long-Shank Fire-Balls in stock…

…for you shiner-pitchers. I will forever be a sucker for the “UV purple tiger” color. #Jackpot #Works

Headline of the Day

Lake Erie walleye numbers in stratosphere.

> Scott Hale, head of OH fisheries management: “We have estimated today’s population of walleye that are 2 years old, or older, is about 116 million. Our forecast for 2021 is a walleye population of 151 million.

> “The largest year-class in our present population is the 2018 class, which makes up about 75% of the population. Anglers will be catching lots of walleye that are under the 15″ size limit this summer, but those walleye will be legal to keep in 2021.”

Madness. And now you know that “stratosphere” is an actual unit of measurement and equal to roughly 116 million (lol). Highlights

Note: The FishUSA links in this email are affiliate links, meaning if you go through them to make a purchase we might earn a commission…at no cost to you. Click here if you want to learn a little more about links in TW.

Tip of the Day

Early-season walleyes follow the shiner spawn.

MN fishing guide Scott Seibert talks shallow, early-season walleyes in this throwback Jason Mitchell write-up. GREAT info, here’s a few excerpts:

> Early-season walleye patterns on northern MN fisheries often occur in less than 12′. While classic deep-structure patterns will emerge as the summer progresses, many anglers miss opportunities by looking too deep, too early.

> Fisheries such as Lake Winnibigoshish and Leech Lake hold tremendous walleye populations. Both share a common popularity, and have a shallow-weedline bites that often occur in less than 10′.

> The shiner spawn — which often coincides with blooming lilacs — is a major trigger that creates shallow-walleye bites. Sand or fine gravel is usually preferred, but there’s also usually weed growth (pencil reeds, cabbage, etc) in these areas on natural lakes.

> Many of these fisheries offer extremely good water visibility. Wind can trigger aggressive fish to move up into shallow water and feed aggressively, where a lack of wind can shut down some of these shallow bites.

> If the wind lays down, be prepared to slide out over the next break. Cold fronts and major weather systems can also push fish slightly deeper, but as a rule of thumb: you can expect some very aggressive fish up in less than 10′ during stable weather when there’s wind.

> Sharp breaks adjacent to shallow flats and weedlines will often concentrate fish when they do slide out into 12-20′. Use your electronics to look for fish and anticipate shadows by where the angle of the sun is. Sharp breaklines that cast deep dark shadows will often hold fish.

Meme of the Day

Can never have enough:

But gotta say, I know plenty of ladies with a bigger collection of whoopin’ sticks than shoe candy.

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

Almost feel bad for this PK Rattle Spoon…almost! #ChompChomp

Sign up another fish-head!

If you’re forwarding Target Walleye 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
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 
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