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smallmouth info

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Seeking info from people in the know about smallmouth fishing in the Kabetogama area, especially on Lake Kabetogama. We are mostly after larger bass to catch and release. We have heard that June is good due to spawn. If so, what half of June? Any area of the lake better then other? Who are good guides? What are the good resorts to stay at? We appreciate any helpfull advice you would be willing to share with us.

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I'm no smallie expert by any means, but I'll give you the input I can. I've spent the last two summers (May-Aug) working in the park, on Kab, and fishing most evenings. I spend most of my time from the opener until late June fishing walleyes since they're up shallower and a little easier to find. Besides, the walleye fishing I've had during that time has been exceptional and getting better. Once they move deep (>20'), usually in early July is when I start looking for smallies.

In general, by that time I tend to concentrate on the "typical" smallmouth structure. My best success has come around very small rock humps, islands, and steep breaks. I generally pitch crankbaits (brown rattlin' Raps work great) so most of the fish I pick up are in ~6-10' of water. Haven't fished much deeper than that, though occasionally I get one with a jig and twister tail while looking for walleyes.

Since I stay at the east end of Kab, that's mostly where I've fished, but there's some really promising structure in the middle of the lake around some of the islands -- I just need a bigger boat and motor.

Can't give you much help on resorts since I've never stayed at any. As for guides ... same story. I have enough time to scout for myself, so never even considered it.

Good luck.

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Thanks Matt for the report. I was begining to wonder if anybody was out there. We've booked with a resort on the west end, in the middle of June. Might be after the spawn, especially if we have early spring. But we figured that we couldn't go to wrong at that time. Never fished Kab but have been on Rainy, in Park, on houseboat. Good time - good fishing.I've always heard Kab was a good walleye lake and we're opportunistic enough to try to catch what bites.But a 4 lbs + smalley would be nice. Hey, good fishing to you, and keep the park in good shape. Tomcat

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VERY pleased to see such an early interest in Smallies on Kab. Last June was my first trip to Kabby, from 6th to the 10th. Walleye were the primary target, but managed to catch and release some very protective males which were probably staging at the time. I'm with ya Tomcat...I'd give up the Walldog hunt for an opportunity to catch and release 4-5 lb smallies on Kab ANY day. (I know, I know...only an Iowan, right?!)

Anyway, let's hear some more about the smallie action in the early part of the year! Seems like you Minnesotans juste hate talking about (fishing for??) smallies when the walleye bite is on, but depending on the ability of that water to warm for a late May spawn, it could be a fair prospect to get a few hungry mamas shortly post-spawn, no?

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I used to think that I knew what I was doing in terms of catching smallmouth. I've spent some time in the BWCA and caught hundreds of smallmouth on some trips. Kab has always seemed tough to me for some reason. I know of people that do fairly well. I spend a least a week a year on the lake and have spent time trying to find the smallies, but always fall back on the eye's, which I do well on. I would also enjoy hearing other tips on smallies in Kab.

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By coincidence I checked the DNR's test netting on Kab and Namakan just last night. I was very surprised to see that the smallmouth population is so low. Having fished for walleyes on both lakes in years past, I can't remember doing well on smallies and after seeing the netting results now I know why.

Here's the best tip you might get today: Two Island lake on the gunflint trail. Its managed as a C+R lake for smallies over 11". On a trip there last July three of us caught and released fish up to 19" for several hours. It was the best smallie action I've ever had including a few trips in the BWCA. Also, there were only 3 boats total on the whole lake! It was a blast.

They have a forest service campground and the lake access is very good.

Polar Bear

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Tomcat,

My wife and I have been fishing KAB and Namakan since '91. We make one or two trips a year from Alabama just to change species. We flyfish and ultralight for Northerns and Bass. We've been successful in May, June, August, September and October, although I must admit late June brings the best fishing overall. We flyfish and use ultralight spinning tackle (4&6# test) for both Northerns and Bass. KAB has the biggest fish, but Namakan has more bass (with an exception I'll mention later). If I was going to summarize the best areas for bass, It would go like this (KAB - Northwest corner from Gold Portage to Cutover is the top producer; Lost Bay - The whole North shoreline from Stankinsky Bay to the end of Lost Bay; On Namakan, I've always had lots of success on the shorelines around the south end of Stevens Island. If you want a truely superb fishing experience for smallmouth in June, I would suggest the North Shore of Namakan from Black Point all the way to Namakan Narrows. You'll have to get a Canadian License and CANPASS border permit both of which can be handled via mail ahead of time. This water is rarely fished and bass are very abundant. We've had 100+ fish days which loads of 2-4# fish, especially in late June. The only problem with the Namakan Northshore is its exposure to the wind. Any kind of strong S, E or W wind makes the trip rough and you can get trapped up there is the wind really get bad. We fish it in a Tracker 185 bass boat. If you have the boat for it, its a great experience.

Good Luck

Mike

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About your posting on the DNR test-netting for Smallmouth Bass, Polar Bear, I wonder if numbers are low due to the fact that Smallies are such locational creatures. I wonder if, due to the immense size of the Lake, whether the creel surveys capture the true numbers. Anyone know more about this?

Webby

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