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Joe

2020 Crane Lake Kabetogama-Namakan Fishing Reports

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Xplorer

That early in the season, spring weather will have a huge impact on where the fish will be at for "opener" in relation to spawning. 2012 saw near-record early ice out, while the last two years have been near or record lste ice outs.

Typically current areas can be very good, especially near traditional spawning spots. Also slip bobbering near shore in the early mornings and evenings can produce.

Ive fished mainly Kab and Nam, so cant give much info for Crane/Sand Point but I'm sure others on here can help point you in the right direction.

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h8go4s

This thread has posts that go back to 2009. Read the ones from May through the years and you should have a game plan. Or be thoroughly confused. smile

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imhatz

Hey Dan, heading up today from Northeast WI. Been going there for about 30 yrs now.Drop me an email some time and I can help you out for spots to park a houseboat some real nice locations.

full-38895-47905-dsc01833.jpg

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Dan Erikson

Have a safe trip!

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SledNeck

Most fish we caught on kab were keeper size. (Weird) and most were caught on leeches (again weird). Most caught under 25 feet. Strange year this year.

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imhatz

thanks sledneck...all packed and leaving soon...have crawlers, leeches and rest of tackle...new fry pan too....thanks for the report...we will be in Sand Point

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Dan Erikson

#jealous!!!!! cry

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Oakley_24_AR

I am in staying on crane lake right now. Today we caught a number of walleye on Pat Smith reef in about 30 feet of water and missed many more. The bite was a little finicky and usually you would feel your line get heavy. All the fish were on the 10-13 in range does anybody know where I could catch walleye in bigger sizes any where in the crane lake area.

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Dan Erikson

Oakley,

Wish I could help but as far a fishin spots go, I'm in the same boat!! To bad nobody could help you out here. Got a question for you. Have you seen any local guide info where your staying or around town? Thinkin maybe I'll spend a few bucks and book a day early on in my trip in the spring. Not finding much other than Big Dave.

Hope your having fun inspite of the shorties!!!!

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aland147

Just finished a week on Namakan. The weather was great and water is very warm on the beaches and great for swimming. Mid lake temps in the mid 70's. Caught 75-100 walleyes in 25-30 feet, but all were 10-13 inches. We went through dozens of minnows and leeches due to the light biting. We started to keep these babies after day one just so we could have a fish fry. I have never seen such a consistent year class biting with nothing else size wise biting at all. Graphed a lot of deep fish and suspended fish but none would bite. Water was stained very dark for Namakan. It reminded me of the dark BWCA ely area lakes.

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FisH_SLaYer24

Oakley,

Don't be afraid to stray away from the "community spots". Pat Smith is hit very hard come mid summer. Don't get me wrong, you can catch nice fish there, but a lot of the time you have to time the bite when the bigger fish will move in there. Don't be afraid to try the vast amounts of mid lake humps and structure on Sand Point and Namakan. There are very good year classes of fish right now in the system (especially 14-18" fish). I've seen a trend that you will catch your eaters and shore lunch fish out on the reefs during the day and your larger fish will still be utilizing the shallow weeds and rocks. There is a lot of oxygen in the shallows and the weeds and rocks draw in a lot of bait fish, which in return draws in the game fish. Don't be afraid to pitch jigs tipped with minnows, crawlers, leeches, or even plastics to the edges of weeds and rocks in 3ft out to 12ft of water! Look for saddle areas between islands as well because they can also act as a funnel where game fish will trap bait fish and use those areas to ambush their pray either at the base of the drop offs or even up on top, depending on if its overcast or bright and sunny. Another good tactic we have done well with is trolling crawler harnesses around structure such as points and humps. Best depths for the harnesses have always been 15ft-25ft especially this time of year.

I will be staying at Scott's Campground on Crane Lake starting tomorrow and will be targeting walleyes, smallies, crappies, and hopefully some trout!

Good luck and enjoy the beautiful landscape that VNP has to offer!

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Dan Erikson

Great reply Slaya!! Thanks for sharing!!

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fish junkie

Just got back from our first trip to Kab. Hard to leave, can't wait to go back.

We caught fish of all sizes just drifting with lindy rigs. Our numbers picked up after hiring a guide, Travis Carlson from Harmony Beach Resort. Thank you Travis, great guide and person.

Technique was what we gained from Travis. How to find fish and stay on them.

The weather was perfect the entire week. Probably too good as the fishing really slowed at the end of the week.

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Mukooda

Hi:

Fished Namakan River last week. Bass were biting. We were using worms on Lindy rigs and orange jigs. I had to pull crayfish from their mouths before getting to my hook.

JH

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imhatz

My personal best this year Aug 3 Sand Point 39" full-38895-48381-dscn0661.jpg

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Dan Erikson

Nice!! Can't wait to hear how your trip went!!! Sent you a PM a few weeks back. Check it out.

My personal best this year Aug 3 Sand Point 39" full-38895-48381-dscn0661.jpg

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Sportfish1850

Two of us fished Kabetogama while camping in VNP last week (Aug 10-14). Can't say the results were great. Not bad, just not great either. No big fish (largest was 22") but caught enough in the 15" range to keep you going and also enjoy a dinner on the 2nd and 4th nights and bring a couple home to the wife. Found large numbers of fish marking them on the reefs in 24"-26" feet. Using night crawler spinners as well as jigs tipped with minnows we got very sporadic results and had to relocate from island reef to island reef every hour or so to find a handful of active fish.

Small Mouth were harder to find, and the one's that did bite where all pretty small.

If you want to use leeches, bring your own. I heard they were working better than crawlers / minnows but most of the bait stores up there didn't have any and what they did had were tiny and expensive considering the quality of the bait.

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SledNeck

Crawlers out fished leeches by far today

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Nastynate

Just returned form a week on Kabetogama, we had the best fishing ever in the 3 years I been there. Weather was fairly good, wind was the biggest factor for my little 14' boat. Caught around 5 walleyes a day, time on the water was limited do to the wind and my girlfriend being 7 months pregnant. Biggest was 21.5", most were in the 19" range. We kept 3 around 15" for one meal. Most fish were caught on Salmo hornets in 30'-35' of water. Caught a few on the new flicker minnow pro also. Never caught a fish on jig and minnow, which is what most people were doing. Stayed at the Moosehorn Resort, first year there. Thanks to Jerry & Christy for everything! Hard working great host's! Can't wait until next year!

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Nastynate

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SledNeck

5 walleyes a day?

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Nastynate

Yeah, everybody we talked to at the resort was catching 1-3 a day.

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Champs

My buddy and I are headed to Kab to camp and fish this Friday through Monday and I was wondering if anyone could point us in the right direction to have a successful trip catching some walleyes...

Thanks!

Champs

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walleyedane

Hello All,

I have recently purchased a cabin up on the east end of Kab. As it was being built this summer we were up there several times and did very good each time we were up there. We mainly fished mid lake structure with jigs and leeches or bobbers and we caught walleyes every time we went out. Sometimes a limit for the boat others just 2 or 3 but in general the fishing was excellent. In September, we were up there and trolled lead core in the 25-35 foot no mans land and had 20+ fish days with some pig northerns in the mix. So with that being said, I know there's fish out there. The last 2 weekends we were moving furniture and getting everything all set up. The weekend of November 29th I set up my portable a few hundred yards in front on the cabin and wasn't expecting too much action. That ended up to be the case with one whitefish and one northern. Last weekend we were able to bring the wheeler up there to get out and do some exploring. With the ice being about 8 inches I didn't want to go too far but was able to get on some mid lake humps on the east end of the lake that top out at 13 feet and go to 25 feet. I focused on staying in the 16-18 foot sides. I tried 4 different spots and fished all day on Saturday. Didn't catch one fish and marked very few. My wife got on bite on Saturday evening and that's when we marked a few. I am puzzled at the lack of people fishing out there. I drove down the visitors center to take a peek at the main lake....one house on the entire lake and a few people on sleds/portables. I'm starting to think everybody else knows something that I don't know. I've asked around to the few people that I know up there and none of them can give me a reason why there is little to no fishing pressure. So if anybody out there has ice fished Kab or knows anything about the lack of pressure on the lake I would love to know. I'm not giving up after one day of real fishing out there but would appreciate any input or pointers on finding some fish out there.

Thanks

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walleyedane

Oops I am on the west end of Kab. Not the East.

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Lostbay

Walleyedane

I fish kab quite a bit, more open water then ice but I get out 3-4 weekends a winter and notice the same thing. I believe its a combination of factors that leads to low pressure. First of all there is not much pressure on Kab at any point of the year, compared to the other 10 biggest walleye lakes in the state. There are definitely a fair number of boats from mid may to mid June but nothing like Red Lake. As for winter Kab seems to have an excess of slush more years than not, making travel very difficult on the lake, although the ice road has really helped the past few years. In addition I think the area is more known for snowmobiling than ice fishing and it shows with how many more sleds there are without an ice house, than with one. Also Red, Rainy and LOTW are all within an hour or two's drive from the area and these lakes have resorts that fully cater to ice fisherrmen with rentals, ec... Most resorts on Kab are closed in the winter, with a few exceptions. There is more pressure near the mouth of ash river usually in the winter, although I have never found the fishing over there to be better than the main lake.

Ice fishing is great on Kab in the winter, in my opinion. It's not great like in can be in June at times, but you can have any piece of structure all to yourself if you want. In addition you can't beat the scenary. I always notice more variety in the winter by catching tulibees and more perch than during open water. Walleyes, saugers and northerns as always. The last few winters Ive enjoyed noting the smaller walleyes you don't catch in the summer with bigger hooks and what that will mean for fishing in the next several years. Last two years Ive seen good numbers of 7-11" eyes, which bodes well for the future. Im no expert on ice fising, and never fish Kab early ice, but Ive always focused on 28-32fow in the winter and have done ok. Good luck, maybe see you out there around New Years!

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walleyedane

Thanks Lostbay,

I'm fishing LOTW the 26-29th of Dec. but plan on being back at Kab right after that. Maybe I'll see you out there. Look for a blue Clam portable being pulled by a white Polaris 850 scrambler. Thanks for the insight and advice.

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Neiko

I have never fished Kab during the winter but would like to try it. Is it safe to head out from Ash River into Kab and then into Namakan? Wondering if it is safe for a snowmobile to get through by Old Dutch Bay area on Nam. Plan on being up there New Years to try Lac La Croix Lake trout fishing and wouldn't mind trying Namakan either. Hoping with the lack of snow the ice will be better out there this year.

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imhatz

The ice out countdown begins....heading up on May 14 and will be staying on Sand Point...be a great trip. The first spring trip in years, we have been going in the summer. staying in grassy and plan to hit Swansons bay....any ideas guys.

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      Spent all last week on the lake.  We fished on the east end all week.  We found the water temps on the east side, Armstrong Bay, was in the low 70's and on the west side, Daisy bay, was in the low 60's.  Kind of a wide range.  We found walleye shallow, even caught quite a few of the dock, 5'-9'  We found pike in the weeds, perch outside the weeds in the bays.  Pike would hit a swimbait or fluke worked through the weeds.  We caught the perch on a small 1/8 oz spinnerbait.  The smallmouth were making beds in the warmer water and staging in the cooler water.  The fish on beds are easy to catch, the staging fish would hit a medium size red squarebill crankbait.  It did help if there were rock present, volleyball size or bigger.  Pike and smallmouth fishing should only get better in the weeks to come.  We did see a dozen or more musky cruising the shallows.  
    • LakeofthewoodsMN
      On the south end...  A very successful week for Lake of the Woods anglers.  Great walleye fishing continues with best success in 17-28 feet of water, with walleyes also being caught shallower.  A number of areas along the south shore from Pine Island, Morris Point, Zippel Bay, Long Point and Rocky Point are producing.  Knight / Bridges Island area also still holds good numbers and size of fish.  Anchored up and vertical jigging, drifting crawler harnesses and pulling crankbaits all working.  Gold / pink  / orange / glow all working well.  A nice mix of eaters, slot fish to be released between 19.5" and 28" and a good number of trophies over 28".  As last week, big pike and jumbo in the mix.   On the Rainy River...   Most walleyes are being targeted and caught in the lake.  There is always a population of resident walleyes that live in the river.  Best depth is 12-24'.  Jigs and minnows working the best however trolling a crankbait and covering water is also effective.  Smallmouth bass near rocky structure.   Good pike hanging in and adjacent to bays.  The sturgeon season is closed until July 1st when the season re-opens. Up at the NW Angle...  Until the US / Canada border opens, guests can travel across the lake and stay in MN waters.  Check with your favorite NW Angle resort for options.   Fishing continues to be excellent.  Walleyes being caught on 5-7' flats with snelled spinners and crankbaits as well as jigging rocky points in 10 - 20 feet of water.  Walleyes being caught in many different areas on the Minnesota side.  Pike in bays and creek mouths.  Water temps 55-57 degrees. 
    • 97procraft
      I was just there last week.  Pike were a little slow, but they should be getting better.  Find the weeds.  Throw unweighted swimbaits or flukes close to the bank and work them out through the weeds.  Stop working them at the edge of the weeds and let them sink.  If you don't get hit in the weeds, there is a good chance they will hit it on the fall at the edge. 
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