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2020 Crane Lake - Lake Kabetogama-Namakan Lake Fishing Reports

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Spot on Satchmo...biggest variable is the changing weather this time of year.  Cold nights, warm days change those water temps enough to push bait fish around.  Wind and consistent wind in the same di

Been on Kab since Saturday and have been doing good on slot fish, not great on keepers though. There sure is a healthy class of 21 to 24 inchers in this lake. Minnows have been out fishing leeches or

Hey dan, hope your trip was good....we had 4 seasons in 5 days ! Think we saw you motor by in the houseboat through grassy towing a few boats behind. Must have been you...no one else except one boat

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Kab fishing is difficult due to slush, creating problems for getting around. I know of local folks catching perch, pike and a few walleyes, and in Mukooda the lake trout bite is decent.

We now are having some warmer weather with drizzle possibilites that should firm up the slush, and cold weather this weekend might be the long awaited remedy.

Some VNP folks told me they may be grooming from Ash River to Rainy Lake real soon, it may still be rough but much better.

The land trails for sledding our outstanding, it just don't get any better.

Anyone fishing on Kab should keep in mind pulling a sled with gear over slush could have some real difficulty, travel with a friend until the slush firms up.

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let it snow

Kabetogama Area Expert/Moderator Gutz is on vacation until 2 week of February. If someone else (locally) would like to respond on ice conditions/fish/etc. please jump in.


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let it snow

Yeah, I don't get that vacation stuff either. Why go anywhere when it's all right here!

If you want warmer temps, it was +42 yesterday - bikini weather!


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Well I'm vacationing back here at Kab again, and it is nice. I was informed by the Park, that they have groomed the Ash River to Gold Portage through Black Bay trail, which would let anglers have a better long distance path to move to areas difficult perhaps to get to. The warm weather that let it snow referred to was short lived, but has helped solidify the slush situation, which even increases the prospects. I'll talk it up the next couple days with folks and see how they are doing.


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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

Great report Guts keep um coming

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Fished kab. on Friday & Saturday last weekend. Had a group of 11 people. Went out near the 3 sisters one day & over by Cutover the next. Fishing was pretty decent (Not gangbusters but enought to keep everyones interest) with Friday being a little better than Sat. Some of the notables were a healthy 23" eye, fat 13" perch, & a real nice crappie.

The lake surface has firmed up quite a bit from a couple weeks ago when we were snowmobiling. Did have a couple of guys get stuck in the slush. They worked off a little bit of breakfast getting out but wasn't too big of a deal.

Rode snowmobiles to & from the lake. The trails are still in awesome shape.

Just drove home in pooring down rain in Rochester so hopefully you aren't getting that up there.

Can't wait for next Wed. to come so we can head back up for some snowmobiling.

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  • 2 months later...

Looks like this forumn needs an update. Kabs opener was great, nearly everyone i talked to caught walleyes, yes thats plural.

Nearly every resort reported an abundance of walleyes caught off the docks.

Problem, most fish caught were over 17" some had spawned already and some had not. Late Sunday a few smaller keepers were being caught in the shallows.

Experienced anglers on Kab found keeper size eyes in 30' plus depths, along with some saugers. Jig and minnow were by far the best offering.

The male eyes should be moving in shallow as I speak, DNR says they will hang around in shallow waters for about a week before they head back out., good luck guts

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

Thanks for the report Guts.

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How has fishing been up there? Any eyes in Hammer bay yet? I'll be camping on Kab next week starting Wednesday.


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I didn't fish in hammer bay,but I was in the namakan narrows on sunday.The fish are just coming into this area.There's a lot of current flowing through however.Watch for floating debris around the narrows.Nothing too big just a heads up.Goodluck you should hit it about right.Surface temp.is in the low 50's.The bite will soon pick up.Watch your graph the crappies will be arriving any day now.I'll be in canada until sunday but will try to post a report early next week to give you more info.If you've got time the fish are snappin down towards crane.Try any area were there's current.

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Thanks much cranelake!

I may take the long run down into Sandpoint and Little V depending on how fishing is on Kab and Namakan. Im thinking fishing should be good enough to keep me busy close to camp though.


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Fingers are finally starting to warm up now so I can type a report. Weather was terrible but fishing was good for us, caught a few keepers out in 30-45 fow in the Sugarbush area, then moved on to shallower water and managed to find a few in the 18-25 foot range. Kept 9 on Thursday on both jigs and lindys with minnows. mix of sauger and walleye. They really started biting when the weather turned from cold and windy to calm and pleasant.

Friday ended up being windy and miserable but we ended up fiding a few keepers around the 3 sisters area in 25 foot, most everone else was fishing much shallower.

Saturday was very windy, didnt make it much further than Peterson Bay but ended up with 2 keepers but threw back a good 2 dozen too big to keep. Not a bad problem to have I guess. Shallow water with jigs and minnows and even leeches produced.

Of course the day we are leaving it's 65 and dead calm on the lake. Figures.

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Just got back from twelve days up there. Opener was one of the best that i've had aside from the cold but thats pretty typical. We caught numerous fish in the 20 to 25 inch range in shallow but the keepers were out in about 28 ft and we found them as deep as 42 and there are some saugers mixed in including some of the biggest saugers i remeber out of there. the last couple days the big ones are starting to scatter out of the shallows and you can find a few keepers in where they were. some of the males that we caught inshallow were still silting. fishing should start to pattern out pretty soon as they head to the summer spots. I'm heading back up thursday for a three more weeks and just crossing my fingers for some better weather. It has been some of the most awful weather that i can remember and i really don't want to wipe snow off the boat seats again!

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Part of my group went up Sunday and are camped on the west end of Namakan. I'm on my way up tomorrow afternoon. The weather hasn't been the best for them but they have gotten some walleyes on Kab today and yesterday. They have been in deep water yet.

If anyone has any good reports from the weekend on Namakan without giving away your honey hole, I would love to hear them.


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Just got back yesterday after spending 4 days fishing out of Ash River. Don't really know the names of areas fished, however, we fished from the mouth of the river to Alligator Island (think that's what it's named)and also up toward Kettle Falls. Three of us. Friday mixture of walleyes, pike and a crappie-less than 15 fish total. Saturday, great day, about 35 walleyes, a few pike of assorted sizes and 2 crappies. Sunday, beautiful day, tough bite, less than 10 fish total. Monday, raining, cool, windy-managed about 10-12 walleyes and a few pike. Overall walleyes were small, but we did have some nice size mixed in. We fished from pitching into the rocks to 45ft of water, best depth was 17ft to 26ft. Fatheads and jigs performed the best. Between my son and myself, need to re-stock my 3/8oz jigs-left a lot in the rocks!! We missed our fair share of bites.

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did well near namakan island and kubel. caught about 12 keepers total for 3 hours fishing between 4 guys over 2 days. trolled with yellow and orange spinners. in about 12-15 feet of water.

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

The weekend everyone's been waiting for arrived in a beautiful weather fashion.

Splendid weather has begun to move the fish and speed along the transition phase. This is important in moving the deeper water harvest size fish to shallower water.

Late today, Sunday, anglers are finally reporting the catching of smaller walleyes in the expected depth range of 18 - 28'. The shallow waters are still giving anglers a great opportunity to catch and release sizeable walleyes in the protected slot range of 17 - 28".

Jig and minnow, dark colored jigs that is, were hands-down the best walleye offering last week.

As the days have brightened and waters warming up, brighter jigs, especially red, white and blue with minnow has begun to work along with leeches either jigged or leeches with a slip-sinker rig.

Northern pike have started to return to shallow water chasing bait-fish, as well as, small game-fish.

Crappie bite is just around the corner, or happening as you read this.

Those fishing the west end of Kab should be fishing Picnic Island, Rom, Sheep, Harris, and Yewbush Islands, windblown shores at 18 - 25'.

Mid-Kabetogama towards Namakan, try the Martin Islands, as well as, Blundt, Wolf, Green, and Larkin. The aforementioned have nice structured shorelines. Look for pike to be in the bays--Peterson, Nebraska, Daily, and Lost Bay--anywhere along the new weed edges. Crappies should be out in force in some of the east Kabetogama bays.

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Wade Joseph

Well, Our trip to Kab was a good one. Got some rain and a very crappy day on monday, otherwise weather was typical for this time of year. Had a couple BEAUTIFUL days to end the trip on. We caught fish almost every day. Fishing was tough as the bite was light and the fish were deep. Water temps were still in the very low 50's. We did manage some nice 3 lb eyes that were in the slot. They went back in the lake immediatly after they were put into the camera. We also caught a few Northerns but they too were deep. We tried a few shallow bays with no luck. I think the bite will get better in a couple weeks when the water warms.

This year was my first trip to Kabetogama. I took a long time Navy buddy. He and I used to fish together and go on trips like this when we were stationed at Great Lakes together. Wed. evening another freind joied us and fished with us for a few days. Thanks for coming Steve!

Now let me tell you this is one sweet lake to fish. The structure varies from big sand flats to rock reefs, slow easy sloping bottom to sharp drop offs. round boulder strewn shorelines to jagged nooks and crannies. Much different from Crane/Sandpoint/Namakan. We ended up at "Hoist bay" campsite due allot of site being full from the weekend campers for memorial day. We could have moved to sites that opened up after sunday, but it was raining so we stayed where we were.

Now I will say that having been to Kab, I preffer Kab over Sandpoint/Namakan. The structure available is much more wide ranging. We were only 5 miles form Ash river, and fished both Kab, and the west end of Namakan. The area around Ash river is fairly sheltered and water remains fishable even in a big blow. there are ALOT of campsites closeby and Ash river has Resorts with bait and gas. I will be going back to Kab again this summer as well as in years to come.

Now for the pics...(oh, these were all taken with cell phone camera as we forgot the digital)









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Thanks for the inspirational pics Wade. I'm walking out the door for two weeks at Kab. It's going to be good.

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Awesome trip!! Very comfortable campsite, great company, and very good eats. Still laughing from some of the campfire stories. smile

Talk about weird fishing though. With the exception of Wednesday morning the eyes were hard to come by. Also the bass and northerns are pretty sluggish for this time of year.

Camping on Namakan is so nice and relaxing. Lots of water and very few people around mid-week.


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Comin up to Kab for the 9th time with my dad and uncle for the week prior to the 4th of July. Hoping that the fish will still be relatively shallow. Also, anyone have any educated predictions on the state of the weed growth at that point? We're staying at the Park Point Resort for the first time, does anyone have any info on their accommodations/cabins positive or negative??

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My wife & I are going with her family (21 total) to fish the west side of Kab from 6/14 - 6/20. Suggestions on what water to fish. Shallow - deep? Shoreline - open water ? Rocks - weeds ? What about Tom Cod bay ? Any water feeding the lake that might be good? We will be looking for walleyes & pike mainly. I'll write a report when we return. Thanks everyone.

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bj, the fishing on the West end has been anything but normal. We have had weather that mimics a yo-yo.

Your time slot should find pike in Tom Cod, over by Moose bay and in the Grassy group. Walleye I would suspect will be as follows,

big walleyes in shallow, perhaps even in weeds chasing baitfish,

keeper size eyes should be in the 18-25' range, as I suspect the water will still be cool.

The bite has been on minnow presentations, however your time slot should have action on leeches as well as crawlers. That time period I would try slip sinker rigs, or deeper water try jig and minnow or jig and leech. good luck, guts

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My family and I are heading up to Crane Lake this weekend in search of both big fish and eater sized fish. What are the water temps. on Crane and Sand Point? Also what depth range are the fish in? Not looking for your honey hole, just a general depth at where i can find these fish. All info and tips are appreciated.



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