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2020 Crane Lake - Lake Kabetogama-Namakan Lake Fishing Reports


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Got back yesterday after 3 days on the lake. Our group fished Crane and Sand Point first few days and then Namakan on the last day. They found lots of eater walleye in about 15-20 FOW. Same as Sled, worms on a 2' snell. I think our groups biggest was 23", but most were in that 12-14" range. I fished bass most of the time and caught quite a few little smallmouth, but it was pretty slow. Started throwing jerkbaits and spinners with little success. Had to switch to the tube and t-rigged craws off the first break before we started catching them consistently. They were not up shallow on the shorelines or rock humps, but just off the first transition or break.

Water was in the 70-74 range most of the places we went. It did get as low as 68 on East Namakan, and we found some fish on beds up there, but again, little ones. Actually caught a nice largie back in Staege Bay that was pushing 20", and our biggest smallmouth were up on East Namakan and they were in that 17-18" range. Fun couple days.

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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

Mark,     That was us!  We cruised up to the top of the bay and parked at the Leach Bay HB site. Can't tell you what a thrill it was to finally get on these bodies of water!  We were up on Namakan t

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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Im pretty big into bass fishing if any of you seen some of my posts in the bass forum. I would say that as far as bass fishing goes Kab isnt as consistant as other lakes. I have found, however, that on a windy day they tend to pile up right on the rocks. The biggest bass Ive caught on Kab, Ive caught on double bladed spinner baits (leaf) on windswept rocks. ....In spetember Ive caught alot of bass in the 4#-5# range right ontop of SHALLOW reefs. The pike are right there along with them.

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NELS-BELLS

My son and I just returned from a 4 day trip to East Namakan yesterday. The weather wasn't the greatest but we still managed over 50 smallies (biggest was 19"), 25 small walleyes and saugers, about 20 small northerns, and one largemouth (which was caught from shore on O'Leary). I know all this because my son keeps track. The surface water temps were between 64 and 68, even in the shallow bays.

We mostly targeted bass and had our best success shallow. It was too difficult to fish in the wind (and it was windy most of the time)so we opted to fish protected shorelines for the bass.

The walleyes were in 16' - 22', but really small and we caught them with nightcrawlers on spinner rigs. We talked to a guy at the landing, when we pulled out, that was catching nicer sized ones with floating rapalas in 6' or less of water.

The northerns we caught trolling spinnerbaits in shallow bays.

Despite the less then perfect weather, it was still a great trip! Oh ya, and we saw a Timberwolf swim across the Namakan Narrows.

Nels

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Spent Mon to Fri on Namakan with my 2 boys. Lots of rain, wind and fish. Smallies were hitting flukes shallow mostly. Eyes came lindy rigging leeches in 30 fow. Northerns ran small and few. Weather was rough - big winds 2 days and 4-5 inches of rain. We figure we lost out on a day of fishing due to weather. Best things were good rain gear and tents. Still, it was the best 5 days of summer!

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  • 3 weeks later...
SledNeck

Had trouble HOOKING fish yesterday. Some of the worst shortbiting Ive ever seen. We still boated alot of fish (that were TOO BIG) and managed to take home a few. We had to motor around to find the fish but we had the best luck in 8-12 feet next to a windswept rock island. Trolled leeches and crawlers and they worked the same.

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Fished Wednesday through Saturday, mostly early am and early afternnoon. Bites were also very light for me using leeches. Big reefs had a couple of fish but definitely nothing outstanding yet. I found most of my fish on island shelves and small reefs that topped out very shallow. 20-25 fow was best depth I found consistent action. Fish did come in bunches though, like 3 in 10 minutes and then nothing for a long time.

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hi NPtrojan what lake you on..we are heading to sandpoint next week any word about there thanks

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hey sled we are heading to sand point next week ant word on that body...I know you don't head there but you seem to have contacts and advice...thanks

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Fished Kab sunday afternoon-evening

22FT was the best depth, although we did catch some in 10-14 feet next to a rocky island

bottombouncers 5 foot leader w/spinner and crawler. Couldnt catch a fish on a leech

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hey Sled,

I had similar findings...I came up Sun. night and had a full day trip Monday on Kab and a 1/2 day trip on Namakan on Tues. I had heard from friends and family that Kab had been tough and very few walleyes were still on the reefs. I tried Sat. night, but all i found was bait fish and food on the reefs...

I did find some nice walleyes on Monday with my group out of Voyageur Park lodge. We worked our way east on Kab using a plain hook and leeches and crawlers both...crawlers were better! and soon we began using spinners. We caught fish on both set-ups but we stared getting into good sized keepers near Headlight island in 20-27ft. of water. 18 fish boated with about 9 keepers, 2 small fish, and the others big (biggest 22").

On Tuesday I picked my group up off a houseboat east of Pike island in Namankan. I don't get down to Pat Smith island and Hammer Bay very often but these spots were holding some nice fish for a couple young girls and there mom. We caught 10 keeper walleyes, several 19-21" walleyes, and 10 smallmouth bass using leeches and plain hooks on a Lindy type set-up. The girls did awsome and the fishing was fun. I had a crawler on my rig and caught several fish, but the girls did better with leeches. We had some HUGE bass...a 21", 20" and 2 or 3 bass 18"...fun to reel in!

Overall I hear of better reports coming from Namakan lately, maybe a little bit more consistant. Kab's fish seem to be coming off windy points or islands and 18-28ft. seemed like the best depths...I did catch a few trolling Monday night when I was trying some things, so if you like pulling rapala's this next couple weeks may work well for you...

Good fishing to everyone on these waters!

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Fished yesterday like 8am-3pm.

Took a while to find some EATER size fish but we did and they were shallow in the middle of the day. We used 4-5 foot leaders, chartruece spinners and CRAWLERS. The short biting on crawlers once again was horrific. The fish are obviously full of something as they are crapping out stuff constantly kind of like when the mayfly hatch is on, so the short biting is expected. Although before the storm, the fish started really slamming the crawlers. Its not even worth it IMO to fish a leech.

Most everything we caught was next to islands, 12-19 FOW. Where we marked pockets of fish, they hit almost everytime. The good news is the saugers werent biting!

20b569f9.jpg

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Fast trolling was the key and jerking the line triggered bites. I use bottom bouncers exclusively because its so snaggy where we were fishing. I havent broke off a line in a couple months now. I have not lost a bottom bounce the whole year. I also use 20LB fireline. Has fantastic bite feel, I dont know why anyone would ever use mono.

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northcountry24

anyone know good spots on crane or sandpoint for good big trophy northern? headed up to stay on crane first week in august... would like to catch a wall hanger

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Did good this past sunday. Lots of bigger fish in addition to keepers.

Walleyes are finally hitting leeches good for me now. 20-25 feet seemed to be the best depth for us. Caught them on crawlers/spinners. And leech rigs with a bead (4-5 foot leader). Fish were concentrated in small pockets, we'd mark em and catch em. This year is weird, we should be catching them in my usual spots in 35 fow this time of year, but Im not even marking them that deep. I have not been catching them on the reefs, Ive been having the best luck fishing depth changes and next to islands/shore. Best luck Ive been having is in the middle of the day, if you can believe that.

Look at the GUT on this piggy, lol

8-5.jpg

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  • 1 month later...

Fished sandpoint over weekend.did pretty well. Fished about 18-20 fow off of south point of burnt island, bleached rock pile to west of burnt, and reef/rocks outside mouth of grassy.4 of us caught 35 eyes in 2a hrs sat evening.firetiger jigs or chartreuse & orange worked best.used half-worms.same thing Sunday evening but more fish-they really turned on close to magic hour.Lite bite tho &I they hit leeches a bit harder but still light.hunted big pike in a.m. with spoons and spooks.did ok but the real big ones wouldn't commit after a 20+ pounder broke a rod.smallies hit on everything from bucktails to 5 of diamonds to whopper-plopper. Weather cooperated.pike were thick in mouths of bays and light weeds in bays.

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  • 3 months later...

Anyone know what the ice conditions are on the little lakes in the Crane Lake area? I was thinking of coming up next weekend to ice fish and then try some wolf hunting in the afternoon. Anyone know if they have done any good with wolves by Crane Lake

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  • 2 weeks later...

Anyone have any kab ice conditions to report? Coming up just before New Years, be happy to swap ideas with anyone who is fishing as well around then.

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np,

There is 6-10" of ice currently on kab. The green snowmobile trail from Ash River to Frank's Bay on Rainy is staked and open. The ice on Rainy,Namakan and Sand Point is insufficent for snowmobiles or wheelers. Is there a specific area that you are trying to get to.

Duckster

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Thanks for the reply duckster. I mainly stay in the mid lake area or maybe venture to the north side behind sugarbush or nearby islands. Blazing a trail in the middle of kab off the snowmobile trail always makes me a little nervous. Is anyone leaving the main trail yet to fish? Is there much slush on top currently? Thanks a lot.

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NP,

You are good to go on Kab, we have been traveling all over. There is no slush right now because not much snow. There are some pressure ridges so watch out for them. You ever fish Kab in the winter before?

Duckster

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Duckster... Thanks again. I've been ice fishing kab the last few years, fishing kab open water for over 30 years. The last few years have been a lot of fun with little slush and easy access. How much ice are you seeing mid lake?

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Going to Crane Lake for a week this coming June. We are smallmouth fishermen from Indiana. Staying at Pine Point Lodge. Would appreciate any tips for catching smallmouth as well as panfish for eating?

Thanks, smbt

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  • 2 weeks later...

smbt,

Glad to see some "out of staters" heading up to beautiful Voyageurs National Park and Crane Lake. June is a great time to be here! Your smallmouth should be in full swing in shallow water and thinking about spawing. I would try to find those spots with lots of busted up rocks just below the surface along shorelines. You might scab out on some larger females hanging a little deeper as well. A plain leadhead jig tipped with a plastic shad works very good. Would'nt be affraid to try some top water baits either.

As far as Crappies go you should be able to find them on shallow mud bottom bays and bobbers and minnows are as good as any, would'nt be affraid to try trolling some Johnson Beatle Spins either to cover a little ground. You will probably catch Walleyes in the process. Hope this helps ya out a little.

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  • 3 months later...
  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators
Rick

Another two season week for the Northland. Summer early in the week to below freezing windchills, with expected mid 20s temps tonight, Sunday pm – Monday am.

The forecast from then on looks much more seasonable, or normal for this area, whatever normal is now.

Walleye bite was great in the first part of the week and then tapered off, perhaps the heavy rain days caused the slow down.

Northern pike remain aggressive and very active, sucker minnows, or trolling with lures targets this species.

Sauger and perch in a little shallow due to spawning and post spawn, as walleyes are moving in and out of the shallow waters, with the most consistent bite in the 26-35’ range.

Best presentation this past week for walleyes was jig and minnow except late week leeches were catching on.

It’s about time now to start using slip sinker rigs to locate walleyes as they traverse from shallow to deep seeking baitfish.

Smallmouth bass showing up in shallows as the water now is steady in the mid to high 50s.

Temperatures getting warmer, water getting warmer, we will soon be in full swing for summer fishing and water sports here in the Northland.

Phil & Ellen Hart

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Heading to Crane/Namakan through the weekend, would love some advice on places to look for smallies. I've had my best smallmouth luck on the north side of Namakan, but have to believe that multiple places in Crane and Sand Point are decent as well. We usually come up for a week in early June like this, but with the late spring and cooler water, more fish will be pushed up shallow than in previous years. I just have no clue on the structure of the lake (rocks, rubble, sand, etc) from the map chip I have. I can see areas that look great on my map, but I get there and its weeds or muck.

Not looking for GPS coordinates, just an idea on areas with lots of rock, rubbles, and sand. I know enough to find fish, but would love a head start if anyone is willing to share some pointers.

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

WOW-the northland this past week had the state’s best weather. No rain, cloudy warm days in the 60’s, and very cool evenings for sleeping.

Anglers found the walleye bite slowed some with bass, pike and saugers more active. Walleyes are scattered, the most consistent depth was 26 feet. Anglers reported catching walleyes in less than 8’ water and deeper than 30’, so be prepared to move to catch stragglers.

May fly larvae is emerging from the lake bottom, and providing food base for walleyes, sauger and perch. The hatch dictates a great opportunity to find fish on or near the bottom. Larvae emerge from soft bottom structure.

Try jig and minnow, or a slip sinker rig with a very short snell, slow presentation over any area of the lake with sand, silt or muck bottom. Vertical fishing over these areas should produce.

Northern pike retreated to a little deeper water then early season, trolling with lures in depths of 12-18’ would get their attention. The bite for the big girls should move shallow as the waters warm attracting minnow and fry.

Bass should be spawning or just past that. Tossing X-raps or Mepps up to the shoreline should produce fish.

Crappies should be in spawning with the present water temps between 55-60 degrees. Slip bobber is a great way to fish these in shallow bays. East end of Kabetogama is the best bet.

Everything shaping up for a great summer, come join us.

See you soon,

Phil & Ellen Hart

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anymore reports? heading up Saturday for a week! sounds like water temps and everything else isn't far behind the norm?

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  • Rick changed the title to 2020 Crane Lake - Lake Kabetogama-Namakan Lake Fishing Reports

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