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Crane Lake Kabetogama-Namakan Fishing Reports

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Satchmo

Kab is entirely ice free, and I know Namakan is open all the way to Kettle Falls from Kab.

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imhatz

thanks Rick

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Rick

To say the 2018 fishing season started with a bang would be an understatement.

With just about everyone catching limits of fish it could be one of the best openers in years.  Most years the start of the season on Kab can be a head scratcher, but not this one.  Fish were being found in most depths and were hungry to say the least.

Dock and shoreline anglers seemed to fair best with the bigger fish and those in a little deeper water were finding more of the eater variety.  If you could find shiners at your local bait shop, you got lucky as very few had them.  Even though shiners were producing more fish, all minnow types did well.  Jig fishing was by far your best option.  Tip your favorite jig with any minnow you could find and it was game on!  All techniques were working whether you were jigging under a bobber, over the side of the boat or pitching the shorelines.  Early and late in the day were peak times to be on the water but there was a consistent bite throughout the day which made for a few sunburned faces and tired anglers.  

Northern pike were a nuisance as usual, but it was the size that made the difference.  Last years pesky 20 inchers are now that perfect 23-26 inch eater size and no one is complaining losing a few minnows to them.

Throw in the almost perfect weather and we had a banner start to which could be shaping up to be one of the best years we have seen on Kab!  The only negative aspect to the great weather is we are extremely dry so bonfires need to be kept in check.  Check with local authorities before having a fire as we were in a critical fire warning designated area yesterday.

With the late ice out waterfowl including hundreds of loons, are still migrating through which is making for some great bird watching while catching fish or enjoying a boat ride.  A few pelicans have made an appearance but it is obvious they are behind schedule as well.

Let's hope the fishing continues to be as hot as the the weather forecast!  Be safe out there, it's a long season and we are all just getting our boats in the water for the first time.  It may take a few boat rides to get our sea legs under us again!

On a final note make sure to pop your head into Gateway General as we have a new look and a lot more to offer.  Made to order subs have been a big hit as well as our hand scooped ice cream and new F'real ice cream machine that can make you a smoothie, milkshake or iced coffee!  We also have expanded our tackle, groceries, hardware and gift selection.  We have also have begun to add some award winning wildlife mounts done by Bob Christensen with more on the way.  It's your one stop place on the way to the cabin or before you go out on the lake!

Hope to see you soon!

Jason and Robyn
Gateway General

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Satchmo

The action has been very good almost everywhere on Kab. One group of four guys caught over 30 walleyes off the dock last night, including a 26 1/4" dandy.

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Rick

@Satchmo are the shiners up shallow? Thanks for the report.

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Satchmo
9 minutes ago, Rick said:

@Satchmo are the shiners up shallow? Thanks for the report.

Not that I've heard yet, but they should move up into Tom Cod Bay soon. Sounds like everyone is doing well, no matter what minnows they are using. I won't get up there until Memorial weekend, but several of my buddies have been doing very well at various depths. The shallows are yielding most of the bigger fish. Dock fishing has been superb all along the south shore.

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Spss

Has anybody heard how the fishing has been on echo by crane?

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Getanet

Well, spent Thursday and Friday on Kab for my first time ever. It's a beautiful lake, the weather on the other hand could have been better for camping. It poured both nights, and during the day it seemed like it was either windy, rainy, or both. Unfortunately we didn't have much luck and didn't boat a walleye. We fished around Bittersweet Island and that general part of the lake, and fished at varying times, depths and presentations. About the only thing we didn't try was fishing around sunrise.

Talked to a grizzled vet of the lake at the landing on Saturday. He said sometimes the strange weather patterns turn the fish off up there. I'm going to go with that excuse - we had a great time but was certainly disheartening after hearing how great the fishing was on Opener to have such poor luck.  

Will definitely be up there again though. Beautiful area.

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Uncle Boney

Sorry you got shut out.  Any two days any time of year can find that happening to anyone.  Sounds like you need to come back for a week one day.

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Getanet
21 hours ago, Uncle Boney said:

Sorry you got shut out.  Any two days any time of year can find that happening to anyone.  Sounds like you need to come back for a week one day.

I spoke to a buddy who was at Sag over the weekend, and my dad who was fishing a lake a bit north of Leech - none of them had much luck on walleye. I'm chalking it up to a walleye blackout across the northern part of the state. I just need an excuse for the rest of the trips I take!

We're talking about coming up again in the fall. I definitely would like to come back for a longer trip, there is so much more of the lake to explore

 

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Sushilicious

 So dad, my bro, n I started fishing at 4pm last Sunday (crane). We caught 21 eyes, 4 sauger, n a 10in. Perch. We were fortunate enough that 12 eyes, 2 saugers n the perch were keepers. We also had the pleasure of throwing back two 18", a 22" and a 24" eye. We ended up fishing  for 5 hours. There were 2 thing we noticed that affected r fishing. (A) the lack of water ment lack of current which is fundamental the first 3 weeks of opener. (B) we seen 14+ eyes surface as well as 6-7 mayflies in the boat.

Getanet I hate 2 state the obvious but from my quick look at kab u weren't even close to a spot I would think would be good this time of year. The best 4 types of spots the first 3 weeks of eyes opener in vnp r current, current, current, n sand. I've never fished kab this time of year but I know Sullivan bay/ash river is the best spot.

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Sushilicious

 

Screenshot_20180524-233931_Gallery.jpg

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Sushilicious

Screenshot_20180524-225439_Gallery.thumb.jpg.f47a06884f76f02edef591f11904e4e4.jpg

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imhatz

Was at Sand Point 5/17-5/23...did ok only..5 eyes, pike and smallies. The water temp rose so fast it turned off fish. We did better on Friday and Sat...then water warmed and slowed. Most on rapalas...no live bait.. That was a mistake may have done better. Hey slush you in a hot spot...or normal area on Crane. We tried NW bay and only Pike

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Getanet
7 hours ago, Sushilicious said:

 So dad, my bro, n I started fishing at 4pm last Sunday (crane). We caught 21 eyes, 4 sauger, n a 10in. Perch. We were fortunate enough that 12 eyes, 2 saugers n the perch were keepers. We also had the pleasure of throwing back two 18", a 22" and a 24" eye. We ended up fishing  for 5 hours. There were 2 thing we noticed that affected r fishing. (A) the lack of water ment lack of current which is fundamental the first 3 weeks of opener. (B) we seen 14+ eyes surface as well as 6-7 mayflies in the boat.

Getanet I hate 2 state the obvious but from my quick look at kab u weren't even close to a spot I would think would be good this time of year. The best 4 types of spots the first 3 weeks of eyes opener in vnp r current, current, current, n sand. I've never fished kab this time of year but I know Sullivan bay/ash river is the best spot.

Where the heck was this advice a month ago when I was booking our trip!  I knew nothing about Kabotegama and really only had a few choices of campsites available for the dates we wanted to go. Wood Duck Island looked as good as any. After I made the reservation I had read that the west end of the lake had better fishing earlier in the year since it was shallower than the east and the water warmed up quicker. Goes to show you can't trust everything you read on the internet.

Even though we got skunked on walleye it was still one of our favorite trips. My buddy and I typically stay at a resort or one of our family's cabins. Camping got us outside doing stuff a lot more. If we had a roof over our head and a TV we would have spent a lot less time fishing when the weather stunk.

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Satchmo

Getanet,

Most folks the first week or so did very well on the west end this year. It is a huge area with a lot of structure options. There are weed beds, sand flats, rubble shorelines, and creek inlets, just to name a few.The 5-15ft depths brought a lot of fish too big to keep. The keepers were in the 15-25ft range.  Evening movements can bring all sizes of fish shallow. This year, minnows were definitely the bait of choice. It's all about location, location, location. In general the best approach is to run and gun. Stay no more than 10-15 minutes in a spot, and then move to then next.  If the fish are there, they  are generally active. Stick with, and sooner or later, you'll get rewarded.  VNP really is an amazing place.

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Getanet

It sure is.  I know you can camp on Kabetogama, Rainy, Namakan and Sandpoint through the National Park Service. For someone who's never been (or only once) do you guys recommend one lake over the others?  Sort of the "if you can only visit one lake, make sure its ______"

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Fully Kraeusened
7 hours ago, Getanet said:

It sure is.  I know you can camp on Kabetogama, Rainy, Namakan and Sandpoint through the National Park Service. For someone who's never been (or only once) do you guys recommend one lake over the others?  Sort of the "if you can only visit one lake, make sure its ______"

My choice would be Namakan, but honestly that’s mostly based on emotion. It’s where my dad and I fished the most while up there. I also think it’s prettier than Kab.  I’ve never been on Sand Point or Crane. Just my two cents. I’ll be up there one week from today. Staying on the Ash River if anyone would care to enjoy a cold one first round is on my buddy. ?

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Sushilicious

Imhatz we didn't really find a "hot spot" we fished 5 spots n caught fish in 4/5. The 5 spots we fished were located in 2 of the 3 major area's that have current.

Well there u go getanet it sounds like satchmo gave you some sound advice. As far as your question I don't think there is a wrong answer, they're all great options.

 

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imhatz

thanks...got it. gorge and narrows are there others

 

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Rick

Kab/Ash Fishing Report  5/28/18

The 2018 Memorial weekend will be one to remember.  While most Memorial Weekends have a tendency to be unpredictable, 2018 will be remembered as one with almost perfect weather, good fishing and lots of smiles!

With temperatures consistently in the mid 80’s, lots of sun and no wind, you couldn’t ask for a better stretch of weather.  While most years we are putting layers of clothing on to stay warm, this year it was shorts and t-shirts and lots of sunscreen.  There were even tubers and water skiers on the lake enjoying the cool water.   Along with unseasonably warm weather, fishing has been good, but most are having to work a little harder to find fish as they are scattered at all depths.  The transition to summer happened fast so jigs as well as lindys are producing right now.  Minnows are still the preferred bait but as water temps have risen into the 60’s, leeches and crawlers are also a good bet.  See what works and go with it.

Let’s see what a few of the local guides have to say followed by Crabby Phil’s tip of the week courtesy of Gateway General.

Tim Watson - With the hot weather and no wind fishing has been mainly in deeper water.  22-28 feet and still on sandy bottoms has been the best.  Surface temps are mid to upper 60’s, so don’t forget leeches and crawlers as well as minnows.  Working shorelines with jerk baits has been good for bass and northern pike.

Trent Snyder - This week the walleye bite started off slow as the weather was hot sunny and no wind. We were still catching fish in the 32 to 40-foot range however as of the last few days the bite seems to have picked up. The range has been all over the board from 6 to 10 ft in the late evening to 22 to 30 during morning and afternoon. I'm using bright color jigs, white, pink, yellows exc. the keeper fish seem to be in the 22 ft. range and deeper as a lot of bigger fish are shallow. Remember to fish the wind and a slow presentation is a good way to fish them.

Dominic Ruis - This last week found fishing to be very tough Monday through Thursday with the warm temps, sun and no wind pushing fish deep and inactive during post spawn. As we had some fronts move through, accompanied by rain, this turned fishing back on. Fish started to bite in shallower again, 10-15 ft, as the bug hatches have just started. You will also find active fish in the 20-30ft range off island points. Jig and  minnow has still been good. As the bite picks up in shallow Lindy crawler rigs and spinner crawler rigs will start to produce!

Crabby Phil’s Tip of the Week!

While we are amidst a transition period, meaning fish, all species are scattered at various depths. I suggest you be prepared to start thinking slip sinker rigs using leeches and or crawlers. Surface water temps nearing 70. Traverse depths ranging from 12' to 25' till you find their hangout. Jig and minnow still a good choice but may not be the best offering. Very productive fishing at shallow to mid-depths on the West end.

 

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Rick

Fishing Report  6/24/2018

Significant weather change and first mayfly hatch of the year

Last week we saw hot, humid and windless days affecting the bite.  You needed to be on the water as the sun came up and the last hour before dark.  This made fishing tough as you also needed to know where to be during those key hours or you would miss out on the bite.  Soft bottom shallow areas produced well as the first significant mayfly hatch was in the making.  We did have a less noticeable hatch a few weeks ago but most didn’t even notice.  As weekend approached we had significant rain and then much cooler temps and now an east wind turning the bite back on again during the day.  Stick to soft bottom areas and wind-swept shorelines using live bait rigs and you should find fish.  Leeches and crawlers seem to be producing best but there is still a jig and minnow bite.  A good map is your best friend.  Chase the wind to areas that are pushing baitfish in to feast on the current mayfly hatch and you will find fish.

Larger northern pike have started to move to cooler waters as the hot weather brought water temps up quite a bit.  You will still find smaller pike mixed in with small mouth bass along most shorelines casting just about anything.

Speaking of mayflies, even though they can be a nuisance they are an indication of good water quality and a healthy ecosystem.  There are many species of mayflies and they all hatch at different times and unfortunately for them, die within a couple days or even hours.  Try collecting a couple from each hatch and you will notice the difference.  Almost everything makes a meal from them.  Fish, ducks, birds, you name it and they probably enjoy a good mayfly hatch.  Of course, for us, it can cause problems.  Stinky beaches, mayfly covered boats and sometimes negatively affecting the bite, unless you know where to look.  Take some time to learn about mayflies and you will have better success on your fishing adventure.  Where mayflies hatch, the baitfish are sure to be there and right behind them, walleyes and other species of fish.  Fishing these areas can be extremely productive.  Try triggering a bite using a flashier approach to draw their attention.  Spinners are a great option.

Summer is in full swing with July 4th holiday next week already!  Oh, how time flies!  It won’t be long after and the wild berries will be ready to pick.  If you are coming up this way keep an eye out in the ditches along the roads as we have an incredible Lady Slipper bloom going on right now.  Residents from the area say it’s the best in years!  Stay safe, have a wonderful week and don’t forget to stop into Gateway General for an ice cream and to say hi!  Guide reports below.

Jason and Robyn

Guide Reports     

Travis Carlson

Last week fishing started off good with clouds and a little wind. Walleyes were shallow and live bait rigs with leeches or half a crawler produced very well. Many fish were caught in 10’ or less water. As the week went on and the weather got warmer, sunny, and calm fishing slowed. Early morning and late evening still produced fish shallow but fishing in 20-30’ during much of the day was the ticket. In deep water we again fished live bait rigs and leeches, but the bite slowed. Lots of fish still in the shallows and today (Sunday) with a good east wind saw much better fishing again. Fish wind swept shore lines and weed edges if there is a chop on the water and be prepared to fish in the 20-30’ range on sunny calm days.

 

Trent Snyder

It was a good week of fishing. This week the bite was strong evening and early morning. Most of the fish I caught were in that 16 to 21-foot range, it was a sunny calm week which made the bite challenging during the hot afternoon's. Bright colored jigs on bright colored days’ work the best make sure you fish the wind.  Make your afternoons pay off by casting cranks along the shoreline for some small mouth bass. Good luck. Trent 

 

Dominic Ruis

Fishing this week has been some of the toughest we have seen so far this year.  The hot temps, sun and no wind made the good shallow water bite slow way down.  Only times you could catch these fish was early in the day or not at all.  We found a few fish in 20’-30’ but even these fish didn’t seem to cooperate.  We did end up catching fish but had to really work hard for them.  Toward the middle of the week I did some fishing on Namakan and found fish in the 23’-23’ range on jig and minnow or Lindy minnow.

 

CRABBY PHIL’S TIP OF THE WEEK

Well it's mayfly time of year as one of the first batches is taking place.
A mayfly hatch doesn't have to spoil your fishing.
Mayflies hatch as the soft lake bottom warms up, walleyes love the larvae.
There, you know where the walleyes are, soft bottom structure.
Put various baits in front of them, with and without spinners, if your presentation impresses them you'll catch those eyes.

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Rick

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!
Fishing remains strong going into the holiday week despite the persistent mayfly hatch.  Finally, some relief from the hot muggy weather.
Since opening day the fishing report seems to be like a broken record.  Usually by the 4th of July we are talking reefs and deep water.  Despite the persistent mayfly hatch we are experiencing right now the bite still remains strong along island and shoreline points and when the wind is blowing, shallow along weed lines.  The biggest change we have seen is that leeches and crawlers are out producing minnows.  Live bait rigs tipped with either bait has been the way to go.  If you are having problems, try using a half crawler.  On windy days, focus on wind swept shorelines, say 6’-15’.  Otherwise move out into deeper water and move slow along transition areas where rock meets sand/mud.  It can be hard focusing on shallow water this time of year, but great reports are coming in fishing these areas when the wind is blowing.  Us walleye fisherman are creatures of habit but thinking out of the box can be rewarding if you can train your brain to do so!
Northern pike and small mouth bass are still there along shorelines and weed beds.  Casting almost anything is turning fish.  Keep trying something different until you get some action.
Water skiers and tubers are a more common sight on the lake these days.  With the Independence Day holiday this week it is sure to more active so be aware of other boaters.  This is usually the busiest week of the year so have a great time and stay safe!  Kabetogama has some great fireworks to see on the 4th.  The best viewing is by boat.  You can see them on the west end toward Sandy Point and then down towards Northern Lights as well.  As long as the weather holds you can’t beat an evening boat ride enjoying the show!
Don’t forget to stop in to Gateway General for some hand scooped ice cream and to check out our expanded gift and clothing selection.  Gateways freshly made subs and wraps have also been a huge hit.  You may want to call ahead and have them waiting for you when you stop in.  We also have an expanded beer and wine selection with many specialty beers available.
Have a great 4th of July!
Gateway General

Guide Reports
Travis Carlson
This week was a great week of walleye fishing on Kabetogama!  Fishing mostly in 9-15’ of water with live bait rigs and leeches or half a crawler.  Fishing windswept shorelines and weed edges were a constant producer.
Trent Snyder
The bite slowed some the end of the week primarily because of the mayfly hatch. But if you can get out early morning like 5:30 or so you will find success. Wind swept shores in the 20 ft range with leech and minnows have both been productive.

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ifishwalleye

Hi, I’m heading up tomorrow for a Day trip with my 85 yro uncle and I’m hoping to put him on some eyes!  Any advice would be much appreciated. I’m not looking for your secret spot...lol. Mostly looking for depth and presentation. 

Thanks in advance!

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Rick

As we head into the last holiday of the summer season fishing continues to be strong.


Fall like weather has hit the northland recently and looks to stay that way into the foreseeable future.  Finally getting some of the much-needed rain has been welcomed by most but that combined with the wind and cooler temps has kept some anglers off the lake but those who have ventured out are being rewarded.  Highs barely into the 70’s and lows in 50’s and even high 40’s has dropped water temps a bit which has fish in a more aggressive and shallow bite pattern.


Walleyes are active just about everywhere right now.  They seemed to have moved off the reefs and shoreline structure is a good place to start.  Whether you are pulling cranks, using live bait rigs or jigs, fishing has been consistent throughout Kabetogama.  Mix in a great small mouth bite and you are going to have fun.  While a jig and minnow were the way to go the last couple of weeks, leeches and crawlers seem to be working the best.  Recently, soft bottom areas have been producing well as we have just had a significant midge hatch.  Pulling spinners and slowly dragging jigs through these areas can be quite productive.  Look to the northwest side of the lake as well as any of the bays in 12’-20’.


Bear hunting begins this weekend and baits are being hit with regularity.  It looks to be shaping up to be a great start to the hunting season.  If you happen to be one of the lucky ones to harvest a bear, register your trophy at Gateway and you will be entered into one of two drawings for a Yeti product.  Our scale is up and running so we can weigh it in for you as well!  

 

Good Luck!


Friday and Saturday from 9-3 are customer appreciation days and our community garage sale so stop into Gateway for your map and enjoy a hot dog and pop for a buck!  


Have a safe Labor Day weekend!
Gateway General
 

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      Hello from the NW Angle!
       
      On the Minnesota side, spinners and crawler harnesses are still the preferred method of walleye fishing, with the hot colors being pink/gold, orange/gold and orange/chartreuse. Walleye are being caught off of structure scattered in the mud between 20 and 30 feet. Down riggers and deep running crank baits have also been productive.
       
      Canadian walleye are being caught in channels off of islands and along reefs in 18 to 25 feet of water. Both bottom bouncers with a crawler harness and a jig with minnow or shiner have both been successful in Canadian waters.
       
      Musky fishing success has increased in the past week. Fish are being caught on crank baits and blade baits. With water temps in the low 70’s muskies are favoring rocks near weeds. 
       
      Our very own, Travis Palmquist, released a 54.5" musky yesterday!
       
      Fall is a great time for trophy fishing!
       
      We hope to see you soon,
       
      Sunset Lodge





    • Sunset Lodge
      By Sunset Lodge
      Hello from the NW Angle!
       
      In Minnesota, walleye are still scattered through out the main lake basin. Night crawlers on a spinner remains most effective.  Make drifts/passes parallel but off of structure including islands and reef break lines in 24-30 feet.  Hot colors have been gold/pink, gold/orange or hammered gold.  Deep running crank baits are another good option, often producing bigger fish and large northern pike. 
       
      On the Canadian side of the lake, fish can be schooled on humps and reefs.  Once located, fish these areas with a jig and minnow or shiner.  Pulling spinners in 25-30 feet of water is most productive in covering ground to locate feeding and roaming walleye.  Muskie action continues to improve through out the week.  Multiple big fish were caught on Sunday with many others boated as well as, a lot of lookers.  As activity levels rise, blade baits have been triggering positive reactions. Water temperatures remain consistent in the low 70's. 
       
      Until next week,
       
      Sunset Lodge






    • Sunset Lodge
      By Sunset Lodge
      Hello from the NW Angle!
      Water temps are consitently in the mid to high 70’s.
      Walleye in Minnesota can be caught on reefs with a jig and minnow. More productive methods currently are bottom bouncers and crank-baits in 24-28 feet of water.  Covering a lot of ground is key when the fish arent schooled together.  We have had many 40”+ Pike caught while trolling, reports of large Muskie also.
      Candian walleye are spread out as well, making bottom bouncing and deep cranks the ticket to success. Fish mud bottomed areas deeper than 25ft for best results. Many nice jumbo perch limits have been coming in recently. They are biting on a jig and fathead and are concentrated at 28-30ft.
      Until next week,
      Sunset Lodge
































    • Sunset Lodge
      By Sunset Lodge
      Hello from the NW Angle!

      Water temperatures are starting in the low 70’s in the morning, reaching mid to upper 70’s in the evening.

      Minnesota walleye action can be hot running deep diving crank-baits straight, down rigging or lead core. Soft bottom areas can also be worked with spinners and a night crawler.  Fish have been favoring gold on bright days and orange, chartreus or pink in low light.  Many larger northern pike this last week in the boat via crank-baits just outside of rock reefs and points.

      Canadian walleye fishing has been more productive away from reefs and points in soft bottomed areas. The best method is to pull a spinner to find concentrations along the bottom and switch to jigging to fill out limits.

      Musky attitude in Canada varies day to day. Plenty of fish are still being caught in shallow weeds including a couple of 50+ giants this past week.  Fish are also being caught in more traditional mid-summer spots such as rock reefs and points.  The most productive baits this week were crane baits or other flat baits, buck tails and top waters. 

      Until next week,
      Sunset Lodge
       













  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • JerkinLips
      Lake Vermilion/Big Bay is frozen over and somebody was fishing in a portable out of McKinley Park today, so the season has officially begun.  Not sure if I will make it up next weekend after 12 days of deer hunting.  Be very careful if you go out.    
    • monstermoose78
      In my deer hunting party you can’t shoot anyone else’s deer any more!! Unless you give them permission to harvest your deer and everyone agreed except one uncle and he is no longer allowed at deer camp! He is not happy but the deer camp is better without him.
    • gimruis
      Minnesota is one of very few states that still allows party hunting.  That rule needs to go.  If you were limited to one and ONLY one buck the entire season, regardless of what weapon or zone you hunted in, or who you hunted with, it would immediately increase the average size of bucks.  If a hunter was going to hunt for days, and he saw a spike or a fork on the first day, I think it would make them think twice about filling their tag right away knowing that they wouldn't be able to shoot another one and fill someone else's tag later on.   The House of Representatives recently passed a ruling on removing gray wolves from the endangered species list in the great lakes region.  That's a good first step.  Each state is capable of managing their own wolf population whether that is through a limited, lottery drawn season or whatever.
    • kfancody
      I found 14 of these! Glad ice is back.
    • Parmer
      On red people walking out. Not sure about LOTW. 
    • CANOPY SAM
      I've heard there are places allowing folks to walk out.  Is this true?   Any news on 2018-19 Ice?   Satellite images?    I'm chomping at the (auger) bit!!!  har har har.... 😆
    • CANOPY SAM
      This is always an interesting topic.   I absolutely love Whitetail Deer and Deer Hunting!  I read messages from all over the state and I'm often reminded just how fortunate we've been to live in a high density deer area (Northwest Minnesota).   In our particular zone, being primarily agricultural land, it's key to a hunter's success to be on, or very near the food during the regular firearms deer season.  In a "normal" year with reasonably normal early to mid-November weather, if you're on the food source you're covered up in deer.  If you're not, you can have some pretty quiet days in the stand.   Last year, and the year before, we had some standing beans on our deer lease.  All thru the bowhunting season, and well into the firearms season, it wasn't unusual at all for us to have 25-35 deer milling around any one of our multiple stand sites.  We had our choice from multiple 2 1/2 yr old bucks, spikes and forks galore, and of course does and fawns constantly making it hard to remain undetected.  There was always at least one real tanker somewhere on the State Land adjacent to our lease, but they usually go entirely nocturnal about 30 seconds after the firearms season starts.   This year, for a number of foolish reasons, we didn't have ANY food left on our lease anywhere!  Boy was that a mistake we'll never make again!  We still had a fair number of deer move thru our property, but for obvious reasons they were all headed somewhere else.  Personally, I passed on a couple forkhorns, and a couple mature does, but never did see anything I bothered to put the scope on.   My youngest son harvested his first deer ever - a nice 9-point "first" deer for a young hunter.  He's pictured in another thread.  That was the biggest animal any of us saw on our lease.   Opinions/observations.... As we are really fortunate compared to many I really can't complain about our deer hunting opportunities.  One of the things that worked against us this year was the weather.  Our weather patterns were like a bad roller coaster ride!  Super cold and windy one night, then really mild and dead calm the next.  Then another couple days of spitting snow, high winds, and frigid temps, only to return to mild and calm.  This made it hard to "pattern" any movement.   I'm pretty sure we're seeing an uptick in predator numbers in our area.  I watched fox from the deer stand.  I know there are coyotes in the area, and I saw very large canine tracks on our land, but I can't say for certain if they were a wolf's tracks, or if they were simply the neighbor's dog?  I did note there were noticeably fewer fawns around this year as compared to last year, and the year before.   Last winter was a long, tough one in NW MN.  It was VERY cold (double digit subzero temps) for a VERY long time (3-4 weeks straight?), and it just dragged on, and on, late into the spring.  I suspect we likely experienced more winter kill than many of us know.   My last observation.  I see this every year, and I sense it's just getting worse with each subsequent season.  There aren't very many people in our area that know how to successfully hunt whitetail deer.  This year I actually watched a neighbor drive INTO the woods, right to the base of his stand!  Mind you, there isn't any road there!  He just drove across the field to the edge of the treeline, then proceeded to drive right thru the trees and brush to his stand!    Few people pay any heed at all to scent control.  They routinely make more noise than a demolition crew going into and out of their hunting areas.  And when the deer aren't up and moving, again for obvious reasons, most people jump into their vehicles and road hunt all day.  To take a trophy animal in our zone during the regular firearms deer season is almost nothing but LUCK.  It might just be me, but I believe the vast majority of our really big trophy bucks go 100% nocturnal within minutes of the firearms opener.  It's not really hard to see why.   But again, I can't complain.  We see lots of deer, and we have lots of opportunities to harvest animals.  I am spoiled by numbers of Whitetail Deer.  Is there such a thing as being too picky when deer hunting? 😄  It will be wonderful to hit the woods again this coming weekend with the muzzleloader.  There will be almost no one else around.  Our zone is a ghost town during the smokepole season.  It's AWESOME!!!!!   ALL the deer are MINE!!! 😆
    • JFitz
      Dad and I got on the lake today. Ice in Niles Bay was pretty good, we found 4.5" about 100 yards off shore. No walleyes but the whitefish were going pretty good! Caught 10 of these today. Sure good to be back on ice!
    • Wanderer
      Area 172 started slow but stayed steady or improved a bit for our group.  I think there were 9 FA hunters and only 1 buck shot the first weekend.  Most everyone saw deer though and let em walk.     Weekend 2 we picked up one more buck.  Deer were still seen but the woods went pretty quiet for shooting.  Mid week another tag was filled, leaving us with 6 to go into this weekend.   2 of the 6 were filled yesterday and 2 more filled today.  So, 7/9 didn’t seem too shabby.  6 bucks; 1 doe.   I’d say where we were, going to HC this year from permits last year might’ve been premature.  Maybe?  I do know there were hardly any hunters out this last weekend and the harvest was down like everywhere else going into it.  In my travels on public land, sign was poor.  On private it was pretty good.  But our best 4 deer came off public land.
    • Kettle
      Boot lake is not open to fishing.  I checked typo lake yesterday. Really sketchy right out from the access about 10 feet or so. Past that there was 4.5 inches. I did not fish just wanted to see if I got the new auger blades on correctly