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image links to Kabetogama Outdoors On Lake Kabetogama, KAB Outdoors September 3, 2019

image of Mike Hagan with big black bear Fall is in the air at Kabetogama and for us, the days have been filled with the pursuit of bears!

We’ve been maintaining about 60 bait stations for the past couple of weeks in the hope that they’d be luring in bruins like the one you see here, bagged by Mike Hagan.

Yes, it takes a lot of work, but hard work definitely pays off and now that the season is open, all of our hunters have a chance at bagging one of their own!

By the time it’s over, we will have served 30 bear hunters. We’re sure all of them hope that their hunts go this well too and so far, all indicators are good. The crew we had in last weekend bagged 5 bear this past Sunday evening alone.

With the bear season off to a good start, we’re allowing ourselves a few minutes to breathe and update the fishing report.

Water temperatures have entered the low 60’s and are dropping a little more every night. From here on out, the most productive cool water walleye fishing presentations will probably include minnows. In fact jigs and shiners are already hard to beat in terms of the “more reliable” presentations. The size and shape of the jigs will depend on where you’ll be fishing because there are fish using both shallow water and deep water structures at the moment.

image of big smallmouth bass Weedlines will continue to hold fish as long as the vegetation remains green and healthy. Walleyes can be found along the outside edges, but may also move out of the grass and onto clean breakline areas that lay adjacent to the weed patches. As weeds begin to die off, baitfish will be forced out and away from the shallows and we’ll begin seeing fish stack up along steeper breaklines and on the tips of shoreline related structures.

 The 1/8 ounce size Lindy Live Bait Jig tipped with a shiner is a good all round choice. On calm days, a 1/16 ounce jig may be required and don’t overlook tipping those with night crawlers too. Sometimes, even after fall fishing patterns kick in, walleyes revert to summer presentations during periods of calm weather. It’s always good to have a few crawlers in the boat as a backup plan.

Deeper structures, reefs, sunken islands and points are still holding fish right now. Key depths are 18 to 25 feet and typically, ¼ ounce jigs tipped with shiners will do the trick. Use 3/8 to ½ ounce jigs when the water is choppy to help maintain contact with the bottom.
This is the time of the season when crappies begin feeding heavily before winter. A few weeks back, these same fish had the irksome habit of only feeding for a few minutes during early morning and late evening. During fall, they will begin stacking up in open water along the steep breaklines. Their feeding periods will become longer and for a time, pursuing them will be easier.

Early on in the process, fish will not be located out in the open, over the deep holes; that will come later. Look first along steep breaklines that lie close to shore and pay particular attention to areas where weed flats lay adjacent to deep water that also features steep shoreline breaks. These fast drops located close to shore, but lead into deep water will hold the earliest schools of crappie.

Getting your depth dialed in is the trick to consistent success when fishing fall crappies. Keep your lures just above the fish; they will come up to strike your bait more often. Using a slip float to suspend a small jig is the easiest, especially for anglers who don’t have lots of experience fishing over suspended fish.

Northern Pike put on the feedbag during fall too and for anglers, this is one time when predictability turns to their advantage.

Tulibee are the preferred food for pike and largest northerns in the lake will follow them wherever they go. Tulibees happen to be fall spawning fish and as the water cools, they will begin staging along steep breaklines that are located adjacent to flats with mixed sand, gravel and small rocks. They spawn at night, but will hold suspended over deep water during the day. The steep breaklines that bridge shallow spawning flats and the lakes deep water holes will be prime locations to pursue Mr. Big.

There are a lot of ways to catch a pike, but casting large jerk baits and shallow running crankbaits rank high among the most exciting. Focus your effort on points, weed patches and rocks that lie along steep breaklines.

The last thing we want to do is to downplay the open water fishing season; there’s still some great fall action ahead of us. But with the clock ticking, we thought we’d throw out a reminder that the ice fishing season is just around the corner. In fact, there’s a really good chance that we’ll be on the ice sometime within the next 100 days.

We’re already taking reservations for ice fishing trips and if you want to get in on the best dates, the time to reserve them is right now. Give us a call, or if you’re in the area, stop by the shop and lets chat about ice fishing packages that we have available.

image links to Kabetogama Outdoors On Lake Kabetogama, KAB Outdoors August 14, 2019 "Kabetogama’s Shallow Water Action Bite “Don’t Miss the Boat”

image of guide trip customers with fish “We’ve been enjoying pretty steady fishing”; that’s how Kent's summing up the action that we’ve seen on Kabetogama over the past week.

Keeler; “On guide trips, we’ve been leaving the dock early in the mornings and most days, wrapping up our fishing before the midday heat has a chance to set in. That’s been a winning combination for us; we’ve caught good numbers of keeper sized walleyes, along with a few Bonus slot fish on most every trip.”

Walleyes aren’t the only game on the lake either, we’ve been catching smallmouth in equal numbers. Sauger, jumbo perch and even some crappie are showing up in the mix as well.

Right now, shallow water is where the action bite is at. Water depths of 7 to 15 feet have produced steady results all week.

Weeds are good, especially for the crappies, pike and walleye. Shallow rock spines and points will hold walleye too and large pike love the rocks too.

image of angler with big crappie For smallmouth, the best areas will feature small, broken rock with mixed sand and marl. When you’re scouting, watch for the small holes and trails produced by crawfish in the soft sand. Wherever you find crawdads, you’re going to find smallmouth and many times, you’ll find perch using these areas too.

Jigging offers the best access to fish in shallow water and this summer; we’ve been using 1/16 and 1/8 ounce sizes. We’ve caught a lot of fish by “wiggle worming” this summer and it is a great presentation.

The name is a catchy one, but the wiggling type presentation doesn’t have to always mean that we’re using a night crawler with it. Using fat, healthy minnows like our rainbows works like a charm on the lightweight, live bait jigs too.

When the fish want movement, gently lip-hook the rainbows and wiggle the jigs just like you do with a wiggle worm. When the fish show a preference for slower presentations, we trigger more strikes by just dragging the bait through the cover.

Many of our customers have reported success using trolling and/or casting presentations too. Some of them are throwing crank baits and others are trolling spinners tipped with live bait. Both approaches are providing anglers with good mixed bag action. Like the shallow water jigging presentations, they’re reporting good numbers of every species of fish, all coming from the same areas.

Over the years, walleye anglers have been over-trained to focus their efforts on deep water locations during mid-summer. Sure, we know that there are fish out in the deep water and under certain circumstances catching them there may be fine.  But when there’s a deep bite going on, even well-meaning anglers cause harm needlessly to fish that are living too deep to be safely released.

image of woman with big walleyeWe noticed a news release from North Dakota’s Game and Fish department last week. In it, their fisheries staff suggest that anglers should avoid fishing in water depths over 25 feet unless they plan to harvest the fish that they catch there.

"North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries personnel encourage anglers to keep fish caught from depths of more than 25 feet, rather than practice catch-and-release.
Scott Gangl, Game and Fish fisheries management section leader, said while catch-and-release is often encouraged under the right conditions, fish reeled in from this depth will likely die if released.
“Fish caught from deep water likely won’t survive because of the ..." Read Full Story >> NDGF News Release

For us, compliance with special regulations like the protected walleye slot-limits means that often, harvesting them is not an option. Since simply reeling them in from the depths means that they are likely to suffer internal damage, many fish caught in deep water wind up being wasted.

Even though we see them swim away, even when we think we’ve done our best to release them, they suffer internal injury that isn’t visible to the naked eye. After a while, many of them succumb to the barotrauma and die.

Whenever we can, we like to avoid pressuring those deep fish, just because we don’t want to harm them needlessly.

Whenever we know that there’s a shallow bite going on at the same time as a deep one, we’re focusing on the shallower, more releasable populations. We hope that by saving more of those deep water fish from harm, the lake will remain healthy for a good long time.

Besides, anglers fishing the deep water are missing out on a lot of action. When you can catch every species of fish that swims in the shallows, why would you want to fish any other way. More action equals more fun and right now, we’re having lots of fun!

We’re looking forward to a good stretch of “pre-fall” fishing action before the summer gives way to cooler weather. We’d love to see you and we’ve got the bait tanks and the tackle section stocked up to make sure that you’ll find everything you need when you get here.

image links to KAB Outdoors Website KAB Outdoors — Enter For Chances To Win Prizes In The "KAB GOLD Fishing Contest" 2019

You can win prizes for submitting photos of your fish and entering the Kabetogama Outdoors Fishing Contest is easy.

Get the free app for your iphone, anderoid or desktop computer • Photo your catch and submit it using the app • Win prizes for submitting your photo of the best catch! • Follow this link to enter >> KAB GOLD Fishing Contest 2019 Good Luck!

image links to Kabetogama Outdoors On Lake Kabetogama, KAB Outdoors July 30, 2019 "KAB Outdoors "Steady Eddy Fishing Patterns For Kabetogama" — Kent, Dawn and Kolby Keeler

image of Lane with huge northern pike As we roll into August, we’re reminded about how steady the fishing patterns and presentations are during the late summer period. Surface temperatures remain in the mid-70 degree range and the warm water temperatures, combined with stable weather patterns help keep fish in a positive feeding mood and makes predicting their locations easier too.

Most insect hatches have run their courses and that helps make fish locations more predictable for anglers visiting Kabetogama. As fish turn back to a steady diet of minnows and small game fish, anglers can use the presence of large schools of “baitfish” to help determine fish locations.

In most areas on the lake, bars, humps and sunken islands with access to deep water are holding fish. The key depths for fishing mid-lake walleyes have been in the 18 to 25 foot range. Watching your graph and selecting spots that are rich with food will put you in position for the best possible catches.

Walleye anglers are using a variety of their “favorite” presentations. For some, pulling spinner rigs is productive, bottom bouncers in the 2 to 2-1/2 ounce range will help keep your spinner in the strike zone. Spinner rigs can employ double hook “crawler harnesses” tipped with lively night crawlers or single hook models tipped with either a ½ crawler or a minnow. Move the boat at a brisk speed, 1.1 to 1.4 MPH is the typical range.

The plain Lindy Rig snells, tipped with lively leeches or night crawlers are producing fish for others. Maintain contact with the bottom using walking sinkers or No Snagg sinkers in the ½ to ¾ ounce range. For rigging, we’ve learned that quality bait selections are the key. Larger, livelier leeches and plump, active crawlers are performing best. Move slowly over pods of fish and allow the live bait to do the work, the enticing natural action will coax the fish into striking.

Wiggle worming along the weed edges is another good way to locate walleyes. In the weeds, shady conditions not only provide comfort for baitfish, but also attract walleyes in search of cooler, darker conditions.
To access fish in the vegetation, we use light weight, 1/16 ounce Lindy Live Bait Jigs tipped with night crawlers. The compact design allows us to move the lures in and out of pockets and thin spots in the grass. Walleyes, along with other predator species have a hard time resisting the crawlers as they come rolling and wiggling their way into view.

As much as we love catching walleyes, this late summer period is historically one of the best times to chase big Northern Pike. If you’ve though about catching a whopper pike before, but didn’t know when to make the trip; it’s now. We love to find the submerged weeds, break out the Suicks and help customers go for that one lunker of a lifetime. In fact Lane, (photo) is one of the KAB Outdoors guides who specializes in going after big, feisty pike. If you’re considering booking a “Trophy Only Guided Pike Fishing Trip”, we can hook you up.

If you’d rather go it alone, submerged weeds, isolated woody structures and rocky points are all good locations. Casting large lures is our favorite way to catch them, but using big minnows suspended below a slip float puts a lot of big pike in the boat too. The key depth range for pike in the weeds is 6 to 10 feet of water.

image of ice castle fishing sleeperEven if you’re not headed out fishing, you can still stop in to take a break and talk fishing. We’ve got whatever you need to make your trip to Kabetogama more fun and relaxing. Plenty of fresh, lively bait groceries, outdoor supplies and to help keep your refreshments cold; lots of ice!

Speaking of ice, it is definitely not too early to think about your plans for this winter. We all want to enjoy the summer as long as we can, but time has a way of slipping by and getting in on a great ice fishing trip does take a bit of planning.

Our idea of ice fishing is a little different than most places you’ll hear about. We like the idea of being on the lake in comfort, but without big crowds of people surrounding us. Because of being located in the Voyageurs National Park, we have the unique ability to offer a remote ice fishing experience. Access to lake is very limited, but we’ve got the gear to get you on and off the ice in style.

Remote is one thing, but comfort is another and that’s why we offer luxurious Ice Castle Sleepers. You can spend you nights in the warm, well equipped sleepers and we’ll make sure that you have everything you need, including great fishing!

If a more “hands on” ice fishing experience suits your style, then sign up for a hole hopping, guided ice fishing package. We use Alumalite ice fishing shelters that combine comfort with efficiency. We can re-locate the shelters at the drop of a hat and that makes keeping you on fish a lot easier. Let us do the moving and drilling so you can focus on triggering more strikes.  

All that plus a convenient drive to our location makes accessing KAB’s “remoteness” easy and that makes this a winning combination!

Remember to get the Fish Donkey App before you head out on the lake. You could win prizes for catching a big fish, who knows which one will be your lucky day?

And if you're checking in from home, please join us here for our fishing reports, on our facebook page or contact us at KAB Outdoors.

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image links to Kabetogama Outdoors On Lake Kabetogama, KAB Outdoors July 23, 2019

image of lake sturgeon caught on kabetogama "Having an ice cream shop is a good thing to have whenever warm weather coincides with National Ice Cream Day! Thanks to everyone who stopped in and to those who helped spread the word, we had record ice cream sales this past Sunday and we really appreciate it!

As long as we’ve started this week’s fishing report with one unique announcement, we might as well ask if you know the answer to this riddle; “How do you catch a unique fish?” >> ANSWER

We got the idea for that riddle while we were writing of another non-typical occurrence, Sturgeon being caught by “Wiggle Worming”.

Our guide customers are used to catching a variety of fish on Kabetogama, especially when we take them “Wiggle Worming”. But that presentation produced a couple of surprise Sturgeon on guide trips this week.

If you think reeling in a big smallmouth or giant walleye on light wiggle worming gear is a hoot, then we hope you’ll get a chance to reel in one of these prehistoric fish. Known for their strong, bull-dog style fight, it takes a good long while to pull one of them up from the depths.

image of woman with big walleye Wiggle Worming continues to produce a mixture of walleyes, smallmouth bass and jumbo perch too. We’re fishing the jig and night crawler combinations primarily along the weed edges in shallow water. The presentation is an effective way to get live bait into shallow cover that would be tricky to fish using a traditional Lindy Rig.

The Lindy Rig fishermen have been banging walleyes pretty hard in their own territory; deep water structure. Anglers have been finding the magic depth out there has been 15 to 20 feet of water on points, pockets and corners of mid-lake structures.

Most of them are pairing their Lindy Rigs with jumbo leeches; some are using night crawlers injected with a small bubble of air using a worm blower.

The trophy pike have been really active over the last few days. Throwing large, shallow running blade lures and jerk baits have been the best presentations. With water temperatures holding steady in the mid-70’s, lures that move fast and provide lots of action are the top producers.

Smallmouth bass are where we find them. The majority of bass have wrapped up spawning and guarding beds in shallow water. Food is their main priority now and crawfish are their main forage. Areas where small rocks are mixed with weed cover and sand provide excellent feeding grounds for smallmouth. Don’t overlook the inside edges of weed patches; smallmouth love to watch the open cover between the inner weed edges and the shoreline.

Soft plastic swim baits are good, so are floating stick baits and senko style plastic worms rigged “wacky style”.

Just because National Ice Cream Day has passed, doesn’t mean you can’t still stop in and have a cone. We’ve still got plenty of ice cream on hand.

Don’t be shy about asking for guidance, that’s why we’re here. We can show you how to rig up for any of the presentations we mention in our reports and we’ve got all the lures and the supplies you’ll need to fish the lake effectively.

We’ve got plenty of live bait too; lively extra-large and jumbo leeches are available by the dozen or in bulk quantities. We’ve got plenty of crawlers and minnows too, so getting well stocked for your day on the lake is easy.

image links to KAB Outdoors Website KAB Outdoors "Mid-Summer Warm Weather Fishing Patterns For Kabetogama" July 16, 2019 — Kent, Dawn and Kolby Keeler

image of kent keeler with guide customer Is there such a thing as “Crazy Steady”?

Well if there is, then that’s the term we’d use to describe fishing on Lake Kabetogama right now. Alomost any group of anglers could go out on the lake, fish using their most reliable or favorite presentations and wind up catching some fish.

Warm water fish locations and presentations are cropping up in conversation at the store. Weed patches, grass beds and emerging vegetation are getting thicker. Multiple species of fish have begun moving into the shady cover. Mayfly hatches that were prevalent a couple of weeks ago are in decline and appear to have almost fully run their course.

Walleyes are among the fish showing up in the weeds and we’ve been catching good numbers in shallow water using the wiggle worming presentation around the grass.

Wiggle worming is really simple, a 1/16 or 1/8 ounce Live Bait Jig tipped with a night crawler is fished using a steady wobbling motion. The lightweight jigs fall softly into pockets or holes in and along the grass edges. When walleyes pick up the bait, we feed out line, just like when we’re Lindy Rigging.

With the arrival of warm water temperatures, fish metabolism speeds up too and that means they feed more regularly and when they do, more intensely.

image of customer with big perch Fast moving presentations begin to overcome the slower, finesse presentations. Pulling spinners behind bottom bouncers is producing walleyes for some anglers. One of the most reliable baits ever, the #3 Hammered Gold Little Joe Spinner has been the rig of choice. Tip the hook with a half night crawler, leech or fathead minnow.

During the day, anglers are focusing on water depths of 15 to 25 feet. Key water depths vary with weather conditions, so move up and down the breaklines, exploring as you troll. Key trolling speed ranges from 1.0 to 1.3 MPH and keep in mind that it’s best to troll the rig about 1 foot above the bottom.

Perch have been showing up in the mix these days too. Kent says; “We’ve been banging some good ones along the grass lines while we’re fishing for other species.”

Perch are nomadic feeders, moving from one area to another as good feeding opportunities present themselves. Since many of the insect hatches have run their course, catching perch near the grass will become more common in the days and weeks ahead.

Business as usual describes the patterns for smallmouth bass and northern pike. It seems like we can throw just about anything at the pike and throwing soft plastics for the bass has been super productive.

Live bait supplies are good. We’ve got some beautiful mixed Jumbo/XL size leeches on hand and you can get them by the dozen, or by the pound. Shiners and fatheads fill the minnow tanks and we’ve got plenty of night crawlers.

At the store, we can show you some of the lures and describe presentations that we talk about in these reports. You can rely on our advice; we definitely will help you zero in on the fish. Or maybe you’d rather just hop in the boat with one of our guides? They’d be more than happy to take the burden of finding the hotspots off of your shoulders. On your own your own guided trip, all you have to worry about is reeling ‘em in.

We’ve noticed lately that folks like spending time in the store, chatting about fishing over an ice cream cone; it is that time of the season!

image links to KAB Outdoors Website KAB Outdoors "Anglers Report Good Independence Day Holiday Fishing" July 8, 2019 — Kent, Dawn and Kolby Keeler

image of lady with big walleyes Warm weather and heavy boat traffic epitomize the July 4th holiday week. With all of the change that goes on during this time, it’s only natural that fishing patterns get mixed up for a few days.

Surface temperatures peaked in the high 70’s late last week, but moderated afterward, they are now settling in the mid-70 degree range. With warm surface water temperatures and Mayfly hatches that have been spiking, most walleyes are engaged in summertime feeding patterns.

Fishing areas where structure coincides with soft-bottom flats are one good way to zero in on walleyes that feed on Mayfly larvae. In most areas on the lake, bars, humps and sunken islands with access to deep water are holding fish. The key depths for fishing mid-lake walleyes have been in the 18 to 25 foot range.

Walleye anglers are using a variety of their “favorite” presentations. For some, pulling spinner rigs is productive, bottom bouncers in the 2 to 2-1/2 ounce range will help keep your spinner in the strike zone. Spinner rigs can employ double hook “crawler harnesses” tipped with lively night crawlers or single hook models tipped with either a ½ crawler or a minnow. Move the boat at a brisk speed, 1.1 to 1.4 MPH is the typical range.

The plain Lindy Rig snells, tipped with lively leeches or night crawlers are producing fish for others. Maintain contact with the bottom using walking sinkers or No Snagg sinkers in the ½ to ¾ ounce range. For rigging, we’ve learned that quality bait selections are the key. Larger, livelier leeches and plump, active crawlers are performing best. Move slowly over pods of fish and allow the live bait to do the work, the enticing natural action will coax the fish into striking.

Jig and minnow presentations continue to produce catches of walleye too. Jigging, our favorite presentation, calls for lively bait too. Right now, the fish appear to be showing a preference for shiners on a jig head. For mid-day jigging in deeper water, ¼ to ½ sizes are the most common weights. With heavier jigs, you don’t need to put a lot of extra action into the lure, a slow lift-swim-drop motion will entice strikes.

image of Justin Mast with big pikeJigging the weed edges is another good way to locate walleyes that are using the shade to help beat the summer heat. On the weedlines, light weight jigs tipped with night crawlers are an excellent presentation. Wiggle Worming, as it’s called combines the benefits of a compact jigging style presentation while the live bait offers the enticing rolling or “wiggling” motion that triggers walleye to strike. The Lindy Live Bait Jig in 1/16 or 1/8 ounce sizes is excellent for this presentation. We recommend this presentation for fishing the weed edges both early and late in the day, when fish are most active.

As you know, we offer guided fishing trips for all species. But right now is an excellent time to consider booking a “Trophy Only Guided Pike Fishing Trip”. We love to find the submerged weeds, break out the Suicks and help customers go for that one lunker of a lifetime.  It’s hard to guarantee that you’ll catch your personal best, but pike are active right now and your chances are good.

If you’d rather go it alone, look for submerged weeds and go for it. Casting the big wood Suicks is our favorite, but using big minnows suspended below a slip float puts a lot of big pike in the boat too. The key depth range for pike in the weeds is 6 to 10 feet of water.

Smallmouth Bass are up on the shoreline, most are cruising in search of food, but some remain on spawn beds. Anglers pursuing smallmouth have used a variety of presentations, but at the store, chatter baits have been a top seller recently. Small inline spinners, top water crankbaits and soft plastics are producing smallmouth too.

What are chatter baits? Stop by the store and we’ll show you and teach you what you need to know about using them.

Even if you’re not headed out fishing, you can still stop in to take a break from the heat. We’ve got the air conditioner set at a cool 68 degrees and there are 16 flavors of ice cream waiting for you. We’ve got plenty of ice and supplies too, whatever you need to make your trip to Kabetogama more fun and relaxing.

Remember to get the Fish Donkey App before you head out on the lake. You could win prizes for catching a big fish, who knows which one will be your lucky day?

And if you're checking in from home, please join us here for our fishing reports, on our facebook page or contact us at KAB Outdoors.

image links to KAB Outdoors Website KAB Outdoors "Lake Kabetogama Walleye Fusing Report" July 2, 2019 — Kent, Dawn and Kolby Keeler

image of Elliot Galpin with big walleye On Kabetogama, surface water temperatures are holding in the low 70 degree range. Insect hatches on the lake are sporadic, Mayfly hatches are showing up, but they are denser in some regions than in others. As insect larvae mature, fish get more serious about moving toward mid-lake structures that lay adjacent to soft bottom flats.

Not all of the fish move toward the mid-lake humps and bars though. There are still anglers catching fish in shallow water, particularly during the prime time, morning and evening periods.

Debra Galpin submitted this photo of her grandson Elliot, who appears to have had a darn good fishing trip. Galpin's note says; “He caught a 22 inch walleye, a 23-1/2 incher and 24 inch fish too, totally outdoing Grampa and Gramma. I did get the 24 inch walleye submitted in the KAB Gold fishing contest too."

Mainstay presentations are varied. For deeper water; Lindy Rigs and live bait are becoming more popular each day. Jig and minnow combinations can also be used effectively over deep structures. For Lindy Rigging, some anglers prefer leeches and others prefer crawlers; experimentation is the best way to determine the mood of the fish each day.  In our opinions, the best idea is to be flexible and carry some of each, rather than only one large supply of any single bait.

For Jigging, shiners and rainbows are the minnows of choice and jigs heads ranging from ¼ ounce to ½ ounce are most common.

There are more anglers trolling spinners out there too and we expect that presentation will gain in popularity as the water temperatures continue to rise. Right now, there are anglers “pulling blades” in shallower water. But spinners can also be adapted for fishing in deeper water as well. The sinker styles and weights vary depending on the water depth and terrain they are fishing.

Bullet sinkers can be used in shallow water areas to help the spinners running over the tops of rock, weeds or other structures. Bottom bouncers are popular, especially for people fishing deeper water structures.

image of big pike caught on kabetogama Spinner anglers usually tip the hook of their lures with fatheads, or night crawlers snipped in half. But we’ve got some artificial baits that work pretty well, be sure to ask for more ideas when you visit the store.

Jigging presentations are currently the most popular for prime time, early and late bite. Jigs and minnows and jigs tipped with crawlers are both producing fish. As far as minnows go, shiners or rainbows are definitely the best choices.

Smallmouth Bass have finally moved up to the spawning beds and are being caught in large numbers. Shallow rocky areas will produce plenty of fish and don’t overlook spots where bulrushes and rocks overlap. Bass love the variety of habitat.

Minnow style “stick baits”, plastic worms and swim baits will produce smallmouth bass in shallow cover.

Remember, whenever you stop at the store, we can help explain all of the presentations we talk about in these reports. We’ve got the right lures and the right bait to help keep you on top of the fishing trends that work best during your trip. Right now, we’ve got bulk leeches, night crawlers and plenty of minnows.

If your tackle box is already full, then just stop by for an ice cream cone and to share your fishing stories. Don’t forget too that we can help you get setup to enter the Kab Gold Fishing Contest. Who knows, you might win prizes for spending a nice day on the lake.

And if you're checking in from home, please join us here for our fishing reports, on our facebook page or contact us at KAB Outdoors.

image links to KAB Outdoors Website KAB Outdoors "Cool Water Extends Early Summer Fishing Patterns" June 24, 2019 — Kent, Dawn and Kolby Keeler

image of walleye caught by cork on Kabetogama Mother Nature may have been a little stingy about how she’s doled out warm, mid-summer weather. But so far this summer, she’s been more than generous when it comes to giving us great fishing!

Even though surface water temperatures remain in the mid-60 degree range, the solstice, summer’s longest day has come and gone. With its passing, walleye and pike have rounded the corner into summertime fishing patterns.

Walleye anglers have shifted their daytime focus to mid-lake structure. Kent calls them “humps and bumps”. You can call them what you like, but the reefs, rock piles and sunken islands that make up Kabetogama’s mid-lake structures are loading up with fish.

Locating fish on mid-lake structure isn’t hard; you’ll find fish hovering along the edges wherever there’s an irregular feature. Points, inside corners and transitions between rock and sand are all key locations. 

Key water depths range from 20 to 25 feet deep depending on the composition of the spot.

image of Angie Barnouse with big pikeLindy rigging using live night crawlers and leeches is the best presentation right now. At the moment, Kent prefers crawlers over leeches and says; “everything eats crawlers really well.” It’s not a bad idea to use a worm blower to inject a little air into your night crawler. The floatation not only helps keep your bait in front of the fish, where they can see it, but also helps reduce snags when you’re fishing the rocks.

During low light, prime time feeding periods, walleye anglers are returning to shallow water and putting the smack down on walleyes too. The feeding runs, especially during the evening are still intense.

Use your favorite presentation; Jig and minnow combinations and also slip bobbers will produce fish in the shallow water.

Large northern pike are cruising and being caught in the shallows too. In fact, they're even crusing the breakline in front of the docks at Driftwood Resort. Check out the photo of this 42 inch monster pike caught by of Angie Barnhouse; she caught it from the dock!

Weed edges are the prime location, but don’t overlook the tip of a small point or other less obvious structure. Pike love to set up an ambush and you’ll be surprised by how often you’ll get a strike by casting to a lone bolder, tree branch or other isolated object.

We still like casting for pike, especially throwing the big wood jerk baits. But there are a lot of fish caught by folks fishing with large, lively sucker minnows suspended below bobbers. There are several ways to get rigged up for “sucker fishing”, stop by the store and we’ll give you some great ideas about getting set up.

image of angler with big pike on kabetogama Many Smallmouth Bass are still in the shallows as males are babysitting the spawning beds. Female Smallies and males without day care duties can be found cruising along shoreline breaks and points that lead into deep water.

Pay special attention to areas that contain small rocks and transitions between rock and sand. Smallmouth feed heavily on crawfish and bottom dwelling minnows. If you focus your search on areas that are ‘good for crawfish”, then you’ll automatically find spots that are “good for smallmouth” too.

So far, we haven’t seen any major insect hatches. There have only been some sporadic mayflies along with some pine flies in the air.

Have you looked at the forecast? If it comes true, we’re liable to experience a full-scale transition into mid-summer patterns this week. With high temperatures in the 80s and stable conditions, the fishing action should do nothing but get better.

We’ve been thrilled to hear from folks who’ve been following the reports and we’ll keep ‘em coming. We’d like to invite you to be involved too; stop by the store and share your fishing stories, show us you pictures and sign up for the fishing contest. We’ll be looking forward to seeing you.

Join us here for our fishing reports, on our facebook page or contact us at KAB Outdoors.

image links to KAB Outdoors Website KAB Outdoors "Lake Kabetogama Fishing Updates" June 17, 2019 — Kent, Dawn and Kolby Keeler

image of 13 year old boy with big walleye and big pike Things have changed a little since we were teenagers, the fishing has gotten better. At least that’s what looking at these photos of super lucky 13 year old, Austin Cashdollar makes us believe. For many, it takes a lifetime to catch either a walleye or a northern pike of this caliber. But he caught both of them on a single evening fishing trip on Kabetogama.

It wouldn't be a surprise if we heard more stories about mixed bag captures like these because the weather continues to be unseasonably cool. This week’s forecast calls for daytime highs in the low to mid-sixties with cloudy condition. These will tend to hold surface temperatures down and encourage more fish to remain in spring and early summer fishing patterns.

What an extension of early summer walleye fishing patterns means to anglers is that there are likely to be more good fishing presentations that all work well at the same time. While jig and minnow presentations will remain effective, Lindy Rigging with leeches and night crawlers will gain momentum. Slip floats, combined with small jigs and live bait will be another good option this week, especially for folks fishing during twilight periods.

We’re seeing predictions of calm conditions over the next few days, so it’s a good idea to plan your daytime walleye fishing around deeper water. Fish extended shoreline points and breaklines into water depths ranging from 20 to 28 feet of water. Move shallower during evening hours or when the breeze picks up.

Don’t be afraid to experiment right now, this is the time of year when walleyes will shift back and forth between spring and summer patterns. Recently, using bottom bouncers and spinners has begun to produce fish in certain instances and wiggle worming has produced fish on some days as well.

image of rental pontoon If some of these presentations are new to you, don’t worry, stop in and let us give you a hand. We can show you the lures and baits that you’ll need and we can help point you in the right direction too.

Northern pike continue to inhabit shallow water and casting the big jerk baits is productive. Right now, there are a lot of smallmouths in the shallows too and sometimes their locations overlap with the pike. Anglers looking for extra action should try casting lures that can be fished slow or fast in and around cover on rocky points and patches of submerged vegetation.

Using floating stick bait style crankbaits, or action style plastic swim baits allows you to attract and trigger strikes from both pike and bass. You always have a chance at catching a big walleye on these presentations too.

Don’t forget about our new boat and pontoon rentals, we just added some brand new rigs to our fleet and they’re set up to help you catch more fish during your trip.

Our goal is to have everything you need for a safe and successful trip to Kabetogama. But having the right stuff doesn’t mean much without the knowledge about how to use it. That’s why we’re on hand to show you what you need, why you need it and how to use it. Whenever you’re in the neighborhood, we hope you’ll stop by.

Join us here for our fishing reports, on our facebook page or contact us at KAB Outdoors.

image links to KAB Outdoors Website KAB Outdoors "Change Is In The Air As Early Summer Fishing Patterns Emerge" June 10, 2019 — Kent, Dawn and Kolby Keeler

image of crappies in the grass Whether you’re packing a heavy duty 8 foot pike rod or a 6 foot ultra-light panfish rod, you'll be able to find a spot to use it on Kabetogama and Namakan this week.

Crappies have shown up in shallow water for their spring spawning ritual and are now being targeted by anglers. We've heard about some decent crappie catches coming in from Kabetogama, but by all accounts the action on Namakan has been hot.

Reconnaissance is the name of the game for locating active crappies during spring. Start out by finding shallow cover near shorelines and in protected bay areas around the islands. Under bright, sunny conditions, you can move along slowly and visually spot beds, sometimes even the fish themselves. But most of the time you'll have to fish your way to the right spots.

Lindy Live bait Jigs, either 1/8 or 1/16 ounce sizes, tipped with small fatheads and suspended about 3 feet below Thill floats is a good setup. In shallow water circumstance, Clip-on floats make a lot of sense because it only takes seconds to snap them on when we want them.

There are a lot of jigs out there, but the compact design of Lindy’s Live Bait Jig is good because it allows them to go pass through heavy cover much more easily than standard, longer shank jigs do. For example, one angler using a standard jig with a longer hook tends to get snagged in bulrushes more frequently than one using the more compact Live Bait Jig. It's a good trick to keep in mind when you have to fish in heavy cover.

One trick to working lures around cover like bulrushes is to cast, let the lure settle and the “pop it”. The commotion on the surface triggers curiosity and encourages crappies to come closer to see what’s happening. If nothing happens shortly after the lure settles, give it another pop and pause again. Fish the lures all the way back to the boat using this slow pop-pause-pop-pause retrieve.

image of kent keelerNorthern Pike action has heated up over the past week and some folks are pursuing those using big baits.

Kent has a passion for catching big pike by casting large, wood jerk baits like the Suicks. We’d encourage anybody who shares Kent’s passion for big pike and whose interesting in learning the ropes to stop by the store for a chat. We’ll show you the gear and the favorites lures for catching. Don’t forget, you can get your own firsthand information by booking a guide trip, there’s no better way to learn the lake than that.

Walleye fishing remains strong and fishing patterns we’ve mentioned over the past few weeks remain productive. Fish are being caught all over the map and in water depths ranging between 6 and 30 feet deep. Weather, time of day and wind conditions dictates where to fish at any given time. Looking back over our recent reports will be useful to help pin down detailed suggestions about walleye presentations. But in the meantime, these rules of thumb continue to apply:

  • Sunny and or calm conditions, fish the deep breaklines and shoreline points.
  • Windy and or overcast conditions, pitch jig and minnow combinations onto points in water depths from 4 to 12 feet.
  • During the evening, switch over to slip floats and fish shallow. Walleyes have been going on feeding frenzies in 3 feet of water any time after about 8:00 PM.

Jigs and shiners remain the bait presentation of choice, but folks are beginning to buy more leeches all of the time. While we haven’t begun using them ourselves, we do think that it’s a good time to start bringing some leeches along on your fishing trip. As water temperatures continue to rise, the leech season will be upon us.

image of alumacraft boat Speaking of water temperatures, they now range from the high 50 to low 60 degrees range, depending on the area of the lake and the conditions at the time.

One last note, we’ve picked up some really nice new rental boats and pontoons to add to our fleet.

We’ve got 3 new Alumacraft Shadow series boats with 115 HP Evinrude Etecs on them. There are 2 new pontoons and they’re rigged up with 115 HP Yamaha engines. Get in touch or stop by the store for all of the information.

We really appreciated the comments from people about the helpful advice and guidance that we’ve strived to provide them. Some folks mentioned the fishing reports, some mentioned the expert guidance they received in our store. Thank you, we’re glad that you’ve noticed and we’re planning to do even more.

Join us here for our fishing reports, on our facebook page or contact us at KAB Outdoors.

image links to KAB Outdoors Website KAB Outdoors "Water Warming, Summer Patterns Emerging" June 3, 2019 — Kent, Dawn and Kolby Keeler

image of kolby keeler with big walleye Slowly but surely, water temperatures are warming up and have reached into the mid 50’s in most areas on Kabetogama.

We’ve been watching the shallow water for Crappies, but so far it’s a little too cool for them to move into spawning position. Another week should be about right as long as the weather stays warm and it is predicted to do so. We’ll be sure to let you know when we see the early signs of life in the shallows.

Smallmouth Bass are cruising the shallows though, feeding and exploring, setting their sights on areas that they will use to spawn in the coming weeks. Anglers have begun targeting them and catching them in 2 to 6 feet of water.

Fishing with jigs and soft plastics is one mainstay presentation. Crankbaits that can be worked in shallow water are popular too. Fish shoreline areas where there’s small rock and sand mixed. Present lures slowly, allowing the bass plenty of time to see and respond to your presentation especially in the morning. As the water warms, they become more aggressive and presentations can be sped up to match their mood.

Walleye fishing during the daytime requires moving deeper now. Key depths are 20 to 30 feet deep and there are a high percentage of “keeper” fish along with a few larger ones. Jig and minnow combinations continue to be the most productive in deep water.

When the sun goes down, walleye action in the shallows gets hot. Fishing shallow points and shoreline breaks using slip floats remains the #1 presentation for our guests. Small jigs tipped with minnows continue to produce good catches of walleye during these prime-time evening runs.

We’re not hearing from many folks who are targeting pike. But there are plenty of fish available for folks who’d like to give them a try. In fact fishing for big pike is among Kent’s favorite things to do and he can give you awesome advice about how to target them on KAB.

No matter what you’re after, we’ve got a great selection of jigs, crankbaits, live bait rigs and plastics. Stop by the store on your way to the lake and talk with one of guides before you venture out.

And if you're checking in from home, please join us here for our fishing reports, on our facebook page or contact us at KAB Outdoors.

image links to KAB Outdoors Website KAB Outdoors "Anglers Report Good Memorial Weekend Fishing" May 29, 2019 — Kent, Dawn and Kolby Keeler

image of mike knutson with walleye Guests arriving for the Memorial Day Weekend kept us hustling at the store. Thanks to our great bait suppliers, we had plenty of what everyone needed to make it a successful weekend on the lake. Fishing reports from customers and resort guests were very good.

Typical of this holiday period, the weather was cold and blustery. Surface water temperatures remained cool; failing to rise above 50 degrees until after most of the weekend had passed. On Tuesday, the weather turned warm, sunny and calm. Those conditions forced the water to warm up and it finally hit the 60 degree mark for the first time this season. There will be fluctuations before 60 degree temperatures become permanent, but that’s a step in the right direction.

Walleyes and walleye fishing continued to dominate the conversation around the store. Most folks reported “steady” fishing action during the daytime, but the really good action occurred during low light periods. Early morning hours are good, but Kent says; “There’s been a screaming bite that starts at about 7:00 PM and lasts until well after dark.”

The best presentation for the night bite continues to be small jigs, tipped with minnows and suspended below a slip float. We like the Thill Splash Brite floats because they light up automatically when they hit the water. That saves time that would have been spent fumbling in the dark, replacing batteries and such.

image of joe engelkes with walleye Shallow water breaklines along shore and at the tips of rocky points continues to be the best low light locations. During the day, fish have been leaving the shoreline and holding deeper, 20 feet of water is roughly the magic number right now.

The best presentation for daytime, deep water fishing has been a ¼ ounce jig tipped with minnows. When it’s ultra-calm, a 1/8 ounce jig could be substituted to produce more of a “finesse presentation”. Instead of trolling over the fish, position your boat near the breakline and pitch your jig and minnow combos out and away from the boat. Work them back slowly using a hop-drop-swim motion.

Over the past week, folks have been happy to have and use Spottail Shiners; they have worked well. But this is the time of season when Spottail supplies will begin to dry up; primarily because of AIS regulations. Don’t worry, there are plenty of great alternatives available and our bait dealers have a reputation for keeping us well stocked. We will have plenty of fish catching live bait on hand.

Panfish and Bass will begin showing up in shallow water spawning haunts soon. Traditionally, surface temperatures need to reach about 60 degrees before they show up in good numbers. The forecast for that looks promising and it wouldn’t be a big surprise if we have some sightings by next week. We will definitely be watching for any evidence of spawning activity.

Be sure to stop at the store on your way to lake. We always have up to the minute guidance about developing trends and patterns. We can help steer you in the right direction to fish on your own, or we can set you up with a full service guided fishing trip.

Don’t forget about the KAB Gold fishing contest. You can win prizes for sending in photos of your catch and it’s easy to do. Get the free app for your phone, catch a fish, snap a picture and you’re entered. Follow the directions below.

image links to KAB Outdoors Website KAB Outdoors "Simple Techniques = Big Payoff On Kabetogama" May 20, 2019 — Kent, Dawn and Kolby Keeler

image of anglers fishing from dock Simple Techniques = Big Catches On Kabetogama

The weather was blustery and cold for weekend anglers, but for those who braved the elements, the payoff was big.

The surface temperatures were barely tickling 50 degrees before the cold snap moved in. Once is arrived, water temps fell solidly back below 50 degrees again, hovering in the 48 to 49 degree mark in most areas.

Any ill effects that the cold water might have caused were mitigated by strong winds and as a result, walleye fishing was excellent. One friend that checked in with us said that “the bite was off the charts”. For example, the guests down at Driftwood Resort reported Sunday that they’ve caught 75 walleye just off of the resort dock alone. That was late afternoon, before the evening bite even started, so the numbers probably got larger.

On the lake, we covered a lot of water and checked a lot of spots over the past few days. While there are some deep water options for walleye, we think that the shallow, rocky points are still the best option, especially for quality size fish. Don’t be afraid to pitch your lures onto rocks in 2 to 3 feet of water, even on calm days. Work them back down the rocky edges into water depths of 8 to 10 feet.

image of Lindy Live Bait JigFor the shallow water spots, 1/8 ounce jigs tipped with live bait is the standard presentation. We don’t worry about switching to heavier jigs until we intend to fish deeper than about 15 feet deep. Then we switch to ¼ ounce sizes, typically no larger than that. You don’t need to fish jigs aggressively; repeating a drop-hop-swim, drop-hop-swim retrieve works well.

Our supply of Spottail Shiners is good and that’s been a preferred minnow form many anglers. On Kabetogama though, you can never under estimate the ability of Rainbow Chubs to attract and trigger walleyes. On a fishing trip last Wednesday, Kent and his guest had shiners and used them, but caught most of their fish using rainbows instead. It’s not a bad idea to pack along some of each.

The Lindy Live Bait Jig is a good design for minnows. Because of the compact design, it allows you to fish in and around rocks without getting hung up as much as some other styles. But we also offer dozens of jig shapes and designs or folks who like to experiment with plastic and other artificials dressings as well. That’s one reason why we think it’s good to stop by our store on your way to the lake. It’s nice to get a jump start with knowledgeable staff that fish and actually use the techniques we’re telling you about.

Smallmouth Bass really started coming on strong over the weekend. They’re not in the shallows to spawn yet, but when the waves start crashing over the rocks, they move in to feed on crawfish and anything else that gets dislodged from the crevices. We’re not sure that anyone has targeted them or that you’d need to. If you’re fishing the shallow rocks, you’ll catch some as you move along.

image of smallmouth bass caught on KabetogamaNorthern Pike will grab your jig and minnow combos too. They’ll mostly be smaller, but sometimes even larger pike will come along unexpectedly. But you can target and catch larger pike; it is very popular with some of our customers and they’ve been doing really well.

Pike are done spawning, but they’re still hanging out in and around the shallow bays using whatever weed growth they can find for cover. Casting spinnerbaits, spoons and Bucktails will catch fish. But for a thrill, we like throwing big wooden jerk baits, like the Suicks. If you haven’t tried it, stop in at the store and ask about it, we’ll show you how to do it and what you’ll need to get started.

Crappies haven’t made the trip into shallow water yet. Except for a few random fish caught in deeper water, they haven’t shown up anywhere. For anglers heading toward Kabetogama on the Memorial Weekend, there’s a chance that they will show up in; it all depends on the weather.  We’ll be watching the weather and the shallow water for any sign of them.

Remember, if you’re in the area, stop in and see us. We’d love to scoop you an ice cream cone and chat about what’s going on out at the lake. And if you're checking in from home, please join us here for our fishing reports, on our facebook page or contact us at KAB Outdoors.

image links to KAB Outdoors Website KAB Outdoors "Impressive Season Startup On Kabetotgama" May 14, 2019 — Kent, Dawn and Kolby Keeler

image of angler with big walleye If the first few days of the fishing season are any indication of what’s to come, then the walleye fishing on Kabetogama will be impressive this summer. The bite was strong over the opener and fishing patterns were predictable.

Water temperatures are still pretty cold, 45 to 47 degrees is common and so far, we haven’t been able to document any temperatures over 50 degrees.

Walleyes are split up into 2 distinct groups right now. Larger fish, mostly females are relating to shallow shoreline structure. These fish are in water depths of 3 to 6 feet of water, located on sand bars and on the tips of rocky shoreline points.

The shallow water pattern probably isn’t the place to look for limits of fish, but it sure is fun.

Our customers have reported that in the shallows, the ratio of protected slot fish to keepers is fairly high; they are catching maybe 4 or 5 slots for each keeper fish. Kent has been sticking mainly to this shallow pattern; “I think it’s great to have a blast catching big walleyes all day long and still get to bring in a few fish for a meal, that’s a great outing to me.”

The people who are specifically targeting smaller fish are catching them in deeper water. The breaklines vary in depth around the lake and so do the walleyes, but 20 to 30 feet is the primary range. The challenge facing anglers in the deeper water is that the ratio of little fish vs. keeper fish is high. You could expect to find some eater size walleye in the 14 to 15 inch range, but there will be many smaller ones in the mix.

Fishing deeper water usually tilts the odds toward catching some sauger too, especially in areas where there’s a little current. We’ve heard reports of some sauger being caught and we had one customer come in with an impressive 2-1/2 pounder.

image of Trevin Johnson with big walleyeThere have been two main presentations, jig and minnow is the main one. Slip bobber fishing the shallow water is the other one.

Kent’s been fishing with Lindy Live Bait Jigs tipped with rainbows or golden shiners. Depending on the wind and water depth, the weight of your jig should vary. In the shallow water, jigs from 1/16 ounce on calm days to 1/8 ounce when there’s a breeze are the standard weights. In deep water, you can almost always use the ¼ ounce size, but there are times when jig weights of 3/8 or even ½ ounce may be necessary.  

We expected these patterns to be reliable and we gave some more details about presentations last week. Learn more by reviewing the report >> May 8, 2019.

There are a few crappie anglers hanging around and they have caught a few, but there’s nothing like a bonanza going on. Customers reported finding some fish suspended in deep water and did pick up a few. So far, we haven’t heard of any shallow water bite starting up.

What is starting to heat up is the northern pike action. There are numbers of smaller fish, 25 inches and down, mixed in with the walleyes in shallow water. We’re catching them on the same jig and minnow presentations we’re using for walleyes.

We really appreciated the comments from people about the helpful advice and guidance that we’ve strived to provide them. Some folks mentioned the fishing reports, some mentioned the expert guidance they received in our store. Thank you, we’re glad that you’ve noticed and we’re planning to do even more.

Our goal is to have everything you need for a safe and successful trip to Kabetogama. But having the right stuff doesn’t mean much without the knowledge about how to use it. That’s why we’re on hand to show you what you need, why you need it and how to use it. Whenever you’re in the neighborhood, we hope you’ll stop by.

Join us here for our fishing reports, on our facebook page or contact us at KAB Outdoors.

image links to KAB Outdoors Website KAB Outdoors "Stocked and Ready For The Lake Kabetogama 2019 Fishing Opener" May 8, 2019 — Kent, Dawn and Kolby Keeler

image of tackle shelves at bait shop The fishing season is upon us!

Typical of any fishing opener, we’ve been scrambling to get the shelves at the store stocked and ready to go for the opener. We’ve still got a little work to do, but the groceries are in, the liquor store is getting stocked today and we’re keeping an eye open for the rest of our live bait deliveries too.

We’re expecting the fishing opener to be fairly typical, but the water temperatures may be a little bit colder than average. Most walleyes are already finished spawning, but there may still be a few in the finishing stages of their run.

Anglers should expect most of the walleye action to occur shallow, in water depths ranging between 6 and 10 feet. Depending on weather and light conditions, fish may move even shallower, it wouldn’t be unusual to find them as shallow as 2 feet; we’ve seen that happen before.

A good starting approach will be using jigs in the 1/16 to 1/8 ounce range, tipped with minnows. Kent likes larger size minnows for early season fishing and says that it’s more important to have the right size than it is to have a particular species of minnow. Minnows from 3 to 4 inches are good and the closer to 4 the better. Fatheads, rainbows, shiners, even small sucker minnows will work if they fall into this size range.

Kent’s favorite presentation is pitching the jigs over the shallow tops of rock piles and shoreline points. Let the jig and minnow combos drop a couple of feet and then swim it back with a lift-drop-lift retrieve.

image of minnows on rulerWhen the shallow bite seems off, then slip out over the edge of the breakline and fish for walleyes holding deeper, in the 10 to 20 foot range. A 1/8 ounce jig will be heavy enough most of the time, but occasionally moving to heavier weights is helpful. Finding transition areas between sand and rock is helpful. In fact areas where there’s rock present, but contain mostly sand can be really good. A point leading out from the mouth of a bay that features a transition from sand to rock would be a good example.

The best presentation for these deeper fish is slow and methodical. Kent fishes his jig really slowly; almost dead stick style, dragging it just above the bottom.

On Kabetogama we like “glow” colors for our jigs. Glow/Blue and Glow/Pink combinations are good. Chartreuse Greens and Yellows are always popular too and when it sunny outside, gold jigs with lots of flash is deadly.

Slip bobber fishing for walleye is another super-effective presentation to keep in mind. Small jigs tipped with minnows and suspended below a Thill Slip Float will catch lots of fish, especially during the evening. Fish the lure of the top of shallow rock piles and shoreline points. Later in the season, leeches and crawlers will be okay on the slip bobbers, but for now, stick with minnows, they will work better.

The shiner supply for the opener is sketchy, we've usually been able to able to get a decent supply in time for the opener. But we’re on the edge of our seats right now waiting to hear from our minnow supplier.

Up here, water temperatures remain cold and migrations of minnows are slow to move toward shore. The weather hasn’t really played into the hands of minnow trappers, so we’re hoping that conditions turn more favorable over the next few days.

We know that shiners are popular and we’ll do our best to have them on hand. But if they don’t come in, don’t worry, our minnow tanks are stocked with plenty of fatheads and rainbows; they will definitely catch fish too. We’ve got the tackle section stocked up and we’re ready to see you this weekend. We’ll have everything you need for a great fishing opener! Join us here for our fishing reports, on our facebook page or contact us at KAB Outdoors. We’ll be looking forward to seeing you.

image links to KAB Outdoors Website KAB Outdoors "Lake Kabetogama 2019 Fishing Season Outlook" May 2, 2019 — Kent, Dawn and Kolby Keeler

image of the docks at kab outdoors We’re closing in fast on May 11th, Minnesota’s Walleye Fishing Season Opener and you can bet that nine days from now, the scene at our docks will look a little different than it does right now.

In preparation, it’s time to share the fishing outlook the 2019 fishing season on Kabetogama.

If there was ever a time to use the term “typical ice-out”, it would be now. The median ice-out date for Kabetogama is April 29th and according to the MN DNR Official ice-out map, KAB joined the list of ice-free lakes on, you guessed it, April 29, 2019.

Walleye spawning for the most part will be wrapped up before the opener and typical migrations will be occurring. Anglers should expect to find fish in a wide variety of locations, both shallow and deep.

Female fish don’t linger long in the shallows after spawning and many of them will have travelled to areas that provide both food and comfort.  They’ll tend to hold a little deeper, targeting an area where larger size forage is available.

image of lake kabetogama mapMale fish are slower to move away from spawning territory and there will probably still be good numbers of “eater size” fish holding close to especially good stretches of shoreline spawning structure. Other male fish will already be focusing on food, they’ll be cruising the nearby shoreline breaks and points in search of baitfish.

So where do walleyes spawn on Kabetogama? “They spawn everywhere”; says MN DNR Area Fisheries Supervisor, Kevin Peterson. “Kabetogama is unique in terms of spawning structure. There are 190 miles of shoreline and numerous stretches of it contain ideal spawning habitat for walleyes. Unlike lakes that have a major river or destination spawning grounds, Kabetogama  offers fish suitable spawning areas in a wide variety of locations”; Peterson added.

Peterson; “Kabetogama isn’t exactly like other lakes in our region. It’s a blend between the deeper, more sterile Canadian Shield waters and a more fertile, glacial lake. Kabetogama actually connects to portions of the Lake Agassiz Peatlands that run northwest from here. The Tanin stained water has color, but is "semi-clear" and nearly 1/3 of its water is shallower than 15 feet. The shallower, more fertile water warms faster than other lakes in the region, provides more nutrients for fish and baitfish and encourages faster growth rates.”

For 2019, walleye populations are slightly above the historical median, so anglers who have fished Kabetogama before shouldn’t notice any dramatic differences. First time anglers will enjoy exploring the wide range of “fish-able” locations.

image of kolby keeler with big walleye Walleye size regulations are changing for 2019. The previous 17 to 28 inch protected slot size is being replaced with a new 18 to 26 inch protected slot. Peterson; “Over time, the lake has built a large population of larger fish, that’s why we’re adjusting the slot regulation. There are still a lot of fish in the 14 to 17 inch range too and anglers shouldn’t have too much trouble gathering fish for a meal, especially during the early season. There are lots of smaller fish too, the evidence points to strong year classes of fish from both the 2015 and 2016 seasons.”

Kabetogama’s walleyes love live bait. Jig and minnow combinations, Lindy Rigs and slip floats are all good presentations and in many cases, more than one presentation will work at the same time. That gives anglers some freedom to choose their favorite lures and live bait, knowing that there’s a good chance that they will probably work.

On Kabetogama, the walleye is king and most anglers will target them throughout the summer. But there are strong populations of other species and anglers are becoming increasingly interested in them.

Yellow Perch have shown up at or near record levels in recent DNR test netting. Not only are the numbers strong, but size structure is very good. Anglers who target them should be able to catch reasonable numbers of fish ranging in size from 10 to upwards of 12 inches.

Northern Pike fishing should be good this season too. Peterson; “Kabetogama offers excellent pike fishing and catching fish 40 inches and larger are not uncommon.” A snippet from the 2018 fisheries lake survey says; “The gill net catch of Northern Pike was 1.9 fish per net, less than the historic average and less than the 2017 catch rate. Gill net catches of Northern Pike have historically been variable at a low level on Lake Kabetogama. Northern Pike grow relatively fast and reach large and even trophy sizes.”

Don’t expect to catch tons of pike every day, but if the pursuit of quality fish is your passion, then you should definitely give pike fishing a try.

image of boxes stacked up at KAB OutdoorsSmallmouth Bass aren’t native to Kabetogama but they got in there somehow and these days there’s a growing population. The average size has become interesting to anglers, with a lot of fish in the 18 to 20 inch range.

"Needle in a haystack", is the term that best describes crappie fishing on Kabetogama. The population is large enough to provide great fishing for anglers who get on them. Don’t expect to find them in every corner of the lake, but if you locate them, you’ll have a good chance to catch fish ranging in size from 12 to 15 inches.

Other species you could encounter include sauger, sturgeon, whitefish and ciscoes. There are also over 2 dozen baitfish species in the lake and they provide food for all of those gamefish.

We’re really looking forward to another "typically good" fishing opener and we’ll be sure to share updates about trends and fishing patterns as they develop. When you’re in the neighborhood, be sure to stop in at KAB Outdoors, we're unloading boxes and stocking the shelves right now; we’ll have everything you need for a great fishing trip on our favorite lake, Kabetogama.

Join us here for our fishing reports, on our facebook page or contact us at KAB Outdoors. We’ll be looking forward to sharing our stories with you.

image links to KAB Outdoors Website KAB Outdoors "Transitioning Between Seasons" April 24, 2019 - Kent, Dawn and Kolby Keeler

image of ice conditions at Kabetogama Lake For us, the ice fishing season was hectic, the ice conditions were challenging and all told, this winter was a long one. As we look back, there were a lot of great memories made this winter and we’ll be sharing some of the highlights with you next week. Right now we have a little catching up to do first.

You’d think that the gap between the ice fishing season and the upcoming open water season would offer some welcome relaxation. But this year, the “down time” has been anything but quiet.

An opportunity came knocking at our door and we opened it. A small family resort on Lake Kabetogama came on to the market and we decided to buy it. We’re almost done with all of the technical paperwork stuff. So as soon as the “i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed”, we’ll begin updating and modernizing the cabins.

We probably won’t begin trying to book cabins until after the renovations are complete, but our goal is to get the resort up and running as quickly as we can. Most of the work will be done before mid-summer and we will keep you posted about the progress.

In the meantime, we’re watching ice conditions on Kabetogama and as you see in our photo, the news is good. Today, ice covers most of lake, but the ice is already dark and sloppy. We’re thinking that it won’t last much more than 5 or 6 more days, a week at the most.

If the warm weather trend continues, walleyes will probably be done spawning and beginning to migrate back into the lake by the fishing opener. It’s really too soon to make a hard prediction about that, but we’ll be keeping the reports updated so you can track the fishing trends for yourself.

While we’re navigating the transition between seasons, we’d like to invite you to stay in touch with us. Join us here for our fishing reports, on our facebook page or contact us at KAB Outdoors. We’ll be looking forward to sharing our stories with you.