Another trip to Lake Kabetogama

I just returned from my most recent trip to Kabetogama Lake in northern Minnesota. Kab is a 25,000 acre lake that has lots of islands. Lots of islands means that you can almost always find a place to fish regardless of wind conditions. Kab has a tremendous walleye population and is also home to smallmouth bass, crappies, northern pike, and perch. There are several reasons why I return to Kab almost annually.

First off, it’s the fishing. Walleye action on Kab is usually very good and much of the time it’s outstanding. There’s a slot limit on walleyes on Kab which explains the world class fishing. Walleyes in the slot must be released, and in the course of the day, you’re going to be putting a good number of pretty good-sized walleyes back. But you’re also going to catch plenty of sixteen inchers that are perfect for eating. On Kab, like on a good number of other lakes in Minnesota, fishing for walleyes is better now than it was twenty years ago because of slot limits.

Perch fishing on Kabetogama Lake seems to be getting better also, and these are big perch, eleven to fourteen inchers. Fat too! One perch is a meal for one person. When I started going to Kab about fifteen years ago it was unusual to catch a perch. Now we get them regularly.

On my most recent trip to Kab it was late July, typically not the best time for walleye action on a lot of lakes. But we caught lots of walleyes. The key was fishing the deeper structures. All of our fish came from twenty five to thirty two feet of water, and they showed a definite preference for leeches on live bait rigs. Our live bait rigs were very basic: A four foot, eight pound test snell with a number six short-shank hook. Very basic, very effective.

The sinker that I used made a difference in how many fish I caught. It was a Rock-Runner Slip Bouncer. This sinker goes on a sleeve that slides on your line. The sliding sleeve allows an angler to feed some line to the walleye as it eats the leech, but it also allows sinker weights to be changed quickly. If you go deeper or shallower, the sinker can be popped off the sleeve and another sinker of the appropriate size can be put in place. No need to cut and re-tie just to change sinker weight.

These sinkers also come in a variety of colors, and in some cases the color is an attractor. On the first day of our trip, I out-caught my fishing partner by quite a bit, and the colored sinker was the only thing different in our presentation. There are times when colored sinkers catch more fish.

Kabetogama Lake has mostly undeveloped shorelines, although there are a few resorts. You can find resorts that are basic and others that are very nice. They all have different appeal, so you can find whatever you want.

The real appeal to me on Kabetogama Lake though, is the fishing. You’ll catch lots of fish of a variety of species. You’ll catch plenty to eat while you’re there, and you’ll probably also catch some to take home. You’ll also catch plenty of walleyes that will go back in the lake. That’s so all of us who enjoy visiting Kab will have lots of walleyes to catch next year and the next year and the next and so on.

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