Crappie Fishing Strategies For Kabetogama and Namakan

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Crappies are one of the most sought after species of fish in Minnesota. There are a couple of reasons for this. One is because they are always so eager to take the bait and then they put up a nice struggle for their size. This makes fishing for them fun, entertaining and perfect for anglers of all ages and skill levels. The other reason they are so popular is because the sweet-tasting fillets of the crappie are simply delicious.

The state record for the black crappie in Minnesota weighed five pounds and the white crappie
was a little less than four pounds. These catches were very impressive for this species of fish because crappies normally don’t grow much larger than two or three pounds. A little less than two pounds is the average weight for a crappie.

 

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Cold and Snow

We had a temp of -22 last night and NOAA site says -24 tonight, great for making ice. Ice fishing is just beginning, and I’ll be out this morning around Bittersweet, Three Sisters and Pine Island. These have always been great early season walleye and sauger hotspots. Crappie can sometimes be good at Bittersweet right now. I have a new Otter Outdoors Pro XT1200 Cabin Ice Shelter that I can tow behind the Ranger or, when the snow gets deeper, the Ski-Doo Cross Country snow machine. I’ll post some pictures of todays catch later this evening.

 

Smallmouth Bass On Kabetogama and Namakan

Smallmouth bass are regarded as the hardest fighting freshwater fish.  It is also often referred to as the brown bass, brownies, bronzebacks, smalls and smallies. Many anglers love the challenge of catching these aggressive fish and the great feeling after a well-fought battle.

Smallmouth bass thought by most people to be the sportiest freshwater fish. They are known for their fighting stamina and beyond belief leaping ability. Like largemouths, they will take almost any kind of lure or bait, but they commonly prefer smaller sizes.  Favorites include jigs, crankbaits, spinners, streamer flies, shiner minnow, crayfish, hellgrammites, leeches, and nightcrawlers.

The jaw of a smallmouth bass, which extends directly below the eye, is smaller compared to that of a largemouth bass.  Its cheeks have from twelve to seventeen rows of scales and the dorsal fins are joined with ten spines and thirteen to fourteen soft rays.

It is golden bronze or brown in color, with a lighter, more creamy underbelly that the largemouth which has a greenish one.  It has vertical dark bands or marks on the sides and its eyes have a dash of red.

Most smallmouth weigh between 1 and 1.5 and they can run as high as 4 or 5 pounds.

In Lake Kabetogama and Namakan, August and September can provide some fantastic fishing for trophy smallmouth.  Try fishing around the rocky islands in 20-25 feet of water with a plastic lure such as a Mister Twister, Fuzzy Grub, etc.  Small Rapalas can also be deadly for bass.  Favorite locations on Kabetogama include Sugarbush Island (I prefer the west side from the houseboat site south),  Cutover Island, mainly along the east side and Ship Wreck Islands.

Fall Crappie On Lake Kabetogama

As summer comes to an end, the thought of cooler temperatures and crisp mornings start occurring in the minds of most anglers and outdoor enthusiasts. This is the time of year when most people start cleaning their guns and get ready for the opening day of deer archery, small game and duck season. What most people do not realize is this is the time to score BIG on fall crappie.
Fall crappie fishing can be some of the most exciting and predictable fishing there is! As the water temperatures start to drop, crappie start feeding in preparation for winter. They start gorging themselves minnows. What is so unique about this behavior is the fish prefer areas that have easy access to deep water but yet have the choice of shallow water for feeding purposes. One of my favorite areas for September/October crappies is Sullivan Bay and the mouth of the Ash River on Lake Kabetogama. The crappies have started and they are big. We got some last week that went over 15”. The recent cool weather seems to have turned them on early.

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DNR conservation officers using dogs to detect zebra mussels

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will be using three zebra mussel-sniffing K-9 teams for the first time this year to help combat the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS).

Minnesota is the second state in the country to use trained dogs to prevent the spread of AIS. They will be used throughout the state during the open water season.

A video of the dogs is available: http://youtu.be/lHk-aVQebhw.

 

“The use of K-9s is a progressive enforcement tool that will complement and support our invasive species prevention efforts,” said Col. Jim Konrad, DNR Enforcement director. “However, they should not overshadow the fact that preventing the spread of AIS is still everyone’s personal responsibility.”

Earlier this year, conservation officers Todd Kanieski and Travis Muyres traveled to California to learn about the country’s first program successfully utilizing mussel trained K-9’s to prevent the spread of AIS.

“A K-9 can find a mussel on a boat much faster than a human inspector,” said Kanieski.

The Minnesota mussel dogs were trained in-house for five weeks by Muyres, an experienced K-9 handler and certified K-9 unit trainer.

Muyres’ K-9 mussel team partner “Laina” is a Belgium Malinois purchased from a domestic breeder. The other teams include water resource enforcement officers Lt. Julie Siems and her K-9 partner “Brady” and Lt. Larry Hanson and his K-9 partner “Digger.” Siems’ and Hanson’s dogs are Labrador retrievers provided by animal shelters and animal rescue organizations.
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[WATCH]: When a Birdfeeder Becomes a Bear Feeder


Rating: 4
A Black Bear rips down our birdfeeder and eats everything. There is one more stop before he leaves.

2014 Minnesota Fishing Opener

The 2014 Minnesota Fishing Opener is Saturday, May 10, 2014. With the way this winter is going, we might be ice fishing. If you are coming up to Kab and need some spots to try, here are a few. The west end will be the best. Try Tom Cod Bay up in the weeds in 5-6 feet with a 1/8th ounce jig and minnow. Three Sisters Island is one of the top early season spots, just look for the boats. Bald Rock Bay in 15-18 feet is a good spot. Harris Island is always a good opener spot. Fish shallow for the trophies and move deeper for the keepers. Bittersweet Island with a jig and minnow on the north side out to the channel marker is sometimes real hot. The southwest corner of the island can be good for Crappie in the evening.

May 1, 2014- Ice is real thin, with more and more open water every day.  We should be ice free or close to it by the 10th.

 

Voyageurs National Park Winter Ice and Trail Conditions Report

Updated: February 3, 2016

All snowmobile trails and portages are being groomed with the small groomers.

Pressure ridges have settled down this week and have not been moving for the time being but continue to be monitored.

There are some small pockets of slush that formed over the weekend. They are not deep and currently do not present a hazard. The pockets should firm up with this colder weather.

Ski and snowshoe rentals are now available at the Rainy Lake Visitor Center.

Please check back, or like our facebook page for the most up-to-date conditions. Thank-you.

**Voyageurs National Park facebook page is a public page, one does not have to have an account to access and view postings.

Snowmobile Trails

International Falls to Kettle Falls (Purple Trail) – Open, Staked
Rainy Lake/Black Bay to Kabetogama Lake to Ash River (Green Trail) – Open, Staked
Ash River to Crane Lake (Green Trail) – Open, Staked
Chain of Lakes (Dashed Black Trail) – Open, Staked
Ash River to Kettle Falls (Yellow Trail) – Open, Staked
East Namakan Lake to Sand Point Lake (Blue Trail) – Open, Staked
Rudder Bay (Orange Trail) – Open, Staked

***Please remember the snowmobile speed limit within the park is 45 mph on frozen lake surfaces and 25 mph on all overland portages. Speed limit signs are posted at trailheads and overland portages.

Ice Roads

Rainy Lake Ice Road- Open to Cranberry Bay and around to the North side of Dryweed
Kabetogama Lake Ice Road- Open from Kabetogama boat launch to Ash River boat launch and Sphunge Island loop

Ski Trails

Echo Bay Ski Trail- Open, packed, tracked
Black Bay Ski Trail- Open- Birch (novice) Loop: packed, tracked- Pine (Intermediate) Loop: packed- Ridge (Advanced) Loop: open
Tilson Connector Trail- Open, packed, tracked
KabAsh Trail- Open

Snowshoe Trails

Black Bay Beaver Pond Trail- Open
Blind Ash Bay Trail- Open, packed
Oberholtzer Trail- Open, packed
Sullivan Bay Trail- Open, packed

Snowshoe and Cross-Country Ski loans are available at the Rainy Lake Visitor Center.

March 3

In response to a recent lone wolf sighting in the Ash River area, Voyageurs National Park staff have rerouted sections of the park’s snowmobile trails.

The wolf appears to be alone with no pack and has followed three snowmobilers. In order to ensure visitor safety, park staff are taking precautions by monitoring the wolf and re-routing small sections of the park’s Green and Yellow Trails. (more…)

Smallmouth Bass Fishing On Lake Kabetogama

When fishing Lake Kabetogama, or in the connected lakes such as Namakan, smallmouths are sometimes caught shallow, but they are seldom more than 10-20 yards away from deep water.

Everywhere we go, we see the majority of bass anglers beating the shoreline, and as this may work for largemouth bass most of the time, if you are after big smallmouth bass, turn around and cast to the open water rather than beat the shore.
Unlike largemouth, smallmouth often group together by size. We found that if we were catching smaller fish, in the eleven to fourteen inch range, we rarely caught a big one in the same area.

On the other hand, when we caught a smallmouth that was
about four or five pounds, many times there were several that size and even larger swimming right along with them. Big largemouth bass are loners, usually found by them on the best piece of structure, while larger smallmouth bass will often school together. There are several things that tell you that smallmouth bass are much better suited for strong current than largemouth. For one, their pointed noses and the sharp angle of their fins are indicators that they are more suited to current. They often get behind a rock or stump and rush out to feed.
In Kabetogama, try fishing the Shipwreck Islands, the east end of Cutover Island and Sugarbush Island. In Namakan, Squaw Narrows, Mica Island and the points up in Mica Bay can be great. Namakan Island has more good spots for the fisherman to try. When fishing Namakan, a good GPS is useful to always know where the US-Canada border is.

Kabetogama Ice Fishing Report 2/15/2012

Ice fishing is still pretty good. We have to be a bit more patient as we can see the fish on the camera but have to tease them into biting. 24-42’ with a gold 1/8oz jig and minnow seems to do the trick as well as your favorite jigging Rap. 16-18’ is seeing some nice action early in the morning and late in the evening as well. We’ve now got close to 2 feet of ice and the lake road from the Kabetogama Visitor Center to the Ash River landing has really been great! The park service has all the trails open for snowmobiling also.

Up at the Ash River a mix of shallow and deep waters is needed for the most action. Early morning and late evening 17-21’ and mid day in 35-45’ has proven successful. Using anything that glows for walleye and sauger has worked. The crappie bite continues to be strong! Try across from the Ash River opening over by the opening into Lost Lake.