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Kab/Nam Daily Updates

  • xplorer
    Participant
    Cloquet, MN
    Posts: 530
    #1958293

    Love the pics of the kiddos having fun!!

    Heading to Rainy in a week but it’s now a pure family fun trip with the son and girlfriend coming. Last year she caught her first dozen walleyes ever on a trip to Kab, so this year I gotta find her a big fish on Rainy.

    Glad you had a great week, it really is an awesome area to “Xplorer”.

    TMF89
    Participant
    Posts: 310
    #1958312

    Weekender, first off I’m glad to hear you had a good trip, and thanks very much for the detailed reports. Having said that, my group will be heading up next weekend to spend a week fishing out of Sunset Resort right down the river from where you stayed. Again, I really appreciate the information you’ve already given, but did you find any other overall tendencies or trends that put fish in the boat? It sounds like they’re still fairly shallow for this time of year, based off what research I’ve been able to do? I saw you mentioned that you didn’t have much luck on isolated, main-lake reefs, were most of your fish caught on structure that was relatively close to shore, or at least not off in the middle of the basin? Thanks again.

    Weekender
    Participant
    Southcentral MN
    Posts: 410
    #1958351

    Yep, most all our fish came from structure that was either extending from the main shoreline, or extending from island shorelines. There were fish on the offshore reefs out in the middle of no-man’s land, but for whatever reason, these fish were just not that aggressive.

    The first couple days we tried areas within a mile of where you come out of the Ash Narrows. This was a bit of a mistake IMO because everybody does that and those fish are super pressured. Fishing was MUCH better once we got a few miles from the Ash Narrows in either direction (Kab or Nam).

    Before our trip, I studied my map chip a lot. I found many good looking spots. One thing I didn’t realize until being up there…a lot of these spots were right on or along the main travel paths…the red line on my map chip that shows the recommended line of travel through the lakes. Well, with all the traffic up there, fishing those areas was like trying to fish in a washing machine! Boats constantly zipping by with waves rocking you all the time. I “wasted” a great many hours the first 2 to 2.5 days on these spots until I made a wholesale change in my approach.

    So my suggestion is to get away from the resorts and get off the beaten path. Find some quieter water where the fish aren’t getting pounded or driven over like it’s the Daytona 500. If you can do that I think you’ll find fish that are much more cooperative.

    As for presentations, I found crawler harnesses worked best most of the time. Spinner & bead color didn’t seem to matter, but speed around 1mph did. Lindy rigged leeches worked well too, especially in deep water (20ft or more). But anything under 20ft and harnesses ruled the roost for us. Jig/crawler worked ok when fished less than 13ft. 1/8oz in the watermelon color scheme was best, and any jig with chartreuse after that. Minnows didn’t produce much at all for us. Weedlines didn’t produce much either and I did spend time fishing weedlines in areas where deep water was nearby thinking fish might come from the deep or out from the weeds for a quick snack, but it just didn’t happen for me. Water temps were 78 to 82, and that might have forced the fish deeper. Sometimes the fish we caught were warmer than the outside air!

    Most of the fish we found were on the structure edges. So for a bar or reef, we didn’t find much on top in the middle of the bar/reef, but on top on the edge right where it dropped to deeper water. Or, the fish would be tight to the bottom edge where the reef met the bottom flat of the lakebed (toe of the reef slope).

    Lastly, I took the approach suggested by others here and by watching the Jason Mitchel videos when he fished Kab with Tim Snyder. Drive around the structure until you mark fish. Waypoint those fish, then fish the waypoints. Don’t fish them hard and long though. If they aren’t biting, they aren’t in the mood to eat at that particular time. Move on to the next structure and do the same. If you only mark a fish or two, it might not be worth your time. And if you don’t mark anything, don’t fish the structure! Fish the fish and you’ll find your days to be more productive. It can be maddening doing all that idling around looking for fish. Believe me! I’m a guy who firmly believes that if your line isn’t wet, you ain’t gonna catch a fish! BUT, if you’re patient and persevere by driving around to find fish, you’ll catch far more than just wetting a line.

    So, that’s my long-winded response. Hahaha! I hope it’s helpful though and perhaps can save you the time and effort that I expended our first 2 to 2.5 days up there.

    Good luck and go get’em! waytogo

    Weekender
    Participant
    Southcentral MN
    Posts: 410
    #1958354

    Oh, I should mention as well…

    A few times we passed guides while idling through the river. All of their rods were rigged up with bottom bouncers. So my guess is they are trolling spinners or rigs with crawlers or leeches. I wasn’t “brave” enough to visit with them while they were gassing up at our camp either, but again, they must be out there somewhere trolling with either spinners or rigs.

    Dutchboy
    Participant
    International Falls a few miles from Rainy Lake
    Posts: 13189
    #1958363

    You are correct, fishing the freeway up there can be tough. But, it’s surprising the number of people who will drop a boatload of cash coming up only to want to conserve gas. That and the fear of hitting a rock keeps many close to the travel route. Lots of people make the run to Kettle Falls especially if they have the family with them at least once per trip. Other than that they seldom get off the beaten paths.

    Lots of fish and lots of area’s to fish in. Travel and gas is required although very good fish will be caught off of the docks every year.

    TMF89 enjoy your trip!!

    TMF89
    Participant
    Posts: 310
    #1958517

    Weekender, that was possibly the most helpful response I’ve ever seen! Thanks very much for all that detailed information! I really appreciate the information on locations, as well as confirming something I was wondering about: if it would be worth time fishing all those deep narrow stretches in between the lakes! It seems like there’d be a ton of good current and structure there, but I was wondering that same thing about traffic. Did you explore the farther ends of the main lakes much? I’ve been tempted to try to run to the far east side of Namakan as soon as possible, just on the theory that it’s the most physically remote area of the two lakes (I did notice you mentioned wanting to try the My island area!) Also, overall did Kab or Namakan show much of a difference in fishing? I’ve heard that Namakan heats up as the summer goes on, but it sounds like the fish are moving pretty decently behind schedule this year, based off of what research I’ve been able to do.

    Thanks for the information on presentations as well. Was worried that spinners and bouncers would be the ticket (my dad and grandfather are spoiled and used to dragging 1/4 oz jigs on fly-ins up in NW Ontario), but we’re prepared for pretty much anything. I am planning on trying to bring up several dozen chubs as a secret weapon, I’m hoping the livelier minnows might produce some solid results!

    Did you notice much of a change in spots/depths/preferred presentations depending on the time of day or conditions? Obviously I’m expecting to move deeper/shallower as the day goes on, just wondering how much I should expect to have to do that.

    I’m sure I’ll think of other things to over-analyze and bug you about, thanks again for all the help!

    Weekender
    Participant
    Southcentral MN
    Posts: 410
    #1958528

    Yeah I didn’t get to the far ends of either lake and I was really hoping to get to the east end of Namakan. I’ve been told the east end can be good, but just never got there mostly due to unstable weather (rain, lightning, wind).

    Overall, Kab maybe had a slight edge especially on the bigger fish, but the numbers were pretty close. Although, I probably spent a little more time on Kab so that may have slanted the numbers too. They are about equal.

    Jigs did produce some fish, but the spinners and rigs were better for us. I love love love jig fishing. It’s my favorite thing to do. But others in my boat were doing better with the other presentations and I wasn’t about to let them outfish me! Haha! (Just kidding)

    Sunny, calm days seemed to keep the fish deeper no matter what time of day (20ft to 35ft). Sun with wind we found them shallower any time of day (15ft to 25ft). Clouds with wind and we found them as shallow as 7ft on the points and islands all day long (7ft to 15ft).

    Pinch points/saddles between islands/rocks/shore held fish, but not the ones close to the Ash Narrows area. These areas were better when off the beaten path further away from any main travel path.

    Also, if you have a good map chip, look at those more subtle humps in the middle of bays or nearby the main shoreline. They aren’t your big obvious humps that go from like 35ft up to 20ft or 15ft (which I’ve shown in one picture). It’s those smaller, more subtle humps that rise maybe 5ft to 8ft or so vertically. It isn’t your big, drastic vertical change, nor are they large in size horizontally, but often times its rocks and they’ll hold fish too. Not everybody fishes these types of humps. What I saw was most people focusing on the large scale humps. Not to say the large ones aren’t worth it, but you’ll likely have company… even on the small ones I’ve found out. Lol

    Here are a few examples (1 of the large, popular humps fished by multiple boats and 3 subtle ones bypassed by everybody but us)…

    Attachments:
    1. 20200719_223657.jpg

    2. 20200719_222343.jpg

    3. 20200719_224135.jpg

    4. 20200719_222305.jpg

    Weekender
    Participant
    Southcentral MN
    Posts: 410
    #1958533

    One other thing to note… we were able to pick off 2 to 8 fish on a spot, but then it would slow. So we would hop from spot to spot once we went a couple passes without a solid bite or fish. I know there’s got to be spots where you could really lay into them throughout the day, we just didn’t find it the week we were there. Being new to the lake, there was a substantial amount of time spent trying to find fish, learning the lakes, trying to put a pattern together.

    I’m no expert, guide or tournament pro, so it takes me some time to figure things out. My wife thinks so too (about everything)! rotflol doah

    Dutchboy
    Participant
    International Falls a few miles from Rainy Lake
    Posts: 13189
    #1958543

    For a first timer you did well. Lots of water that all looks fishy.

    mnfisherman18
    Participant
    Posts: 234
    #1958619

    Awesome reports Weekender, nice job putting together a pattern on those fish.

    It was an off year for us, fishing pressure/boat traffic was definitely as high as we have seen it. I think we should have worked harder at getting off the beaten path to find less traveled spots.

    We caught fish on a variety of tactics – cranks, lindy rigs, and bobbers, but it was fairly slow going and we never put together a solid pattern. Bouncers and spinners yielded basically nothing for us the whole weekend, and I likely stuck with them for too long. Also had lots of “theres nice marks here how are we not catching fish” moments. Oh well, still had an awesome time up there.

    Weekender
    Participant
    Southcentral MN
    Posts: 410
    #1958627

    We had plenty of moments like that too! Sometimes 2-3 fish under the boat, up 1 to 2 feet off the bottom. GOTTA be active feeders right? Dang! I tried parking over them with a leech and nothing. Would switch over to my jigging rod & snap jig them hoping for a reaction bite and nothing. Just maddening sometimes.

    Dusty Gesinger
    Participant
    Minnetrista, Minnesota
    Posts: 2413
    #1958754

    Did you try a jigging rap?

    Weekender
    Participant
    Southcentral MN
    Posts: 410
    #1958757

    No, I don’t own any.

    Dusty Gesinger
    Participant
    Minnetrista, Minnesota
    Posts: 2413
    #1958779

    Definitely get some for your next trip.

    TMF89
    Participant
    Posts: 310
    #1959434

    Thanks again for all the information guys. On water that big, I’m definitely a believer in fishing fish and not just structure, so I’m sure my dad and grandpa will be wondering why we spent the last half hour zipping between and idling through a bunch of different spots without wetting a line. Appreciate the tip on focusing on secondary structure as well. I’m guessing we’ll start with lindy rigs and jigs, but I’ll be ready to pull spinners with or without bouncers, as well as troll cranks or pop jigging raps. The weather looks almost too good, with temps in the mid-high 70s with slight wind and clouds both days, so if nothing else at least we should (hopefully) be pretty comfortable!

    Dutchboy
    Participant
    International Falls a few miles from Rainy Lake
    Posts: 13189
    #1959457

    Have fun, I’m heading out tonight. Maybe i’ll bump into you this weekend.

    Weekender
    Participant
    Southcentral MN
    Posts: 410
    #1959639

    Good luck to the both of you up there! Wish I could fish those lakes on a more regular basis.

    TMF89
    Participant
    Posts: 310
    #1960264

    Thanks again guys. Dutch, if you see a gray Lund Impact 1775 XS with a 115 Pro XS and kicker on the back, swing by!

    Dutchboy
    Participant
    International Falls a few miles from Rainy Lake
    Posts: 13189
    #1960379

    I swung by didn’t see you. Hope you are having fun. I’ll shoot you a pm with my cell number. Call if you want to meet up in the morning.

    Dutchboy
    Participant
    International Falls a few miles from Rainy Lake
    Posts: 13189
    #1960590

    Think I saw your rig on the trailer parked in front of the Lodge around 2pm as I was leaving.

    Nice looking boat!

    Weekender
    Participant
    Southcentral MN
    Posts: 410
    #1960628

    Not that it matters much anymore, but I was looking at Kabetogama stuff on the web tonight and sure enough, the guy (big red glass Lund) that came in and spotlocked on the small spot my dad & I were getting them is a long time, apparently well known fishing guide on Kabetogama.

    I guess if anything, it shows that my dad and I were doing something right (and I guess wrong too). jester

    TMF89
    Participant
    Posts: 310
    #1961259

    Thanks for the compliment Dutch, I’m loving it so far!

    Unfortunately the fishing is almost as tough as could be. We’ve caught a couple 13-14″ walleye so far this week, but didn’t even get one yesterday. One 30″ pike and maybe half a dozen small bass were all we could do. Our two other boats did about the same, and everyone else at the resort have been struggling as well. We’ve spent most of our time jigging or rigging, and tried all kinds of points, shoreline breaks, and islands. It’s been pretty windy, so my spot choice has been centered around staying out of that, as well as trying to get off the beaten path.

    Today the wind’s supposed to lay down a bit, so we’ll probably try some main lake reefs (even though most people I’ve talked to said they’res till relatively shallow), since we haven’t really been able to get out there so far. We’ll see!

    tgruenke
    Participant
    IGH, MN/Holcombe, WI
    Posts: 587
    #1961263

    We head up in two weeks to Kab. We hired a guide for the first day we are there. My boys 7 and 9 are excited to fish there again. I hope the guide is willing to share some insight on what to look for for the rest of the week. We have only fished there in Early/Mid June, so I am sure it is way different. I have studied the Hot Spots map and have Navionics App on my phone. I marked a few humps that we have fished in the past so we will see.

    With young kids I think it is easier to jig for them versus messing with bottom bouncers and having them worry about depth control. That seems just like a lot of tangled lines for dad. But it is all about being together. Catching our limit is just a bonus.

    Weekender
    Participant
    Southcentral MN
    Posts: 410
    #1961374

    Tgruenke – which guide are you going with?

    Dutchboy
    Participant
    International Falls a few miles from Rainy Lake
    Posts: 13189
    #1961494

    Tyler, head into Kohler Bay on Namakan and try fishing the weeds.
    Another option would be the Moose River. Go past the pilings about 50 yards and there is a little hole that holds fish from time to time. Don’t worry about getting stuck between the pilings, it’s plenty deep.

    ssaamm
    Participant
    Pequot Lakes
    Posts: 597
    #1962246

    When we were there last June, we caught dinks in 20ft on live bait. Got our keepers on pink x raps mixed in with smallies and northerns. Go figure.

    xplorer
    Participant
    Cloquet, MN
    Posts: 530
    #1962280

    My father in law is on his second week up at Sunset as well. He’s having a tough time too. Seems to be averaging about 1 keeper a day so far. Reefs have been mostly empty of fish.

    I head up on the 12th for 5 days on Namakan, Wolf Pack area. Sounds like it’s gonna be challenging to say the least.

    shady5
    Participant
    Posts: 491
    #1962384

    Nice job putting a pattern together on new water, Weekender.

    Dutchboy
    Participant
    International Falls a few miles from Rainy Lake
    Posts: 13189
    #1962422

    Lows in the 50’s lately and highs in the 70’s. Fish were starting to hit better this morning.

    Weekender
    Participant
    Southcentral MN
    Posts: 410
    #1962424

    I know we have warm days left, but the days are getting shorter!

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