Sounds of the Northwoods
Sounds of theNorthwoods
Post Featured Image

Lake Kabetogama, MN

This body of water lies within Voyageurs National Park, and at just more than 24,000 acres is one of the state’s 10 largest inland lakes. A healthy walleye population also makes it a premier destination for fishermen. In addition, recent netting surveys by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources showed an astonishing number of young walleyes in the lake, which bodes well for angling in the future.

Bob Jensen, Team Northland member and founder of Fishing The Midwest, has spent countless hours fishing Kabetogama. He says that during a career that has taken him to waters across the upper-central U.S., the lake remains one of his all-time favorites.

Here’s his take on Lake Kabetogama.

1. Walleye anglers should focus on offshore structure during the summer and fall, says Jensen, explaining that submerged humps, especially those adjacent to deep water, offer walleyes shallow-water feeding opportunities from which they can quickly escape to the security of the depths when alarmed. To speed the search process and eliminate unproductive water quickly, the angler relies on sonar to locate walleyes before dropping a line. The series of humps just to the north of the Lake Kabetogama Visitor Center is a good place to begin the search, he says, but he urges anglers to keep moving to similar structure if a sonar scan doesn’t reveal fish.

During the summer and early fall, try trolling a live bait rig made up of a Rock-Runner® Slip Bouncer and a Super-Glo Attractor Hook on a 30- to 40-inch snell. Jensen prefers to run an Impulse® Nightcrawler or Rig’n Leech on the hook to keep rebaiting to a minimum. Walleyes can be concentrated where you find them and it pays to put a bait back into the water as quickly as possible. At the same time, the fish are famous for their finicky ways, so it’s wise to have a stash of live bait on hand as a back-up.

As fall progresses, live bait rigs give way to jig-and-minnow combinations, and Jensen’s go-to is the classic ¼-ounce Fire-Ball® Jig in Sunrise, Parakeet or Glow Watermelon.

Fall is also the time to target big crappies. “Look for neck downs that offer 30 feet of water between visible land structures,” he says. “Typically the fish will be holding at either end of the narrows in concentrated schools 5 or 6 feet off the bottom.”

Here again, using sonar is critical. If Jensen doesn’t see fish on the screen, he moves on to another area. Try fishing a Fire-Ball-and-minnow combination, or a 1/8- to ¼-ounce Puppet® Minnow straight over the side, watching the bait on your sonar screen so you can keep it just above the crappie’s level. It’s not uncommon to locate schools of crappies that run 12 to 14 inches long this time of year, he adds.

2. From the season opener in May through early June, Jensen recommends hugging the shore, especially wind-blown shorelines that offer a gradual taper of rubble, pea gravel or sand. Focus on 5- to 8-foot depths with a 1/8-ounce Stand-Up Fire-Ball® Jig-and-minnow combination that moves along the bottom.

Vital Stats

Lake Kabetogama
Size: 24,034 acres
Max Depth: 80 feet
Average Water Clarity: 8.8 feet
Shoreline: 190.54 miles
Species Present: Walleyes, Northern Pike, Yellow Perch, Black Crappie, Bluegill, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Sauger, Rock Bass, Burbot, Cisco

8 comments (Add your own)

1. Aaron Carter wrote:
Couple things, there are not largemouth bass or bluegill here in Kabetogama..

Fri, August 26, 2016 @ 2:17 PM

2. Phil Hart wrote:
Like Bob's tips, accurate information. Nice map markings.
Aaron's comments are right on. I've fished Kab for over 60 years and not known of any largemouth or bluegills. Adjoining lakes have those species, so it's not impossible but very unlikely.

Fri, August 26, 2016 @ 10:48 PM

3. Ron Nollenberg wrote:
What no Muskie Dam to bad..

Tue, September 27, 2016 @ 10:45 AM

4. Paulto wrote:
Do you have names of good guides ? Haven't fished there in 25 yrs .

Tue, June 13, 2017 @ 11:33 PM

5. keith melville wrote:
6513448444 we fished there for about 5 years and found out that saugers were the fish to catch if you wanted to eat fish. the eyes were to small or to big to keep. the resort was nice and the scenery was great but that didn't cut it.

Wed, June 14, 2017 @ 10:10 AM

6. Kabetogama Lake Association wrote:
Paulto, if you are looking for a fishing guide you can go to we have a list of fishing guides listed on the website and they are all great with many years of experience.


Fri, July 7, 2017 @ 8:10 PM

7. Schnausser wrote:
If there is any fish left in the lake, Travis Carlson is the guide to get. Just not sure there are any fish left....

Fri, August 4, 2017 @ 3:49 PM

8. Auguste Bernick wrote:
This is all accurate, but I just wanted to add a couple things:

1) Kabetogama is defiantly known for it’s Walleyes. Every walleye I’ve seen pulled from the lake has been beyond healthy and extremely vibrant. The main types of fish I’ve seen in my experience cought here are sauger, walleye, northern pike, and small mouth bass. Not much else. If you’re going for walleye this is a great Lake.
2) I think it should also be noted that there ARE muskies in Kabetogama, they’re just not as common since the northern pike population tend to eat the young ones after spawning season. You will see them from time to time though!

Hope this helps!

Fri, June 29, 2018 @ 2:46 PM

Add a New Comment


Comment Guidelines: No HTML is allowed. Off-topic or inappropriate comments will be edited or deleted. Thanks.

Copyright © 2018 Northland Fishing Tackle ® All rights reserved.