Kabetogama-Namakan-Ash River Fishing Report 1/16/17
Cold weather continued through the week into a pleasant temperature weekend. Sunday was the first day above freezing in January. In fact we have gone below zero every night in January except for one.
Although we’ve had great ice making weather, the lake is still not cooperating. 20+ inches of snow cover does a remarkable job of insulating the ice from forming.
Approximately 12-18” of good ice remain under snow, slush and surface water. 4 wheel and vehicle traffic nearly impossible as of this weekend. Snowmobile traffic somewhat difficult, but doable.
Some spear fishermen still having success using live decoys, not unusual to see an occasional pike over 36” accompanied by numerous smaller pike.
Anglers using jig and minnow, glow jigs having the best success with chubs or shiners. Most common depth for some success varies between 30-38’.
Jumbo perch bite remains pretty strong, followed by sauger and pike, occasionally some walleyes show, but they’ve been elusive.
Snowmobiling has been great, nice land trails, lots of snow, nice base. The lake trails are marked and staked, but remain un-groomed.
Looks like mild temperatures for the next 10 days, that may help the lake slush problem, hopefully.
No news on a forthcoming ice road, the park staff in on stand-by checking ice for safety.
Have a Beautiful Week,
Crabby Phil and Ellen Hart
2017 forecast based on info from MN DNR….
In a recap of a fall meeting, the netting and electro-shocking tests that the DNR perform beginning in the spring, ending in the fall resulted in the volume of walleyes, sauger, perch, pike and smallmouth bass, in many cases, unprecedented.
For these last 2 years 2015-2016 the amount of fast growing walleye, from fry to fingerlings 10” plus are showing up in record numbers and 2013 appears to have a better outlook than previously measured.
In contrast, the DNR provided a creel survey specialist at landing sites at many various resorts and landings throughout Kabetogama and Ash River, which usually represents Namakan.
As most anglers experienced, it proved to be one of the slowest seasons on record for walleyes caught in the keeper size of 13” plus.
Sauger and perch helped keep anglers somewhat content and nearly all anglers reported catching and releasing walleyes a plenty between 7”-11”.
The poor season for walleye anglers is attributed to the record amount of walleye fry and perch that was their main menu or in Namakan where the growth ration is slower, they had plenty of ciscos for basic food.
Perch and walleye fry seek warmer, shallower water which explains the shallow bite and weed walleyes that were found all season long.
The DNR representative mentioned that our bass and small northern population has really spiked perhaps to record numbers, which explains why they were so plentiful.
Many anglers were unaware that our smallmouth bass season doesn’t close in the mid-September, it remains open for the full season from May-till March.
That being said, reality is smallmouth are a heavy predator for walleye fry and perch fry. Smallmouth are not a native fish in Kabetogama/Namakan and their numbers are impressive.
It would behoove anglers to find a good recipe and fish batter to take advantage of their numbers providing yourself a tasty meal and help the balance of our lake as well.
2017 could be a great season for anglers, due to the abundance of natural forage, if history repeats itself you may need to change up your fishing habits. Fish more in shallow water, fish weed edges and perhaps use more artificial lure presentations.
Hopefully most readers are aware of the regulation change, regarding northern pike. The state is wanting to separate the state into zones. Unfortunately Kabetogama is in a zone that is calling for stiff size regulation and a reduced limit.
Kabetogama is by definition an inland lake which because of that we are included in an inland zone.
Rainy, Namakan and Sandpoint are border waters and not included in the recommended special regulation.
Kabetogama, as proven has an excellent Northern Pike population, that like Rainy and Namakan do not need a special regulation.
A restrictive regulation on Pike is unnecessary and would lead to angler confusion and an enforcement nightmare since we adjoin border lakes.
Readers that oppose a special regulation on Pike should go online to the DNR site, look at the proposed regulation, from your opinion and let it be known to your legislative ally.
The proposed special regulation probably fits many lakes in the zone, but not Kabetogama.
I suggest that the DNR move ahead with their special regulation, but regulate Kabetogama as a border lake.
Stay warm and come see us soon,
Crabby Phil & Ellen Hart