Using Bait Rigs to Catch Walleye on Kabetogama Lake

There Are Many Options When Using Bottom Rigs

walleye
This big walleye was caught while power rigging for walleye. 2009 Ted Pilgrim, licensed to About.com

Kabetogama Lake in northern Minnesota is one of my all-time favorite walleye lakes. Lots of walleyes, eating-size and bigger, are abundant there. The lake has about 150 miles of shoreline, but only 9 miles of the shoreline is developed, and that's with resorts that fit the natural surroundings beautifully. The rest of the shoreline is natural. There are loads of pine trees and rock outcroppings. Deer, beaver, otter, ducks, loons, and the occasional black bear or moose are what you'll see if you spend a day on the water at Kab.

It's a wonderful place to visit and I enjoy all the scenery and wildlife, but what I really enjoy, and the reason I return to Kabetogama Lake as often as possible, is the fishing. Kab is truly a special place for anglers or anyone who enjoys natural settings. Here's how a recent trip there went.

My fishing partner for the day was Travis Carlson. Travis grew up in Iowa, but moved to northern Minnesota when his family bought a resort on Kab. Travis works at the resort and guides for walleyes.

We were using Roach Rigs (bottom spinner rigs for live bait) tipped with leeches and fishing reefs in 25 to 30 feet of water. We slowly cruised over and around the reefs with a close eye on the depthfinder. We didn't drop a line until we saw a concentration of fish. Once we spotted fish, we marked their location with a buoy and started fishing. We popped a couple on the first spot, but the action wasn't fast.

Normally we will stay on a spot for about 10 minutes. If nothing happens, or if very little happens, we move.

On the second reef, we marked lots of fish on the depthfinder, but no biters. We moved to another reef and hit the jackpot.

There, we caught good numbers of eating-size walleyes in the 15- to 16-inch range.

We also caught good numbers of 22- to 24-inchers that had to be returned to the water (due to the lake's slot limit). It was a lot of fun.

Fine Tuning the Rig

There are a lot of options you can employ with Roach Rigs, which will continue to catch walleyes throughout the summer at Kabetogama Lake, and wherever you fish. Leeches, minnows, and crawlers are the foremost hooked-bait options, and leeches worked for us this time. You can also use colored hooks or plain bronze hooks. The latter produced best for us this time.

You can also add a bead ahead of the hook for a spot of color. We tried that, but no bead was best. And you can tie long or short snells. A 3- to 4-foot-long snell was most productive.

Colored sinkers are another option. The spot of color sometimes acts as an attractor and will help you catch more fish. On this day on Kab, an unpainted sinker was best.

Kab has a slot limit on walleyes. Walleyes between 17 and 28 inches must be released right away. You can keep one over 28 inches. Since I started going to Kab walleye fishing has continued to improve. Just like anywhere else where a slot limit has been implemented, walleye fishing on Kab is better because of this progressive regulation.

This article was edited and revised by our Freshwater Fishing expert, Ken Schultz.

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