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Kab Opening Weekend...results, thoughts....

Not sure how many people sent me messages or stopped me asking "how was opener?"

Well...opener is more than the fishing to me! Opener is about traditions, family, friends, and getting out on the water for (generally) the first time of the season. Colder waters and yearly ice conditions is usually the concern. We did NOT have to worry about ice this season, but waters are a bit cool for a "feedbag" to be on these fish...

We caught fish, we had fun, we got cabins ready, water on, boat prepared, and equipment ready. That is a huge part of "opener" in my world. Highlights for 2024 were the "Northern Lights" display on Friday. Visible to the naked eye with several colors dancing across the sky starting at 10pm and extending as long as 3am (so I'm told). I-phones and cell phones really capture the beauty you see below...amazing color. I took this picture at Woodenfrog state campground. The other fun was...big walleyes hammering our jigs in shallow water. Weather was beautiful, 65-70 degrees on Saturday and slightly cooler with a stiff west/northwest wind on Sunday.

Fishing: I wrote a few pieces prior to the season or added links (Gord Pyzer article is awesome) to post-spawn walleye patterns, and in my opinion these walleyes on Kabetogama were in that phase. Post spawn can be summed up by larger walleyes, slow moving across sand or gravel close to spawning grounds, moving individually or in very small groups. VERY seldom will you be able to target an island point or a drop off and repeatedly catch fish. Post spawn walleyes are slowly cruising, feeding here and there depending on the food, timing, and area.

Deep water walleyes...well, often males and smaller fish are not in those spawning areas, so moving deeper into 25-35 feet of water, some of my friends found bigger "pods" of fish on their graphs. They were rewarded with sauger and walleyes, but most were 10"-13" fish. The action wasn't fast and furious, but fun non the less.

Other fish...well, we had several smallmouth slam our jig/plastic combo! One was just shy of 20" and my son loves catching bass, so that made his day. Northern pike were fairly frequent in the 6-12 foot waters we were fishing. Nothing big, but aggressive and when casting the simple feeling of "the strike" ignites the excitement. Something that no matter how young or old, we simply love coming back to year after year.

Water Temperature: For me on Kabetogama and a few hours on the west end of Namakan, the average water temperature was 53 degrees. Several areas closer to 51 degrees, and I did find one shallow sun-soaked bay that was consistently 58 degrees even with the Sunday winds.

So, was "opener" good? It was great, and the fish were a bonus! Good luck this year, I love hearing feedback or happy to help with questions on the area. Wade Watson email:

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