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They start almost every day this way, sitting on the deck, and watching the loons glide across Kabekona Lake. When they were ready to retire they knew they wanted to live in a secluded place on the water. Peaceful Kabekona Lake in northwest Minnesota was the perfect fit. Its beautiful tree-lined shore and crystal clear water gives them all the recreation opportunities they could want and sets the perfect backdrop for their mornings together.
About 10,000 years ago, the Des Moines Lobe Glacier receded leaving behind an enormous lake. Eventually the water receded as well leaving the landscape dotted with smaller lakes. Kabekona Lake, in Hubbard County, was one of the lakes left behind. In fact, it is one of 134 lakes larger than 50 acres in the county, and it is only second in size to 2,528-acre Plantagenet Lake. Three inlets on the west shore feed the 2,252-acre lake including the Kabekona River, Gulch Creek and Sucker Brook. Kabekona River flows through the lake and makes up its outflow. The lake is part of the Leech Lake Watershed as well as part of the watershed that makes up the headwaters of the Mississippi River.
Kabekona Lake is one of the clearest lakes in Minnesota. Most of the shoreline is forested with private residences and cabins tucked in among the trees. The lake has always been relatively secluded. Kabekona Lake is three miles south of Laporte which started growing in size in the early 1900's. Timber was an important industry in the area, and by 1908 the railroad had come close to Kabekona Lake. The first cabins around the lake followed in 1916. Today there are vacation rentals and waterfront real estate for sale, and the lake population includes both permanent and seasonal residents. The county maintains a boat ramp on the west shore of the lake which provides the only public access to the lake.
The Minnesota DNR stocks Kabekona Lake with walleye every other year. They also periodically stock the lake with trout. Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and crappie are present in the lake but not plentiful. Most anglers have better luck with Kabekona Lake's yellow perch and northern pike. There are a few fish advisories because of mercury contamination (see sidebar link).
The Kabekona Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is 381 acres of forest and wetlands. Hunters can find deer, bear, small game and water fowl in season. The opportunities for wildlife viewing are excellent in Kabekona WMA. The southern shore of Kabekona Lake is within the Paul Bunyan State Forest. The state forest includes 115,113 acres of hills, bogs and ponds as well as miles of trails for cross country skiing, hiking, biking and ATV's. Kabekona Lake is also near the Chippewa National Forest. Established in 1902 as the Minnesota National Forest Reserve, it became the Minnesota National Forest in 1908. Created by President Theodore Roosevelt, the 666,542 acre forest is the first national forest established east of the Mississippi River. Its name was changed in 1928 to honor the Chippewa, the area's original inhabitants.
Kabekona is Ojibwe for "End of the Trail." There are legends and speculations on how the lake got its name. If the trail ends at Kabekona Lake, however, something is going right.
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