Paul Nelson writes a weekly fishing column for the Bemidji Pioneer. He runs the Bemidji Area Lakes Guide Service.
- Member for
- 5 years 2 months
The ice conditions continue to improve in the Bemidji area. The extended period of below-zero temperatures so far in January has helped add more ice to all of the lakes. Most deep lakes in the Bemidji area have at least 14 inches of ice, while most shallow lakes have closer to 18. There was a brief warm-up this past week, which added even more snow to the lakes. The snow was sandwiched between two stretches of below-zero temperatures, which has been the pattern so far this winter.
January can be an unpleasant month in the Bemidji area. Another snowstorm followed by more bitterly cold temperatures has made going outside this week an adventure. Kudos to anyone working outside in this weather. A warm fish house can be enjoyable in almost any weather. Anglers using portable fish houses trying to stay mobile are at a distinct disadvantage when temperatures struggle to get above zero for highs during the day.
The Christmas Blizzard could have been much worse on lakes in the Bemidji area. Lake Bemidji probably received more snow than most lakes, with many other areas getting mostly rain. The hard crust under the snow is probably most difficult for deer, which have to scrape through the snow to get to their food.
Lakes in the Bemidji area were making ice about as fast as possible during what could turn out to be one of the coldest stretches of the winter. When temperatures stay below zero for several days at a time, the lakes can make more than one inch of new ice each 24 hour period, especially early in the season when the ice is still thin. Most lakes in the Bemidji area have at least six inches of ice, with a few shallow lakes having more than ten.
Bitterly cold temperatures this past week had lakes in the Bemidji area busy making ice. The temperatures may not reach above zero this entire weekend, so the lakes will keep adding ice quickly as long as the cold temperatures continue. This could easily be some of the coldest weather of the winter. The Bemidji area typically gets one to three extended stretches of below-zero weather each winter, so it unusual to have weather this cold in mid December.
The long warm fall was enjoyable while it lasted, but everybody must have realized winter was going to get here eventually. Well, it's here... It is fortunate most lakes still...
December has arrived, but there is still no ice on Bemidji-area lakes. It was an unusual weather week -- a couple of days with late November rains that melted most of the ice and accumulated snow on the ground. Then the rain turned back to snow and covered the ground again.
The rifle deer season is over in the Bemidji area, so area anglers are waiting for the lakes to be covered with enough ice to go ice fishing. The grouse and small game seasons are still active and hunters can hunt deer with muzzleloaders beginning on Saturday. Some of the small ponds are frozen over, with shoreline ice starting to form on some of the shallow bays and lakes. It will likely be at least one more week before a few lakes are frozen-over and longer than that before there is enough ice for anglers to walk on the lakes.
There is one more weekend of the 2016 Minnesota Rifle Deer Season in Zone 1A, which includes most of the Bemidji area. The rifle deer season closes this Sunday. It has been an unusually warm deer hunting season and a very mild fall so far, but that may be about to change.
BEMIDJI -- The first weekend of the rifle deer season in Minnesota was one of the warmest in memory for many deer hunters in the Bemidji area. The warmer weather is expected to continue into next week, with temperatures in the 50s predicted for this weekend.