Paul Nelson writes a weekly fishing column for the Bemidji Pioneer. He runs the Bemidji Area Lakes Guide Service.
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There are only three weekends left in the fishing season for walleyes, northern pike, large and smallmouth bass and sauger in the inland lakes of Minnesota. The gamefish season and the dark house spearing season close for inland lakes on Feb. 28, with the 2015 Minnesota Fishing Licenses also set to expire on Feb. 28.
The Bemidji area dodged another snowstorm this week that hit southern Minnesota, but there may be another chance for measurable snow this weekend. Access to most lakes close to Bemidji is good, with only a few inches of snow cover on the ice. There tends to be more snow cover on lakes to the north and east of Bemidji. Four-wheel drive vehicles with good tires and plenty of clearance have been able to access most lakes without difficulty. Many anglers like to travel in pairs with a shovel and tow strap when they are going off the roads on the lakes.
The 2015 Minnesota rifle deer season opens on Saturday morning. Approximately 500,000 deer hunters will be dressed in orange and sitting in the woods or on the edge of a field somewhere, long before the sun rises tomorrow. Experts are expecting another low deer harvest this year as they try to rebuild the deer herd.
There is one week remaining until the 2015 Minnesota rifle deer season opens on Nov. 7. Deer camps are ready and waiting all around the Bemidji area for an army clad in orange to enter the woods before sunrise on that day, each hoping to fill their freezer with venison for the winter.
Lakes in the Bemidji area continue their fall cooldown, with most lakes close to 50 degrees. Once the water temperatures in the lakes reach between 39 and 40 degrees, they will be ready to start freezing for the winter. Water is most dense at 39.16 degrees Fahrenheit, so water cooler than that floats on top of the 39-degree water and eventually turns to ice.
It seems like it has been windy for weeks, with not enough breaks between the gusts. Wind can be good or bad for fishing in the fall, depending on what type of lake and what depth of water anglers are trying to fish. Wind from roughly the same direction for two or more days can cause schools of walleyes to begin to build in numbers on certain areas in the big shallow lakes with clear water.
Lakes in the Bemidji area continue to cool down, with most lakes now having surface water temperatures around 60 degrees. Much of the Bemidji area received their first frost of the season earlier this week, which is really late in the fall for this far north. The walleye bite in the big shallow lakes improved faster than it has in the deep lakes, but the deep lakes are catching up fast with the thermocline breaking down in most lakes this past week. The best walleye bites earlier this fall have been on lakes like Lake of the Woods, Upper Red, Winnibigoshish and Leech Lake. Now that the wat
Fall officially arrived on the calendar this week, but there is still no sign of frost in the extended forecast, which calls for another nice weekend and unseasonably mild temperatures to continue into next week. Surface water temperatures have been holding in the mid 60s in most lakes, which has helped improve the bite for most species of fish. Walleyes have been feeding better during the day with the slowly cooling water temperatures.
BEMIDJI -- It is unusual to have one of the hottest weeks of the summer this late in the season. The hot weather is leading right into Labor Day weekend, which should make this a busy ending to the summer tourist season in the Bemidji area. Surface water temperatures in the lakes have been rising all week.
We are losing almost three minutes of daylight every day, as the days grow shorter with fall approaching.