Paul Nelson writes a weekly fishing column for the Bemidji Pioneer. He runs the Bemidji Area Lakes Guide Service.
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The roller coaster weather in the Bemidji area continues.
The weather this past week was some of the hottest of the summer in the Bemidji area. Next week appears to return to more “normal” temperatures for this time of year. Surface water temperatures in the lakes dropped near 70 degrees last week, but the hot weather this week was enough to bring the surface water temperatures back up to the mid 70s. Fishing for walleyes in many of the larger lakes has slowed down, especially during the middle of the day.
Summer is going by quickly, with little hints of fall already in the air. The weather pattern has changed from “too hot” in July, to highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s (upper 40s), which is nearly perfect weather. Surface water temperatures in the lakes peaked in the upper 70s in July and have since cooled back into the low 70s in most lakes.
Lake Bemidji has really greened up this past week with a significant algae bloom, so we have reached the part of the season often referred to as the “dog days” of summer. Surface water temperatures have soared into the mid 70s, with more hot weather in the forecast.
BEMIDJI -- The month with the warmest average temperatures in the Bemidji area is July, followed by August as the second warmest month of the year. The first high temperatures in the 80’s this summer have helped push the surface water temperatures in the lakes into the mid 70s. The algae blooms in the lakes are becoming more visible, with a green tint starting to show in some lakes.
Bemidji is one of the premier fishing destinations for anglers from all over the country.
The average ice-out date for Lake Bemidji is April 26, which is similar to many of the other large lakes in the Bemidji area. Lake Minnetonka was declared ice free on April 5 this year.
April has arrived and there is still ice on the lakes in the Bemidji area. The ice fishing season should be listed as day to day, with the end of the season going into overtime. Rain and warmer weather melted more of the ice on the lakes this past week. The extended forecast is predicting freezing overnight temperatures into next week, so anglers still should be able to get on a few lakes for at least one more weekend. Anglers need to constantly re-evaluate the ice conditions, even while they are on the ice.
Cold temperatures have slowed down the melting process on the lakes. This has extended the ice fishing season at least one more weekend for those anglers who just can't get enough. There is still more than 26 inches of ice away from the shoreline on most lakes. The ice is soaking up more water on the bottom of the ice, but there is still more than a foot of solid ice sandwiched between the top and bottom layers in most areas. A few accesses have had too much traffic and are breaking up, but there is often more than one way to get on most lakes.
The meltdown of the lakes in the Bemidji area slowed down this week, with the return to more "normal" temperatures for this time of year. There is still plenty of ice away from the shoreline on most lakes, but the ice along the shoreline is degrading from all the melting snow and ice. The old snow cover is gone from the lakes, but the below freezing overnight temperatures this past week have helped stabilize the ice conditions on the lakes.