Paul Nelson writes a weekly fishing column for the Bemidji Pioneer. He runs the Bemidji Area Lakes Guide Service.
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The Bemidji area received a couple inches of new snow this week, which shouldn't be enough to impede anglers' access to the lakes. There are two more weekends in the gamefish season on the inland lakes of Minnesota. Anglers are allowed to fish for species like walleyes and northern pike until midnight on Feb.
There is a chance for measurable snow every day through the weekend and into early next week, so an undetermined amount of snow is about to fall on the lakes in the Bemidji area. Anglers with stationary fish houses on one of the area lakes will want to watch the forecast for snow amounts, especially if they have a fish house in a remote location. The ice conditions are still very good on most lakes.
Lakes in the Bemidji area have been very busy this winter, with large numbers of anglers on the lakes, especially on the weekends. Good ice conditions, minimal snow cover and mild January weather have allowed anglers to spread out on the lakes, with many of the most popular fishing areas literally covered with fish houses. January is typically the toughest month of the winter for ice fishing.
Winter arrives when it is good and ready, often with little regard to the calendar. Winter arrived in the Bemidji area this past week and it will likely stick around until sometime in April…or maybe May. Most of the swamps and small ponds are already frozen and the lakes won’t be far behind. There is usually enough ice to walk on somewhere in the Bemidji area by the Thanksgiving weekend, although this year seems to be well ahead of that pace. It would not be a big surprise if there were several lakes with enough ice to walk on before next weekend.
October was warmer, more windy and drier than the average in Bemidji. Water levels in many of the lakes are slightly below average heading into winter because of the lack of significant precipitation this fall. Surface water temperatures in the lakes were close to 50 degrees to begin the week but water temperatures plummeted into the low to mid 40s with much colder weather the last few Most deep lakes have been going through turn-over this week.
The beautiful October weather continued for another week in the Bemidji area. The nice weather is supposed to last through the weekend but cooler temperatures are on the way for next week. Surface water temperatures in most lakes are in the low 50s. The lakes still need to cool about 10 degrees to hit the 40-degree mark where they will be ready to begin freezing. Fishing has been good for most species during the stable unseasonably mild weather.
October arrived this week with 11 hours and 45 minutes of daylight. We are losing about three minutes of daylight each day and will continue to lose daylight until the...
Bemidji area residents enjoyed a nearly perfect week of weather this past week, although there was a little extra wind on a couple of days if someone wanted to be picky. Surface water temperatures in the lakes have been holding steady or slightly rising and most of the local lakes have surface water temperatures in the upper 50s. The thermocline is beginning to disappear in the deep lakes.
The best days of autumn are usually the bright sunny days with calm winds and temperatures somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 degrees, at least for anglers wanting to go fishing. It is much harder to appreciate fall with gale force winds, dark overcast skies and rain cold enough to feel all the way through most high tech outdoor gear. Anglers have to have tough hands and a high tolerance for cold to continue fishing late into the open water season. Most fishing presentations are tough to do properly when wearing gloves, with the possible exception of bobber fishing or trolling with rods in
Just in case anyone forgot what fall temperatures can feel like in the Bemidji area, this past week gave everyone a little reminder of what is coming. Surface water temperatures in most lakes have cooled into the mid 60s and are falling fast. Fishing has been pretty good for most species during stable weather but a strong cold front with rain, cold temperatures and heavy winds can still make fishing tough for a day or two. Boat control can be a problem for anglers fishing in the fall, especially when trying to get small baits into deeper water. Most cold water presentations in the fall inv