Paul Nelson writes a weekly fishing column for the Bemidji Pioneer. He runs the Bemidji Area Lakes Guide Service.
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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 winter solstice in December. September can be warm like summer or cold like fall.
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
Lakes in the Bemidji area are already noticeably less busy since Labor Day as many of the tourists and seasonal visitors have headed home or to warmer climates for the winter. Surface water temperatures are holding in the upper 60s in most lakes, which should be good for fishing once the weather stabilizes. Summer fishing patterns in the lakes are starting to fall apart but there are still walleyes and other species using the shallows, especially later in the day when the sun has had a chance to warm the water. When the water temperatures begin to cool anglers will usually do better if they
Labor Day Weekend signals the end of the summer tourist season in the Bemidji area. Students are already in school in many parts of the country and the rest will be attending their first classes of fall semester very soon. Many seasonal residents will also be leaving soon. Cabin owners traditionally remove their docks, shut their refrigerators and winterize the cabins on or shortly after Labor Day Weekend. Fall was certainly in the air this past week in the Bemidji area.
The Bemidji area is losing 21 minutes of daylight per week (about three minutes per day) and Friday’s sunrise in Bemidji was at 6:24 a.m. and the sunset will be at 8:21 p.m.
Historically, July boasts the highest average temperature in the Bemidji area but this year August is turning out to be the warmest month of the summer. Surface water temperatures are holding in the mid to upper 70s in most lakes. Algae blooms caused by warm water temperatures and excess nutrients in the lakes have reduced water clarity in most lakes to less than two feet. Red Lake has been the hottest lake for walleyes all summer.
It took until the last week in July to get a week of summer-like weather in the Bemidji area. Surface water temperatures are holding in the low to mid 70s. There is an algae bloom starting to tint the water green in many lakes and reduce the water clarity. Many of the weeds in the lakes are beginning to mature and the tops of some of the plants are breaking during strong winds and littering the surface of the lakes after storms. This is the natural re-seeding process for many types of aquatic vegetation.
Summer is finally here — at least as far as the fishing patterns in the lakes are concerned. Surface water temperatures in the Bemidji area are now warmer than 70 degrees for the third time this season. The first two times the lakes exceeded 70 degrees were short-lived but this time looks like it should last a little longer. The lakes are starting to “green-up” from the first significant algae bloom of the season. The lakes will continue to add color as long as the warmer water temperatures continue. Many lakes have developed a thermocline in the deeper portions of the lake.