Paul Nelson writes a weekly fishing column for the Bemidji Pioneer. He runs the Bemidji Area Lakes Guide Service.
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Lakes in the Bemidji area continue their slow warming this spring, trying to recover from the late ice-out that still had ice on a few lakes when the spring fishing...
Opening weekend of the 2014 fishing season in the Bemidji area had nearly perfect weather and pretty good fishing for most anglers. Most of the successful walleye anglers were fishing in a river or close to a river inlet or outlet. Once the river walleyes are done spawning, they may head directly back to the lakes or they may feed their way back to the lake, depending on what feeding opportunities there are in the river. Larger rivers can offer long stretches of fishable water with plenty of food to hold post spawn walleyes.
It looks like there will be ice on at least a few of the larger lakes when the seasons open at midnight on Saturday morning. The good news is that there will be plenty of smaller lakes with open water for anglers to fish when the season opens for walleyes, northern pike, sauger and stream trout living in lakes. The exact timing of ice-out on each lake depends largely on the wind.
Wind, rain and snow have been doing their best to remove the ice on the lakes in the Bemidji area without the aid of sunshine and warmer temperatures. The ice...
The ice fishing season is pretty much over, unless anglers want to get their feet wet and access the lake from an area where the ice is still tight to the shore. The ice on most lakes is starting to break along the shoreline and the ice pack is separating further from shore.
A return to colder weather this past week temporarily extended the ice fishing season. The ice on most lakes is becoming suspect and anglers really need to be careful and make good decisions for the rest of the ice fishing season. The ice is starting to pull away from shoreline as the water levels rise in the lakes. Anglers typically will find strong ice further from shore but accessing the ice is usually the greatest challenge. Most of the problems anglers are having with the ice are happening close to shore around the accesses.
The spring meltdown became serious this past week as the temperatures stayed above freezing for several consecutive days and nights. The lakes still have plenty of ice away from shore but the upper layer of ice is soft in many areas. The slush that froze over the winter will quickly turn to mush when it melts, so be careful out there. The access points on the lakes need to be reevaluated constantly, especially on warmer days with a dominant sun.
There will be ice fishing well into April again this year in the Bemidji area as the spring meltdown has just started…again. Anglers planning to go ice fishing will need an auger extension on most lakes.
The Bemidji area has been in a holding pattern this week, with a little melting, a little more snow and re-freezing overnight. The slow meltdown is good for ice fishing but not much progress is being made toward spring.
The spring meltdown has begun in the Bemidji area as temperatures finally rose above freezing for several days. Slow and easy is the best way to melt the snow on the lakes and preserve enough ice to support anglers for some late-season ice fishing. There is plenty of snow on the lakes left to melt but the lakes also have more than 30 inches of ice under the snow so the duration of the fishing season will be influenced by the snow melt. This past week was ideal for melting — there were several days of hard melting followed by a day or two of colder temperatures to re-freeze the surface of th