Air temperatures in the 90s are probably done for the year and air temperatures in the 80s are becoming increasingly rare in the Bemidji area.

The best time of the year weather-wise is when daily high temperatures are in the 60s and 70s, with lows in the 50s or even cooler. While others in the country are still roasting, Bemidji residents are sleeping peacefully in perfect weather at night.

There is only one more week in August, so enjoy it while it lasts. September is literally just around the next corner and fall is coming soon.

Most gardens got a late start this spring, so much of the locally grown produce is just getting ripe. It is a great time to visit the farmers markets and vegetable stands around the Bemidji area for fresh produce.

The combination of fresh fish and fresh garden vegetables is hard to beat late in the summer. It’s one of those meals some people dream about during the winter.

The bite is already picking up in many lakes and will just keep getting better, especially if the water temperatures continue to fall. Most lakes this past week had surface water temperatures in the low 70s.

Most young of the year minnows hide in very heavy cover during the summer. The minnows use reed beds or other shallow weeds until they grow large enough to need other food sources that are located in deeper water.

Once the water temperatures start to cool down in the fall, the minnows have to leave the shallows and move to deeper water to find food.

The minnows gather into large schools that can be seen on sonar. Most walleye anglers are harvesting have stomachs full of small perch about an inch long. The little perch are some of the minnows that are evacuating the shallows.

Anglers need to be creative and try different approaches to catching fish if they find fish that won’t bite. The problem might not be the fish aren’t willing to bite, it may be they are not willing to bite what you are offering.

There are so many variables in fishing that anglers need to be observant and creative. Instead of giving up and going somewhere else with the same approach that is not working, try something else on the fish you are seeing that won’t bite.

There are almost always several ways to catch fish, but there are usually even more ways to not catch fish. There are many triggers to make fish bite, don’t assume the fish won’t bite just because you aren’t catching them.

If you aren’t triggering bites, you need to make some changes. It might be as simple as changing to a lighter, longer or shorter leader. Removing or adding a bead or colored hook might work. It might be changing speed, changing bait, adding a smaller or larger spinner, or changing color, especially with artificials or plastics.

It also might be depth. There are usually fish at different depths, so anglers need to see what depth the biters are located. Anglers should also watch what the fish are doing on sonar. If they are moving deeper or away from structure, they may be spooked or done feeding.

You may need to give the fish a rest and come back later. It might also be time to change baits or try something else. The fish vulnerable to your presentation may have been caught or are full, so you may need to find another trigger.

If the fish are moving shallower or towards structure, they may be getting more active. You may need to speed up your presentation or change to a more aggressive presentation to take advantage of their mood.

Don’t get locked into one presentation because it’s what you like. Give the fish what they want and you will catch more fish.

Be creative and you may be surprised at the results. The fish get conditioned to the same old thing, try something new or a little different, even if it doesn’t yield immediate results.

Paul A. Nelson runs the Bemidji Area Lakes Guide Service. He can be contacted by phone or text at 218-760-7751 or by email at