Cool weather, rain and strong winds has helped mix the upper layer of the water column and cool down water temperatures in the local lakes.

Warmer weather is expected to return through this weekend and for the rest of July. No temperatures in the 90s were predicted in the extended forecast.

Surface water temperatures dropped back to the mid 70s in most lakes, which will briefly take some stress off the fish caused by high water temperatures.

Most fish species in the lakes become increasingly uncomfortable as surface temperatures exceed 75 degrees. Largemouth bass are the most tolerant gamefish species when it comes to high water temperatures.

Fish try to avoid the highest water temperatures by burying themselves in the weeds or moving into deeper water.

Anyone that has gone swimming and walked through weeds knows how much cooler the water feels close to the bottom underneath the weeds.

Fish can lay in the cool layer of water below the weeds and stay cool. Eventually the fish get hungry because of their elevated metabolism, which forces them to feed more often and stay close to their food.

Weed walleyes can be a challenge to catch not only because of the weeds, but also because they are feeding on smaller perch. It can be tough to get live baits both through the weeds and past the small perch in order to get to the walleyes.

Jigs and plastics can be a good choice because anglers can swim them through the weeds and cast them to weed edges or parallel to the weeds without getting many bites from the little perch.

Spinner rigs are tough to fish in the weeds. A safety pin style spinner probably works best in the weeds, whether anglers cast or troll them.

Slip bobber rigs need to be fished aggressively by fan casting them in all directions. Anglers can test where the weed edges are located, so they can cast close to the edges rather than right into the weeds.

When walleyes move deeper, they can be all the way down to the top edge of the thermocline. They can also be suspended off the bottom or along the breakline close to the bottom.

The key to walleye location is usually related to food and where the fish can find water temperatures close to their preferred temperature range.

Anglers can use their electronics to find fish. Sometimes seeing clouds of baitfish is just as dependable as seeing fish.

You can never expect to see everything in one pass on sonar. Seeing a few fish or a significant amount of baitfish can tell anglers it is an active area to check out.

Anglers good at reading sonar usually have a hard time fishing areas where they are not seeing baitfish or individual fish on sonar.

Most anglers are using some kind of spinner rig for walleyes feeding in deeper water. Spinners with nightcrawlers or leeches can both be effective, but sometimes walleyes have a distinct preference for one over the other.

Anglers don’t want to “feed” bites on spinner rigs. Most anglers wait for the rod tip to load up and just do a sweep of the rod and start reeling.

Anglers using heavier bottom bouncers usually use a line counter baitcasting reel. This way all the lines can have a specific amount of line that is right for the depth and the speed.

It is always a concern that some anglers in the boat will not know what to do and let out too much line so the bottom bouncers drag on their side on the bottom.

Anglers should let out line until the sinker taps the bottom and then reel a little line back in before closing the reel. This keeps the sinker upright and the spinner off the bottom.

Some anglers like to add a float to their spinner rigs to help keep them off the bottom and out of the weeds. Bottom bouncers have to have the right amount of line and right speed for them to work properly.

Paul A. Nelson runs the Bemidji Area Lakes Guide Service. Guided trips for 2020 can be booked by calling or texting (218) 760-7751 or by email at panelsonbemidji@gmail.com.