Looking at extended weather forecasts is a little like gambling, especially the further anglers try to look into the future. It is still the best predictor of future fishing trends that are based on water temperatures.
Bemidji has been locked in a relatively dry pattern with daily highs in the mid 70s to low 80s and overnight lows in the 50s. Rain over the weekend broke the dry spell and cooled water temperatures in the lakes by several degrees, but air temperatures are expected to stay warm.
Early risers will notice the days are getting shorter, with the skies staying dark longer in the mornings and getting dark earlier in the evenings.
Many lakes have extra fertility in the water, with algae blooms close to their peak for the season. Algae dies quickly as the lakes begin to cool in the fall. Lakes like Cass Lake and Leech Lake are ahead of the curve for zebra mussels over lakes that were infested later like Winnie and Lake Bemidji. Lakes get progressively clearer as the number of zebra mussels increases.
Walleyes and perch have been moving into the weeds, chara covered sand flats and on top of humps on lakes with significant algae blooms. The green-tinted water from algae helps cut down light penetration to create a low-light condition for the fish, which allows them to feed longer during the day.
Fish need to continue to feed more often because of their high metabolic rates during the summer. The need to feed doesn’t decrease until water temperatures drop below 70 degrees.
When lake water has a green stain from algae, fish can move shallow and feed longer, with shallow fish less spooky in the turbid water. Clear water equals spooky fish. Predators can be spooked by anglers' boats in clear lakes, while prey species spook sooner when they see predators coming from a distance.
Walleyes have superior eyesight over virtually all of their prey. Walleyes are much more efficient predators when visibility is reduced, which is why they feed under low light.
Walleyes and other species are more likely to chase baits when the visibility is low. All fish have a window of opportunity when it comes to catching prey. Fish have to be ready to act fast when they see potential prey in turbid water or they lose the opportunity to feed.
Anglers can help their baits get noticed by the fish by adding flash and sound by using UV colors, spinners or rattles to help fish "hear" the baits and see the flash of spinner blades.
Many anglers use 6-pound test mono or fluorocarbon for crappies and perch, 8-pound test for walleyes and 10- to 12-pound test leaders for jigs and plastics, spinners or crankbaits.
Anglers can use braided lines for their main line as long as they use a leader of mono or fluorocarbon. Few anglers use fluorocarbon for their main line during the summer because the line needs to be changed too often to be cost effective.
Some anglers spool straight fluorocarbon on rods for tournaments, while other anglers use up their extra fluorocarbon leader line during the winter, spooling it on their winter reels and buying new fluorocarbon leader line in the spring.
If there is one common difference between average anglers and pro anglers, it is how they use and change their fishing line.
Advanced anglers change their line constantly. Less serious anglers often try to make their line last as long as possible. They might only change line after they break off on a snag or a fish, so they don’t have enough line left on their reel to fish anymore.
Braided line is considerably more expensive than monofilament, but it lasts a lot longer and has less stretch, which means better "feel."
Braided lines are more susceptible to getting knots in the line, so anglers have to pay attention to their reels. Anglers should put mono backing on the spool when they use braided line, so it doesn’t slip on the spool.