Weather Forecast


Fish more active with algae bloom in Bemidji area lakes

Surface water temperatures have been holding steady in the low to mid 70s, which has helped summer fishing patterns get established for most species of fish in the Bemidji area.

The lakes have taken on a greenish tint from an algae bloom, which is actually phytoplankton suspended in the water. Chlorophyll inside the phytoplankton is what gives the lakes the green color.

Algae blooms in more fertile lakes can get out of control and hinder fishing, but lakes in the Bemidji area are only moderately fertile, so the algae acts as a filter to the sunlight. This allows light sensitive species of fish to feed more comfortably during the day, which should help anglers catch more fish.

Many smaller "eating size" walleyes and larger perch will move on top of bars, points and humps to feed on minnows and crayfish.

Shallow water fish tend to be more active than deep water fish in most situations. Many anglers start fishing in shallow water and work their way into deeper water until they make contact with active fish.

Fish feeding on top of structure are often relating to something that may not be apparent to anglers. It may be a patch of rocks or chara that is holding crayfish and minnows. It might be a clump of cabbage or a rise or dip in the hump.

Fish may also be relating to the section of the hump closest to deep water or any number of other factors unique to each hump that can attract active fish.

Anglers may also have other hints to which section of the flats are holding feeding fish from things like diving loons, which will often be feeding on the same things as the walleyes and perch.

Adding some type of spinner to a live bait presentation can be extremely effective on summer pattern fish. The loss of visibility in the water means the fish will be using all of their senses to help them locate their prey.

The flash and vibration from a spinner blade is often all it takes to get the fishes' attention as the baits passes by the fish. Actively working a spinner rig helps give the bait the extra flash and pausing and twitching the bait gives any fish following behind the bait a chance to catch up and hit the bait.

Things in nature seldom swim in straight lines at a constant speed. Anglers need to provide opportunities for fish to strike the bait by changing directions, pausing or speeding up, or any number of other moves that can cause a fish to strike the bait.

Muskie anglers have the chance to individualize their presentation when using hard plastics or doctored jerk baits, which can best be described as "twitch-baits."

Big pike also love muskie sized wood jerk baits, which are easier to modify to give them their own action.

There hasn't been a super hot lake for walleyes recently, but the action is picking up on all of the larger walleye lakes including Winnibigoshish, Bemidji, Leech, Cass and Upper Red Lake.

Anglers are able to fish for all species with a good chance for success when they are in their summer patterns.

Walleye action is picking up on top of structure or off the sides of structure.

Bass are active in heavy weeds on flats or on the inside edge of the weedline.

Muskies have been active on the edges of flats with cabbage weeds or rocks. Muskies can show up anywhere there is a concentration of forage and may feed on smaller pike.

Crappies and sunfish have also been active, with sunfish using taller weeds like cabbage, coontail and American milfoil. Crappies often use the weeds or suspend off of structure and move in to feed in the mornings and evenings.

Rainbow trout are another option for anglers, with several stocked trout lakes in the Bemidji area. Trout often are in a tight depth range during the summer to stay in their preferred temperature range.

Paul A. Nelson runs the Bemidji Area Lakes Guide Service. He can be contacted by calling 218-759-2235.