Lake Beltrami (D.O.W. # 04-0135-00) is a 726-acre lake with a maximum depth of 50 feet located 10 miles north of Bemidji in Beltrami County. There is a DNR public water access with a concrete ramp and parking for about 10 trucks/trailers located on the south shore of the lake off of HWY 71 on Lake Beltrami Road. Lake Beltrami is managed for Largemouth Bass, Bluegill, Walleye and Northern Pike. A special regulation for Northern Pike consisting of a protected slot limit from 24 to 36 inches and 1 fish allowed over 36 inches in the daily possession limit of 3 fish is in effect. Statewide regulations apply to all other species.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has classified Minnesota lakes based on similarities in lake basin (depth, size) water chemistry (alkalinity, water clarity). Lake Beltrami is in lake class 25. The following discussion makes comparisons between Beltrami and other class 25 lakes in the state. Other Bemidji area lakes in this class include Turtle River Lake, Pimushe Lake and Lake Itasca.
While Lake Beltrami has always been known as a good Largemouth Bass fishing lake, Smallmouth Bass have become well established over the past 20 years and now provide a good fishery as well. Electrofishing conducted as part of the 2016 assessment resulted in similar catch rates for both species with Largemouth Bass up to 17.9 inches and Smallmouth Bass up to 19.4 inches in length captured. Lake Beltrami currently provides a unique angling opportunity as one of the only lakes in the Bemidji area with a fishable Smallmouth Bass population. However the species is now expanding and will likely eventually become established through the entire Turtle River and Cass Lake Chains of lakes.
The 2016 Bluegill catch rate of 16.44/trap net was similar to the median catch rate for class 25 lakes (17.25/trap net). Bluegill were on the small side, with an average length of 5.47 inches. Few fish over 8 inches in length were captured in this assessment.
The 2016 Walleye catch rate was 1.33/gill net, which was lower than expected. Walleye up to 24.21 inches were captured, with an average size of 17.67 inches.
The Northern Pike catch rate was 2.89/gill net. Northern Pike had a good average size of 24.07 inches and 2.91 lbs/fish, with pike up to 29.41 inches in length captured in the assessment.
Other species of fish captured in the 2016 assessment were Rock Bass, Pumpkinseed, Hybrid Sunfish, Tullibee (Cisco), White Sucker, Yellow Perch and Bullhead species. Although not captured, Muskellunge are known to inhabit the lake.