A sediment core from Lake Arapisto, Finland, was examined for fossil diatom assemblages to reconstruct changes in Holocene nutrient availability. Our aim was to investigate the long-term relationship between lake trophic status and climate by comparing the diatom-based phosphorus reconstruction with paleoclimatic proxies. Our results showed that the cold early Holocene was characterized by elevated nutrient conditions concurrent with newly exposed fertile ground. As the climate rapidly warmed and ice sheet further retreated, the catchment vegetation developed, which resulted in decreased nutrient flux into the lake. The Holocene Thermal Maximum (HTM), between ~ 8000 and 4000 cal yr BP, was characterized by oligotrophic conditions, which may have been caused by low effective precipitation and stable watershed vegetation. After the HTM, the lake became more productive. There was no particular increase in the trophic state that could be connected to more recent human influence. Although lake productivity has been shown to be affected by temperature, our record indicated that the nutrient dynamics were driven by complex interactions between changes in temperature, precipitation, catchment, and in-lake processes. Understanding of long-term nutrient dynamics and the associated processes can help in resolving relationships between lake productivity and climate during past and present climate changes.