Long distance atmospheric transport of bacterial cells is often implied as a driver of the apparent cosmopolitan distribution of bacterial taxa. Surprisingly, efforts to measure immigration in bacterial communities are rare. An 8-week time series of within-lake bacterial community composition and atmospheric deposition rates and composition were used to estimate the influence of immigration on bacterial community dynamics in two north temperate lakes. Characterization of bacterial community dynamics using automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis suggested moderate overlap in composition between the lakes and atmospherically deposited cells. However, taxa that appeared to be delivered by atmospheric deposition had a relatively minor influence on lake bacterial community dynamics. The weak influence of immigrating bacterial taxa suggests that a species-sorting concept best describes aquatic bacterial metacommunity dynamics.