Let’s face it: We got spoiled. The warm weather of March set us up. Warm weather? March? That usually means 50 degrees. This year pushed 80 on a few days. Snow melted as if overnight; ice left the lakes wide open at record-early dates; migrating birds set new records for early arrival; and we all assumed that’s the way it would be this year. Then came April and a return to normalcy.
What we’re getting now is typical; a mix of chill days, some frosty nights, a few days when the temperature hits 60. In short, April in Wisconsin. Why did we think it would be different? That warm spell in March was the aberration; this weather is the norm.
All of which is a lead-in to note that with the weather we’ve been having, springtime activity, in terms of what recreation we can do, is more limited than we might have thought it would be. But it is, after all is said and done, what we might expect in April.
Fishing remains slow and inconsistent. What we need is a string of warm days and nights. The yo-yoing in temperatures this week (snow on Monday! Miserable chill winds! Cool rains!) do little positive to put fish in a mood to feed. And it shows. We are hearing few reports, and seeing little sign of good fishing.
If there is one thing to suggest, it would be that shallow, dark water lakes will warm sooner and provide the best panfish action in the next week. Deeper, colder water lakes will lag behind. So look for those small, sheltered lakes that abound in this area, or find the backwaters on larger lakes; both will warm faster, and fish should be more active. But if we get northerly or easterly winds, and cold fronts blow in as we’ve had in the past days, you probably can stay home and not miss much.
Walleye action on the Wisconsin River down from Tomahawk where it is open (and you’d best check regs for exact locations) has been spotty. The weather has the same impact on walleyes as panfish. Small fish seem the norm. But as with panfish, a stretch of warm weather can make things right.
Turkey hunting is now in the middle of the second full week, and reports are of fewer birds and less gobbling. Now, granted, some of the weather we’ve had has not been conducive for sitting out and waiting for gobblers. Still, we usually would expect more positive reports, even with the weather we’ve had, and there is a growing opinion that turkey numbers are simply lower than they’ve been.
Calling still seems the best bet, and birds will usually respond to decoys if they are not with hens.
Overall this is a slow time for outside activities. The best news may well be that we should see a swing to warmer temperatures as April exits and May comes in.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post in downtown Rhinelander.