Late winter still has a firm hold on the North, but signs of spring are now coming nearly every day. We saw the first wild swan of the season; cardinals are calling in the mornings; the sun is higher and has some punch to it. All signs point to changing times.
But there is some winter left; that is certain. Late snows of February have left the best snow cover of the entire season and skiers, snowshoers and snowmobilers are finding the times just about perfect. Snowmobile trails are rated excellent and as long as the weather keeps below freezing, they should stay that way. However, there are a couple of cautions. First off, some areas of the trails will get icy under heavy use and warmer afternoons. Be prepared for that. And lakes in the area are now showing some slush, so stay on marked trails. And enjoy!
That lake slush is starting to have a significant impact on fishing. As the walleye season ends (and it’s been very slow, so no great loss), the panfish action should improve. That’s all typical of early March. But the wild card now is slush. We’ve had reports that some lakes are now topped with thick slush that makes access near impossible; cars bog down, machines spin without traction, and slush over the tops of boots slows foot travel. So expect slush and dig out high boots if you walk; be very careful if you drive. All lakes are different with slush, but the pattern this week has been that slush is now a factor.
Ski trails are as good as they’ve been and now it’s a matter of grooming. Good grooming will leave fine trail conditions; a day or two without grooming can leave trails rutted and icy. Now is the time that late afternoon sun can soften snow and, when followed by a night of cold, trails can ice up. Early morning skiing can find icy tracks and very fast conditions. Later in the day is often better now, as snow softens and provides better grip.
Overall, we are into that late winter/early spring transition. A year ago we were only a week or so from thaw; this year one expects things to run later, but it is March and things can change in a hurry, so don’t wait to get out.
An assortment of outdoor products is available at Mel’s Trading Post in downtown Rhinelander; call (715) 362-5800. To comment on this story, visit StarJournalNOW.com