Midweek brought rumors of weather forecasts that called for possible thundershowers on Sunday. That would be unfortunate for most, given that we are enjoying the best snow of the winter. But it also was a wakeup call: March weather can change overnight and the result can be catastrophic to winter sports. For evidence look no further than a year ago when a hot spell that had no precedent melted snow seemingly overnight.
We don’t expect that much of a meltdown but then again, we did not see it coming last year either. Weather these days is such a hodgepodge that it seems all bets are off.
For now we’ll assume it will get above freezing this week; rain or no rain is another story. Either way, we’ll have enough snow for cross country skiing and, hopefully, for snowmobiling. Warm days and rain can do some damage, but if it drops below freezing overnight, and that is what is expected, we’ll minimize the damage.
Ski trails have been in mostly good shape. The only qualifier has been, no surprise, some icy tracks at times. This comes with the season as warm afternoons bring melt to the snow while freezing nights lock things up as ice. That can make for some dicey downhills come morning, but if one waits until it begins to warm up, the snow will soften and become more manageable. We think that will be the case this week.
Snowmobile trails remain in very good condition. Late afternoon sun can soften trail in open areas but take it easy there, get back in the woods and you’ll find good conditions. All trails are being groomed as needed and the base is solid in most places. Expect very nice trails this weekend and more of the same as long as we get colder nights.
Ice fishing is all about panfish now and we’re waiting to see how things play out. It’s been slow of late but each week should see better fishing and that pattern will continue for as long as the ice lasts. Crappies remain in mostly deeper water, with bluegills not quite as deep. It’s early for perch; they seem to come on strong just as ice fades away.
At this point in March, the days of winter sport are numbered. We may have snow for another month; we may lose it in a week. Right now the short term looks very good and we’d recommend getting out whenever you are able.
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.