All eyes turn to the opening of fishing season seven days hence and not a lot of people are convinced that we’ll have open water on most lakes. We’re seeing lakes show early stages of melt and remain optimistic that many smaller, shallower lakes will be open. All now await the warm weather this weekend, which will be the key factor. The forecast calls for some heat and, as importantly, no nights below freezing. We’re betting on that to bring an end to ice on many lakes this week.
Normally, we’d be all over the potential for hot walleye action next weekend, but let’s face it-it’s tough to focus on that when the lakes are ice-covered. So, the bottom line is that the opening next Saturday will most likely be a very mixed bag with larger lakes still holding ice and smaller ones likely showing some open water. Fishing will be best on area rivers-the Wisconsin for walleyes and trout streams for trout. The latter will have enough pressure that things will get crowded.
We think next weekend will be very much hit-and-miss on walleyes. Possibly, we’ll see some panfish action on shallow water lakes over dark bottom where the water will warm faster. Maybe some walleyes on rivers or where rivers flow out of lakes. Possibly some northerns in the shallows. But all in all, it’s impossible to call out tactics or chances for success given the situation as it stands today. Ice will rule all and how fast it breaks up is the key.
Turkey hunting enters its third period this week and it may be the best of the three. Which is not saying a lot; the first was the victim of bad weather; the second better, but not great. This week, the big toms should be in full and the turkey woods will be closer to normal than they’ve been up until now.
We would be remiss at this point not to stress some caution: Lake ice is failing. This past week saw the first signs on some lakes; the dramatic shift to warm weather will accelerate the change. Ice may well go from being safe one day to being a hazard the next. Dark ice will be prevalent and when we see dark ice, we stay off. We’d advise the same for everyone.
And a reminder that wood ticks have been active, and this is just the beginning. Bare ground brings ticks and there will be a lot more bare ground this week.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post in downtown Rhinelander.