Here is what is most significant about the outdoors for this weekend: It will be warm enough for people to actually get outside and do things. This, of course, coming on the heels of a week that saw the longest run of harsh cold in some time. The cold hit hard and there wasn’t anybody who was not affected by it. And it slowed outdoor activity to a near halt.
It is difficult, if not foolhardy, to do much out of doors when the temperatures are as cold as they were for most of the week. So it is that we go into this weekend with very little to report as far as recent activities goes. Yes, you could ski, if only for a short time. And yes, ice fishing and snowmobiling were doable. And certainly, some among us took part in those sports. But for the most part, the week has been spent moping inside.
So we go into this weekend with a forecast of milder temperatures, and with that the expectation that we’ll be able to get outside again. Snowmobilers should find some very good trail conditions. Cold weather does not normally bring much snow and we could use some more but overall, the trails are in good shape. The bitter cold cut trail use some and as a result, trails are holding up well.
Same thing with skiers: More snow would help but overall, things are pretty good. We continue to get very good reports on the trails at Northwood Golf Course where volunteers groom the trails and do a very nice job of it. That trail system has been showing very good conditions of late. But all area trails should be ready for the weekend and with milder temperatures, this one will be a good time to be out.
Ice fishing has slowed in the bitter cold; just not many people have been out and for good reason. Now, in mid-January, we generally start to see a slight downturn in walleye activity. This past December was a good month for fishing and walleyes can still be active but overall, they usually taper off some. Panfish are in a transition stage for the most part; some days can be productive but overall, they’ve leveled off. That will change for the better as the winter goes on and panfish come on stronger.
The harsh cold will have an impact on deer; they simply are more stressed on these bitter cold days and we’ve already had enough cold weather to bring some early concern about the impact on the deer herd. That story will develop over the next 60 days but if the winter continues as it’s started out, we may well see significant deer loss.
The weekend ahead will bring a respite from the cold and we expect some very good weather combined with good snow to provide a very nice weekend to be outside.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post in downtown Rhinelander.