Another weekend; another round of cold weather. The pattern continues even as February fades into March. The winter cold has been relentless and one has to wonder when the nights of sub-zero temps well abate. By now we typically have seen some respite; not this year. We count two days in February when the temperatures rose into the 30s, far below the norm.
Be that as it may, the reality is that we’ve got cold weather and good snow. Granted the weather is more January-like but we can deal with it.
Any activity that requires good snow is looking good as we head into the first week of March. Snow off packed trails is deep; snowshoes are required for nearly all off-trail activity. This is a year for long, wide snowshoes and the traditional wood frame models are made for this snow. Having noted that, the snow in the woods, while deep, lacks a lot of substance and even the big shoes sink in.
A snowfall a week ago topped off all trails in the area for both skiers and snowmobilers. Skiers should find the best conditions of the entire season this weekend, at least in terms of snow; the temperature is another issue. We would not hesitate to go to any area ski trail in the upcoming days; they should all be very good.
Snowmobile enthusiasts should also be in their glory. New snow here last week and more of it in northern areas added to an already good base. Snowmobile trails should simply be excellent now and into the next week.
Which leaves ice fishing and there things are not as rosy. Simply put, poor travel conditions on many area lakes combined with cold and wind have cut participation far off what it usually is. As a result we’ve not had many reports. However it’s all about panfish now and they are still in the early stages of a late winter bite.
Crappies and bluegills are suspended on most lakes but the depth varies somewhat with the weather and we’ve not had any consistency yet. For now, its really about taking each day as it comes and prospecting for fish; they may well change their pattern dramatically from day to day. While some anglers are finding fish we feel it will take a surge of warm weather and sunny days to spark any real success.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post in downtown Rhinelander.