A year ago we were in a long stretch of bitter cold, a 10-plus day run when every night was below zero and very few days reached much above zero. The upcoming span? Daytime highs in the 20s for the next week. And with very good snow cover. Which all leads to the thought that we’re a very good place for outdoor sports.
It is becoming clear that conditions for cross country skiing in this area are among the best in the entire state. The list of ski trails with good to very good conditions is a short one this year in both Wisconsin and Minnesota and the Rhinelander area is certainly on that short list.
The worst one can say about ski trails today is that there is occasionally some wind-blown leaf and twigs on the trails and that some low areas are still thin. But overall, ski trails are very good and show no signs of degrading. With the temperatures holding below thaw expect very good skiing this week.
Snowmobile trails are generally holding in good shape with some thinner areas in sections of heavy use. We could use some more snow on all trails but going into the weekend things look good.
Ice fishing success has been decent but participation is down. There are still areas of slush and crusty snow on many lakes and this has hampered access. Those anglers on ice are reporting good northern pike action even as walleyes have slowed. Panfish are hit-or-miss as they are holding in deeper pockets. Walleyes generally slow down this late in January; panfish action will only get better.
Best bet for the weekend seems to be in snow-related activities as pleasant temperatures combined with very good snow cover should deliver very good conditions.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post in downtown Rhinelander.