February lurches to the finish line, a strange month in many ways, a month when the snow did not come but the cold did. It’s been dry. It’s been cold. Snowfall is below average and bitter cold hit us hard. Neither of which has helped things out on the outdoor recreation front. We could use some snow and the warm weather that often shows up by now would be welcome.
It is difficult to get a good read on ice fishing mostly because we’ve seen few anglers getting out and so any pattern of fish activity is problematic to assess. Two factors have played against us this month: Slush and crusty snow lingers over many lakes and that has made access a real problem. And bitter cold on weekends has cut participation to well below the norm.
What we do know is that game fish season is winding down to the March 1 closing now only a week away. After that, panfish only will be legal. The best scenario now seems to be some good thaw weather that will compact snow and crust to the point that travel on lakes will be easier. Then we will hope for a good month or so of panfish action.
A week ago we were in need of snow and the situation has not improved since. Snowmobile trails are thin in some areas, good in others. But we simply need some good snowfalls to bring them up to consistently good conditions to head into the final month of the season. Groomers are working tirelesly but without an influx of new snow they are limited on what they can accomplish.
Skiers are probably in the best position as we head toward March. Area trails remain in good shape and while new snow is always welcome trails are holding up well due to lack of any major thaw. The forecast for the week ahead shows cool temperatures, no new snow of any consequence and trails should hold up well.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post in downtown Rhinelander.