The Groundhog Day Blizzard of ’16 fizzled. The eight to twelve inches forecast? Didn’t happen. We heard reports of three, four; not much more. Hopes of snowsport enthusiasts were dented but not dashed for in this strange winter anything is welcome.
So we go into this weekend, Super Bowl Weekend (noted now as if it’s a national holiday which, to some extent, it may be) with new snow, not as much as we’d hoped for but all things said and done, the most snow we’ve gotten in some time.
Where does that leave us?
First off cross country ski trails in the Rhinelander area should, without exception, be in very good shape. The snowfall was midweek and that has left plenty of time to groom all trails. The reality is that most trails were decent going into this week. This snowfall should top them off and leave them very, very nice. We expect the days ahead to provide the best skiing since late last winter.
Snowmobile trails also will benefit from the snow. Yes, we’d all have liked more. But the groomers have been out and the early reports are that area trails are in “Good” condition for the upcoming days. There will still be some bumpy areas; we simply have not had enough snow to make everything exceptional. But overall we expect this week to bring some good riding.
Ice fishing remains a mixed bag. Walleyes have shown some signs of activity but generally speaking February is not the best month for them. Northern pike, mostly small, are also active. And panfish remain spotty with some days seeing decent action; others not at all. The best panfish fishing lies ahead even as the walleye bite (and season) slows.
All in all we finally have the look and feel of winter in the Northwoods. The temperatures are tabbed to hold steady and pleasant without any rise that might compromise snow levels. And if the groundhog’s prediction holds true we’ll see an early spring and that alone should give some incentive to get outside now with the new snow and moderate temperatures.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff at Mel’s Trading Post, downtown Rhinelander.