It is the holiday weekend and in the week ahead, Christmas and New Years Day, bookends for a busy week. And no mistake: It is December, it is winter, and it is time to enjoy it all.
The lakes are frozen and snow cover is good and getting better. Temperatures are forecast to be above average; no bitter cold is in sight. If one could script a late December week that was made for outdoors enthusiasts, one would come up with what we have this week. We are, for the first time in a few years, in a very good place for the last week of the year.
Start with the snow. Snowmobile trails in Oneida County opened Dec. 20.Trail conditions are, at this early date, reported to be “Fair.” Needless to say this can and will change. Snow is in the forecast and a series of small snowfalls can, with the excellent grooming available, bring trail conditions up in a hurry. Early season riding is always a bit of a gamble but using caution, staying only on marked trails and being patient with the snow will always serve one well.
Ski trails should all be open and conditions improving with each snowfall. The snow in the past week provides a great base to work with and groomers have been out consistently. We expect the week ahead will bring some very good cross country conditions with mild temperatures over improving trails as they are refreshed with new snowfalls. It is shaping up to be one of the best ski holiday weeks in some time given the combination of temperatures and snow.
Ice fishing started in earnest in the past week and reports are still a bit thin in substance. Ice conditions are variable; not all lakes froze clean and on some lakes, especially larger, deeper lakes, ice is not yet safe. It is still pretty early in the freeze cycle and we never advise venturing out on unfamiliar ice without checking it; it is not all safe even at this late date.
Walleyes have been active in the evening as they move into shallower water. Northern pike often come on strong in early season and that seems to be the case again. Panfish are mixed but steady. The upcoming week will provide a better opportunity for anglers.
Bottom line is with good snow, decent ice and moderate temperatures the holiday week upcoming will be a good one for all outdoors people.
A variety of outdoor products is available at Mel’s Trading Post, downtown Rhinelander.