There has been a slight delay in the rush to spring. Temperatures have been winter-like of late and all promise of an early spring now seems a lie. It seems odd that in mid-March we would see lake ice building but that, from all reports, is what has happened this week. Lakes are groaning and moaning in the sound of new ice forming.
As of this week, in mid-month, ice fishing is about the only game in town for outdoor enthusiasts. It’s been too chilly for normal transition season sports; bicycles still gather dust, canoes and kayaks remain in storage. About the only activity of note is maple syrup season and even that is off to a slow start.
All that may well change in the next week. Temperatures are on the rise and that should jump start the tardy spring that we’ve been dealing with. The rise in temperatures will spur maple sap to rise, should clear the roads of any residual snow and ice and making riding possible, and, if all goes well, will kick late season ice fishing into gear.
The latter, ice fishing, stalled this past week after it seemed to be off a good start. Crappie action has been flat, bluegills and perch the same. The hope in the ice angling community is that the more temperate weather coming in will get things going again. The assumption is that things will pick up where they left off a week ago with crappies leading the parade as they move into shallower water, with bluegills and perch to follow.
Ice conditions have stabilized in the past days but a few warm days can always change that this time of the year. Short term we expect ice to remain as it is; it usually takes multiple warm days to melt it. But remember that this winter has been a strange one and ice on many lakes is suspect in certain areas. Caution, of course, is the key.
This could be a pivotal week as we steer into the last week of March and true springtime weather. And when that happens we’ll be into a new season for the outdoors.
The Outdoor Report is prepared by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post, downtown Rhinelander, where a variety of outdoor products is available.