High lake and river levels mean extra caution is needed
In a certain sense we’re in no-man’s land in terms of recreation. We’re between seasons for most fishing. Granted, panfish season is open but the big interest lies in walleyes and that’s a few weeks out. Bicycling and boating are both doable but have been hampered by a string of cool, dreary days that show no signs of abating in the short term. There is turkey hunting; that season is now open but limited permits in the immediate area make it a lower impact than other hunt times.
Turkey seasons are underway and as of this report it’s too early to say what success hunters are having. Given the weather (rainy and cool), hunter hours will be down at least for mid week. Turkey numbers are on the rebound after the killer winter a few years ago and we expect normal success rates in this area.
Panfishing, as noted earlier, is the only game in town, at least locally now. Results are mixed. Crappies seem to hold in deeper water than one might expect based on the calendar but the cooler weather has kept water temperatures down and fish have held off the shallows for now. A surge of warm weather will change that. Perch action is also slow and blame the weather for that as well.
One thing that is not normal is water levels on lakes and rivers in the area. They are very high! In real-world terms that means that lake levels are up a lot and any anglers or boaters will find things looking a lot different than last fall let alone last spring. That by itself is not a real concern but logistically it may mean landings are not as easy to maneuver in as normal and, once on the lake, waters that are normal shallow are now deeper.
But where the high levels come into play are on moving water, the rivers and streams in this area. Simply put there is a lot of water now and it is moving with more force than normal. Anyone venturing out on any rivers need be very cautious as high currents and high volumes of moving water create a far more hazardous situation than normal.
It is not that many weeks ago that we were cautioning people about bad ice. Now it’s about high water levels. High water, moving fast is far less forgiving for mistakes made and we’d better be very careful.
The short of it is that the outdoor scene today is in transition. Warmer, drier weather will change things for the better. For now, we’re mostly in a holding pattern.
The Outdoor Report is prepared by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post, downtown Rhinelander, where a variety of outdoor products is available.