PROVIDED BY MEL’S TRADING POST
One would expect, this late in October, that trees would be bare and snowflakes would be in a forecast or two. This year defies that as leaf cover into this week was high, mostly yellows now after the red maples have shed most of their leaves, but still a rich, vibrant display of fall color. And, with temperatures nudging 70 on a few days this week, there is hardly a feel of real autumn in the air. Yet the reality remains; we are less than 10 days from November.
The lingering warm weather has stalled much outdoor activity over the past few weeks. By now we’d expect a somewhat serious push of migrating waterfowl and woodcock but flights have been slim to date. The lack of hard frost has kept vegetation thick, a hindrance to upland hunters and archers both. Woodcock are, as they always have been, a hit or miss proposition as they move through the area. Grouse numbers seem down from what we’d hoped for, but good areas of cover will still hold birds.
In spite of all this, the season is changing and fewer hours of daylight combined with the longer hours of cooler nighttime temperatures are gradually changing the face of the out of doors. Musky anglers are now seeing better success with large suckers on quick-strike rigs; some northern ducks are arriving and, regardless of the temperatures, the whitetail deer rut approaches.
Slowly, angling success for the two key autumn species, walleyes and muskies, is improving. We are seeing some increased success with muskies, mostly with suckers, in the past. That pattern will only get more consistent as temperatures drop. If using an artificial lure, keep the retrieve slow!
Walleyes are steady, nothing special, with most action coming on minnows and often later in the day on these warmer days. Crappies have been good, though a bit off their peak bite of two weeks ago.
Archers have had some success but all attention is now shifting to the upcoming rut. Bucks will start to be far more active as we near November, regardless of the weather.
By now, most archers are seeing some clear indications of deer movement as food sources change over from summer-specific to late autumn. Deer have fewer choices for food now and it is imperative for archers to narrow down those feeding areas now.
Bucks will follow does starting in the next few weeks and archery hunting will improve.
The weather forecast holds promise of a shift to cooler weather next week and that, finally, may bring us to what we’d typically expect as we near November.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post, downtown Rhinelander, where a variety of outdoor products is available.