The outdoor conditions for the week ahead will come down to the weather mix we’ll see on Wednesday and Thursday. As of this report (written Tuesday morning) all bets are off. Forecasts are calling for rain or fog or drizzle or snow; take your pick. Add to that a nasty mix of temperatures, at or above, freezing. Bottom line: if we get snow things will set up for a good weekend. If we get rain, things will turn the other direction.
The harsh cold of a week ago insured that the snow we have wasn’t going anywhere. The cold hit hard, and combined with dry weather (it’s been a few weeks since any snow of significance), left ski and snowmobile trails in fair to good condition heading into this week. Should the weather mid-week bring snow we can look forward to improved trail conditions. If not, things will be thin.
Area ski trails have been good overall. The base is hard and even with little new snow we’ve had good skiing. Some new snow would help a lot. Drizzle would make things thin but probably skill skiable for next weekend.
The same is true for snowmobile trails. They have been thin but rideable and the hard cold helped build lake ice. The caution remains: Stay on marked trails on all lakes. But we have seen an overall improvement in lake ice. In the wooded areas trails are thin but in fair to good shape. Again, the weather later this week will tell all so check for updates later in the week.
The cold weather improved lake ice overall. It has been a long run of marginal ice and limited access but that has gotten better. We still urge caution and common sense and feel that there are areas of thinner ice to be aware of but it has gotten better. Those anglers that got out have been doing well on northerns (use big shiners) and walleyes. Panfish have been so-so, but it has been a slow-moving ice fishing season with poor ice and bitter cold. Things are getting better.
Overall, this week serves as a reminder of how tenuous winter sport can be. With additional snow we’ll be in very good shape for the upcoming weekend and week. But thaw weather and the possibility of rain or drizzle has everyone on edge. Time will tell and all we can do is hope for the best and make do with what we have.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post, downtown Rhinelander, where a variety of outdoor products is available.