The first full week of February is shaping up to be one of the best of the season in the Rhinelander are. All three of the big outdoor activities, skiing, snowmobiling and ice fishing, are looking very good. We’ve got snow, we have (generally) good ice and we have moderate temperatures coming in. What more can one ask for?
After a dismal dry period that ran from late December to late January we’ve gotten some decent snow in the past few weeks. Some big snowfalls, some smaller; they all add up. Right now we have good to very good snow, enough to withstand a few warm days, and all adding up to some very good conditions for snow sports.
Snowmobile trails are reported to be in good to very good shape. Some corners are icy; be cautious. But overall the snow we’ve gotten in the past few weeks has reinforced the base we have and groomers have been able to keep on top of it. Lake crossings are marked; stay in those areas only, and wooded sections are looking very good. For riders, this weekend is looking to be a good one.
Same for cross country skiing. Groomers have worked the snow that we’ve received and all trails are in very good condition. We’ve been fortunate. We have had good skiing since mid-December, while areas not too far to the south have languished with little or no snow. But up here it’s been good and it’s gotten better. Bottom line is that all ski trails in the area will be very good this week.
Ice fishing continues to be good, nothing exceptional but steady. Northern pike have been active, taking large minnows and doing so aggressively. Walleyes have been good, not great, but feeding in the evenings along weedy areas in mid depths. Panfish are again led by crappies; we’ve had some reports of very good fish taken, mostly on warmer days, but the best panfish season lies ahead.
Lake ice is mixed with some crusty junk over good ice. Overall, conditions are good though ice remains thinner over moving water (think the Wisconsin River) or springs. Most areas are good.
The snow in the woods is piling up which makes for good snowshoeing and backcountry skiing. We are still fairly low in terms of stress on the deer herd but it’s worth keeping an eye on as below-zero temperatures combined with deeper snow brings added stress to whitetails.
But, all in all, this week and the upcoming weekend should be very good for all winter sports.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post, downtown Rhinelander, where a variety of outdoor products is available.