HERE’S WHERE WE STAND in the all-important snow conditions: We’ll have warm weather mid-week, mild weather on the weekend and none of it should degrade what we have. We simply have a very good base of snow and we’ve had enough cold weather to keep it. A year ago we were on the edge of it all, within a short time of losing it to hard thaw. This year, we’re good. And that is the best news for mid-February that we’ve had for a while.
That snow is the foundation on which key winter sports are built; snowmobiling, cross country skiing, snowshoeing. It will not last forever, but as we head into the last two weeks of February we are enjoying very good snow and all that it brings.
Snowmobile trails are in very good shape again. It’s been cold enough that the base is holding up and repeated grooming has kept trails very good. There are a handful of icy spots on some corners but all in all it’s very good and even the warmish weather this week should not have a significant impact.
The same is true for area ski trails where pretty much all of them are very good to excellent. We’ve enjoyed good to excellent skiing since mid-December and now with longer hours of daylight and warming temperatures, all over a very good base, skiing is about as good as it can get.
And for all of this we are fortunate; areas not too far south of here have had a fraction of the snow we’ve seen.
The cold weather has kept lake ice in good condition for the most part. Ice anglers are now enjoying the gradual trend toward warmer temperatures as the sport fish season winds down over the next few weeks. Northern pike remain pretty steady, taking larger minnows with some gusto. Panfish are mixed; there are better days ahead for them. And walleyes are in their typical late winter slowdown with some anglers doing okay, but overall slow.
If all goes well, we’ll be on snow for another month or so and on decent lake ice after that. But things can change quickly so the best advice remains to get out and take advantage of some very good conditions. They will not last forever.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post, downtown Rhinelander, where a variety of outdoor products is available.