Early March has brought unsettled weather which, in turn, has impacted late winter activities. The thaw-freeze-thaw cycle of last week left snow sports in a bit of a turmoil and the upcoming week holds more uncertainty. That, as we all know, is part and parcel of March in Wisconsin; it is not a time of easy and predicable weather.
The hard thaw of a week ago lowered snow levels considerably and brought risk to some trails, both snowmobile and ski. As of Tuesday morning, when this report is sent to press, we are still not getting updates on snowmobile trails in the area. But they got rocked last week and by the weekend there were some thin spots. Best advice we can offer up is to check reports daily. The season is winding down, that much is certain.
Skiers had a mixed week and that will continue into this week and the upcoming weekend. Trails are snow covered; that’s not the issue. But afternoon thaw can soften trails and make them difficult to ski. Mornings can, after a day of thaw, be very icy and not particularly enjoyable to ski on. But we expect skiing to be doable through this week as temperatures are not rising that high. If groomers get out we will have some very good late-season skiing. If not, trails will be variable, depending on temperature.
Ice fishing now moves into panfish-only season and that’s not a bad thing. Late-season ice angling can be enjoyable in mild temperatures and successful in terms of fish brought to ice. Crappies have been the mainstay of late with good action at times. But each passing week should bring better panfish angling as crappies and bluegills lead the charge and perch follow later this month. As of this week we’re seeing decent crappie action in deeper water. Things will shift to shallower water as the weeks progress.
All in all, March is a mixed bag with conditions changing frequently, especially in terms of snow. The best strategy is to be flexible in plans, check updates daily and get out when the getting is good. Snow, and ice, will not last forever and if one has an interest in late winter sports the days are numbered.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post, downtown Rhinelander, where a variety of outdoor products is available.