After a lingering late winter that stretched through April, after a race to ice out, after all that, summer came on early and hard in late May with 90-degree days and warm nights. We caught up to the pace of the seasons with that heat. Now, mid June, we’re pretty much on track for normalcy in the natural world and, in that, our outdoor world for recreation.
What that means to us is that mid-June this year is pretty much where it should be and in that comes predictability in what we can expect. We know where fish go in a typical mid June, we know what camping will be like, what boating will entail, what bike rides are easy to do as we move to the summer Solstice. In all this we have some measure of comfort after the topsy-turvy times of April and May.
Summertime lakes in Northern Wisconsin are one of the treasures we enjoy. Boating, skiing, swimming, fishing, much of what we do revolves around water and as we stand today the water conditions are good with high lake levels and warming water temps. With hundreds of lakes in the area, many with easy access via landings, we have what it takes. Boating, whether under power or by paddle, is very good right now and will continue to be so. It’s a good time to be out as crowds are still manageable before the Fourth of July rush.
Bike trails are in good condition; off-road trails dry and easy to ride, paved trails and roads solid and good to go. The Bearskin Trail west of town remains a great place to ride as to the host of trails north of us.
Fishing remains on pace after a so-so opening. We are where we should be in mid-June: Walleyes are in 10 feet or so of water, seeking out weedy cover. Use jigs tipped with plastics, leeches or crawlers. Muskies are in that same general area and are taking mid-size sub surface lures as well as surface offerings. Bluegills are in the shallows on some lakes, moving off on some (depending on water temperatures). Crappies are in deeper, cooler waters now.
A caution or two at this point: Mosquitoes are mixed but in some areas pretty thick; carry repellant and be ready to use it. Ticks, well ticks are always out there; we always use Permethrin on pants legs when we head out. High heat can bring dehydration; make sure to take water when outside for extended periods of time. And a hot afternoon can blow up into thunderstorms in a hurry so keep an eye on the western skies.
But all this is normal, part of summer in the Northwoods and a small price to pay for the wonder of it all.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post, downtown Rhinelander, where a variety of outdoor products is available.