Outdoor Report: Winter is slow to leave, but spring is on its way
There seems precious little movement to true spring. Snow is, as of Wednesday, still deep; ice on most lakes is running thick. And overnight lows this past week in single digits did little to put spring in peoples’ minds. More and more, we hear people speculate on when the ice will go out (and wondering how close it might be to the fishing season opening).
So it goes. This winter was late to come; now it’s late to leave.
Still, there is some progress if one looks hard enough. Snowmobile trails are shut down, as are most ski trails (the exception being the XC trails at Northwood Golf course where volunteer groomers continue to ply their craft). There will be opportunities to ski as a thick crust on most snow will now support skiers should they decide to head out.
Ice fishing has stalled for many. Access is limited on many lakes, with crust and slush combining to make vehicle travel impossible. Those anglers who do get out have found mixed success. Crappies have shown a slow but steady move toward shallower waters. We’ve not seen huge success yet, but if anglers are willing to walk out, they will find some decent action.
Perch have been on-again, off-again. They are just now starting to come on strong, as they usually do late in the ice over season.
Open water angling seems a long way off, but turkey season looms. This weekend is the youth hunt; next Wednesday, the 10th, will kick off the regular season.
The early season will be a challenge this year. Snow will probably still cover most of the countryside next week (and will certainly be present this weekend). Birds are in their wintering areas and are reluctant to move. The area where you may have seen turkeys last year will probably not hold birds today.
This weekend, most hunters will be doing some serious scouting! Birds are beginning to gobble and if you have a hunt set for next week, you would be well served to get out this weekend and look for birds. They will probably not be where you have seen them in the past.
Maple sap is running and the syrup season is under way. It’s all dependent on weather and this week should be a good one. And major bird migration is looming, with large numbers of birds stacked up in southern Wisconsin waiting for the weather to break.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post in downtown Rhinelander.