March moves on this week, a bit of a dud month this year. A false spring took temperatures into the 50s, melted all the snow, then faded overnight. The rest of the month was sullen and chilly and spring activities, which looked to come alive, faded away on cloudy, cool days. Now into April where true spring should arrive and, if averages play out, we’ll see open water in the next weeks.
For now there is no open water save for fast running rivers. Which is not all bad.
After a very slow ice fishing season the past 10 days have seen a real surge in panfish activity and ice conditions are generally decent, favorable to anglers. But a caution, two actually: First off, ice can change dramatically in spring warm and good ice can go bad overnight. And second, there is no snow cover on most lakes and glare ice rules the day; ice grippers of some sort are critical to help prevent nasty falls.
On to the actual fishing: It’s been good and getting better. Bluegills and perch are steady but crappies are leading the charge to the late season. In the past week the number of reports of very good crappie fishing has scaled up significantly. Most lakes still find fish in deeper waters, many times suspended above lake bottom by 6 to 8 feet. But they are active.
Tip-downs seem to rule the day in terms of tackle but late season has always been the domain of light-action jig poles. The choice is with the angler. But the best news is that fishing has been good. The colder weather leading into the weekend may slow things but next week’s warm-up will put things back on track.
Turkey season kicks off with the Youth Hunt on April 11 and 12 followed by the six hunts that start on April 15. Bird numbers are on the rise but still down for 2 years ago.
All in all the pace of spring has slowed some but April is near and true spring weather should follow.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post in downtown Rhinelander.