Warm weather staying around into October
Mid October and, for all intents, it feels like mid September. We wait for the first hard frost; we have not seen a single snowflake; we have day after day with the temperature above the average. And, after a slow start, we, at this late date, have very good fall color. But it still seems off as we are into our third consecutive October with mild to warm weather dominating.
Outdoor sports remain centered around hunting seasons; that will not much change for the next 45 days. Last weekend saw the Youth Deer Hunt, a two-day rifle season for young hunters. It was greeted on Saturday by hard rains (over 2 inches between Friday night and Saturday) in the morning which certainly cut participation. Preliminary totals show 73 deer taken in Oneida County over those two days; 25 bucks, 48 antlerless. Rain undoubtedly reduced the number of hunters, or at least overall hours spent in the field.
Waterfowl hunters are seeing local ducks still in the area, though noticeably fewer than the previous week. We did hear reports of a few early migrants, bluebills and the like, this week but without a major weather front we expect things to remain as they are. Normally by the 20th of the month we see a major movement of redheads, ring necks and bluebills, so this week may hold some interest.
Grouse and woodcock hunters are still dealing with heavy vegetation that limits visibility quite a bit. There seem fewer grouse than expected and any major move of woodcock has not happened yet. Woodcock will move with the weather; grouse should be more visible as the leaves fall but that is late this season.
On the lakes fishing continues to be steady if unspectacular. We have seen a gradual drop in water temperatures and that will be the key in the upcoming weeks. There has been some movement of musky and walleyes to shallower water as we’d expect, but nothing significant to date. Weather, again, dominates it all and the warmer temperatures have slowed things.
Expect muskies to start to look for suckers soon and most anglers make that change over in October. For now, slower presentations of buck tails and larger lures should work. Walleyes are taking minnows and doing it fairly consistently. Most are still in 12-15 feet, but some are easing shallower and that will continue.
Crappies have provided a bright spot for anglers of late, taking small minnows on jigs on some of the local lakes.
Next week looks to be a near repeat of the one just finished with moderate temperatures and no hard chill to come. All that suggests that migration of waterfowl and woodcock will be late and that anglers will have a gradual change to better conditions to come.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post, downtown Rhinelander, where a variety of outdoor products is available.