Warm weather left as quickly as it arrived
Over the past 10 days things have changed dramatically in the Northwoods. Change has come in fast and hard and irreversible. And the outdoors scene is now significantly different than a week plus ago. Things are getting more serious.
We are coming off a run of hard, steady rains a week ago that merged by late week to snow flurries. A week ago we saw mild temperatures; by week’s end frost and chill and northerly winds dominated. Leaves peaked in their fall color last week and then began to drop. All across the north we’ve seen seasonal change that will not reverse course.
For the outdoor enthusiast we are now in a completely different place than only a week ago and more of this is to come. Mild weather sports, cycling, kayaking, boating and the like are now fading. We’ll have some warm days and there are always those that are hardy enough to ignore the weather but for most part we’re over and done with those activities.
What’s left is the heart of fall hunt seasons and a time of more rapid pace of change. We had reports of flights of northern ducks this week, mallards, redheads and ring-necks, riding in on strong winds. Now is the time water fowlers will need to be out every time possible. We expect that migration to continue. Historically October 15th through the 30th brings major moves of northern birds. The past two years have been too warm; this October is far more normal and that should bode well.
Deer hunters are seeing deer move through the day, in part due to changing weather but also largely due to the baiting ban in this county. Deer now cannot rely on easy trips to bait piles, they need to forage longer and that puts them on the move far more often during daylight. Good acorn ridges remain a draw for whitetails and hunters eye the time of rut, soon to come.
Upland hunters are seeing some grouse and some migrating woodcock but the big news on that front is that leaves have fallen to the extent that good sight lines are now more likely and opportunities for shots increase.
On the water the chill weather has driven water temperatures down and that has shifted tactics. Now is the time for very slow presentations for both the key species, musky and walleye. Musky anglers are using suckers far more regularly and with good success. Walleye anglers are going to larger minnows along weedy edges, more often in slightly shallower water than a month ago.
All in all we have reached the tipping point in the season and what we see will remain. Colder weather lies ahead as the month runs its course. The mild temperatures of the past 2 Octobers are memory; this is more like the October we expect.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post, downtown Rhinelander, where a variety of outdoor products is available.