Outdoor Report: Conditions are good…for now
We can make a strong argument that the worst of winter is behind us. March looms, less than a week away. January is a distant memory; February near finished. Yes, we will have more snow, and yes, we will have some cold. But it’s over, the worst of it. Gone are the long nights and too-short days; gone the probability of weeklong subzero nights. March will be here soon and with it, the days of early spring, some days of a false spring, some days of snow. But winter’s worst is behind us.
We go into March with snow conditions the best of the season and good bases on ski and snowmobile trails. On lakes, the ice is mostly thick and clear (though we have had some reports of slush on ice lately) and anglers are out in force. And with days growing longer, there will be more time for outdoor recreation for all.
Now, this time of the year can bring heavy, wet snow and lots of it (recall last year about this time). It can also bring spikes in temperature that ravage snow in a matter of days (recall mid-March last year). So any report must contain a caution that things can change in a hurry. Having noted that, snow is great and ice is pretty good.
Skiers should find very good tracks on all trails. Warming days can bring some snow melt and if it freezes overnight, morning can bring icy trails, so be cautious if that develops. But for now, expect very good cross country skiing, both on prepared trails and off-trail as well.
Snowmobilers also will find very good trails in the upcoming days. We have enjoyed late February snows and they’ve built a very good base. Warm days can be a factor as we go forward, but short term you will find very nice sledding.
Ice fishing sees a major change as most gamefish seasons end the first Sunday of March. It’s been slow of late for walleyes and northern, so it will be no big loss to see seasons end. Panfish fishing gets serious now with long, sunny days spurring fish activity as well as encouraging anglers to spend more time on the ice. For now, it’s been running slow all across the board but look for panfish activity to begin to rise soon.
The next weeks will see a marked change with longer days, warmer temperatures and a slow but steady move to spring. Winter sports won’t last forever, so now is the time to get out and enjoy them.
An assortment of outdoor products is available at Mel’s Trading Post in downtown Rhinelander; call (715) 362-5800. To comment on this story, visit StarJournalNOW.com