Outdoor Report: A time for endings and beginnings
There is a sense of, perhaps, irony, in that we will have more snow for Easter than we did for Christmas. Granted, we did not have a lot for Christmas, but we do have a bit for Easter weekend. Reports this week are that the snow depth has reached a record for this date. There is, as of mid-week, comfortably more than 20 inches in the shaded woods and not much less in open areas.
This may put a damper on out-of-doors Easter egg hunts this Sunday; there is a time and a place, and this weekend would seem to offer up neither. So it’s inside for the egg hunts, even as outside holds late season snow for those who still want to enjoy it. And there seem to be a few.
If forecasts hold true, we would expect some bonus XC skiing this weekend as well as a last hurrah for the snowmobile season, that seeming certain if for no other reason that grooming of all snowmobile trails ends the 31st of March. So if you are inclined, this weekend is the last chance for the machines to run, even as the ski season shows potential to last who knows how long.
Ski conditions are now dependent on grooming, and grooming of ski trails is sporadic. But even if the trails are not groomed they will hold snow for a while, so there is skiing to be had.
And this year, things are looking like the best potential in ages for “crust skiing,” the time when daytime temperatures drive moisture content of snow up and overnight low temps freeze it hard. On those days that follow, one can ski most anywhere in the woods without breaking through the crust that has formed. It is, for many, the best of the best for late winter skiing.
Ice fishing continues, but it is hampered by slush on many lakes (or deep snow on others). All this limits easy access and ice fishing action is lower than normal because of that. That will change as snow settles and firms up and when it does, crappies and perch will probably be active with bluegills coming on as well. Up until now, it’s been good but not great.
This is the time for tip-downs; they are probably as effective a means of taking panfish that we’ve seen.
Maple syrup season kicked off this past week with a lot of fans of the sweet stuff tapping trees and seeing some sap beginning to run. That season was a bust last year, so there is a lot of pent-up anticipation this time around.
And, as difficult as it may seem with the snow on the ground, turkey season is near and it appears the early season will be much affected by the late snow.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post in downtown Rhinelander.