Outdoor Report: As winter holds on, spring tries to move in
The is nothing out of place with snow on Thanksgiving. People dream of a white Christmas and New Years Day best dawn over fresh snow for the year to start as it should. But a white Easter? That seems a stretch. Yet this year it is what we have; a white Easter with fresh snow from a late week storm that pushed us to near record book snow totals for the season.
It doesn’t seem right but there have been a lot of days in the past few months that have seemed not quite in the realm of what we would expect. We are only a few weeks away from another major holiday, the Opening of Fishing Season and one has to wonder about the odds of that being another white holiday.
All of which, all the snow, has slowed things in the outdoor world. In a normal year, we’d have some open water; bicyclists would be astride their sleek machines; paddlers would be out and spring would be in the air. Not so this weekend. Things are pretty much at a standstill.
Ice fishing lingers and those who have been out are finding good numbers of crappies and decent catches of bluegills. But for every report we have of good angling we are talking to anglers who are not comfortable with the ice conditions. Lake ice has been turning dark on many lakes, a sure indicator of ice fatigue and the new snow may cover that but not undo that.
This late in the year ice can fail quickly and a day or two can make a huge difference. While some lakes are holding 20 inches or more of ice, other lakes are showing honeycombed ice. All of which is to say that we are suggesting a lot of caution before considering going on the ice and are finding a lot of experienced anglers who simply are not risking it at all and staying off.
Turkey season opened under new snow this week and reports this early are sparse. The best that can be said is that things in the turkey woods and fields will get better in the weeks ahead.
Right now there is a resignation to a lingering winter that may have many lakes showing ice cover on the opening and snow in the woods for at least another week that will slow travel and cut into normal outdoor activities.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post in downtown Rhinelander.