Outdoor Report: Enjoy winter sports now; warmer weather ahead
One can make the case that March is the best month for winter sports. This even as winter, in a typical year, is on the wane. But what’s not to like about March? Good snow can linger even as temperatures rise; skiers and snowmobilers rejoice. Ice quality remains good even as slush and crust settle in firm up under the thaw and freeze; ice fishing can be red hot. March can offer up the best of it all; good snow, mild temperatures; a pleasant farewell to winter.
But most of all March gives us the simple reminder that it can all change overnight. Rising sun and longer daylight hours can bring havoc to bear on ski and snowmobile trails. And ice can weaken. If you like winter sports March can be a great time but it can also break your heart when a hard thaw melts snow. Best strategy for March is simply do not wait for a better day. Get out while you can.
Thursday morning of this past week neared twenty below zero and there is hope that that may have been the last brutal night. Weather for the weekend looks good and that sets up ski trails in the area for a weekend of very good skiing. All trails are groomed and all hold good snow.
Snowmobile trails are holding up, thin in some areas, but holding their own overall. But the weather forecast calls for 40s next week and any thin areas exposed to the sun will degrade quickly. Don’t wait for better times!
All this thaw to come should benefit ice fishing. Snow and crust on lakes will compress and firm up and anglers should be able to get out easier than they have for most of the winter. When they do get out they should find panfish starting to come on.
The wamer weather ahead should spur more fish activity. Bluegills are in medium depths, 12 feet or so deep. Small jigs tipped with waxies always work well. Crappies are deeper and those that are hitting are taking small minnows on fished on both jig rods and tip-downs. The tip-downs will be invaluable in the weeks ahead.
All in all there is hope that the mean winter that gave us a bitter cold February may be breaking. Warmer days are ahead and for now things look very good for anyone who seeks recreation out of doors.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff of Mel’s Trading Post in downtown Rhinelander.