Lakes are solid, panfish biting
A cold weekend is coming up and by this time of the year, mid February, one is not wrong in wondering if it’s the last sub zero temperatures we’ll have. All things are possible, especially in this wacky winter, but the nights of below zero readings would seem to be limited. That cold weather, along with decent snow conditions, highlights the week ahead.
Strange as it may seem at this late date we still hear reports of marginal ice on some deeper lakes. While most lakes are solid over all their area there apparently remain some larger lakes where ice is well below average. Local ice is in the 16” range on many lakes, below what it usually would be at this time of the winter. Fishing has been so-so with crappies holding in deeper water but providing some decent action in the past week. Walleyes are slow and that is no surprise this late in February.
Ice fishing started late this year and has never really kicked in. The big walleye bite of early ice never quite happened for most anglers. The best we can say is that the past few weeks have seen more anglers on the ice and improving panfish action will continue to highlight time on ice.
Snowfall totals remain thin compared to what we’d expect. Still, all area XC ski trails are in good to very good condition as we go into the long weekend of Valentine’s Day and Presidents’ Day. A lot of skiers are building miles in training for next weekend’s Birkebeiner and they’ll find very good conditions. Recreational skiers are having the best conditions of the season as well with the Cassian Trail, Northwoods Golf Course, and the McNaughton Trails all getting good reviews.
Snowmobile trails are in mostly good shape with thin areas starting to show in some areas. The snowfalls have just not delivered enough to put the trails in the “excellent” range this year but February can still deliver up some good snows and strange as it may seem the best snowmobiling of the season may be ahead of us.
Longer hours of daylight and a warming sun both give sign that winter is waning. We’ve got solid snow and ice for now but not enough to give hope for an extended season. Best to get out when you can and enjoy the great opportunities we have close at hand.
The Outdoor Report is provided by the staff at Mel’s Trading Post, downtown Rhinelander.