Waterfowl hunting

2011 waterfowl hunt opener conditions

Harold Crane Waterfowl Management Area

Marsh conditions

Main Impoundments — Excellent, 400ac of east impoundment phragmites has been retreated and reopened by livestock grazing. Over 400ac on the west impoundment was retreated. The south impoundment is full, but now will be held at slightly lower compromise level after a water level agreement was finished with other agencies and upstream landowners.

Exterior flats — Excellent, all flats to west, north and east are being flooded. A newer, small impoundment on west flats is filled. Willard Spur has even more water than last year on this date!

Rainbow Unit – Good, Rainbow Pond was flooded all summer for the first time in years and more water is expected later. The ponds along the GSL Mineral Canal are full.

Generally, marsh and impoundments conditions are improved due to more water, major habitat manipulations and few flood related problems.

Bird numbers

Main impoundments – Excellent, with the north-west impoundments being best and south holding the least. Higher late summer bird use the last few years has been noted, but preseason scouting will temporarily displace many birds. Most geese in years!

Exterior flats – Good, birds are packed into flooded flats along the north and west dikes. The Willard Spur just north of Crane is loaded with waterfowl.

Rainbow Unit – Fair, with some geese on the Rainbow Pond and much better duck numbers on the ponds along GSL Mineral canal.

Bird numbers further out on the south, north and west flats are increasing, also. Goose numbers are overall excellent.

Last years moderate level botulism outbreak has not occurred in the Willard Spur to the north, but a few sick birds may be located. Many of the bird recover in the fresher water on Crane. Avoid handling or allowing your dog to handle any located sick or dead birds.


The newer road with three parking lots accessing the west Rainbow Unit is in good shape. The main Harold Crane parking lot has been enlarged, also. Newer north bound water distribution channels located near the center dike, in both the east and west impoundments provide improved access for those willing to carry small boats across the south dike. The access channel into the non-motorized boats only east unit is clear and a newer boat launch was installed. This channel starts at the west end of the main parking lot.

A handicap accessible boat dock has been installed near the main launch site.

The main access road is graveled and graded. We also installed much larger head gates in the South Drain around Willard Bay Reservoir, including under the main road to Crane. The head gate bridges are slightly narrower than the road, so be careful.

Hunt forecast

Will be good to great again! Many of the remoter areas will not be hunted on the Youth Hunt and should provide excellent hunting on the General Opener for anyone willing to expend a little extra effort.

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