UTAH HUNTING

Waterfowl hunting

2011 waterfowl hunt opener conditions

Ogden Bay Waterfowl Management Area

Marsh conditions

Unit 1 – Entire unit was deeply flooded and later drained out by dike breaches that happened during massive flooding. Over 20 dike breaches or blow-outs, with the largest being over 75 feet long and 12 feet deep, made restoration of water containment a long process. Pond weed growth is decreased on main and dead in the secondary impoundments. Over 600 acres of phragmites in the east central area and over 1,400 acres in the secondary impoundments were retreated this year, but in ponds reopened last year, extensive invasion of cattail and phrag occurred when the area drained down to mudflats. Some better moist soil waterfowl food vegetation did grow in some scattered locations. In the main impoundment a large block of invasive exotic cattail germinated and established while it was low, also.

Unit 2 – Cattle were removed from 600 acres on east side of phragmites experimental grazing because of flooding, and it overgrew again. The area will be dry for the Youth Hunt because all water is being diverted to impoundments since dike breach repairs and phrag treatments are now completed. The area will be partially flooded for the general opener

Unit 3 – Pond weed growth is good again this year as the stands developed over the last two years have thickened and enlarged. This unit was not affected as badly by flooding. A huge, principally alkali, bulrush and salcornia marsh west of outer dike is currently just starting to be being flooded after a summer drawdown and will be dry for the Youth Hunt. It should be mostly flooded by the general opener. The east side of the main impoundment is, unfortunately, overgrowing with rank vegetation, but the two new and all other secondary impoundments are full.

Weber Delta – South Weber Delta is fair with over 200 acres in three newer ponds and a seasonally flooded flats water system, which is currently being filled. The "Big Pond" is filling and was grazed to reduce perimeter vegetation overgrowth this summer, but because of flooded delays less vegetation was removed than last year. North Weber Delta is fair with the main river impoundment currently filled and the east dump basin is dry but starting to fill.

Pintail – Fair with some good new marsh area, but phragmites expanded westward this summer again, also. Again because all available water is being used to fill impoundments this area will be mostly dry for the Youth Hunt. Older wildfire areas have grown back with rank phragmites because it was not pretreated with herbicide. Just burning without herbicide pretreatment, grazing, or summer draw downs only stimulated and expanded phragmites stands.

Generally, all Unit # 1 ponds were low or dried in late summer because of dike damage and all available water was used to refill the ponds. The impounded ponds are now full and just starting to spill, but flats below the ponds will be dry for the Youth Hunt. Conversely, all lower flats should be wetted by the general opener and an emergency agreement with river managers for additional water after Sept. 15 has been finalized. The areas water rights double in October and they were based on traditional later opening hunts The Great Salt Lake is still very low, which allowed large areas of west flats to be shallowly flooded later on. Phragmites control by drawdown, experimental grazing, or herbicide projects are just finishing up on several sections of marsh and they may appear drought stricken, but will be flooded for general hunting season.

Bird numbers

Unit 1 – Poor in the smaller impoundments but picking up more birds daily in the main impoundment. Absolutely incredible numbers of birds are starting to stage just north of here in the Bear River Bay Arm of the Great Salt Lake and its' associated WMAs and refuges. Hopefully some birds should move south by the general opener or later when conditions are better.

Unit 2 – Poor with larger numbers on west flats, and far north end ponds expected to attract good numbers when these areas refill.

Unit 3 – Fair changing to good recently in the main impoundment and numbers will be excellent on west flats later on.

Weber Delta – Fair in general, but numbers will increase later in these areas. Quite a few geese

Pintail Flats – Poor now and with an expectation of increasing to excellent later on west side flats towards the Great Salt Lake.

Generally, birds are mostly concentrated on larger impoundments and ponds in Unit 3 and in lesser numbers in Unit 1. Huge numbers of later migrating waterfowl are anticipated because of a tremendous production season north of here.

Access

All outer gates are open. Good access with most roadways and parking lots in good shape, except the Northeast parking lot on North Run, which was covered with over two feet of silt by flooding and will be muddy for the Youth Hunt. Boat channels into main impoundments of Unit 1 and east side are clear and usable. Unit 3 narrow boat channels will be a tight fit.

Pintail airboat channels will be low for the Youth Hunt. Air boaters can get around the sandbar and vegetation overgrowth at the bottom of the heavily boated Pintail South Boat Access Channel and the usually recommended West Airboat Access Channel will be deeper later on. The West Airboat Channel is not congested with other type boats and now preferred by most all airboaters. Unfortunately this channel is currently low and only power full boat use is recommended.

A handicap accessible boat dock has been placed near the boat ramp into Unit 1 at parking lot number 3. A boat channel has been excavated around the lowest bridge along the East Dike channel.

There will be some temporary head gate replacement, parking lot, and dike restoration construction activates that may interfere with hunting some areas for a day.

Hunting forecast:

The Youth Hunt will be poor to fair, except in Unit #3 impoundments. The General Opener or later should be much better. Hunting should improve as the season progresses and new birds arrive after all the pre-hunt scouting and opening weekend pressures subsides. Pintail Flats and Weber River Channels should again be the best late season areas.

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