UTAH HUNTING

Waterfowl hunting

2012 waterfowl hunt opener conditions

Ogden Bay Waterfowl Management Area

Marsh and impoundment conditions

Unit 1 – Pondweed growth is excellent on main and fair in the secondary impoundments. Over 1,200 acres of phragmites in the central area have been grazed after an earlier herbicide treatment which reopened up the marsh area. In the secondary impoundments some phragmites were retreated this year.

Unit 2 – 600-acre east side phragmites overgrowth was reopened by experimental grazing this summer. A similar, smaller treatment resulted in excellent hunting two years ago. The area has started to flood, but will mostly be low for the youth hunt.

Unit 3 – Pondweed growth is good again this year as the stands developed over the last three years have thickened and enlarged. A huge new principally alkali bulrush and salcornia marsh west of outer dike is flooded after a summer drawdown and is in excellent condition. The east side of the main impoundment is unfortunately overgrowing, but 600 acres to the east is in drawdown and an over 100-acre grazing allotment helped open up the area. Some additional small phragmites areas were chemically also treated. Two newer impoundments on this unit are finished and developing aquatic vegetation.

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

Pintail – Fair with some good new marsh area, but phragmites expanded westward again this summer. The water on this area is very low (see Access section below).

Generally, all major impoundments are full and overflowing onto the westward flats. Marsh conditions are very good to excellent in most areas. The Great Salt Lake has receded to near its record low, which allowed large areas of west flats to regenerate vegetation. Phragmites control by drawdown, grazing, or herbicide projects occurred in several sections of marsh and they may appear drought stricken, but are now flooding.

Bird numbers

Unit 1 – Good, in the main impoundments. Incredible numbers of birds are starting to build in the larger interior flats, which were reopened by grazing and are now flooded. The largest concentration of geese in over 10 years was recently observed on the flats north end. Better numbers of ducks are starting to use secondary ponds.

Unit 2 – Poor with larger numbers on the south grazing area. Further-west flats and far-north-end ponds are expected, like last year, to gain large number of birds when these areas totally refill and interior hunting forces them out there.

Unit 3 – Excellent in the main impoundment, excellent on west flats and improved on the smaller impoundments.

Weber Delta – Fair in general, but numbers will increase as these areas refill. It is holding a fair number of geese. Ducks are thickly concentrated in the larger ponds and impoundments

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

Generally, birds are mostly concentrated on larger impoundments or ponds and flats in Unit 1 and 3. Remote ponds and flats way west of impoundments will increasingly hold larger numbers of birds as they are displaced in easily accessible areas by hunters pre-hunt scouting activities and the Youth Hunt.

Access

Good vehicle access with most roadways and parking lots mowed and in fair to good shape. All access road will be graded by the general opener.

Boat channels into main impoundments of Unit 1 and east side are clear and usable. Unit 3 boat channel will be a tight fit, but has been sprayed with herbicide to open it up. There is a temporary equipment bridge blocking the East Dike Channel between North and Middle Runs. Boaters wanting to go upriver from the northeast parking lot launch should go immediately left and east up North Run. A boat channel has been excavated around the south-most, lowest walk bridge across the East Dike channel. A handicap-accessible boat dock was placed near the boat ramp into Unit 1 at parking lot number three.

Due to low river levels, the Pintail Flats airboat channels will not be useable out to the Great Salt Lake for the Youth Hunt. Boats can get most the way down the South channel currently. The South and West Airboat Access Channel should be fully usable later on and we herbicide treated phragmites along both channels and mowed some areas earlier. The West Airboat Channel is less congested and now preferred by most all air boaters when it fills.

There will be some temporary head gate replacement construction activities that could interfere with hunting some impoundment areas for a day or two. There will also survey teams and heavy equipment working along river channels east side river channels throughout the fall.

Hunting forecast

The Youth Hunt will be exceptional in the main impoundments and adjacent flats. The General Opener should be very good as well. Hunting should improve as the season progresses and new birds arrive after all the pre-hunt scouting and opening weekend pressures subsides. Huge numbers of birds are forecast this year from the north. Hunters, in general, will find the best hunting in the better habitat and bird concentration areas detailed before. Particularly, the huge phragmites graze treatment area south of the West North Run parking lot is expected to provide excellent walk-in hunting this fall. Pintail Flats and Weber River Channels should again be the best late season areas.

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