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 the main and fair in the secondary impoundments. Over 1,200 acres of phragmites in the central area were grazed after an earlier herbicide treatment, which reopened the marsh area. In the secondary impoundments grazing pressure was increased.

Unit 2 – Grazing pressure was also increased in this area, and phragmites overgrowth was reopened extensively this summer. A similar, smaller treatment resulted in excellent hunting three years ago. The area has started flooding, and will mostly be better for the youth hunt this year than last.

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 better condition. The east side of the main impoundment is unfortunately overgrowing, but 600 acres to the east is in drawdown and an over 100 acres grazing allotment helped open up the area. Two newer impoundments on this unit are

finished and finally developing aquatic vegetation. All of Unit 3, south of these two newer impoundments was chemically treated this year.

Weber Delta – South Weber Delta was mostly dry this summer and is in poor condition; with over 200 acres in the three newer ponds and a seasonally flooded flats water system. Water 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.

Pintail – Good, with some good new marsh area, but phragmites expanded westward this summer again. The water on this area is still low, but better than last year. (See access section below).

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

Bird numbers

Unit 1 – Good, in the main impoundments. Good numbers of birds are starting to build in the larger interior flats, which were reopened by grazing and are now flooded. Better numbers of ducks are starting to use secondary ponds, also.

Unit 2 – Fair, with most birds 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 on north delta and poor on south delta, but numbers will increase as these areas refill. It is holding a fair number of geese. Ducks are concentrated in the larger ponds and impoundments on north delta.

Pintail – Good 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

All outer gates to lower parking lots and boat launches are open.

The East Dike Area will be under massive construction activity over the next six months, starting in October. A new, main bridge and several large headgates will be placed. Detour roads to parking lots and most boat launches will be provided. People wishing to hunt the upper river runs should launch at the ramp on the north end. Otherwise good vehicle access with most roadways and parking lots mowed and in good shape. Most access roads will be graded by the general opener.

Unit 1 boat channel into main impoundments is clear and usable. Unit 3 boat channel will be a tight fit passage. A boat channel has been excavated around the south most, lowest walk bridge across the East Dike channel.

The Pintail Flats airboat channels will be useable clear out to the Great Salt Lake for the Youth Hunt. Boats can get most the way down the South channel currently, but it is a tighter passage. The South and West Airboat Access Channel should be fully usable. The West Airboat Channel is less congested and now preferred by most all air boaters with some of the more overgrown channel areas being mowed out a couple weeks ago.

There will be some scattered temporary head gate replacement construction activates that may interfere with hunting some impoundment areas for a day or two. Again, most all heavy equipment will be working along the east side river channels throughout the hunt.

Hunting forecast

The Youth Hunt will be good in the main impoundments and adjacent flats. The General Opener should be very good as well. Last year, Ogden Bay had the best opener in 34 years and was the best of the WMAs. Hunting should improve as the season progresses and new birds arrive after all the pre-hunt scouting and opening weekend pressures subsides. The bag check birds per hunter success from last January broke all time WMA records consecutively during the last two bag check periods. Large 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 for walk in hunters, the huge phrag graze treatment area south of the West North Run Parking Lot and north of parking lot 2 from the south end 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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