Not a whole lot to say other than that it was the slowest season we've had in quite a while, definitely in recent memory. Not only from a numbers standpoint but also in the patterns of birds observed, just entirely off. Hard to judge numbers too far back because I didn't always make the number of hunts that I routinely get in now but numbers way down along with overall sightings. At first we thought something was off in our marsh but at least took slight comfort when reports in person and online were rampant with the same message 'Where's the birds!??' Quite the frightening question considering no storms to hit south Louisiana coupled with one of the harshest, most persistent winters in many years. Front after front came, but brought little to no change more often than not.
Species breakdown was as follows:
29 grays (101 last season, 153 year before!)
1 Mexican duck
29 GW teal (62 last season, 61 year before!)
7 BW teal
109 ducks on 30 hunts, also 6 specks, 1 snow and 1 blue
This is down from last year's 221 ducks on 28 hunts, and 270 on 28 hunts the year before. Would have made more hunts had I thought it would be worth the effort, passed on a few weekdays I'd usually be in the blind.
Grays and GW teal still led our harvest which is about the only glimpse of normalcy in that breakdown. Scaup (dosgris) were far below our normal harvest, yet mallards and mottleds were up.
Nonetheless, we had some good times and I made some new hunting friends and enjoyed hunting with those of previous hunts. In total, I was fortunate to hunt in Delacroix Island/Hopedale, Slidell, Creole, Klondike, Welsh, and Bunkie/Whiteville. Regardless of any changes in upcoming seasons, we'll be hard at it one way or another. Good luck fishin'!
Didn't bother with the East Zone this week with the goofy weather, complete with fog and little to no wind this weekend. This season had a lot of ups and downs as we had to constantly move to keep up with the birds. Just when we thought we'd found a honey hole to hammer out a few good hunts, we'd find them working somewhere else the next trip forcing us to make too many mid-hunt moves. Also, when the water went out with the few strong fronts we did get, our birds left with it or would raft on big lagoons. Did notice more mallards this year than usual and a good few found their way to our straps sporadically. Likely could have had all we wanted if we took the time to target them in small waters.
Species breakdown as follows:
101 grays, 62 GW teal, 3 BW teal, 1 mottled, 12 spoons, 26 dosgris (1 greater, the rest lesser scaup), 3 buffleheads, 10 mallards, 3 wigeon; 3 specklebelly geese. Total is 221 ducks on 28 hunts, down from 270 last season.
1st split averaged 11 ducks per hunt but 2nd split fell off drastically to around 5.5/hunt. We usually saw quite a few birds but had a tough time really getting on them in big numbers as the 2nd split wore on.
Note: If we were just hunting numbers, dosgris numbers could easily be doubled if not more. 1st split we passed on them in droves holding out for later gray flights that sometimes never panned out. Second split we mostly took them when opportunities presented, though not nearly as many as earlier in season.
Hunted mostly in southeast La with only one trip to the Whiteville/Bunkie area rice in January. Plenty of good times with good friends and even got some guys their first greenheads for the wall. Time to trade the flat and shotgun for the bay boat and rods but I'll be raring to go again come September. If you're on facebook you can keep up with my hunting and fishing trips at http://www.facebook.com/DigbyOutdoorMedia
good luck fishin'!
Pretty solid start to the season, hunting both the Coastal Zone and East Zone Isaac-battered marshes. Weather was treating us pretty good until last week when this warm-up started, glad to see us shut down this week with the warm forecast.
Been doing a lot of post-hunt scouting or afternoon fishing, though most who know me know full well that the binoculars stay in my hand far more than a fishing rod this time of year. Have been moving around about every hunt but really have yet to find any particular 'hole' they're piling into. By moving around we just try to give them a different look each day.
Species breakdown as follows:
64 grays, 5 spoons, 41 GW teal, 1 BW teal, 1 mottled, 1 wigeon, 1 greenhead, 3 buffleheads, 16 dosgris. Total is 133 ducks on 12 hunts, averages out to about 11 birds/hunt. Some days were great, some days we'd have 2-6 and glad to have them. Last Thursday we were covered up in dosgris but opted to let them all pass, not looking to pad numbers, but instead just shot our 6 grays and missed on a few others. Long-range forecast shows better weather a week out so hopefully it cools down by the 15th. good luck out there
Guys I'm looking for some reel care tips from those of you who routinely fish multiple days per week and are hard on equipment in the saltwater. Like many of us, I've got an assortment of rod/reel combos in varying conditions and values but looking for tips on maintaining smooth reel operation for the long haul.
In short, what do you do to your spinning and casting reels when you get home after each and every trip when chasing specks and reds? Maybe some of you guides can chime in on what's worked for you since you rely so heavily on your equipment. thanks guys and good luck fishin'
Had a great year hunting around the state, though most hunts made throughout southeast Louisiana marshes, both public and private land. Plenty of miles on the truck, boat and ATV and had some great times with old friends and new. Was lucky enough to hunt Delacroix, Bayou Bienvenue, Chef Pass, Whiteville/Bunkie rice, and Lake Arthur fresh marshes along with various SE La WMA's.
Final tally was 270 ducks on 28 hunts, so averaged a shade under 10 birds per hunt. Most were two-man blinds but also had two solo limits and one 4-man limit. Didn't really chase the geese as much this year, took only 1 speck and no snows or blues.
Species breakdown was as follows: 153 grays, 6 BW teal, 58 GW teal, 14 mallards, 3 buffleheads, 8 mottleds, 10 shovelers, 1 wigeon, 8 dosgris, 7 black-bellied whistlers, 2 pintail.
Like most folks, we saw a ton of grays this season and had a field day with them. Hopefully they come back next year! However, troubling to see one lonely wigeon on the log after taking 35 in 2005-2006 season. Thanks to all who hosted me in different places this year, hope to do it again next fall. Good luck fishin'
Despite the warm temperatures and mosquitos, we managed to put together two solid hunts over the weekend.
Saturday the birds worked well with a stout S/SW wind all morning, 3-man limit by about 8:15 with 16 grays, 1 GW teal, 1 mottled
Sunday again had a decent wind from the SE but had to deal with the fog and ultimately wait it out. We picked away at them in the fog then finished up after 10:00am when it finally cleared out. 13 grays, 2 mallards, 1 GW teal, 1 BW teal, 1 dosgris.
Finally got some weather in here to shuffle the deck and it looks like most guys are benefitting with some good hunts.
Had a stellar trip to Doug's Hunting Lodge in Klondike last Thursday Jan 12. Three of us took 8 mallards (7 greenheads), 2 mottleds, 2 GW teal, 1 BW teal, 4 grays and 1 sprig for 8:30. Could have melted your barrel shooting squealers early on but we passed on them along with spoons and a good many teal. Winds were ripping 15-25 from N/NW all morning
Hit SE La marsh last Saturday the 14th in a late-season pothole that holds water. Unfortunately, the birds aren't really using it this year like last, despite the water being very low. Put down everything that came by, couldn't be choosy. 1 mottled, 1 spoon, 1 bufflehead, 1 dosgris. No wind, clear conditions didn't help to move what was around either.
Looks like the divers are showing up more in a lot of bags as we're getting toward the tail end of the season. Seeing a good many dosgris and buffleheads on Lake P but doesn't seem like quite as many as last year. Back in the marsh this weekend, good luck closing it out in the WZ.
The weather's been a bummer lately fighting the fog with no wind, warmer temperatures and LOW water in the marshes. If you're holding some birds you can put together a strap after the fog lifts but don't count on the weather making them move around & unfortunately it's a lot of the same birds with no fronts to move in some new faces. Been scraping together a few here and there in the marsh but no big numbers this week. Seems like everyone's seeing the grays do their usual late-season thing: move out to big water to raft up. Need this week's front in a bad way to shuffle the deck and move some birds around. On the calm days, a jerk string rig has been a game-changer for getting birds close. Made a solo hunt today and saw a surprising number of GW teal, taking my 6 in about 20 minutes, didn't even put eyes on a gray duck. They may have flown later but I was out of the marsh by 7:15. Headed to try some fresh marsh near Lake Arthur later this week, good luck out there & Go Tigers!
Hunting has been pretty good from what I've seen the last week or so. Spent last weekend in the Bunkie/Whiteville area. Plenty of ducks in the general area but the masses have not yet taken to this particular section of fields like they did last year. There are, however, droves and droves of snows and specks in the area. Saturday two of us had 4 GW's and 1 greenhead, with plenty of chances on GW teal flights to get our 12. Also should have had a couple of specks at least. Sunday the ducks were even fewer on our field, though strong numbers seen in the general area, managed only to take 1 speck.
Mid-week in SE La marshes was solid with strong numbers of grays all around. Plenty of hunters taking limits of GW's and grays. Limited both days:
Wednesday 16 grays, 1 GW teal, 1 dosgris
Thursday in the rain: 21 grays, 1 wigeon, 1 GW teal, 1 spoon
Good luck out there & Merry Christmas
Overall it was a solid first split in SE Louisiana marshes. Looks like the grays have shown up in force for most everyone, essentially statewide. Also saw a good many green wing teal and a smattering of mallards, spoons, few pintail. This week I noticed a definite increase in divers following the big front with more dosgris and bufflehead buzzing around. Looks like another front early next week should help us out to kick off the East Zone on the 10th.
101 ducks on 10 hunts; mostly grays (56) and GW teal (28) and the rest spoons, BW teal, pintail, mallards, mottleds, dosgris, and bufflehead.
The hunting all around SE La has been good so far with plenty of birds down to keep things interesting. Hunters in some areas are even reporting more birds than they've seen in quite some time. Since the West Zone opener last weekend I've only not hunted on two days (Mon/Tues) making trips to Delacroix, Chef/Bayou Bienvenue, and various SE La public marshes. I was most impressed with the gray duck flights last Wednesday in the Bayou Bienvenue area, just phenomenal with a SW wind blowing 20-30+ with the storms passing through that morning, thankfully missing us. Wave after wave of flights 50-60+ strong all morning long, really something to see. So far grays and GW's have made the bulk of the straps but have also taken BW teal, pintail, mallards, spoons, dosgris, and mottleds totaling 67 birds on 7 hunts. Yesterday was slow with the fog and a sharp decline in birds with the high water. We need this front tomorrow night in a bad way to get the water out. Good luck this week and Happy Thanksgiving.
Wrapped up what was a great 2011 teal season yesterday with a fun hunt that was over far too quickly. Four of us had limits in hand in under 15 minutes and took our time picking up from there, taking in the show of birds against the glow on the horizon. The little front at end of last week looks to have recharged our bird supply making for two last days with plenty of limits taken. One observation I noted that others have similarly seen was the unusual number of green wings down here. Though things got off to an unusually slow start in SE La following Tropical Storm Lee, the hunting picked up shortly thereafter when the water got back to normal levels.
In total, my log shows 104 teal taken on 9 hunts (101 BW, 3 GW). Some days you had to work for them, shooting well with the chances presented, and some days you could have just thrown handfuls of rocks for limits. Great times with a lot of good friends. 'Till November......Go Tigers.
Guys i'm looking to head out to the Pearl River Navigation Canal and want to launch at the Lock 1 ramp (Lock 1 Road in Pearl River). I spent many years there earlier in my life but it's been at least 5-7 years or so since i've used that launch. Any chance I can launch a 21 bay boat there on a tandem axle trailer?
Supposed to take some relatives for a ride there this weekend but don't want to get to the launch and have issues. Any drop off issues I should know about? All I've launched there in the past was my 16' flat boat.
Thanks for any help, have a good 4th weekend.
Hoped it would calm a bit this morning after ripping all day yesterday, but the wind insisted on another day of outdoing itself. Spent a few hours trolling (and rocking and rolling) on the causeway this morning in the new boat. Boxed 10 trout ranging from 13' to 20', 1 red and lost 1 lucky trout who managed to flip back into the water off the deck. Threw back a couple undersized specks. Water was dirty but not terrible and the chartreuse baits were showing up well, seemed to be the color of the day. All fish caught on MirroLures, rattletraps or trailed B2 squid in chartreuse. good luck out there
Got my numbers put together and it was certainly a good season. Had a lot of fun hunting a variety of places with good friends and family. Countdown is on to September!
Total for the year in my blind was 246 ducks, 8 specklebelly geese, 1 blue goose
Species breakdown is as follows:
GW teal 68
BW teal 39
A few observations on the numbers: more mallards than usual, most around the state observed the same. Usually wed only kill maybe 3-4 a year if that many, and we had the chance to harvest many more had we targeted them in smaller potholes earlier in the season. The number of spoons was up significantly, largely due to more rice field hunts in the Cheneyville/Bunkie/Whiteville areas this year. Dosgris (scaup) were also up; many days wed pass on them landing in the spread 30+ at a time but on slow days we took our 2 per person. Before the season I would have thought wed kill a hundred grays because they showed up in droves around October 15th and stayed a while BUT they disappeared right before the opener, 35 is down from 93 in 2005 but about average for the years since then (30-40), last years low of 11 being an anomaly. Green wing teal harvested is way up from a usual 30-40 per year; most killed in first split rice and marsh with only a few in 2nd split.
Made hunts in: Lacombe/Slidell, Delacroix Island, Hopedale, Lake Arthur marsh, Bell City, Cheneyville, & Bunkie/Whiteville
No crazy closures as referred to in other threads, at this time. The plans below subject to storm impacts or changing oil spill conditions.
News release from today:
and the plan referenced:
Seems reasonable to me, again, for the conditions as they are today. Pray for no storms!
Any reports out of area south of Caernarvon, Braithwaite area, scarsdale?? Have not been lately but may try this week. Just looking for any reports from the general area. Hopefully all this high water will fall out soon!
Edit: Hunted today down there, 11/24/09 and managed a 2-man limit. Lots of teal moving around and not many big ducks. 4 greys, 3 wigeon and 5 teal.
Saw on this site and on LDWF site the announcement for the White Lake teal hunts......only $125 per person. I was planning to put in but not at that rate. I suppose it's tough times for everyone, including LDWF but man that's rough. For those willing to pay it, should be easy to get picked with far fewer applicants.
Anyone have any reports to share on ducks in the monterey/ferriday/jonesville areas? I may be heading up that way this weekend to hunt my neighbor's property. Never been but he says its cypress brakes, sloughs, etc. He had been seeing a bunch of greys and dos gris but hasn't been in a few weeks. They mostly deer hunt on their property and don't really fool with the ducks much......I'll take care of that.
Can anyone offer me any tips for this type of hunting? I'm a regular in the salt marsh, no sloughs or brakes. Figuring I'll bring my grey, mallard, GW teal, woody dekes. Thanks for any help guys, good luck these last two weekends.
My crew and I made our annual hunt with Erik Rue and his guys in the Hayes area today. Awesome morning to be in the rice fields!
My blind: 3 mallards, 3 pintails, 6 specks (1 banded), 17 snows
Other blind in our party: 5 ducks (mallard, mottled, pintail) 1 snow, and 6 specks
Lots of fun out there, pintails galore.