WON Big Fish Challenge


Hunting Report

Bypass is beginning to flood

BY BILL KARR/WON Staff WriterPublished: Jan 16, 2019

Ducks and geese fly and fall when there’s weather

SUTTER — Pick a windy, foggy or rainy day and you’ll most likely find some good to great duck and goose hunting right now, but on bluebird days, you might as well stay home. With the Sutter Bypass flooding, though, things will change as birds move into the newly flooded, unhunted areas.

Now that ducks and geese have been in the state for a few months they know where they’re safe, and without the benefit of some adverse weather conditions, hunters are finding few birds to decoy. Plus, there will be even fewer with freshly flooded areas in the bypass due to Sacramento River overflow.

triplelimitsdanTRIPLE LIMITS — Dan Hallisey and his two sons from Reno hunted with Capt. James Stone of Elite Sportsmen Guide Service last week and ended up with three limits of nice ducks.

This writer hunted Bill Gaines’ blind near Sutter Refuge on a windy day last week and shot an easy limit of ducks, even passing on spoonies. I ended up with my two bull sprig, four wigeon and an accidental spoonie. There were lots of birds moving in the area.

Guide Scott Marglin of Fowl Weather Guide Service took Julian Tran of Chico out to his guide blind in flooded rice in Richvale and shot 10 ducks and a speck in foggy conditions that kept the birds low.

“Duck hunting has been very spotty this year, and any weather day is really producing ducks, but other days it’s hit or miss,” said James Stone of Elite Sportsmen Guide Service. “Goose hunting has been good on windy days and we anticipate a good finish to the season.” Stone has both duck and goose blinds and areas, and said he still has a few spots open.

WON Field Reporter Andre Fontenot reported in, and said, “I spoke with my buddy Mike Niemi of Modesto several times this past week, as he went out several times. On Wednesday he hunted his club in the Grasslands and shot a limit of ducks that consisted of three teal, two spoonies, a pintail and a teal. He returned to his club again on Saturday and shot five ducks (he doubled on wigeon and later on spoonies and dropped a teal) and a snow goose.

“On Wednesday, my friend Randy Burrows of San Bruno, hunted his club near the Sacramento Refuge closed zone and told me it was very slow, since he bagged one wigeon,” Fontenot said. “On Wednesday I headed up to my club in the Sutter Bypass with my blind partner Phil Fee of Marin, and we also had a very slow day. I shot the only bird that came in, a teal. By 8:30 am we were calling it quits and began pulling decoys.

“As of Sunday, numerous reports were calling for the Colusa Weir to go over and flood the Sutter Bypass by Friday morning,” Fontenot said. “I saw a photo of our club from Friday afternoon and it looked like an ocean with water covering all our fields. I’m pretty sure we’re done for the season. To make matters worst, my buddy invited me to hunt with him and his 16-year-old daughter with reservation No. 4 for Little dry Creek on Sunday. Unfortunately, they are also flooded and closed until further notice. Hopefully I can get a hunt or two in with our local guides before the season closes.”

foggydayFOGGY DAY LIMIT — Julian Tran of Chico hunted with guide Scott Marglin of Fowl Weather Guide Service last week out of his guide blind in a flooded rice field in Richvale and the two of them shot 10 ducks and a speck in foggy conditions.

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