WON Big Fish Challenge


Hunting Report

Big waterfowl migration hits the valley!

BY BILL KARR/WON Staff WriterPublished: Nov 30, 2018

WILLOWS — After some weeks of a dearth of ducks and geese in the Sacramento Valley, the skies filled up last week when “thousands and thousands of ducks and geese moved by my house for three straight days,” reported WON Field Reporter Mike Krause from Redding on Monday.

The report from up north just prior to that was that the migration had barely gotten underway, and that the Klamath Basin was still experiencing summer-like conditions with only the forerunner of what’s expected to show up in the migration. Maybe that’s over with now.

matureblueMATURE BLUE — Guide Casey Stafford of CICC Outdoor Adventures hefts a beautiful mature blue goose brought down from a flock of mixed snows and blues from one of his guide blinds in the Sacramento Valley.

That’s being reflected in a lot of the clubs around the Sacramento Valley, where the lack of birds is definitely showing. The birds do, however, have excellent conditions and good feed still on the flooded refuges, so that’s where they have mostly been found.

Casey Stafford of CICC Outdoor Adventures sent in his weekly report: “This weeks hunting started out slow, typical of the weather or the lack thereof! On Wednesday with the storm it was slow until 10:30 or so. Once the rain started the birds got up and came to play, resulting in some great shooting!

“Thursday was between storms with broken skies and south wind but the shooting was great!” Stafford said. “We ended up with limits out of multiple blinds that day. Friday’s storm was decent at best, with blinds averaging 10-12 birds each that day.

“Saturday was banner shooting in the Colusa area,” Stafford said. “There were tons of whistling ducks around resulting in quick limits. Sunday was slower with the clear calm skies. Blinds averaged 6-8 birds each. Just not much of a flight . We definitely saw the effects of the full moon that morning. Wave after wave of birds left the rice and piled into the refuge 20 minutes prior to shoot time.”

Stafford said there are “definitely new birds in our area and by the look of the coming weeks weather we will likely get good shooting this week.”

Bill Gaines of Gaines & Associates hunted his Sutter blind on the east side on Friday and didn’t fire a shot, leaving the blind at 10 a.m. He talked to another hunter in the field north of them and two hunters shot one hen spoonie. They said another blind near them shot 5 birds. On Saturday, Gaines talked to the guy who shoots a blind just north of his Sutter blind and they ended up shooting 3 limits in an all day hunt.

Capt. James Stone of Elite Sportsmen Guide Service said, “We’ve been shooting ducks daily,” from his guide blinds.

WON Field Reporter Andred Fontenot said that Kevin Eck of Discovery Bay headed to his usual spot, Delevan Refuge on Wednesday. He told me it was slow, but he hit 7 of the 8 ducks that came in range. He was done by 10 a.m. and bagged gadwalls and spoonies.

Fontento said, “Jerry Cardova of Eureka hunted our club (it's finally flooded) in the Sutter Bypass and had a very slow morning, bagging a bull sprig and bluewing teal.

Luka Castillo of Modesto hunted Mendota with his niece, Elina Castillo, of Mariposa an they had a good day bagging 4 mallards, 2 wigeon, 2 teal and a gadwall. Luke said, "I blew it on a few mallards."

Tiffany Podesta, of Daly City, hunted with a friend on Friday and they came away one bird short of two limits. They ended the day with 7 mallards, 3 gadwall, 2 wigeon, a bull sprig and greenwing teal. On Saturday she dropped a banded greenhead.

With the new influx of birds over the weekend the reports should get even better next week.

huntingwasHUNTING WAS GOOD in the San Joaquin Valley during the winds last week, when Elena Castillo, 15 years old from Mariposa, shot a few ducks while hunting with her uncle, Luke Castillo of Modesto.

THE DUCKIN’ WAS good at Little Dry Creek on Nov. 17 when Garrett Paz and buddy Andrew Hoerl filled our bags with mostly mallards and followed up with limits of sprig and a few wigeon. New birds are arriving but staying high. Overall the hunting was slow but good calling and a large spread brought them in feet down.

smilingpairSMILING PAIR — Addison Nelson, 9 years old, from Mather holding her first-ever duck shot. She was hunting with her dad Matthew and friends in Davis when she dropped this drake spoonie, otherwise know as a “smiling mallard.”

duckactionDUCK ACTION IN Suisun Marsh was good last week, when John Takekawa and his blind-mate shot this nice stringer of birds in the Suisun Marsh last weekend.

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