Went out of Oak River to fish the Snake Island area yesterday. No luck on speckled trout using double beetle rigs and plastics. Water appeared to be dirty.
Fished off of the dock under the light Friday and Saturday night. The strong NE winds with white caps in the lake made it a mess. 1 small trout and 1 red Friday night and 3 trout no reds Saturday night. Water is brown river water has made its way into the area.
Friday I posted we were going to try to catch some fish Saturday. Two of us went out yesterday morning with gold spoons, spinner baits and last resort back up bait. Went strait to the honey hole threw the gold spoons, no hits. Tried the spinner bait, nothing. On the way down to the camp I bought some dead shrimp. 1/4 jig head on the bottom with shrimp did the trick.
A couple of days ago I posted a picture from Sunday. Here is the video of some of the action.
Video is some of the shots over the weekend in southeast Louisiana. Was not able to get a lot on video due to lack of shots and not getting cameras turned on in time because teal move really quick. As I state in the video, we traveled to a new area to us trying something different. Our main leased area that had been so good to us for many years has fizzled out and it was time for a change. The new area has had quite a few teal buzzing around that was nice to see. Sunday there were some decent groups of big ducks around, but none came close enough for us to shoot. The cover we had probably had a lot to do with that but then we were expecting teal which donât require much cover. In the new spot we canât get to the ponds in a boat rather have to drag pirogue to put out decoys and pick up ducks which we will do if we can shoot ducks. We shot 3 teal Saturday and 4 teal Sunday. The duck season for 2019-2020 is over and for the first time ever I did not limit out on ducks any hunt this year. Despite the lack of ducks, we always have a good time in the outdoors and enjoy the camp life.
This is older video but still one of the best ever done. It popped up on on YouTube and wanted to pass it along. Good stuff. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hw8eBspSFEg&t=195s
For many years I have posted many pictures of the same guys on the same dock holding handfuls of ducks and pouledeau. We were excited about the prospects of the second split since the aerial survey reported more ducks in the state but our woes continue. Not sure why our area is suffering but it is. Sure we wish we had more duck action but not shooting limits will not detour us from having a good time. We thought a throwback to the bags on the head that were reflective of the Saints of the past having bad football seasons as we are having a bad duck season. All we can hope for is much like our Saints there was always ânext seasonâ hopefully we will have ducks ânext seasonâ. Date Hunted: 12/21/2019: In the rain two boats went out. 0 ducks were shot for the effort. Both boats gave it up around 8:00 to get dried out. Date Hunted 12/22/2019: The water came up over night for a tide on the high side. Very cloudy conditions with a real nice breeze out of the north. One of the darkest boat rides out to the blind in a long time, we all guessed right. Real nice conditions for a duck hunt. Two boats went out. We put out 48 decoys, 2 spinners and 4 flickers in our pond. Each blind shot one duck. We shot a dosgris and the other shot a blue winged teal in the picture. Thatâs it for the day. Stopped hunting at 9:00am. Some guys we know hunt in SE Louisiana shot some limits over the weekend so not everyone is struggling as we are. Happy to hear some are having success. Merry Christmas to everyone and happy hunting.
COMMENTS: The 2.57 million ducks on this survey is 2.5 times the November estimate of 1.04 million, 32% higher than last Decemberâs estimate of 1.94 million, but is still 8% below the long-term December average of 2.81 million. The long-term trend in December estimates is depicted in Figure 1, and locations of the 27 transects flown since 1969, 17 in SW LA and 10 in SE LA, are shown in Figure 2. The total from this survey is the same as the most recent 10-year average. Estimates for all species except blue-winged teal were higher than in November. Most notable increases were for gadwall (327,000 to 944,000), ring-necked ducks (112,000 to 488,000), and mallards (3,000 to 88,000). For gadwall and ring-necked ducks, those increases were most pronounced in the SE LA survey region. Indeed, the total estimate in SE LA increased from 357,000 to 1.33 million compared to the November survey, while the estimate for SW LA only increased from 597,00 to 1.09 million. That was largely due to changes in estimates for gadwalls and ring-necks in the southeast region. Across the entire surveyed area, all diving duck species were above long-term December averages, as were gadwall, blue-winged teal, and shovelers. Green-winged teal, however, were substantially below their long-term average (154,000 vs 459,000) for December. It was the lowest estimate for this species since 1985 and the second lowest ever. The distribution of ducks across the surveyed area was extremely clumped. There were a few very large concentrations with broad expanses of very few ducks. The most extreme example was in SE LA where large numbers of ring-necked ducks were counted in the fresh marsh of upper Terrebonne Parish SSE of Amelia, then very few ducks were counted on the next 4 transect lines and the line just south of New Orleans for monitoring the Caernarvon freshwater diversion. Then another tremendous concentration of mostly gadwalls, pintails, and ring-necked ducks was encountered from the West Bay sediment diversion on the west side of the Mississippi River north to past Venice on the east side. Those 2 locations accounted for about 80% of the estimate from the entire SE LA survey region. Much less extreme, in SW LA large concentrations were seen on the East Cove unit of Cameron Prairie NWR and in the marsh between Little Pecan Lake and Grand Lake. Other large concentrations of mixed species were noted off transect lines, (so not included in the survey estimates), on the open water of southeast Grand Lake and both northeast and northwest portions of White Lake. The 149,000 ducks counted at Catahoula Lake is 45% higher than in November and 5% above the most recent 10-year average. Water level remains at management target, and foraging conditions are very good for both dabbling and diving ducks across the lake. Canvasbacks and ring-necked ducks were counted across the open water of the center to east side of the lake, while pintails were using shallow flats further north and east. Since the survey in early November, water levels in the coastal marsh have declined markedly in SW LA and are likely better for foraging dabbling ducks in many areas. Better visibility of submerged aquatics (SAV) confirmed Novemberâs observation of highly variable distribution and less than average abundance of SAV. Without good seed-producing annual vegetation, which was precluded by prolonged spring and summer flooding, large-scale habitat conditions are expected to be only fair. There is abundant managed water in the agricultural region of the surveyed area, but little additional shallow flooding. A little more than half of SW and all of SE LA were flown after the strong frontal passage earlier this week, and associated north winds resulted in very low water levels in tidal areas of the surveyed region. Broad areas, especially in SE Louisiana were mostly mudflat which likely influenced distribution of ducks, and also showed the spotty distribution of SAV. However, despite spotty and suspected below-average SAV, estimates for both gadwalls and coots, species closely related to submerged aquatic vegetation, exceed long-term December averages of 906,000 and 1,210,000 respectively. There have been a number of cold fronts since the November survey, and clearly more birds have migrated into the state, albeit in numbers similar to the most recent 10-year average but below the long-term average. Earlier surveys in AR and MS were average to below average, while recent surveys in IL and MO suggest peak abundance has already moved through those states. We are anticipating results from December surveys from our neighboring states. Another 13,300 ducks were counted on the Northwest Louisiana survey, primarily on the locks, lakes, oxbows, and fields along the Red River and Upper Toledo Bend reservoir. That is 30% more than Novemberâs count of 10,300 and 27% above the December average for this survey, but still 31% below last Decemberâs count of 19,300. Gadwall was the most abundant species (5,300) and with mallards (1,700), ring-necked ducks (1,400), canvasbacks (1,200) and shovelers (1,100), accounted for 80% of the ducks counted. The largest numbers were counted on the Red River between Lock 4 and Lock 5, the Lower Cane Unit of Red River NWR, and on Grand Bayou Lake. Habitat conditions continue to be relatively dry with little recent rainfall and only a few ag fields holding water. Lakes Wallace and Bistineau are drawn down, and Wallace and 2 other surveyed reservoirs have expanses of giant salvinia. Some traditionally-managed impoundments are still not flooded, and water levels at Bayou Pierre WMA have fallen after being pumped earlier this fall. However, the count remains above the long-term average likely due to successive cold fronts moving birds into the area. The survey in northeast Louisiana was not completed during the short window provided by just a 5-day split in the East Zone waterfowl season. Bad weather at both the onset and end of that 5-day period, and lower availability of observers compromised our opportunity to finish the survey. Seven of 30 surveyed areas in this survey region were not flown, including 2 with typically high duck and goose counts. One stark difference between November and December was noted in the Bunkie/Grand Cote survey area, which had the highest duck and goose counts on the November survey. Ducks declined from 107,000 in November to only 20,000 on this survey, and geese from 80,000 to 33,000. Flooded habitat appears the same, but we saw a big decline in the number of birds using those habitats. Conversely, duck counts East of Hebert increased from 6,000 in November to 16,000 on this survey. Unfortunately, without a completed survey, comparisons are limited. Lastly, in December and January, LDWF conducts a scaup survey on Lakes Maurepas, Pontchartrain, and Borgne. An estimated 179,000 scaup were seen on this survey including 8,500 and 170,500 on Lakes Borgne and Pontchartrain, respectively. That is 34% higher than last Decemberâs estimate of 134,000, 67% higher than the most recent 5-year average of 107,000, and very near the long-term average of 187,000 in December.
This is some video from the first split of 2019. What I have on film is from one of our 3 man blinds in a big open pond on our lease. As you all know it has been a very slow first split. In the past a video like this could be done from the action of one weekend. Now it takes the whole split to get what I have. Hopefully we will have a better second split.
Date Hunted 12/7/2019: Saturday was a real nice day for a duck hunt. 59 degrees with a north wind about 10 mph and cloudy conditions. Water height was normal. We had 5 teal come straight at us early on and as many of you know once you stand up to shoot them they go strait up, a sight I never get tired of seeing. We knocked down 3 of the 5. There was a green winged flying with blue winged bunch. Later on a dosgris and a hen widgeon came in together and we shot both of those. I did have a bad miss on 6 teal that I had a good shot at. Got none out of it, not sure what happened but they got me. A solo teal came in and we got that one for a total of 6 ducks for the day for our blind. One of the other blinds had some excitement shooting the first greenhead of the year for our camp. They shot another dosgris ending up with 2 ducks for the day. Third blind shot 1 dosgris for the day. Went to Saints game Sunday no duck hunting. We will be at it again on the 21st.
We headed down to the camp for Thanksgiving weekend which in my book is the best hunting / fishing time of the year. In the past we shot mostly limits of ducks and were able to catch speckled trout that migrated inshore from offshore. This past weekend we continued to struggle shooting ducks with mostly empty skies where in years past there were plenty of ducks. So far this season no blind in our club has limited out. That has never happened for the 30 years I have been duck hunting in the area we are in. Over the last few years with ducks in decline we duck hunters were optimistic hoping with each passing cold front new ducks will come. Well, we have had cold fronts and we have the vegetation in the ponds but very few ducks. Like in the Peanuts cartoon years ago Lucy keeps pulling the ball back on Charlie Brown as he runs up to kick the ball falling flat on his back. The fronts come but no ducks. My optimism for the season is nearly gone as I donât see anything changing this year for our area. I will be happy to be wrong with my forecast for future duck hunts. I get the same reports of lack of ducks from hunters I know around the state and reading other forums in the Mississippi flyway. Mother nature has changed the game for the short term, hopefully not for the long term. We will continue to hunt and fish having fun as we always do this time of year. Despite the lack of ducks, it is still a great place to be.
Date Hunted 11/24/2019: Real good conditions for a duck hunt. 45 degrees or so with a nice north wind blowing and the tide close to normal. My blind shot 2 greys and 1 dosgris and had a few other ducks sneak up on us that we didnât get shots on. The other blind on the lease had a pretty good hunt these days shooting a few greys â two tree ducks and some dosgris. The best part for them was taking a drake and hen wood duck. That doesnât happen often for us marsh duck hunters. Topped off with some pouledeau. We are ready for our annual Thanksgiving fins and feather extravaganza. I hope some ducks come our way and some redfish or trout.
Content from aerial survey report below: COMMENTS: The 1.04 million ducks on this survey is the 3rd lowest November estimate since this survey began in 1969 ahead of only 2008 (958,000) and 2013 (1,02 million). It is barely half the most recent 5-year and long-term averages of 2.0 million. Long-term trend in November estimates is depicted in Figure 1, and locations of the 27 transects flown since 1969, 17 in SW LA and 10 in SE LA, are shown in Figure 2. Last Novemberâs survey was not completed because of bad weather, and comparisons with this year are only possible for SW LA. The 597,000 total ducks estimated in SW LA on this survey is more than twice the 247,000 estimated in November 2018 but remains the 2nd lowest in this region in at least 10 years, 40% below the 2008-2017 average of 994,000. Estimates for all species except mottled ducks were higher than last November in SW LA. However, over the entire surveyed area, all dabbling ducks except shovelers were below long-term averages, and except for blue-winged teal (166,000 vs 183,000), they were less than half LTA. The estimate for coots was 47% below the most recent 10-year average of 906,000 as well. Conversely, all diving duck species were above their long-term November averages. Notable concentrations of ducks in SW LA were mostly gadwall seen on the west side of Rockefeller Refuge, and in the marsh south and east of Calcasieu Lake. In SE LA the largest flocks of mostly blue-winged teal were seen in the marsh north of Pointe a la Hache, and east of Venice. The 103,000 ducks counted at Catahoula Lake is about the same as the most recent 10-year average, with more diving ducks than normal for November. Water level was about 1 foot below target for opening of the waterfowl season during the survey, and foraging conditions were excellent for dabbling ducks. Moist-soil vegetation was much improved from the September survey, and habitat conditions appear very good if water levels can be maintained within management targets. Water levels in the coastal marsh were high during this survey and not optimum for foraging ducks in most areas across both SE and SW LA. Submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) was visible in many areas in SW LA but was highly variable and appeared about average at best. SAV across SE LA was even more variable and abundant in only a few areas. Prolonged flooding in spring and summer inhibited germination and growth of seed-producing annuals, and little was noted during this survey. So overall habitat conditions appear to be only fair at this time in coastal marsh. In the agricultural habitats conditions appear about average with mostly managed water on the landscape and little natural shallow flooding. Despite early blizzard conditions in the Dakotas and freezing temperatures down into the mid-latitudes, there doesnât appear to have been a major migratory movement into much of coastal Louisiana. A recent survey in Missouri showed about 25% above average numbers currently on their surveyed areas. There continue to be reports of good concentrations of ducks in a few areas, and a strong cold front the week of November 11 is expected to push more birds into our state. Another 10,300 ducks were counted on the Northwest Louisiana survey, primarily on the locks, lakes, oxbows, and fields along the Red River and Upper Toledo Bend reservoir. That is 14% below last Novemberâs count of 12,000 but still 47% above the average of 7,000 on this survey since 2005 when surveyed locations were standardized. Gadwall was the most abundant species (4,600) and with mallards (1,500), shovelers (1,400) and green-winged teal (800), accounted for 82% of the ducks counted. The largest numbers were counted on the Red River between Lock 5 and Shreveport, the Lower Cane Unit of Red River NWR, and a managed impoundment near Loggy Bayou. Habitat conditions were much drier than last year at this time, with little flooding in ag fields and pastures. Lake Bistineau was drawn down, 2 other surveyed reservoirs had large expanses of giant salvinia, and some traditionally-managed impoundments were not flooded, but the count was still well above average likely due to early cold weather moving birds into the area. In Northeast Louisiana, 209,000 ducks and 265,000 geese (13% white-fronted geese) were counted on selected habitats during the traditional cruise survey that was standardized in 2005. That is twice the 104,000 ducks counted last November and 45% higher than the 2005-2018 November average of 144,000. The goose count of 265,000 is nearly 3 times the number of the geese seen last November and almost twice the November average of 139,000 in this survey region. Gadwall was by far the most abundant duck species (129,000) followed by pintails (33,000), green-winged teal (22,000) and shovelers (17,000). The largest concentration of ducks was seen in the flooded fields in the Bunkie/Grand Cote and Bonita/Mer Rouge areas. Those 2 locations accounted for 83% of the ducks and 70% of the geese counted on the entire survey. Other notable concentrations of ducks were seen in flooded fields east of Russell Sage WMA and big flocks of geese were counted in fields east of Hebert. Habitat conditions are drier in NE LA than this time last year, which was extremely wet, but appear about average for this time of year. Some traditionally flooded ag habitats on the survey have not yet been pumped up, and flooding in the backwaters of riverine systems is mostly lacking, but we expect those habitats to improve as the season progresses. Like in NW LA, above-average duck and goose counts in this surveyed region are almost certainly due the strong early cold fronts.
Date Hunted 11/15/2019: Solo hunt this morning. Water was on the high side with a real nice north wind about 15mph temperature 45 degrees. Real nice morning for a duck hunt except for the sunny skies. Put out three dozen decoys with two spinners. I had two solo dosgris come in early and I took care of those. Sat and waited for the next hour and forty five minutes and didn't fire a shot. No ducks in the sky. Picked up the decoys and traveled to another property and set up a dozen decoys no spinner. Nice flock of teal came close enough and I got two out of it. I had some greys work me a little bit but I was not covered up enough because of the boat and they were spooked and eased out. That will be fixed for the next time. We will be back at it tomorrow to see how it goes.
Date Hunted 11/9/2019: With perfect conditions for an opening day duck hunt 3 boats left the camp. NE wind about 12mph water at a decent height we were ready to hit the marsh. Only thing and most important concern to me as we were going to the blinds was the aerial survey of the third fewest ducks on survey since 1968. Well, turns out that is a very important fact despite other circumstances being ideal. My blind shot 4 ducks. Two other blinds shot a total of 14 ducks. Those numbers are the least I can remember for an opening day ever for me. It was sad. We only had three opportunities to shoot ducks. The other part of the morning was filled with looking at mostly empty skies. Despite the lack of ducks I was able to enjoy a nice day with my son and his friend in the marsh. First hunt he and I have been able to make in three years because of his military service. And, TIGERS win! Other than the ducks it was a great day. Date Hunted 11/10/2019: Three boats left the camp with calm conditions. Set up in the same place as I was thinking could it possibly be bad two days in a row? Usually the day after opening day is not so good but we actually saw more ducks in our pond. We shot 5 ducks for the day 2 greys, 2 dosgris and a spooney. Had a good chance at eight greys but missed and a good shot a 5 teal. Other boat shot 4 ducks and third boat shot 3. That is the fish and game report for the weekend, and I am one perplexed duck hunter. Will see how it goes for future hunts.
See attached aerial survey done by Mr. Larry Reynolds - November 2019
Went out to to put roseau cane on several duck blinds yesterday and spent most of the day doing it. We made several trips through the marsh back and forth to the duck lease. After the work was done we took a short boat ride and saw 8 motled ducks for the day. That is it. No teal, greys, spoonies, redheads, no other ducks. I know we still have two weeks to go but was hoping to see some action but not to be. Habitat conditions are ideal right now, we have all of the vegetation in the ponds a duck could want to eat but they are not there. This is going to be interesting.
As reported in earlier post we had a slow start to our season so video is somewhat limited, but did well the last two hunts. Video is from the whole season of some of the shots I got on camera. I use two cameras, some shots are the same but from two different angles. Sorry about the language in a few spots. No driving in trucks, stopping at convenience stores or head mounted video that makes you dizzy. If you like what you see there are more videos on the Delta Duckman YouTube Channel
Date Hunted 9/28/2019 Morning: Two boats left the camp to give it a go. Water had dropped to a reasonable level for the hunt with a decent breeze. There was a decent amount of flocks of low flying teal around but they did not come in our area for us to have a chance the call them in. We did have three come in and we got two out of it. The other boat had none. Afternoon: We left the camp and there was a good breeze but based on past hunts we were not very optimistic. Well as the saying goes you have to go to know. Probably 20 minutes after setting up we had a couple flights 10 or so teal come over the decoys and we know what to do with that. We had cat tail behind us and could not see what was coming from the back of us and about 15 teal zipped right over our heads hit them on the teal call and they all made the turn coming back with landing gear down. That is the best sight of teal hunting. Cha Ching! We stopped at 10 as that was our limit for the day, real good hunt. Date Hunted 9/29/2019: Only one boat left the camp for the hunt. Still surprised over the afternoon hunt we set up in the same spot, same decoy spread with two spinners. Minutes after we set up the teal started coming in nice flocks 10,15 and 20âs. We were able to get quality shots as they worked near the decoy spread. We had our limit (12) at 6:50. It seems flocks we saw the day before came to us today. I have no explanation as to what could have caused different results other than the fact it is teal hunting and I should know by now that is how it works. Fantastic teal hunt for the last day.
Date Hunted 9/20/19: Two friends of mine went back to one of the spots we hunted last weekend and shot 4 teal this evening. The report I got was they had 6 overall come in, three each in two flights and were able to shoot 4. We will be at it in the morning. Hopefully the breeze stays blowing and we get some shots.