St. Clair Flats – Harsens Island Update 10-17-18

Managers Update -10-17-18

Waterfowl abundance Refuge numbers did not jump the way they normally do after opening day pressure pushes birds to the refuge. We’re still hovering right around the 15,000 mark. A lot of teal have left with the colder temperatures, which was reflected in the bag this weekend.

Waterfowl harvest Opening day was very good, harvesting over 400 ducks. The total for the weekend is almost identical to last year; 649 ducks so far this year compared to 638 this time last year. Lots of mallards, wigeon, pintails, gadwall and wood ducks, with significantly fewer teal than usual for opening weekend.

Hunting conditions Conditions were about as good as they could have been for the opener, with all zones having huntable water and most zones ahead of where we normally are for opener.

Overall, our conditions are average to above average in the cropped zones.

1-18: Corn is doing very well and will be 6-7+ feet in all zones. Small grains are doing well.

21-27: Corn in 21-23 is fantastic and will be 7+ feet and thick in all three zones. 24-27 took significant goose damage, leaving 24 with average cover, 25 slightly below average, and 26 and 27 will have very poor cover. Plan on bringing material to hide yourself and your boat.

28-30: Corn in 28 and 29 is very good and will have excellent cover all year. Zone 30 took significant goose damage as well and is well below average. It will have cover to start the season, but it will be challenging later in the season.

Marshes: Both marshes are looking good, though still weedy early in the season. Water depths are anywhere from just over the ankle to over the waist, depending on the zone. Duck usage was very good in the East Marsh this spring; hopefully that carries over to a stronger fall than 2017.


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