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Thread: Duck Hunt Rookie 10/14

  1. #1
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    Default Duck Hunt Rookie 10/14

    Hi all,
    Had my first day of duck hunting today and what an experience. Up at 10 after 5 to drive to the valley, out on Maud to what we thought was an easy Jim Creek access point but after reading a little more this evening on the forum I am sure we ended up at mud lake. We intended to rally up to Jim Creek and find a good spot. Instead we wallowed like pigs in waste deep sulfur sludge trying to push our borrowed shiny v bottom boat around in the muck. The truck and the trailer were less then a mile away, laughing at us from up on the hill. Good couple of hours in the low clouds with a couple of birds checking us out but getting spooked by our non camo. Nothing close enough to shoot. Sorry to anyone out there whos hunting day was ruined by the rookies.
    I just keep reliving my dreams from the night before of swarms of all sorts of waterfowl circling over head and all I have to do is pick which one I want. I'll take 8 of these, 4 of these, 4 of those...
    Why is it that I can't wait to hop back in that boat and try again?
    Now we now what not to do, it can only get easier from here on out right?
    Anyway can anyone determine from my poor description where we were?
    Is this normal water level for this time of year?
    Is Jim Creek Drainage low water throughout?
    Is there a better access point?

  2. #2

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    The lakes can be real shallow. Weeds on the prop, weeds in the jet, overheated engine due to clogged water pump. Mud motors are pretty popular as they are suited for this type of boating.

    The creek itself is decent, slow current, deep enough to run a prop outboard, but marginal for duck shooting.

    Obviously, the other hunters would appreciate it if you get well hidden over a set of decoys prior to shooting time. That requires a bit of scouting, preferably in the mid afternoon when most of the hunters have called it a day.

    Also, please give the hunters who have set up prior to your arrival plenty of room to swing birds and don't set up directly downwind of any upwind spread of decoys. No sense starting a war in the marsh.

    Unless you are a good caller remain silent and still or you'll scare all the ducks from the area.

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    Your description of the conditions at the Jim Lake complex this year is spot on. Rumor in the area is that one of the creeks that normally feeds the swamp has self-diverted directly to the Knik river. So, the swamp level has dropped considerably, exposing a lot of mud and making access much more difficult to a large part of the complex. If Mud lake is impassable you might try coming directly up Jim Creek from where it dumps into the Knik. I have not tried it myself yet with the new water levels but it might be do-able.

    I agree with bobshem to space yourself out from other hunting parties as much as possible but I never minded if people wanted to come out after shooting time started. I always felt it kept the ducks stirred up a bit and helped those of us that were already set-up and waiting.

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    Went out from Maud road on Saturday when it was very windy. Saw lots of ducks but no shooting. Had trailer problem, broke a spring bracket on my way and ended up eating breakfast at Butte cafe while a guy was welding the trailer, finelly made it to the lake at 10am. Went ahead and set up in the far lake but choose a bad location. I have a airboat and they are hard to hide, thought it would look like a brush pile but it didn't fool the ducks, even with netting over it and surrounded by deks, lots of ducks were flying in the wind, just avoiding us. Wed (yesterday) went from the old bridge up to Jim creek and then to Swan lake. Much better cover close to water to hunt in but still and calm, very few ducks flying. Jim creek was noticeably lower then I have seen it and the lakes were very low, no problem getting around in the airboat but would have liked some more ducks, going out again friday am but not sure where yet. Saw a new blind built on lower Jim Creek, nice wood box. Does anybody have any info on it, who built it. Might try it if nobody using it after the lakes ice over, some nice open creek water in front of it. Let me know if you have any info on it, don't want to use without permission if I can help it. Bud

    PS, I often hunt alone during the week if anybody is interested, pm me

  5. #5
    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    You were in Mud Lake. Even with the lift on my prop boat I can't get to where I normally can this time of year. Typically this is the time of year where I struggle only a little in just a few spots with the prop, but I have been shut out since opening day. I use my one man boat, but it is a chore paddling that thing.

    Depending on your type of boat you can put in at the end of the road and go across Jim Lake and get into the creek using the portage. However you can't use a trailer to launch a boat into Jim Lake. There is no ramp there and the area next to the lake is a mud bog sort of. It is about a 60 foot drag from the parking spot to the edge of the lake. Someone has cut down the bank so it is not as steep, but it is no boat launch with all the mud and dead salmon.

    Right now the complex is a great place for small single person boats to hide in the grass in a few inches of water. However, you need a dog or you will not get your birds back.

    Blackdog, I saw that blind this summer while silver fishing. I wonder if they have their DNR permit since they are are state land? Someone did a lot of work on it with all the stencils and what not. However, it looks way to permament to meet the requirements of the DNR.


    It does sound like the place is becoming a refuge like I thought it would. I am going to have to give it a shot some how.

  6. #6

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    It is about a 60 foot drag from the parking spot to the edge of the lake
    I haven't been there this year. Is the Maud Road/Mud Lake access ramp actually 60 feet from the water? Do you have to dump your boat off your trailer on the mud and drag it to Mud Lake?

  7. #7
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    Default Jim Creek Blind

    The Blind has been there for years, I know the guy who built it. Looks like someone went in and painted it this year. Permits? He didn't get any stinkin' permits. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth, it has been there for at least 7 years, built when the water levels were like this year. Although the low water is inconvenient, from what I've been told by the old timers, this is just a return to normal. Forget the standard outboards, you can't get much further up than the Y, longtails are probably the best, but the hyper drives are working too. Swan lake is almost unreachable at this point, Leaf is a challenge and will be unreachable soon. May be confined to Mud, Jim and the creeks soon.

    Guys the birds are still around, you just need to work a bit harder, we are actually seeing an uptick in success!

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobshem View Post
    I haven't been there this year. Is the Maud Road/Mud Lake access ramp actually 60 feet from the water? Do you have to dump your boat off your trailer on the mud and drag it to Mud Lake?
    NO, perhaps at Jim, but Mud is ok, however it is very shallow! Use caution.

  9. #9

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    I have a mud motor (surface drive) and it's getting to be quite a pain even with that. I bent the keel under my prop just launching it from the boat launch on a submerged boulder. From the launch to the big rock sticking up a few hundred yards and a bit past is easy but then there is a stretch that you really don't want to stop for the chance of not getting back up on step. For regular props or jets now at this level I think your season might be over. I paddled out once in a Carsten's duck boat and was really struggling through that sludge and that was a week and a half ago. I also made it to Swan lake a week ago in the mudder but the bend into Jim Creek is tricky as is the bend from the creek to Swan Lake. I got stuck once and that cost me about 20-30 minutes.

    Yesterday I checked in the evening for birds from the launch. Not much to glass but water, I didn't see any flying at all. I did pick up about 75 used shells, 12 gauge number 8's, that some nimrods shot from the top of the hill. I suspect a lot of that lead made it into the water. Litterbugs are alive and thriving in AK. They blew up a stuffed animal and blew apart a tree, they must feel proud!

    There has got to be a nice push happening soon. No reason to move with this weather. Good luck ducking, I'm waiting for a cold snap or my trip to the Dakota's in a few weeks.

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    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobshem View Post
    I haven't been there this year. Is the Maud Road/Mud Lake access ramp actually 60 feet from the water? Do you have to dump your boat off your trailer on the mud and drag it to Mud Lake?
    I am referring to Jim Lake at the very end of the road. There is a parking area sort of and then a muddy track with two ditches from the truck tires and then the lake bank. This muddy track is about 60 ft long. Whom ever cut back the top of the bank making it easier for them to drag a boat into the lake shoveled all the mud from the bank into the lake making what was once a graveled surface into a deep mud and gravel surface to walk on while getting into the canoe.

    Due to the fire pits and broken bottles I would not drive out to the lake shore at Jim Lake.

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    Quote Originally Posted by luckydawg400 View Post
    I bent the keel under my prop just launching it from the boat launch on a submerged boulder.

    Yesterday I checked in the evening for birds from the launch. Not much to glass but water, I didn't see any flying at all. I did pick up about 75 used shells, 12 gauge number 8's, that some nimrods shot from the top of the hill. I suspect a lot of that lead made it into the water. Litterbugs are alive and thriving in AK. They blew up a stuffed animal and blew apart a tree, they must feel proud!

    There has got to be a nice push happening soon. No reason to move with this weather. Good luck ducking, I'm waiting for a cold snap or my trip to the Dakota's in a few weeks.
    Those boulders under the water at the launch were not there back in 2003. I think they showed up in the spring of 2004 after someone partying dug them out of the ramp area. Now that the water level is so low and before it ices up we some boaters might want to try to drag those things to the side. Since I am no longer going out in my prop boat I might not make it out there for any improvements.

    It sounds like folks are not familiar with the new regulations. No target shooting. Hunting only. The Troopers assigned to patrol out there must not be around, or they are only going to the river and checking on the ATV stuff.

    Reports from up north say still lots of birds around so as long as we don't repeat like two years ago and freeze before they do we should finish up fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Ray View Post
    I am referring to Jim Lake at the very end of the road. There is a parking area sort of and then a muddy track with two ditches from the truck tires and then the lake bank. This muddy track is about 60 ft long. Whom ever cut back the top of the bank making it easier for them to drag a boat into the lake shoveled all the mud from the bank into the lake making what was once a graveled surface into a deep mud and gravel surface to walk on while getting into the canoe.

    Due to the fire pits and broken bottles I would not drive out to the lake shore at Jim Lake.
    If you are going in there with a light boat or canoe, I'd suggest going in from the slough. The mud is a mess down there. Good news though, I hear help is on the way at both lakes. Stay tuned, more to come at a later date!

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