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norwall

Theif Lake

38 posts in this topic

I'm going to Theif Lake duck hunting Oct.20th for a week,and I was wondering what to expect,being we've never hunted it. My grandpa was turned on by a friend and has now rounded up myself,my dad,and my uncle to use our vacation time on this trip.I've gotten some info from the DNR,and a few others they said its a diver lake? is there wild rice? & was wondering if anyone has hunted the lake or could provide some more info? any advice or info is appreciated Thanx cool.gif

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The campsites are first-come first serve. No power, water or bathrooms. Most have a ditch connecting them to the main lake, approx. 100-plus yards long. On a high-water year you can motor your boat in/out, other years push-pole, drag, curse, etc. The entire lake is dotted with reed islands, cane patches and has cattail on the edges. You hunt from your boat, need an anchor. You can only have under 10hp for your motor. On most years if you hunt from the reeds you have to sit low when the birds are coming because the cover is thin. We often sit on our dry boxes. If you're in the cane you can stand in the boat. It is mostly divers that you get out there: bluebills and ringnecks the most common, but all types depending on the migration. Many mallards and geese use the lake as well, but usually fly out to the fields to feed and rarely decoy, from our experience. One good way to get some mallards is to paddle a canoe along the shore and let the guy in front shoot when they pop up out of the weeds. I've heard opener and MEA weekends can be busy, I'd suggest to go a day earlier then everyone else if you can. If you have a GPS, bring it. The maze of cane, reeds and cattails can make finding your way back tough, especially for the first time. If it's windy don't go out too far in a shallow boat.

That's all I can think of right now. Good luck!

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thanx I'll kepp that in mind, I take it you hunt the lake or have? would it be possible to find a field to get permish,say if ya followed the mallards out and got permish to set up in? and about the anchor part? haow deep is 3-4 ft?

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I have farm just a few miles away from Thief Lake. Last time I checked, youre probably going to have to drag your boat a lil ways out to the water if you are at one of the access/campsites unless you take the river to the lake then you will have no problem. Ive never hunted it before, so I dont know what to expect. But I can tell you, the duck numbers look pretty good from what I've seen during the early goose season.

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I've been up there the last 2 years, some of the guys have been going for 20 plus years. We haven't tried any field hunting when I was there, but there are some goose blinds you can go to, I think similar to at LQP. When you're anchoring in a reed patch it won't be deeper than 5-6 feet, but you want a longer rope if there's wind. I won't be going this year...baby's due 10/30. I know, bad planning. Oh well.

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Quackaddict9,thanx for the heads up. I was thinking one of the days we were going to be up there,it would be nice to try and do some field hunting for mallards, I'm from So.MN(Albert Lea) and we hunt in fields often,I wonder if would it be possible to gain permission from farmers to do so? in So.MN this fairly easy to do. I guess reguardless if we decide to try and hunt fields,we'll just have to knock on few doors,once again thanx for the info,it's sure encouraging to here that the waterfowl #'s look good! grin.gif

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stayman: congrats on the new addition to your family,I'm sure you'll find time to get out in the future, did you guys get into any redheads or cans? a guy told be they getting into pintails even?

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We have shot: a few cans and redheads each year, very few pintails (but we saw a nice flock of plumed out pintails last year)scaup, ringneck, bufflehead, goldeneye, gadwall, mallards, merganser (oops), random teal. I think that's the list. Largest numbers tend to be scaup(out farther) and ringneck (in closer). I wish I was going! There must be some fields full of birds up there. 2 years ago there were thousands of mallards using the lake to roost at night. The noise they made in the morning when they flew out was incredible! Geese, too. Last year we didn't hear that, but the migration changes with the weather, so you never know.

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I will be honest with you norwall, it will either be a slam bam dang good time, or it will just down right stink, and if that happens you might have to find the nearest hole-in-the-wall bar and spend your vacation time in their!! A group of guys and I went up there for a few week long hunts, there was one morning...my best ever!!!, in which we shot sssoooo many different ducks it was unreal...colder than sh*t though!! If you are hunting close to the refuge line, watch how smart those ducks are. Its like they know where it is safe for them...they will sky over your dekes and when they get to the refuge line they will bomb!!! Pretty sweet. Oh and another thing...I suggest not hunting those pit blinds, only allowed like 6 shells and the geese know where they are at...if you do hunt them, bring the 10 gauge!!! Good luck, and dress warm...oh and bring an extra shotgun, if you shoot an auto like me, and if its cold, she might let you down...870 express pump shotgun is the way to go for a backup up there.

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thaks for the info gooseslayer I will keep that in mind (xtra gun) I cant wait to get up there!

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Norwall - getting permission for fields shouldn't be too tough at all. The farmers up in that area really protect their deer hunting, but birds aren't usually of much concern to them. Ask away and use your manners. wink.gif

If it is a bust on Thief, I've got 3 words for ya: The Wagon Wheel. Head to Middle River and pull up a stool to drown your sorrows with all the other hunters - guarantee you won't be the only camo'd patron there.

Good luck, and remember to report back afterwards!

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thanx Blaze, I will have a full reoport upon returning, oh have you hunted it? if so how was it?

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I hunted the DNR blinds a few times as a teenager with outstanding results. Gotta share one story with ya:

My first time there I was 14yrs old and went with my best friend and his dad. We got an early pick and a prime blind. We setup the coys and the people on both sides of us did the same with theirs. Shortly after sunup, a small flock snuck over the trees and landed in our decoys - nobody from our 3 blinds fires. Then another flock came in and started feeding and nobody fired. Then another, and another. After half an hour/45 min of this, we had HUNDREDS of honkers chowing within 30-40 yards of us. We were signaling to the other hunters trying to figure out what to do when, out of left field, a loner came flying down the line. Some yahoo started skyblasting at this thing (waaaaaay high) and winged it. He hobbled his way down the line and circled over the massive herd that was on the ground in front of us. He was smack over the middle when he folded and dive-bombed into the field. Every goose got up and flew over our blinds. Everyone in 4-5 blinds emptied their guns (the 6 shell limit is true, BTW) and not a single goose dropped. blush.gif As we all sat there in utter disbelief and shame wondering what the heck just happened, a red fox came out of the woods, grabbed the dead loner, and dragged him back into the trees. Quite an experience.

BTW, we did all get our geese that day, and the people next to us gave us their last shell to get our final goose. What a great day.

When you go, don't forget to hit the grouse woods near by. There's excellent ruffie hunting up there.

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Blaze, excellent story, I'm still laughing think about the guy sky busting and the fox haulin off wit the lone goose..crazy,that musta been sweet just to see all the geese flying into the field, sounds like a great time you guys had. How was the duck hunting,oh and how deep is the lake I've been told 3-4 and 5-6 ft? Thanks for the heads up on the grouse, I was actually wondering about that. A guy at work mentioned somethin too. grin.gifgrin.gif

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norwall, I live about 20 miles from thief lake. The lake is low!! you can walk around in chest wader most anywhere. you'll be dragging a boat or canoe about 100 yard to water.I understand that they won't let anyone use a wheeler on the lake bed. I'm guessing the lake is anywhere from 2-4 feet deep maybe alittle deeper in the river channel. you should do well. have fun be safe.

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hopefully it'll rain some in the next month,but 2-4 feet of water aint too bad I guess. At least it'll be accessible

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It's going to be a little more work than normal but it's going to be worth it. I saw a lot new birds move in over the weekend when I was bow hunting. Not a lot of water up here,the lake should be really good this fall.

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I guess they had a good Youth Waterfowl day up there, according to The Outdoor News w/limits to be had and are expecting a good fall with the aboundance of the rice crop this year. sounds grin.gif good to me

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We have hunted Thief Lake for years. Like any place it can be boom or bust and change from day to day! We were up early season and saw many ducks. However, the lake is very low. An article in the newspaper mentioned if hunting the water, and we get no more rain, you may want to hunt out of a canoe!!!!!! By the looks of it, it will be dificult to run a motor - push pole or paddle may be the ticket. There is a camp site on the NW corner of Thief Lake that is nice and has an outdoor pot, but no water or electricity. If possible, I, too, would suggest you try get there a day early to get a campsite if you are hoping to camp on the lake! Good luck!

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Everything budgey said is right on the money, getting there a little early would be good thing to do. A couple buddies were out on the lake with there kids during the youth hunt and did really well, a long with farms pool and up in the Roseau bog country. Every place is trying to hold water back. If all the fields turn black and the cold weather sets in they just might fly past us that has happened before. GOOD LUCK.

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hey guys whats up, do you know if they were able to run a motor on the youth hunt day? also we will be hunting outta boats(dont have a canoe) oh, and how many people do they get up there? or is just packed on wknds? We are going to pull a airstream and camp(hope we get a spot) we'll be there durning the wk of sun Oct 22-thrs.the 26th. hope we can time it right this time,been on a few diff hunts and we were either a week early or it was the old "shoulda been here yesterday,but thats how it goes. Good luck to every1 on Sat. as I'm heading back home to So.MN to hunt the traditional spots for the opener laugh.gif

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I'm not sure if they used a motor or not, i'll find out. i'm driving by the lake on sunday i'll be able to get you a better report. MEA week is by far the wosrt for people and the weekends, you shouldn't have any trouble getting a camping spot some are a little better than others. I think thats true for fishing or hunting "shoulda been here yesterday" but you'll never find out if you don't go.Going to hunt north of thief lake tomorrow morning Oct. 1st. I'll know more tomorrow.

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Not many people are useing a motor. the lake is lower now than during the youth hunt. Couple friends were on the lake Sat.and Sun. Saturday they used two canoes, one had a motor and it was more work than the canoe with out a motor. On sunday they walked in waders about a 1/2 mile out and it was only up to the waist, it was a lot of work.

Hunting was good both days.

the DNR got the ok to dig a small channel at hennings landing to help everyone out a little.

Sounds like the hunting was good but your going to work at it.

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thanx for the report, how did you guys do Sat and Sun?Ya'all get into the ducks? we did fair for so. MN woodys.wigeon ,mallards,gwt,geese,and spoony(woops) made up the bag. All in all pretty good compared to past openers

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The Northeast access is the best of the worst access's to get onto the lake by boat. DON'T FORGET THE PUSH POLE! Good waders are also very helpful. You will have to work the first part then it does get better.

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