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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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    • Live to hunt another day by wearing a life jacket or float coat
      Hunters preparing to hit the water this fall in pursuit of ducks, geese and other wild game are reminded to include life jackets on their hunting gear checklist.
      “Hunters in Minnesota are trained from a young age to always put safety first. For duck and goose hunters, that means always wearing a life jacket on the water, no exceptions,” said Lt. Col. Greg Salo waterfowl-safetyof the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Enforcement Division.

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      “Before launching the duck boat, make sure everyone on board is wearing a life jacket or float coat,” Salo said. “It’s the one item that greatly increases your odds of surviving a water emergency and living to hunt another day.”

      The wide variety of comfortable, camouflage life jackets designed specifically for waterfowl hunting includes inflatable vest and belt-pack styles, insulated flotation jackets, and foam-filled shooting vests with quilted shoulders and shell loops.

      “Typical foam-filled vests or float coats provide optimal insulation against cold air and the effects of hypothermia, but without question, the best life jacket for waterfowl hunting is the one you will actually wear,” said Lisa Dugan, DNR boating and water safety outreach coordinator. “Choosing a life jacket style that works for you, and wearing it every time you’re on the water, is not only a good choice – it could save your life.”

      At the very least, all boats must carry one U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket for each passenger, and boats longer than 16 feet must also have a throwable flotation device immediately available. Children under 10 must wear a life jacket.

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      • Don’t overload the boat; take two trips if necessary.
      • If wearing hip boots or waders, learn how to float with them on.
      • Stay near shore and avoid crossing large expanses of open water, especially in bad weather.
      • Share your trip plans with someone and advise them to call for help if you don’t return on schedule.
      • Use a headlamp, spotlight or navigation lights to alert other boaters of presence in dark and/or foggy conditions.
      • Carry a cell phone or personal locator beacon in case of emergency.
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      Program and application information is www.dnr.state.mn.us/grants/recreation/gia_ohv.html
      or by contacting the DNR Information Center at info.dnr@state.mn.us or 651-296-615, or 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
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  • Posts

    • PSU
      Thanks friends, much better luck today, but worked pretty hard. 30-35' rainbows kept two 15's and a 16. Dog will get her allotment of a 1/4 filet for her time on the boat and able to save some in the freezer for my family!!!    
    • Rick
      Live to hunt another day by wearing a life jacket or float coat
      Hunters preparing to hit the water this fall in pursuit of ducks, geese and other wild game are reminded to include life jackets on their hunting gear checklist.
      “Hunters in Minnesota are trained from a young age to always put safety first. For duck and goose hunters, that means always wearing a life jacket on the water, no exceptions,” said Lt. Col. Greg Salo of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Enforcement Division. Each year, more waterfowl hunters die from drowning than from other types of hunting accidents. Swamping, capsizing and falling overboard are all common factors leading to these deaths, but in nearly all cases the hunter would have survived had they been wearing a life jacket. “Before launching the duck boat, make sure everyone on board is wearing a life jacket or float coat,” Salo said. “It’s the one item that greatly increases your odds of surviving a water emergency and living to hunt another day.” The wide variety of comfortable, camouflage life jackets designed specifically for waterfowl hunting includes inflatable vest and belt-pack styles, insulated flotation jackets, and foam-filled shooting vests with quilted shoulders and shell loops. “Typical foam-filled vests or float coats provide optimal insulation against cold air and the effects of hypothermia, but without question, the best life jacket for waterfowl hunting is the one you will actually wear,” said Lisa Dugan, DNR boating and water safety outreach coordinator. “Choosing a life jacket style that works for you, and wearing it every time you’re on the water, is not only a good choice – it could save your life.” At the very least, all boats must carry one U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket for each passenger, and boats longer than 16 feet must also have a throwable flotation device immediately available. Children under 10 must wear a life jacket. Other water safety tips for duck hunters include: Don’t overload the boat; take two trips if necessary. If wearing hip boots or waders, learn how to float with them on. Stay near shore and avoid crossing large expanses of open water, especially in bad weather. Share your trip plans with someone and advise them to call for help if you don’t return on schedule. Use a headlamp, spotlight or navigation lights to alert other boaters of presence in dark and/or foggy conditions. Carry a cell phone or personal locator beacon in case of emergency. Don’t drink and boat and don’t drink and hunt Visit mndnr.gov/boatingsafety to download the DNR’s “Water Safety for Duck Hunters” brochure and to learn more about boating safety for hunters. Discuss below - to view set the hook here.
    • Rick
      The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is seeking applications for grants to support off-highway vehicle (OHV) trail projects and new trail proposals. Application forms for projects on existing trails are due to a Parks and Trails area supervisor’s office each year by Nov. 30. New trail proposals are accepted throughout the year. First authorized in 1984, Minnesota’s OHV trails assistance program is a cost-share program intended to help develop and maintain trails for use by all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), off-highway motorcycles (OHMs) and off-road vehicles (ORVs). Known as the OHV grant-in-aid (GIA) program, it helps to establish and maintain recreational trails at the initiative of clubs and other organizations, with the support and participation of local government sponsors. Organizations can apply for GIA funds through counties, cities or townships. All aspects of OHV trail development and maintenance are eligible for funding, including project administration, site planning, trail improvements, land acquisition for trail development, and trail maintenance. Proposals with a focus on maintaining or improving existing trails and trail systems will be assigned a higher priority. Program and application information is www.dnr.state.mn.us/grants/recreation/gia_ohv.html
      or by contacting the DNR Information Center at info.dnr@state.mn.us or 651-296-615, or 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
                                                                                                     -30- Discuss below - to view set the hook here.
    • Rick
      The Department of Natural Resources will sell 40 northern Minnesota parcels in three public oral bid auctions in October and November. Tuesday, Oct. 25 – Nine northwestern Minnesota parcels will be auctioned at the County Administration Building in Bemidji. Thursday, Oct. 27 – 27 northeastern Minnesota parcels will be auctioned at the Lake County Courthouse in Two Harbors. Thursday, Nov. 3 – Four parcels in north-central Minnesota will be auctioned at DNR Brainerd area office. The properties include unimproved recreational land and residential lakeshore parcels in Aitkin, Cass, Clearwater, Cook, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Itasca, Lake, and St. Louis counties. There is a wide range of sizes and land uses in this selection of sales, from a small 0.80 acre former water access site on Pine Lake in Clearwater County to a 200-acre recreational parcel in Breitung Township in northeastern St. Louis County. The DNR regularly sells land which is no longer needed for its original conservation purpose, after a thorough internal review, and after giving state agencies and local governments opportunities to purchase the land. Proceeds from sales of lands the DNR had once acquired go to the DNR division that had managed the land and are used to purchase and develop lands better suited to that division’s conservation goals. Many of the parcels to be sold are School Trust lands. Proceeds from these auction sales are deposited to a fund that benefits the state’s public school system. School Trust land by law can only be sold at public auction.
      Bidders are advised to obtain and view the property data sheet, be familiar with the property, minimum bid price, and terms and conditions of sale prior to attending the auction. To obtain a property data sheet or terms and conditions of sale call 651-259-5432, or 888-646-6367 or email landsale@dnr.state.mn.us. The property data sheets are also available online at www.dnr.state.mn.us/lands_minerals/landsale/. Discuss below - to view set the hook here.
    • Rick
      Minnesota’s absentee voting law makes it easy for hunters who plan to be in the field on Election Day to make their vote count on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Minnesota’s firearms deer season opens Saturday, Nov. 5. Minnesotans can request an absentee ballot to be mailed to them, or they can vote absentee in-person at their county or local elections office. Ballots must be returned on or before the Nov. 8 general election. Details about early voting are available on the Minnesota Secretary of State website at www.sos.state.mn.us/elections-voting/other-ways-to-vote, or by calling 877-600-8683, or
      651-215-1440 in Twin Cities area. Discuss below - to view set the hook here.