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trailratedtj

minnesota valley wildlife refuge

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trailratedtj

anyone every hunt this? just looking for a close place for this weekend. i was looking at rice lake, if anyones ever been there then is the lake shallow and able to walk in.

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airdriver

It can be a mad house at times. cars, lines to get in the area. if you are willing to get away from the crowds, can be good hunting. lots of sky blasters and rude people. just be willing to go in further than most.

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buzzsaw

With Deer opener it may be a good weekend to try this spot! It is always busy down there and there is a good variety of birds down here.

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trailratedtj

do you guys know if its wadable? whats the majority of ducks out there?

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buzzsaw

Go scout it in the daylight, alot of guys just use waders and leave the boat at home.

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Guest

Rice froze up pretty hard 11/1. There was about 1/2" of ice. It should open back up with the coming weather.

The only place that may be a bit deep for the waders is the creek channel you access from. The rest of the lake is 1' - 2' deep with a very mucky bottom. Its wadable, but not a lot of fun to go long distance(pull your boots off type muck).

Rice does offer some excellent hunting opportunities when there isnt 300 people out there. The traffic has slowed down since last weekend with no more than 5 hunting boats(no shoreline skybusters) in a day... the problem is, its locked up with ice and the birds are using the river.

Its mostly mallards and other puddlers.. tons of geese in the area, watch out for swans, lots of them too. Next year rice is changing to a lottery area and only 4 hunting parties will be allowed to use the lake a day.. thats all the information I know on the lottery.

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trailratedtj

yeah i went out saterday and it sucked. over an inch of ice and almost got serverly stuck twice trying to get out to setup my dekes. needless to say i didnt get anything. there were some birds but all the ones i saw were up high. ended up going to my normal spot for the afternoon and getting some divers

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Guest

I stopped by sunday morning and there were 7 boats already.. and I was pretty early. The ice had rotten some, but I wasnt going to break ice to have someone come sit on top of me.

The duck hunter traffic picked up when deer hunting started.. go figure.

I went to another lake and busted ice. Most of the ice should be gone everywhere, or easily breakable with this warm weather. Hunting pressure or not, I like the open water because more birds come to land on all of the lakes. It looks like we will have a couple more weeks of hunting in the greater metro unless the temps drop severely again. A little cold and its not going to take long to end the water hunting season.

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buzzsaw

The good thing about the recent cold weather is it froze up all those smaller ponds that hold ducks and gave us a shot at them on the larger bodies of unfrozen water.

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Guest

A good percentage of the larger bodies of water were frozen last saturday, or a large portion froze. This warm spell has given us some ice relief for the time being.

I will be out in various areas nearly every day now before everything freezes up again, its not going to be long if the cold air moves back in!

Its one thing breaking ice in 3' of water in a pothole, its a bit more concerning over 40' of water on a large lake powered by a motor! One hole in the boat at 4:30 a.m. can mean hypothermia quick.

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trailratedtj

any one you guys use kayaks? how are they on icey lakes or potholes?

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yakfisher

Kayaks on ice are tough to paddle, better have a push pole, put your knees on the seat and push it backwards. They tend to ride on top of the ice until there is enough of the boat's weight on the ice to break through. It can be slow going.

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Guest

kayak... only if the ice is VERY THIN. If your referring to Rice lake within the minnesota valley refuge, that ice will normally get too thick overnight on cool nights. Its common to get my 14' V hull on top of the ice when im by myself, or the ice gets thick enough to stop the boat dead with a passenger.

You better be comfortable shooting while floating also, 98% of the cover you are floating if your near the water line.

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trailratedtj

i wouldnt use it on rice. mainly just to get out to my normal spots. i usually only use about 4 dozen dekes which i can get into two bags no problem. i guess i am mainly concerned about towing them out with the kayak. usual spots are about 3/4 of a mile away from the nearest landing.

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Guest

Pick up an Otter sled and use it as a *trailer* behind your boat. I used to pull a medium sled around with 2 big bags full of decoys and it didnt create all that much drag... much better than ending up overloaded.

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trailratedtj

good idea i need to get my otter sled down and cleaner out anyways

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Volare

Speaking of the refuge- does anyone have any experience hunting the Louisville swamp unit down by Jordan? I went down there last weekend- looks... interesting...

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