Waterfowl hunters will need to do some preseason scouting to find a place to hunt if the current drought conditions continue.
Shallow wetlands are dry. Shallow lakes are low. Rivers are low.
“While conditions may change, raising the reservoirs may not happen because of the low river levels,” said Rick Trine, supervisor of the central Iowa wildlife district.
Trine, whose district includes the popular waterfowl hunting areas at Lake Red Rock, said pumping options may be limited because the rivers where they pump the water from are extremely low, including the sub-impoundments at Red Rock.
Carl Priebe, wildlife biologist for the Nishnabotna Unit, said they turned the 24,000 gallons-per-minute pump on at Riverton on August 15. He said in a normal year, it would take 45 days to fill the area. This year, he is expecting it to take 60 days.
“That’s just a guesstimate based on the West Nishnabotna River having enough water for us to continue pumping,” Priebe said. The smaller pumps are running at the Jenson tract and at Forney Lake. “The areas where we can’t pump are pretty dry.”
Given the current conditions and no relief in the long range forecast, hunters need to do some advanced scouting to find areas with water and cover.
“They shouldn’t expect to walk out the day the season opens and find conditions like they have in the past,” said Trine.
DNR to Provide Wetland Updates
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources will provide information on wetland conditions one week before opening day for the early and the late waterfowl seasons online: