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fld&strm

Dora Lake - Big Fork River

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I am starting to plan for the fall hunting season and my annual father/son duck opener. I have been hunting in the squaw lake area (last year we hunted Rice lake - and it was tough with the rice so thick and few places to set up) and plan to head back up this opener. I just came across Dora lake and the resort up there and was wondering if any has some info on the duck hunting (I know the area is good - I am really curious about the lake specifically) on the lake or the river mouths. Any and all details would be great. thanks.

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I would also like to know, the girlfriend's uncle has a cabin on that lake. I thought about that a few years ago, but never really inquired about it. I know it's a decent walleye lake. If there is any rice up there I would imagine it would be good.

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It's a good spot, what more can you say? If you have experience in the wild rice you know how good it can be. If you time things right, you can do really well on ringbills and a mixed bag of other divers with the occasional dabbler. I was just up that way a couple weeks ago and was thinking about it. There are some other lakes within 30 miles that aren't too bad either...even some Big Fork river tribs can be pretty good.

I don't think you'll be dissapointed trailering the boat and heading up. My best tip would be to call someone up there to see if the birds are in the area. I had to go when I could go last year and picked 3 weekends where next to nothing was flying. Compared to previous years when the birds were pushing through and it was night and day.

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I deer hunt northeast of Wirt and have done a little late October ringbill shooting around there as well. How is the competition in the area on opening weekend? The Feds and/or State have created some waterfowl impoundments near where I hunt and I've always wondered how hard the area is hunted and if any ducks are around early in the year.

I usually spend opening weekend on a wildrice flat north of Brainerd but am considering heading north this year.

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Competition is insane on opening weekend. People are everywhere! Even on just about every little hard to get to pond someone is set up on or has been jump shot a couple times.

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Up till the last few years, I opened on Squaw every year. Opening day was always the best, typically there's a good raft of 5,000+ bills. I remember opener of 2000 there was about 15,000+ bills on the lake, plus about 2-3,000 mallards. We usually have to get to the access by midnight to get a decent spot on the lake. It gets pretty crazy. Sunday is basically just a morning shoot, by mid-day most of the birds are shot out.

BTW, a little trick I've found when you find really thick rice. Have you noticed that on lakes like Rice or Squaw the ducks will fly low over the lake then climb when they get towards shore? Set up right in the middle of the lake, in the thick rice. You feel really open, but they aren't paying attention when they're in the middle of the lake. This works especially well during the morning shoot. Get low in the canoe and cover yourself and the entire canoe in burlap sacks. Also, if you can find a little pocket in the thick stuff to set up some dekes, they decoy considerably better out in the middle of the lake. They don't see any danger out in the middle of the lake and are alot more gullible.

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No secrets up that way anyway. Everyone nows the good lakes. The secrets are the beaver dams you find grouse hunting or using google earth. Otherwise is always crazy up there.

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I'll second that seabass, some of the best hunting (and easiest) I've ever had was at a beaver dam over by Sand Lake. It's dead now, but when it was first flooded, man what a sight.

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