Hunting near San Deigo?

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I thought the days of missing out on duck hunting were behind me when I transferred from active duty to the reserves.  I was almost always at sea or deployed.  So now that I'm in the reserves ... I've been recalled and sent overseas again.  Oh well, there's alway 2003. So when I get back I'll be more than ready to do some hunting, and since I've hunted in SoCal I have some questions.

What kind of boats are best suited to the waters around San Diego? Primarily Barret, Henshaw, Sutherland, and Perris (have they closed Otay reservoir?). According to the descriptions on JHP Henshaw and Perris are good for scull boat hunters, but I've always enjoyed hunting over decoys with a dog.  Do you have to hunt from fixed blinds on Barret and Sutherland, and if so are the blinds far from where you put in? If I get out to the Salton Sea and the CRIT areas will I even need a boat?  I have a springer, but she's probably forgotten everything she ever learned by now.  If she hasn't, then I'd need a boat for her, me, and sometimes a friend.  Smaller is better for me since I don't have a lot of storage space; if it's practical could I use a pirogue powered by armstrong, or will I need something larger with an outboard?

Also on the subject of boats, does anyone use those foldable portabotes? If they live up to their billing then that could be the answer if I'll need a skiff, but I don't want to waste my money if they're really not worth it.

Any inputs are welcome.
 



Speckmisser

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Hiya, China Fleet,

Mostly just wanted to welcome you to Jesse's.  There's a bunch of SoCal hunters on here, but I'm not one of them, so I can't be a lot of help on your questions.  I do know my dad had one of those portabotes and kinda liked it.  I wouldn't trust it on open water, though, so if the wind or current are likely to come up...well, you might wanna reconsider.  

Good luck, and welcome again.  
 

Desertducker

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CFS;

Although I don't hunt the San Diego area, I can hopefully give you some help from the other side of the mountain....If you are planning on hunting Wister on the Salton Sea, you probably won't need a boat as most hunting is from the checks around ponds. A good set of waders, decoys, your dog  along with a gallon or two of good mosquito spray is all you would need.

If you decide to get into a boat, I would stay away from the folding boat. I went to a boat called the Fatboy (www.momarsh.com) and hung a 3-1/2hp Nissan on the back of it. This works great along the Colorado river and any lakes that I hunt. I just finished building a 12' pirogue which I made into a square stern. At 45 pounds, I can slide this into potholes better. I can use a push pole or kayak paddle but I can also hang the Nissan on it if I have some distance to go. I hope this will help some but if I can answer any other questions, drop me a line.
 

foulshot

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China Fleet Sailor, Like Speckmisser said welcome to Jesses!  I'm sure you'll get lots of help from the guys around here!
Now as far as hunting the city lakes at San Diego, they provide boats at Barrett-you can't bring your own, not enough parking.  The water level last season was dismal. At current the level is almost 60 ft below cap.  2 years ago they had 19 blinds, this last year they only had 9 I believe.  I only hunted there once.
Sutherland is about the same story.  Really a sad site to see these lakes way below.
Now Upper and Lower Otay are in good shape as far as the levels go, however there is a good chance they will be closed to hunting next season.  Why you ask?  They are building homes almost right up to the lakeshore.  When I talked to the lake manager, Joe, he wasn't sure if there was going to be hunting next season.  I got the same answer from the Lakes manager Jim Brown.  As for as the City Lakes go, they have fixed blinds and are drawn on the morning of the hunt.  How they draw is up the the lake supervisor.  Here are last years totals.
Now Lake Henshaw starts their waterfowl program when they start getting enough birds.  They also have a waterlevel problem.  Very low!  100 ft out from shore and knee high water.  Good hunting for widgeon when they are there.  They have to blind set up, first come first serve.  You can set up your dekes a day before as long as you are done by 3pm I believe.  From past experience a big spread is the way to go.  Also there is not much cover, so if you have your own blind thats best.  Here is a link to them-lake henshaw.  Last year I saw 2 guys in skull boats that were regulars.  They did very well.
I don't know anything about lake perris, sorry.
Now as far as the Salton Sea, are you planning to hunt Wister or public areas?  Wister, no boat needed.  You could hunt Finney-Ramer with a boat.
I don't know much about the foldable boats except when I went fishing with a guy in the bay and had to start bailing for my life.
As I think of more info I'll post later.  Again, welcome to Jesses!!
 
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Thanks for the info.  As you can probably tell, I'm not a very experienced duck hunter.  Over the past 10 years, I haven't gotten out as much as I'd like.

Just in case you're interested, there are actually a lot of birds here in Japan. Yokosuka is on the southern end of Tokyo bay, just below Yokohama.  There's a lot of rivers & canals here,and apparently a lot of birds winter here since it doesn't get too cold.  I see a lot of pintails.  It's kind of strange to be half way across the world and to be able to recognize the wildlife.  You might be surprised, but there are more shooters and hunters in Japan then the press might lead you to believe.  And because of the lack of cometion the hunting's pretty good.  There are a lot of dear, asian black bear, and so many wild boar that people regularly get mauled when they go for a walk.  I don't have a Japanese hunting license, but my friend's father-in-law does so I think I'll tag along when he takes his setters after pheasant in the fall.
 

pitdog

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China Fleet Sailer,

Welcome to JHP. I don't hunt much in SD, but I do in S-Sea.  If you have a boat, scout the north shore and public access off Wister.  I have a couple of blinds that I fix up before the season starts and I do real well.  Last year was pretty slow but you never know.  Be ready for a huge amount of work to set up a water blind.  100*+ weather and a stink that could gag a maggot. Easy route would be leave the boat at home and hit the Wister sweat-line. Just a thought. Oh ya, if you decide to hunt S-Sea, don't bring a gun that you care about. I bring my Mossberg 835 multijam (it's actually never jammed...yet).

sp
 

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