Joice Island Hunt

rodngun

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The 12/23 hunt was terrible. Seems like the birds moved out of the area. Hntndux and Drake Slayer gave me good information on the area but the ducks were a no show. Ended up with one teal with one shot fired. Lots of Canvasback on the big open water pond, but never came close enough. The average that day has not been posted yet, but I bet it was less than a bird per gun....
 

hntndux

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Well I had to see how bad Joice was myself and went yesterday.  My buddy and I ended up with 3 goldneye's and 2 gadwall.  Very very little shooting especially for the effort involved.  I think I'm saving the $1 a week next season.  Found a good pig spot if I'm lucky enough to get drawn.
 

Speckmisser

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If Joice sucks so bad, then I'm sure ya'll be glad to share a little info?  I got drawn (miracle of miracles) for this coming Sunday, and haven't the slightest idea where to go or what to plan for.  Any general tips before I scroll back through the backposts and find the last time this came up?
 

hntndux

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First thing, a mountain bike can really help if you have one.  Head over the bridge and take a right.  Walk or ride until the road turns towards the left, you'll see a club house on the right hand side.  This road then splits, stay to your left which splits the two ponds you'll see a yellow gate.  I'd either hunt to the left of that road (very very thick tules) or to the right.  I actually continued on to the right at the split in the road and hunted in the back pond.  The only shooting came from us and the area to the left of that yellow gate.  Be advised, it's a loooooonnng walk...  Good luck!  The first BIG pond you see to your left when walking out can be good but it is very very deep and is best approached from the other side.  If you want to hunt this area, take a left after crossing the bridge.
 

Speckmisser

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Thanks HntnDux.

Do you know how many people can go in with a ressie at Joice?
 

hntndux

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It's one other adult and up to two juniors per adult, but I'd call Grizzly just to be sure if you plan on taking juniors. 707-425-3828
 

rodngun

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You can only bring one guest at Joice Island. When I hunted, I went over the bridge and made a left and then walked past the big pond to the tule pot holes on the other side. There was a lot of very thick, black, smelly mud to wade through. Be very careful, sometimes I couldn't find the bottom of the mud and had to back up. it was also very difficult to go through the brush surrounding the ponds. Looking at the averages over the last couple weeks, I would bring my camoflauge belly boat and go out on the big open water area in pond 1. There are a few clumps of tules sticking out of the open water. I wolud put the decoys around there and see what happens. I'm not sure how the mud is in the open water area. There were tons of Canvasbacks, other diving ducks, teal and spoonies working the open water. It will be a lot of work to do this, but you will get shooting. Let us know how you do. Good Luck!
 

rodngun

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One other thing...I wouldn't bring a junior hunter to try and wade through that mud....Way too dangerous....
 

Speckmisser

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Thanks for the info.

I'm bringing my hunting partner/girlfriend Kat (AKA Mudwalker).  Despite her name, she doesn't care much for wading in mud.  Oh well.  :drowning:

Probably gonna try to find a pothole in the tules and hope for mallards.  
 

Greenhead

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What's happened to Joice? That place used to be a mallard hunter's dream.
 

Jay

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Birds used to push into Suisun marsh after the beginning of December but they haven't showed the last couple years.

My theory is all the rot and flood water is holding them in the valley and we haven't had enough fog to push the birds into the Suisun marsh.
 

Speckmisser

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Well, the Joice Island hunt wasn't all that bad.  I have to say, though, it's the LAST TIME I LISTEN TO YOU GUYS' ADVICE!!!  There was no need to walk so bloody far in!  The birds were right there by the bridge all day, could've hunted there with three dekes and made the day of it by noon.

Just kidding, of course... I really appreciate any intel I can get.   The area we went to, right by the private club was good.  We set up in a bad spot at first light, though, and didn't really get rearranged in time.  The "thick patch of tules" that I found for us in the pre-dawn turned out to be a skeletal patch of grass, and when the sun came up we were badly exposed.  Birds were flaring all over, but they were definitely flying.  

Once I got us moved into some good cover, the birds came a little more willingly, but by then the big flight was over.  Ended up with one teal for Kat (aka MudWalker), and a sweet double on mallards for me out of that hole.

On the way out, just as we reached the bridge I saw three kids putting the stalk on the potholes there.  A couple of birds jumped and one kid fired.  On the shot the marsh erupted with mallards!  Definitely would've been the place to be in the morning.  

Kat and I decided to go eat lunch and come back for the evening.  We set up on a pothole and watched the birds trading around the pond.  A couple came close, and I decided to go jump them.  

A few minutes later I had another greenhead in the bag.  Nothing else came in, and we packed out about 4:30.  

We glanced through the check cards, and looks like a lot of limits came out during the day.  Oh, and one big bonus to the hunt was the swans!  Hundreds of them are roosting in there, and they were a blast to watch.  
 

rodngun

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Looks like the birds moved back into Joice. They must have learned that I won't be hunting there any more this season so they feel safe again. Glad your hunt went much better than mine.
 

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