Water Shortages Will Continue to Impact Waterfowl Hunting at Shasta Valley Wildlife Area

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has announced the reopening of the Shasta Valley Wildlife Area in Siskiyou County for limited waterfowl hunting in the upcoming season. This comes after a two-year closure, raising the spirits of hunters eager to return to this scenic hunting destination.

Despite record rainfall and snowpack in many parts of California during the winter and spring of 2022-23, northeastern California, including the Shasta Valley, experienced comparatively dry conditions. Consequently, for the upcoming waterfowl hunting season, only dry field hunting will be permitted at the Shasta Valley Wildlife Area.

The Northeastern Zone waterfowl season is scheduled to run from October 7, 2023, through January 17, 2024. To accommodate hunters, the Shasta Valley Wildlife Area will be open on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays throughout the season. The Northeastern Zone Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days are slated for September 23-24, 2023, as a preseason opportunity, while the postseason Veterans and Active Military Personnel Waterfowl Hunting Days are set for January 20-21, 2024.

The Shasta Valley Wildlife Area, spanning 4,700 acres, serves as vital seasonal wetlands for migrating waterfowl, with water supplied by three storage reservoirs on the property. Unfortunately, two of these reservoirs, Steamboat Lake and Bass Lake, are currently completely dry. Trout Lake is approximately 50 percent full and will be designated as a closed zone for the 2023-24 waterfowl season, where hunting will not be allowed.

The Shasta Valley Wildlife Area will be open for upland game bird hunting, including dove, quail, snipe, and pheasant, subject to regulations. Pheasant hunting will be restricted to Sundays during the season and will require reservations, with no walk-ins, sweat line, or refills accepted. Adult hunters (excluding juniors) will need a Type A or B season pass for participation. Reservation applications for Sunday pheasant hunts can be accessed on CDFW’s Online License Sales and Services website.

For waterfowl hunters, various opportunities will be available at other Northeastern Zone state and federal lands popular among duck and goose enthusiasts. Given potential variations, hunters are strongly advised to make advance inquiries for any Northeastern Zone waterfowl hunt.

Some other notable public waterfowl hunting areas in the Northeastern Zone include:

Ash Creek Wildlife Area: Expecting significant flooding of wetlands due to spring-fed creeks and groundwater supplies. Reservations required for the opening weekend, with a Type A or B season pass needed for adult hunters (not juniors). Reservation applications accessible on CDFW’s Online License Sales and Services website.

Butte Valley Wildlife Area: Pumping groundwater to flood seasonal wetlands for the season opener, aiming for 500 to 600 acres. Reservations and a Type A or B season pass are required for adult hunters (not juniors) on the opening weekend. Reservation applications can be found on CDFW’s Online License Sales and Services website.

Honey Lake Wildlife Area: The Fleming Unit open for preseason Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days on a walk-in basis. The Dakin Unit is dry but open for dry field waterfowl hunting and upland game bird hunting. The Fleming Unit anticipates about 20 percent of its seasonal wetlands to be flooded by the season opener. Reservations are necessary for the opening weekend, with a Type A or Type B season pass mandatory for adult hunters (not juniors). Reservation applications available on CDFW’s Online License Sales and Services website.

Willow Creek Wildlife Area: This 2,700-acre wildlife area north of Susanville in Lassen County expects 250 acres of huntable, flooded wetlands by the Northeastern Zone season opener on October 7. Reservations are needed for the opening weekend, with a Type A or Type B season pass required for adult hunters (not juniors). No preseason youth hunt will take place. Reservation applications accessible on CDFW’s Online License Sales and Services website.

Modoc National Wildlife Refuge: Normal water levels and good habitat conditions expected for this season. Specific regulations for hunting areas available on the refuge website. Modoc NWR Facebook page for the latest information.

Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex: The complex, comprising the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge and the Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge, will have waterfowl hunting on dryland units at the Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge for the 2023-24 waterfowl season. Pheasant hunting will also be permitted at Tule Lake on dry field areas. The Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge will remain closed for all hunting throughout the waterfowl and upland game bird seasons.

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