Sunday and Monday morning, we opted to go to a place we discovered last year. Upper Mud Lake, on Madison’s southern edge, is the only lake in the area with no houses on its shores. This makes it legal to hunt (regs= within 3 feet of vegetation rooted to the lakebed, keeping you near shore, and no shooting within 100 yards of buildings), even though part of it is in city limits. It’s connected to Monona by the Yahara River, which is widened at this point and has a couple small marinas, as well as lake houses with docks. This channel goes under our local traffic bottleneck, the Beltline, and on into the lake. All along the access channel, the requisite 50 yards from the road, are permanent blinds people have put up.
Late last season, we got sick of the low water up at Cherokee, and tried this place out. We always saw lots of other hunters, but there were always a decent number of birds here, and it was only about 10 minutes from our house (a real bonus at 4:45 in the morning). Matt got his first goose here, and he also got a couple mallards.
We launched our boat around 5:30 on Sunday, with other fishermen. We got plenty of weird looks when we loaded guns and decoys into the boat instead of poles and tackle. In the access channel, there’s a long, narrow island/sandbar splitting it longwise. One side is dredged out for bigger boats, and the other is left shallower for kayaks, etc. We set our decoys on the shallow side, and hid the boat on the deep side. There were some geese out while we set up, before shooting light. But those were the only geese we saw all day. The weird looks from anglers continued, and a kayaker paddled directly through our spread (not the first time this has happened). No geese, and we headed home around 9.
The same thing happened this morning. Saw geese across the lake from us, and the place is lousy with ducks. But, duck season isn’t until mid-month, and these ducks seemed to know it. I got some alright pictures, though. We have a couple more weeks, and we plan to get a mud motor in the meantime, so we can hunt up in the shallows on Cherokee.