Len Ackerman

The long duck season ended last Sunday and the “duck widows” will finally have their men back home on weekends.

The season followed a similar pattern to previous years with the October opening producing a good opening day, followed by the “November Slump,” which continued into early December as the northern migration was still in the north, awaiting the big freeze.

That finally happened in January and the rest of the month was good in most of the state, with the exception of some areas where flooding of outer farmlands spread out the birds.

Most private clubs and state refuges had good shooting in January, especially at the speedy green-wing teal which showed in big numbers. A report from the Santa Fe and Hollister clubs near Gustine indicated plenty of birds and good shooting during the final week.

Bob King, of Sonora, had a good shoot, bagging a limit on Wednesday, Jan. 25, but found it a bit slow this past Wednesday, bagging only two ducks at the Los Banos Refuge.

On a sad note, he took his 13-year-old Lab retriever, Cody, on his last hunt.

Tomorrow and Sunday the youth hunts will take place at private clubs and state refuges. Kids 17 and under will get in lots of shooting with adult supervision. Ammunition sales will probably be high that weekend.

The water level at New Melones Reservoir is rising daily which will bring on some great fishing after winter.

Last Saturday, the Glory Hole Sports Big Bass Bash took place at Melones with 25 boats out for the two-fish format team competition.

The top three winners were: 1. John Leichty and Dan Perkins Jr. with a two-fish total of 10.73 pounds, including the biggest largemouth at 8.22 pounds; 2. Kyle Rasmussen and Joe Menzes with 8.68 pounds; 3. Collin and Jace DeGough with 8.59 pounds, who caught the biggest spotted bass at 4.74 pounds.