Freeze ....that is the mode of operation for this month. In December we went from bluebird days to freeze out in a week. Right as upper basin started seeing a number of birds it froze hard. There are still some isolated areas that hold birds but until the thaw happens the Basin will take some work.
What's bad for the Basin is great for the Rogue Valley and specifically the Rogue River as it never seems to freeze, which forces the migration to chill on it's rock bars and back slews. Gunning on the Rogue is always good in January, but most years becomes outstanding. We shoot a mixed bag most years with Mallards, Teal, and Ringnecks being the most prominent. Besides the great shooting, the Rogue offers an experience that most waterfowl hunters have never encountered. Every waterfowl hunter needs to experience the Rogue in January.
WHAT TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN 2022
Water! The type of water that will flood the mud flats. The Cascades will see rain melting snow below 5000 feet. As I'm writing this we are sitting on the exact same conditions that caused the 1996-1997 flood. We have record snow accumulation with a warning saturation forecasted. Under these circumstances we could easily overwhelm the drainage systems of Southern Oregon. What's bad for those downstream is great for waterfowl.
The Klamath Basin: Give the Klamath Basin a week under these conditions and you will see the shallows and mud flats fill with fresh birds. Unless it has a hard freeze again it will also set us up for a spectacular spring goose season as the Basin greens up. Look towards the rivers for good diver shoots and toward the reclaimed deltas for the puddlers.
The Rogue Valley: If the Valley floods be prepared to hunt private ground as the birds will move to the fresh food sources. Also check the WMA as there will be new food sources there as well.
January is my favorite month of the season. Most hunters have given up, or wait to renew their license, but for those of us who know, look forward to this month as it is the month that Southern Oregon usually sees the majority of its migratory birds, yet January is typically the month that it sees the least amount of pressure.
All hardcore waterfowlers look forward to January in these parts, and you should to.