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Waterfowl Habitat
 
Additional Waterfowl Hunting pages
- Before you go
- Waterfowl Habitat
 
Drought Conditions
The descriptions below provide general habitat and location information. Be aware some of the areas below may be low or dry due to drought conditions. Be sure to scout your location prior to hunting.
 
Area Descriptions
White Mountains
The White Mountains of eastern Arizona boast some excellent waterfowling. The majority of the waterfowl hunting opportunities in the White Mountains occur on the Apache - Sitgreaves National Forest. Some of the hot spots to check out include the following: Traveling east on Highway 260 turn south on State Route 373. Located off of Forest Road 112 you will find Geneva and White Mountain reservoirs. Both are excellent early season wetlands attracting numerous waterfowl. Farther south on State Route 373 you will locate Basin Lake which offers excellent emergent vegetation for blinds. A small boat or canoe can provide access to the open water marsh. Traveling south you will pick up State Route 273 which provides access to Mexican Hay Lake, an excellent shallow emergent wetland. Forest Road 90 will take you east from State Route 273 to Forest Road 285. Heading north, you will locate several wetlands including Saint Joseph's, Saint Mary's, Atcheson and San Salvador. All of these marsh systems attract waterfowl and are good bets. Remember the best hunting in this region is early in the season up until snow and ice force birds south.
 
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Jaques Marsh
Near the town of Pinetop-Lakeside. This 90-acre wetland is managed specifically for waterfowl. Hunting at Jacques can be good the entire season with excellent island and shoreline vegetation for blinds. To access Jacques turn north off of State Route 260 on Porter Mountain Road (Forest Road 45). Shortly past the Scott's Reservoir turn-off, turn west on Juniper Lane and take the road to the marsh parking lot. Best hunting from early in the season to ice-up. Decoys are recommended and chest waders.
 
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Pintail Lake
North of Show Low. This municipal wetland created in the early 1980s provides excellent waterfowling. Five ponds with berms have open water and nesting islands. To locate Pintail travel north on State Route 77 approximately 5 miles north of Show Low and turn east at the Pintail Lake sign. Best hunting period in early season to ice-up. Decoys are recommended with chest waders.
 
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Lyman Lake
This manmade reservoir has fluctuating water levels, which may effect waterfowl numbers. The best hunting opportunities occur near the east end where the Little Colorado River enters the lake. The area is managed as a State Park and has some restrictions on shooting. Boats are recommended with decoys placed in the shallows. This reservoir also holds good numbers of Canada Geese, which feed in farm fields near Saint Johns. To locate Lyman Lake head north on State Route 191 north of Springerville towards Saint Johns and turn east into Lyman Lake State Park.
 
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Anderson Mesa wetlands
Southeast of Flagstaff. This group of wetlands lies within the Coconino National Forest, can be accessed off of Forest Highway 3 south of Flagstaff. Turn east on U.S.F.S. road 128 and 129A. The areas to focus on include Marshall Lake, Vail Lake, Horse Lake, Deep Lake and Prime Lake. These shallow wetlands offer excellent emergent growth for blind placement and in most cases wading depths. Decoys would be recommended and preseason scouting to determine which area is holding the most birds. Again, as with the White Mountains, as ice-up takes place in November and December, birds using these wetlands move south.
 
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Mormon Lake

In the Flagstaff region of the Department. This natural basin approximately 5,000 acres when full offers excellent shoreline hunting as well as open water decoy placement with the aid of small john boats. This wetland offers some excellent early season shooting and will attract numerous ducks up until freeze up. To access Mormon Lake takes the Lower Lake Mary Road Forest Highway 3 approximately 22 miles south of Flagstaff. The lake will appear on the West Side of the highway with several foot access points.

Arizona Game and Fish has obtained a “permit” from the Coconino National Forest to allow waterfowl hunters access to the “Berry Road” on the east side of Mormon Lake through the fall 2008-09 waterfowl season.

To obtain access call the Flagstaff Regional office during normal business hours (Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) at 928-774-5045 or after hours call Arizona Game and Fish Dispatch at 623-236-7201.

 
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Roosevelt Lake
The largest of the Salt River reservoirs. Both the Tonto Arm and Salt Arm provide excellent waterfowling where the shallows and mudflat habitats occur. A variety of shooting opportunities exist along the shore. Both puddle and diving species of ducks are abundant as well a several thousand wintering great basin Canada geese. A portion of the north shore near the West End of the lake is closed to hunting during the goose season. Be sure consult the regulations. Hunting on Roosevelt is best during the later part of the waterfowl season.
 
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The western Gila River area
The area that runs west of Buckeye to Gila Bend. This stretch of the Gila typically has good river flows and excellent waterfowling. Access to the river usually crosses private land so be sure to respect signs. The river has numerous ox bows and channels that provide feeding areas and loafing spots for both diving and puddle ducks. Canoes are often used to float to more remote locations and there is plenty of vegetation to build blinds. Pass shooting and decoying are methods that are commonly used by river hunters.
 
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Picacho Reservoir
The portion of the reservoir that lies east of Interstate 10 approximately 18 miles north of Eloy. This reservoir, designed for silt retention and agricultural run-off, has attracted waterfowlers for many years. Although water levels are typically low, at capacity this wetland covers approximately 900 acres. Most hunters using Picacho use boats to access blinds, which are constructed in the emergent stands of vegetation. In recent years there has been some hunter conflict with "permanent blinds" on this reservoir but the reservoir is open to public hunting. Both dabbling and diving species of waterfowl are attracted to Picacho with best hunting late in the season.
 
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Quigley Wildlife Area
This 100-acre marsh has excellent waterfowling but the limited size of the open water can only support a few hunters. A canoe is recommended and there is excellent cattail stands to conceal the boat and hunters. Both diving and puddle ducks use the marsh and there are also foraging moist soil units managed on the wildlife area. Theses areas are closed to hunting but do attract ducks and geese that often visit the marsh. Quigley Wildlife Area is located along the Gila River approximately 2 miles north of Tacna, Arizona off of Interstate 8.

 

Colorado River and Cibola NWR

Cibola is home to some of the best waterfowl hunting in Arizona, and there is good opportunity on the Cibola NWR.  Cibola NWR is located on the Colorado River in Cibola.  Take I-10 West into Blythe, California.  Exit onto Route 78/Neighbors Blvd. and continue south following signs for Cibola Refuge.  Cross the bridge back into Arizona, and continue south to refuge office.  For duck hunting, the Island Unit is a popular hunting area.  Hunters should have success along the east meander, and also at Pretty Water.  As for geese, typically the highest concentration of birds occurs from the middle of November through December.  There is good waterfowl hunting in the old river channel, which can be accessed by boat.  Farm Unit II on the refuge offers controlled spaced blind goose hunting opportunities.  This hunt requires a permit and blinds are selected on a reservation system, however, a standby drawing will be held every morning for any available blinds.  The Hart Mine Marsh habitat restoration project will hopefully be completed in 2010, and will further enhance the waterfowl hunting opportunity on the refuge.  Please contact the refuge office for more information and additional regulations, or visit their website at http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/CibolaNWR/.   In addition to the refuge, there are private sportsman’s clubs located in Cibola, as well as opportunity to hunt for waterfowl on State Trust Land in the surrounding areas.

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Willcox Playa and Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area
Located in southeastern Arizona. Typically thought of as the Sandhill Crane hunting spot of the State, these areas offer excellent waterfowling as well. During wet years numerous waterfowl can be found around the Playa and White Water Draw. Both areas have seasonal closures on hunting during the Crane hunt, which typically falls in November. The Department currently manages waterfowl on both areas with hunting opportunities.
 
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Alamo Lake and the Bill Williams River region
Waterfowl hunting is not allowed on the Bill Williams National Wildlife Refuge. Call the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at (928) 667-4144 for additional information.
 
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Downloads [More]


Hunting, Trapping & Fishing Regulations, Season Dates & Draw Information

Detailed information on all rules, regulations and seasons

  • New! 2013-2014 Arizona Hunting Regulations [PDF, 6mb]

  • Hunt Permit-Tag Application Form [PDF]
  • New! 2014 Antelope & Elk Hunt Draw Regulations
    [PDF, 4mb]

  • 2014 Spring Hunt Draw Regulations [PDF]

  • 2013-2014 Waterfowl & Snipe Regulations [PDF]

  • New! 2013-2014 Dove & Band-tailed Pigeon Regs [PDF]

  • 2013 Sandhill Crane Regulations [PDF]

  • Hunt Arizona 2012: Survey, Harvest and Draw Data
    [PDF, 6mb]

  • 2013-2014 Trapping Regulations [PDF]


  • 2014 AZ Fishing Regulations
    [PDF, 7mb]
  • 2014 Urban Fishing Guidebook
    [PDF, 9mb]
  • 2013 Amphibian and Reptile Regulations [PDF]

  • 2013-14 Raptor Regulations [PDF]
  • Arizona Residency Requirements [PDF]
NOTE: The above files are PDF's and require the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.

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