For the past several years drought conditions have persisted at Market Lake Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and this year has not proved any different. So far this water year, Market Lake has received half as much precipitation as it did in 2021, which was also considerably drier than usual. Barely three inches of rainfall have been measured at Market Lake since October. This lack of precipitation has resulted in extremely low water levels in the marshes and will make launching a boat difficult. Waterfowl hunters will find conditions to be similar to the 2020 and 2021 seasons with limited boat access.
The good news is that shallow water levels in the marshes are attractive to migrating waterfowl and other species that now have access to food resources made available by the receding water. “Where there is food, there will be ducks for hunters to enjoy,” says habitat biologist Brett Gullett. “Hunters can still find good walk-in access into places that hold birds but pre-season scouting will go a long ways toward improving success on opening day."
Market Lake WMA is actively managed for quality waterfowl habitat. Multiple controlled burns have been conducted on the marshes over the past several years, creating a healthy mosaic of vegetation and open water that has proven to be beneficial to waterfowl. Birds now have more areas to land and forage on aquatic vegetation and insects. The open spaces created by these burns have also improved access for hunters, creating pathways into areas that may have been previously inaccessible.
To learn more about hunting opportunities on Market Lake Wildlife Management Area or other properties managed by the Idaho Fish and Game click here.