My brother was the same way with ducks last year on the Cedar. We had one good flight day at Cone Marsh where we all got limits but the same day my brother was hunting his blind on the Cedar and didn't see hardly any ducks.
I know your brother-in-law Mike. I don't know if he remembers me but he used to work at Plow & Pedal years ago. My dad had a landscape business back then and we used to have our equipment repaired there. Does he still work for MPW? I think his wife used to work at Plow & Pedal back then also.
We've been out to the marsh and seen all those ducks and geese. The Mississippi is loaded with bluebills and redheads right now. It has been for quite a while.
I was wondering if you have heard of the Waterfowl Association of Iowa. It is a nonprofit organization that has been around for about 2 years (maybe a little less) that is trying to do some good things for Iowa waterfowlers. If you haven't heard of them I am inserting a link that will take you to their website. Check it out if you haven't already. I think that in the years to come they will do some great things for us hunters. If you can afford to become a member it's only $25.00 for a years membership. Even if you can't let the money go check out their website. It's free to post on the forum there and it is mainly other Iowa duck hunters that you would be chatting with. The link is posted below.
Good luck with the lab. I know how trying it can be training a pup but the rewards are sure worth the effort. :D