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Weekly Recreation Report: Central Zone

May 23, 2017

 Central Zone Fishing

The Deschutes River
Fishing the Deschutes River
-Photo by Charlotte Ganskopp-

Weekend fishing opportunities:

  • The entire lower Deschutes River is now open for trout fishing.
  • Bull trout and kokanee fishing has been picking up on Lake Billy Chinook.
  • Reports of good trout fishing on Crane Prairie.
  • Recent sampling of Antelope Flat Reservoir and Walton Lake showed excellent winter survival with most trout in the 12 to 14-inch range.
  • Lost and Clear lakes are now accessibel; Lost lake has been stocked and Clear Lake will be stocke this week. Each has/will receive an extra load of trophy-size fish.
  • Trout stocking is well-underway in the Central Zone. Check the trout stocking schedules for a location near you.

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Access leading to the reservoir is good. Recent sampling indicated excellent over-winter survival of trout.  Most trout were in the 12 to 14-inch range with some reaching 20-inches. The trout were in excellent condition and appeared to be feeding on zooplankton and macroinvertebrates. However, the water was very dirty which could negatively impact fishing.

BEND PINE NURSERY: rainbow trout, bluegill, bass

Anglers may keep two fish per day.

BIKINI POND: rainbow trout

The pond has been stocked and should be good fishing. Great spot to take kids.

CENTUTRY POND: rainbow trout

The pond is located ¼ mile west of the junction of USFS Rd 46 (Century Drive) and USFS Rd 4635.

CLEAR LAKE: rainbow trout

The lake is receiving a bunch of stocked trout this week to catch up from the late snow blocking the road. Also, Clear Lake is receiving an extra load of trophy trout!

CRANE PRAIRIE RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, brook trout, largemouth bass, kokanee

Anglers report good fishing for trout. Wild rainbow trout must be released. Only 1 trout over 20-inches per day.

CRESCENT LAKE: rainbow trout, brown trout, lake trout and kokanee

Open to fishing all year. One lake trout per day, 24-inch minimum length.

CROOKED RIVER BELOW BOWMAN DAM: redband trout, mountain whitefish

The flows have stabilized to near average. Fishing is expected to be slow with the low numbers of trout present. As a REMINDER, bait is no longer allowed on the river and all trout over 20-inches are considered steelhead and must be immediately released unharmed.

Flows below Bowman Dam

CULTUS LAKE: rainbow trout, lake trout

Open to fishing all year.

DAVIS LAKE: largemouth bass, redband trout

Open to fishing all year. Restricted to fly-fishing only with barbless hooks. Catch-and-release for trout. No limits on warmwater fish.

Redside Trout
Redside caught in Deschutes River near Maupin
-Photo by Rick Hargrave-


The entire lower river is now open for trout fishing. Trout anglers are reporting fair hatches of stoneflies from Maupin to Warm Springs.

Unfortunately, due to expected low returns of spring Chinook in the Deschutes basin, spring Chinook fishing will remain closed in 2017. By permanent rule, Chinook fishing will re-open on Aug. 1.

Anglers who catch a tagged hatchery steelhead with an orange anchor tag, are encouraged to report catch information to ODFW at 541-296-4628. Anglers catching a tagged wild fish should release it immediately without recording any information.

Counts at the Sherars Falls salmon and steelhead trap. The trap is only in operation from July to the end of October. Trapping has ended at Sherars Falls for the season.

Lake Billy Chinook to Benham Falls: rainbow trout, brown trout

Open for trout all year. Fishing restricted to artificial flies and lures. No size or limits on brown trout and no harvest of bull trout.

Benham Falls upstream to Little Lava Lake:

Opens to fishing on May 22. Wild rainbow trout must be released. 2 trout per day (including brook and brown trout, kokanee, and hatchery rainbow trout.

DEVILS LAKE: rainbow trout

Cascade Lakes Highway snow gates closed. Open to fishing all year.

EAST LAKE: rainbow trout, brown trout, kokanee

Snow gate at 10 mile Snow Park closed. Open to fishing all year. Wild rainbow trout must be released.

Elk Lake
Elk Lake
-Photo by Jessica Sall-

ELK LAKE: brook trout, kokanee, cutthroat trout

Cascade Lakes Highway snow gates closed. Open to fishing all year.

FALL RIVER: rainbow trout

The river will be stocked with rainbow trout this week. Open to fishing all year. Restricted to fly-fishing only with barbless hooks.

HAYSTACK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, kokanee, largemouth bass, black crappie, bluegill

Fishing should be good this year. The reservoir was stocked with 9,500 legal-size trout and 75 brood fish. Warmwater fish are plentiful but tend to be on the smaller side.

HOOD RIVER: spring chinook

Spring Chinook fishing has been slow due to low returns thus far, but quite a few new fish are arriving this week with improved passage at Bonneville.

The limit for spring Chinook in the Hood River, in 2017, is one adult and five jacks hatchery fish.

HOSMER LAKE: brook, rainbow and cutthroat trout

The Cascade Lakes Highway snow gates are still closed. Open to fishing all year. Restricted to fly-fishing only with barbless hooks. Catch-and-release for all species.


The lake has been stocked and should be good fishing. Bank anglers are having success along the dam.

LAKE BILLY CHINOOK: bull, brown and rainbow trout, kokanee, smallmouth bass

Bull trout and kokanee fishing has been picking up.

Anglers are reminded there are small numbers of spring Chinook, Sockeye Salmon and summer steelhead in Lake Billy Chinook as part of the reintroduction effort. Please release these fish unharmed.

LAKE SIMTUSTUS: bull trout, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass

Fishing should be good this year as the reservoir receives 30,000 legal-size rainbow trout. There is a good population of smallmouth bass.

LAVA LAKE (BIG): rainbow trout

Anglers report fair fishing for trout. Open to fishing all year.

LAVA LAKE (SMALL): rainbow trout, brook trout

Open to fishing all year.

LOST LAKE: rainbow trout

The lake has been stocked and should be good fishing at one of Oregon’s most famous lakes. Additionally, Lost Lake received an extra stocking of trophy trout!

METOLIUS RIVER: redband trout, bull trout

Anglers report fair fishing for rainbow trout. The river is now open above Allingham Bridge. Fishing is restricted to fly fishing only upstream of Bridge 99. Catch-and-release for trout including bull trout.

2017 Family Fishing at McNary Ponds
Fishing with family
-Photo by Kathy Munsel-

NORTH TWIN LAKE: rainbow trout

Lake will be stocked with rainbow trout this week. Open to fishing all year.


There are usually some nice-size trout in the creek during the spring.

Fishing is restricted to artificial flies and lures only; two trout per day with an 8-inch minimum length. Trout 20-inches and greater must be released unharmed.

OCHOCO RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, black crappie, smallmouth bass

The reservoir is nearly full, which further restricts the already limited bank access. Boat anglers can do well trolling slowly. Fishing should be excellent this year as there are good numbers of large trout and abundant warmwater populations. The reservoir is stocked annually with 50,000 fingerling trout that grow well.

ODELL CREEK: rainbow trout

Now open for trout fishing. Catch-and-release for trout including bull trout.

ODELL LAKE: lake trout, kokanee, rainbow trout

Open to fishing all year. All tributaries to Odell Lake are closed to fishing. All bull trout must be released unharmed.

PAULINA LAKE: brown trout, rainbow trout, kokanee

Snow gate at 10 mile Snow Park closed. Open to fishing all year. Wild rainbow trout must be released.

Rainbow Trout
Rainbow caught in Pine Hollow Reservoir, Wamic, Oregon
-Photo by Rick Hargrave-

PINE HOLLOW RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, largemouth bass

The lake has been stocked and fishing has been good, especially for trophies.

PRINEVILLE RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, largemouth and smallmouth bass, crappie

The reservoir is full and the fish well-dispersed. Fishing should be good this year. The reservoir is stocked annually with 150,000 fingerling trout, and the warmwater fish populations are abundant.

PRINEVILLE YOUTH FISHING POND: rainbow trout and largemouth bass

Fishing should be good for the recently stocked trout.


The lake is full of water and has been stocked, should be good fishing.


The pond will be stocked with rainbow trout this week. Open to youth only (17 years and under) and disabled anglers. Limit is two fish per day.

SOUTH TWIN LAKE: rainbow trout

Lake will be stocked this week with rainbow trout. Open to fishing all year.

SPARKS LAKE: cutthroat trout

Cascade Lakes Highway snow gates closed. Open to fishing all year. Fly fishing only, barbless hooks required.

SPRAGUE POND: rainbow trout

Turn at Cow Meadow sign off USFS Rd 40. Take first left at first dirt road and follow road to pond.

SUTTLE LAKE: brown trout, kokanee

Open to fishing all year. 25 kokanee per day in addition to daily trout limit. No size limits on kokanee.

TAYLOR LAKE (Wasco County): rainbow trout, largemouth bass

The lake has been stocked and fishing should be good.

THREE CREEK LAKE: rainbow trout, brook trout

Snow gate is closed to lake. Open to fishing all year.

TUMALO CREEK: rainbow trout, brook trout

Now open to trout fishing. No limit on size or number of brook trout.

WALTON LAKE: rainbow trout

Recent sampling indicated excellent over-winter survival of trout. Most trout were in the 12 to 14-inch range with some reaching 18-inches. The trout were in excellent condition and appeared to be feeding on zooplankton and macroinvertebrates.

WICKIUP RESERVOIR: kokanee, brown trout, rainbow trout, largemouth bass

Anglers report fair fishing for kokanee. Twenty-five kokanee per day in addition to daily trout limit. No size limits on kokanee.

WHYCHUS CREEK: rainbow trout

Now open for trout fishing. Rainbow trout over 20-inches are considered steelhead.

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  Central Zone Hunting


Bear and turkey hunting close May 31.

Wolves and coyotes can look alike

Most wolves in the state today are in northeast Oregon but a few have dispersed further west and south. Wolves are protected by state and/or federal law and it is unlawful to shoot them. Coyote hunters need to take extra care to identify their target as wolves can look like coyotes, especially wolf pups in the mid-summer and fall. Please report any wolf sightings or wolf sign to ODFW using the online reporting system.

Use the Oregon Hunting Map to see where to hunt.

Youth Turkey Hunt
Talin and Mason both 11 years old with a bird taken on public land during the 2017 youth season. These boys sat for a long time to bag this bird which came in silently.
-Photo by Hans Hayden-


Turkey season continues until May 31. Turkeys can be found on forestland in the Ochoco, Grizzly, and Maury WMU’s. Turkey numbers and distribution in the district are gradually increasing, with groups scattered throughout the national forest. Hunters should contact both the Ochoco National Forest and Prineville BLM offices for road conditions and motorized access restrictions. Motorized restrictions remain in effect year-around in the South Boundary Cooperative Travel Management Area (TMA) along the southern boundary of the Ochoco National Forest. Maps of the area are available at entry portal signs, and at ODFW and Ochoco National Forest offices in Prineville.

Cougar are present throughout the Maury, Ochoco, and Grizzly units. The Maury and Ochoco units are recommended because of their greater amounts of public lands and better accessibility. Cougars must be checked in at an ODFW office within 10 days of harvest. Please consult the synopsis for all required parts and be sure to call first to make an appointment.

Coyotes can offer an exciting challenge. Both the Maury and Ochoco have sizeable areas of public lands that provide hunting opportunities. Hunters should use caution, be properly equipped and prepared for whatever the weather might bring.


Spring Turkey: Spring turkey season runs until May 31. With the heavy snowpack we got this year, turkeys should be a bit more concentrated in lower elevations during the early season than years past. Opportunity should open up in higher elevations as snow melts off. On public land in the southern portion of White River, covering a lot of ground and calling to listen for “shock gobbles” will be your best route to success. The northern portion of the White River unit will provide better hunting opportunity but it’s mainly private land, so be sure to secure permission. The White River Wildlife Area (WRWA) is a very popular area to hunt with decent turkey numbers. Harvest in the unit has continued to increase but hunter success is low. Try hunting weekdays or evenings when it’s less crowded. Pre-season scouting can also be very helpful in locating the elusive spring gobbler. Identify where they roost, travel and feed and you will be more likely to bag one of these wary birds. Be careful and aware that other hunters could possibly be hunting the same turkey that you are after and take necessary safety precautions. A parking permit is required for all users of the wildlife area (permit comes with your hunting license but don’t forget to put it on your car dash). Turkey populations in the hood unit are small but not many people hunt them. If you can find them, there’s a good chance you can succeed at harvesting a bird. The West Biggs unit has small populations of turkeys in the Deschutes river canyon and in some other nearby drainages that are mostly private land.

Spring Bear: Bear densities are good, especially in forested areas of the unit. Despite healthy bear numbers, success rates have been fairly low in the spring season. Lower elevation areas of the unit are great for spot and stalk hunting. As you move higher into more densely forested areas, look for scat, turned over logs and rocks to key in on bears using the area. The edges of the major drainages, such as the White River, Badger and Tygh Creeks, should be good places to find bears in the eastern edge of the unit. Forested areas south of Mosier provide plenty of open areas in the western portion of the unit. Good optics and patience while glassing these areas should increase the opportunity to spot a bear. Make sure you have a permit through Weyerhauser to hunt on any of their lands in the Hood unit. Bear activity and harvest has historically increased later in the season.

Coyotes: Try calling for them from open fields, meadows, and pastures. The best areas to find them will be near farm grounds on the eastern boundary. Look for them in early morning or evening and pay close attention to wind direction.

Cougar: Cougars can be found in the same areas as deer and elk as they follow them through their migration routes.

Hunters are required to check-in the unfrozen hide and skull, with proof of sex attached to an ODFW office within 10 days. Hunters are also required to provide the reproductive tract of harvested female cougars. See pg. 42 of the regulations for details. Remember a 2017 cougar tag and hunting license is needed to hunt as of Jan. 1.

White River Wildlife Area

A parking permit is now required to use/park on the White River Wildlife Area along with other ODFW wildlife areas. Camping is allowed only in designated areas.

Black Bear
Black Bear
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Bear: Controlled spring bear season for the White River Unit continues until May 31. Look for sign of bear along closed roads in timbered areas and on open ridges where they have been digging wild onions, tubers, and grasses. Hunters will have the greatest success glassing in the early morning and just before dark. All bears must be checked in at an ODFW office within 10 days of being killed, please call ahead to schedule your appointment.

Turkey: Opening weekend harvest was up from last year, but hunter numbers are up as well. Turkey hunting on the Wildlife Area is a popular sport making it very important to be sure of your target. Be careful when using decoys and make sure that you are shooting in a safe direction.
Cougar: Cougar season is open Jan. 1- Dec. 31 or until Zone Mortality Quotas have been met. Calling with distress calls or cougar vocalizations can be effective. However, locating a fresh, naturally made kill has the best chance of success.

Coyotes: Populations are good throughout Wasco County. Pair bonds have formed and calls mimicking coyote vocalizations are most effective. Be aware that bobcats and cougars may respond to predator calls, and separate licensing and season limitations exist for these species.

Fishing: Baker pond, smock reservoir and the Cody Ponds fishing should be improving with warmer weather. Bass can be targeted at the Cody Ponds, and trout have been stocked in the Baker Pond and Smock reservoir.

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 Central Zone Wildlife Viewing

Golden Eagle
Golden Eagle
Photo by Nick Myatt, ODFW


Red-tailed, rough-legged and ferruginous hawks, northern harriers, American kestrels, prairie falcons and golden eagles can be found throughout Crook County and are usually associated more closely with open/agricultural areas. Bald eagles and osprey can be found associated with water bodies. Northern goshawks can be located throughout the Ochoco National Forest.

Prineville Reservoir Wildlife Area: The Prineville Reservoir Wildlife Area offers access to view a wide variety of wildlife, including deer, coyotes, otter, beaver, raptors, shorebirds and waterfowl. Maps of the wildlife area are available at the Prineville ODFW office, at Prineville Reservoir State Park office and the ODFW website. Note: The exterior gates are now open, after being closed all winter to protect wintering mule deer. Vehicles must remain on open roads, designated by a green dot, and cross-country motorized travel is prohibited.

Deschutes County

Weather conditions in the high desert are unpredictable at this time of year. Night time temperatures can dip below freezing and it’s not unusual to experience the occasional snow squall during the day. However, nice days and warmer conditions are also on the menu, and that encourages reptiles to venture out from their rocky winter residence. A good way to tell if it’s warm enough for reptile activity is to touch the rocks. If they feel warm, you can expect to see lizards around rock piles and snakes around ponds and wetlands, where you are also likely to see small packets of Pacific tree frog eggs attached to vegetation below the water line.

With snow absent from mid and lower level elevations, small mammal activity is abundant. Tree squirrels and chipmunks are common in forested habitats and forest edges that transition into open areas. One such area on the Deschutes National Forest is located at Lava Butte, a few miles south of Bend and west of Highway 97. Cottontail rabbits and black-tailed jackrabbit can be found in areas where sagebrush abounds. A good area to look for all of the mammals mentioned here is on BLM land either side of Highway 20, east of Bend where hiking trails can take you miles into a mixture of sagebrush and juniper/pine woodlands.

Wickiup and Crane Prairie Reservoirs are good areas to see bald eagles, common loon, horned grebe, and tree swallows. Both bald and golden eagles can be seen at Smith Rock State Park in north east Deschutes County, and yellow-bellied marmots (a favorite food item for golden eagles) will be active on warm sunny days. Other good birding locations include Camp Polk Meadows, located a few miles north east of Sisters on Camp Polk Road, where a wide variety of birds can be seen this time of year. Visitors to the meadows are likely to see American kestrel, great horned owl, multiple warbler species, kingfisher, Virginia rail, Wilson’s snipe, California quail, hairy and downy woodpeckers, pygmy nuthatches, mourning doves and western bluebirds to name just a few.

Other wildlife viewing areas to consider include Tumalo Reservoir (west of Highway 20 between Sister and Bend), Pelton Dam wildlife overlook and Lake Simstustus (Deschutes River northwest of Madras), and Hatfield Lakes (just north of the Bend airport), where you can expect to see Canada geese, American widgeon, green-winged teal, bufflehead, ring-necked ducks, northern shovelers, lesser scaup, common and Barrow’s goldeneye, multiple gull species, and various grebes including horned, eared, western, and Clark’s, along with deer, rabbits, and a variety of other mammals, reptiles and amphibians.

Bird watching is not just limited to wild places, as residents and visitors to Bend can watch an osprey pair nesting adjacent to the Parkway that runs through the city. Other opportunities to view a diversity of bird species (and other wildlife) without leaving Bend can be found along the trails that follow the Deschutes River. And Vaux’s swifts can be seen flying over the former Bend library at 507 NW Wall St., and disappearing into the chimney at dusk.

Whether you’re interested in song birds, waterfowl, or raptors and prefer remote birding locations, or those closer to urban areas, directions to a long list of great birding locations can be found at East Cascades Audubon Society web site 04/25/17


The Lower Deschutes River provides ample wildlife viewing opportunities. California bighorn sheep are frequently observed in the canyon and can provide fantastic viewing all times of the year. The best spot to view sheep is from the BLM access road just downstream and across the river from Sherars Falls (along Hwy 216). Focus your efforts near large cliff complexes for best viewing. Sheep can also be viewed from The Lower Deschutes Wildlife Area access trail on the east side of the river by hiking up from the mouth of the river. Sheep can be seen about as low as river mile 7 or 8.

Many different raptor species can be seen in the Deschutes River Canyon this time of year including Red-tailed Hawks, Northern Harriers, American Kestrels, Prairie Falcons, Peregrine Falcons, Golden Eagles, and Osprey.

Great wildlife and wildflower viewing opportunities also exist on the River Ranch tract of Lower Deschutes Wildlife area. Wildflowers are in full bloom on the area. Spring migrants will be showing up soon and oak canyon is a great place to view many unique species. Many bighorn sheep also use the area. The area can be accessed through BLM lands at the mouth of Oak, Ferry, or Ward canyons. You will need a boat to access the area, which provides a very remote experience, with usually very few other people around, if any. Please call The Dalles district office at 541 296 4628 with any questions about accessing the area. 5/2/2017

Spotted Mule Deer Fawn
Spotted Mule Deer Fawn
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

White River Wildlife Area

There are many different animals on White River Wildlife Area ranging from deer and elk to coyotes, bears, and the occasional cougar. Bucks are starting to grow back their antlers and can be seen with short velvet antlers this time of year. Does will soon be having their fawns. It is common practice for deer to leave their fawns behind while feeding or when disturbed by people so please leave young animals alone as the mothers will come back to feed their young. Remember, watch carefully for deer along the edge of roads. There are many deer mortalities every year from vehicle collisions.

It is also possible to see bald and golden eagles on the Wildlife Area. Other raptors such as red-tailed hawks and rough-legged hawks are common sights. American kestrels and northern harriers are also easily seen hunting their prey.

Lewis’s woodpeckers, pileated woodpeckers, flickers, western meadowlarks, Steller’s jays, scrub jays, gray jays, Townsend’s solitaire, horned larks, golden-crowed kinglets, and robins are all at home on the Wildlife Area. There have also been lots of magpies spotted flying around this year.

Look on ponds, lakes and streams to see a variety of ducks and geese, as well as western grebes, coots, and mergansers. 4/18/2017

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