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Weekly Recreation Report: Central Zone

January 17, 2017

 Central Zone Fishing

Weekend fishing opportunities:

  • A few hatchery winter steelhead have been reported in the Hood River. Anglers should expect increasing numbers of steelhead as January progresses.
  • Reports of fair fishing for bull trout on the Metolius River.
  • Snow and ice will limit access to many fisheries in this zone. For hardy anglers who venture out, be prepared for cold winter conditions with good cold weather gear and respect for changing weather conditions.
Fishing at Ollala Reservoir
Ice Fishing Today Video.
Click image to play.
- Dave Genz Ice Safety Tips -

Ice-fishing safety

With several water bodies beginning to ice over, it’s a good time to be reminded that anglers should always use caution during first-ice conditions. Take the following precautions: use the “buddy system,” wear a PFD in case of thin ice, carry a throw-rope, and use a heavy metal staff to check for thin-ice. REMINDER: The state of Oregon does not allow human-made ice holes larger than 12-inches in diameter or length.

If your favorite fishing spot is no longer listed

It could be the area is closed, inaccessible due or currently offers limited fishing opportunities. These water bodies will return to the recreation report when conditions change. If you believe something is missing, contact us and we’ll find out why.

Send us your fishing report

We’d love to hear about your recent fishing experience. Send us your own fishing report through ODFW Fishing Reports -- the information will be forwarded to the local biologist who may use it to update various ODFW resources such as the weekly Recreation Report.


The reservoir is frozen over but the ice thickness is unknown. Please contact the U.S. Forest Service for road conditions at (541) 416-6500.

BEND PINE NURSERY: rainbow trout, bluegill, bass

Pine Nursery Pond is located in northeast Bend between Purcell, Deschutes Market and Yeoman Road. From Hwy 97, take Empire Blvd exit, head east on Empire Blvd 1.5 miles, turn left on Purcell 1900 feet, turn right on Rock Creek Park Drive at sign to Pine Nursery Community Park.

BIKINI POND: rainbow trout

The pond is frozen,

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

Closed to fishing for the season.

Lake Trout
Crescent Lake Mackinaw
-Photo by Amy Paine-

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

Open all year.

CROOKED RIVER BELOW BOWMAN DAM: redband trout, mountain whitefish

The water level will be maintained at winter levels since irrigation season is over. The river is mostly ice free, especially closer to the dam and in the faster flowing water. Fishing has been slow in the cold weather and trout numbers per mile are down significantly from recent years. 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.

DESCHUTES RIVER, MOUTH TO THE PELTON REGULATING DAM: summer steelhead, redband trout, whitefish

Anglers are reminded that the Deschutes River, from the northern border of the Warm Springs Reservation upstream to Pelton Dam, closed Dec. 31 to steelhead and trout fishing. Trout fishing will re-open on April 22.

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.


Closed to fishing for the season.

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

Forest Service road 4060 is not plowed during the winter. Anglers report fair fishing. Open to fishing all year. Restricted to fly-fishing only with barbless hooks.

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

The reservoir is currently frozen over but conditions can change quickly at this lower elevation reservoir.

HOOD RIVER: summer steelhead, winter steelhead

A few hatchery winter steelhead have been reported in the last week. Anglers should expect increasing numbers of steelhead as January progresses. Ice and snow will limit access.

HOSMER LAKE: brook, rainbow and cutthroat trout

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

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

Angling has been fair for bull trout. Opportunities should improve as adults return to the reservoir after spawning in the Metolius River tributaries. 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

Open year-round.

LAVA LAKE (BIG): rainbow trout

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

LAVA LAKE (SMALL): rainbow trout, brook trout

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

METOLIUS RIVER: redband trout, bull trout

Anglers report fair fishing for bull trout. Closed to fishing above Allingham Bridge. Fly fishing only upstream of Bridge 99.

NORTH TWIN LAKE: rainbow trout

Highway 42 not plowed west of junction with Highway 43. Open to fishing all year.


Angling 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 completely frozen over but the ice thickness is unknown. Anglers should be wary of cracks and weak spots. When the ice is safe, anglers usually do very well for large trout.

Odell Lake
Odell Lake
-Photo by Kathy Munsel_

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.

PINE HOLLOW RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, largemouth bass

Ice and snow will limit access.

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

The reservoir is mostly frozen over with spots of open water. The thickness of the ice is unknown.

PRINEVILLE YOUTH FISHING POND: rainbow trout and largemouth bass

For safety reasons, people are not allowed on the ice when the pond is frozen over.


Ice and snow will limit access


Open to fishing all year. Limit is two trout per day, 8-inch minimum length. Fishing restricted to juvenile anglers 17-years-old and younger.

SOUTH TWIN LAKE: rainbow trout

Highway 42 not plowed west of junction with Highway 43. 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.

SUTTLE LAKE: brown trout, kokanee

Open to fishing all year.

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

Lake is frozen over.

THREE CREEK LAKE: rainbow trout, brook trout

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

WALTON LAKE: rainbow trout

Fall sampling indicated good numbers of 12 to 14-inch long trout with some up to 18-inches available. Walton is open to fishing year-round, but access to the lake may be impeded by snow. The gate is closed this time of year so anglers will have to walk to the lake. Check with Ochoco National Forest at 541-416-6500 for information on road conditions.

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

Closed to fishing for the season.

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  Central Zone Hunting


Wolf coyote identificationWolves 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.


Waterfowl season is open. Popular spots include Prineville Reservoir, where water levels are low and partially frozen, and the BLM portions of the Lower Crooked River. Most Canada geese in the district are found on private land, where permission is required to hunt. Hunters are reminded that they need a federal waterfowl stamp in addition to the state waterfowl validation, and a 2017 hunting license.

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. Fresh snowfall can help with locating and tracking. 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. Remember a 2017 cougar tag and license is needed to hunt as of Jan. 1.

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.

Mourning Dove season closed on Oct. 30. However, hunters are reminded that Eurasian-collared doves are unprotected and can be taken year round.

Grouse Season includes both Blue and Ruffed Grouse w/ a daily bag limit of 3 of each species. Blue Grouse are typically found on semi-forested ridge lines, while ruffed grouse can be found along creek drainages.


Waterfowl: Season dates are Nov. 2- Jan. 29. Large rafts of ducks can be seen all throughout the Columbia in our district as waterfowl numbers are likely at the peak for the season. The Columbia River can be hunted below high water mark as long as you are outside of city limits. Mayer State Park and Taylor Lake are two popular areas to hunt waterfowl in our district.

Ruffed Grouse
Ruffed Grouse
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Upland birds: Early bird surveys indicated bird numbers appear to be higher than last bird hunting season. Forest Grouse and Mountain Quail hunters are encouraged to put a wing and tail feathers in one of several “grouse wing barrels” located throughout the White River and Hood Units. Most of our grouse wing barrels have been removed due to high elevation snow. Hunters looking for areas to hunt can explore the UCAP properties and public properties in the Deschutes and John Day river canyons. Pheasant closed Dec. 31.

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.


NEW: The Wildlife Area lands north of Forest Road 27 are closed to the public from December 1 through March 31, except by access permit issued by ODFW.

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.

Upland Bird: Forest Grouse and Mountain Quail are open now and run through Jan. 31. Forest grouse and mountain quail numbers are poor within the White River Wildlife Area but can be found in other parts of the White River Unit. Pay close attention to the 2016 game bird regulations for all bird hunting. Pheasant closed Dec. 31.

Waterfowl: Season is open until Jan. 29. Waterfowl hunting is scarce on the wildlife area but ducks and geese can be found on bodies of water on the wildlife area such as Baker pond, Smock Reservoir, and the Cody ponds.

Cougar is open all year 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. Remember a 2017 cougar tag and hunting license is needed to hunt as of Jan. 1.

Coyotes: Try calling for them from open fields, meadows, and pastures. Using distress calls can be quite productive throughout the winter. 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 attention to wind direction.

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 Central Zone Wildlife Viewing

Northern Harrier
Northern Harrier
-Photo by Cathy Nowak-


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 closed to protect wintering mule deer. Walk-in access is still permitted.

Deschutes County

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has closed the Cascade Lakes Highway west of Mount Bachelor and highway 242 west of Sisters for the season. Neither highway is ploughed and both will remain closed until the snow has melted. Other mountain highways will remain open, but more snow is on the way and conditions can change rapidly If you’re planning a wildlife viewing trip into the high country make sure you know the current weather conditions and it’s a good idea to look at the ODOT’s Trip Check site before heading out.

Recent birding reports from the Deschutes River in Bend include sightings of Canada Goose, Common Goldeneye, California Quail, Anna's Hummingbird, Hermit Thrush, Western Bluebird, Cedar Waxwing, Golden-crowned Sparrow, Lesser Goldfinch, American Goldfinch, Merlin, Pied-billed Grebe, Lesser Scaup, Hooded Merganser, and Great Blue Heron to list but a few. Winter is an excellent time to view raptors, such as Red-tailed Hawks, American kestrel, Northern Harrier, Rough-legged Hawk, Bald Eagles and Golden Eagles sitting on power poles and fence posts scanning open spaces for a potential meal.

Other birding destinations 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).

Most of our summer birds have left for warmer climes, however, year round resident birds, such as California quail, house finches, and pine siskins are still plentiful. Other species, such as robins and red-tailed hawks have migratory “shifts” meaning that individuals present during the spring and summer migrate south, while other individuals that summer north of Oregon move here to overwinter.

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. Birding locations

Mammals can be harder to find during the winter, but this is a good time to brush up on your snow tracking skills. At lower elevations you might run into a black-tailed jackrabbit in areas where sagebrush abounds and it’s not uncommon to see coyotes cross open spaces in a variety of habitats. Squirrels can be observed, when temperatures are mild, conducting their winter activities on national forest and BLM lands, but expect to see less activity at higher colder elevations. Reptiles are now sequestered in underground winter quarters that protect them from freezing conditions. And although amphibians can be active at colder temperatures, they will be much harder to find until next spring. We’ll know spring is back when the chirrups of tree frogs can be heard once again. 12/27/16


Bighorn sheep
California Bighorn Sheep Ram
- Photo by Nick Myatt, ODFW-

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 Sherar’s Falls (along Hwy 216). Focus your efforts near large cliff complexes for best viewing.

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.

Migrating American White Pelicans can be observed this time of the year along the Columbia River from the confluence of the Deschutes River upstream to The Dalles Dam.

A large variety of songbird species can be viewed in riparian areas along the river. Some common species seen include Bullock’s Oriole, Lazuli Bunting, Mourning Dove, Violet-green Swallow, and Cliff Swallow.

White River Wildlife Area

Lands north of Forest Rd 27 are closed to the public from Dec. 1-March 31 to protect wintering big game.

There is a variety wildlife viewing opportunities on White River Wildlife Area ranging from Deer and Elk to coyotes, bears, and the occasional cougar. Some of these animals are much harder to find than others. Wintering deer can easily be found throughout the wildlife area. Elk can sometimes be viewed from our wildlife viewing area near the Cody ponds. Please be quiet and courteous to the wildlife and other viewers.

Remember when driving around the Wildlife Area or rural roads, watch carefully for deer along the edges ready to jump out in front of you. There are many deer mortalities every year from vehicle collisions. Not only is it bad for the deer but can cause serious injuries or be fatal to the driver and passengers.

The best time to view elk is also in the morning and evenings. They are very wary animals and don’t like hanging around when people are nearby.

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 for food.

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. 1/10/16

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