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ODFW WEEKLY RECREATION REPORT
Fishing, Hunting, Wildlife Viewing
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Central Zone Map

Weekly Recreation Report: Central Zone

February 14, 2017

 Central Zone Fishing

Weekend fishing opportunities:

  • Reports of fair fishing for bull trout on the Metolius River and rainbows on the Fall River. Access is limited on both rivers due to snow.
  • 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 expect 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. Anglers should avoid ice fishing in the Mid-Columbia area, as the ice is not safe.

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.

ANTELOPE FLAT RESERVOIR: rainbow trout

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, but the ice is not safe for fishing.

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

Closed to fishing for the season.

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

Snow will continue to limit access along much of the river. Fishing and access will improve when temperatures warm.

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.

BENHAM FALLS UPSTREAM TO LITTLE LAVA LAKE:

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

Anglers report fair fishing but access is limited due to snow. Forest Service road 4060 is not plowed during the winter. 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: winter steelhead

Winter steelhead are beginning to pass over Bonneville, and should be showing in the Hood River in decent numbers. Extreme cold air, and water temperatures have delayed the run, and made fishing difficult. Predicted warming temperatures should improve success. Ice and snow will continue to 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 but access is limited due to snow. 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.

OCHOCO CREEK UPSTREAM TO OCHOCO DAM: rainbow trout

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.

ROCK CREEK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout

Ice and snow will limit access

SHEVLIN YOUTH FISHING POND: rainbow trout

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

OPEN: COUGAR

EVENTS: Youth turkey hunting clinic, April 1, White River Wildlife Area

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.

Cougar
Cougar
- Royalty Free Image-

PRINEVILLE/OCHOCO WILDLIFE DISTRICT

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.

THE DALLES DISTRICT

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.

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 Central Zone Wildlife Viewing

Northern Harrier
Northern Harrier
-Photo by Cathy Nowak-

CROOK COUNTY

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

There is still a lot of snow in Deschutes County. A recent warming trend has begun to melt the impressive amount received since Thanksgiving, but winter is far from over and more snow is likely. The Cascade Lakes Highway west of Mount Bachelor and highway 242 west of Sisters remain closed for the season. Neither highway is plowed and both will be closed until the snow has melted. Other mountain highways remain open, but most of the lakes are inaccessible by vehicle. If you’re planning a wildlife viewing trip to the high country, we recommend visiting ODOT’s Trip Check site for the most current conditions before heading out.

It’s still a bit early in the year, but if you scan the sky and see large birds with a “V” shaped wing pattern you may be looking at turkey vultures soaring above you. They typically start to arrive back to the county around the middle of February, but you’re chances of seeing them goes up as we approach March.

Winter is an excellent time to view raptors, such as Red-tailed Hawk, 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. Smith Rock State Park in Terrebonne is a great place to see both Bald and Golden Eagles. Nesting pairs of both species are easily seen gliding over the magnificent hills and slopes within the park. A flock of Pinion Jays has been regularly reported in the Camp Polk Meadow Preserve near Sisters, and recent birding reports from the Deschutes River in Bend include sightings of Canada Goose, Common Goldeneye, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Lesser Scaup, Ring-necked Duck, Hooded and common Merganser, Bufflehead, Canvasback, American Goldfinch, Northern Flicker, American Crow, Western Scrub-Jay, and Great Blue Heron to list but a few.

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)

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.

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 see black-tailed jackrabbit, cottontail rabbit, squirrel, and coyote tracks and it’s not uncommon to see coyotes cross open spaces in a variety of habitats. Don’t expect to see any reptiles yet this year, but if the weather warms towards the end of the month, it might be possible to see a western fence lizard on a rock soaking up the sun. 02/06/17

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

WASCO AND SHERMAN COUNTIES

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.

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. Wintering deer can easily be found throughout the wildlife area. Elk can 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.

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. 2/14/17

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