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Weekly Recreation Report: Central Zone

November 29, 2016

 Central Zone Fishing

Elk Lake
Elk Lake
-Photo by Jessica Sall-

Weekend fishing opportunities:

  • Deschutes County and the US Forest Service will be losing both the road to Newberry Crater and the Cascade Lakes Highway this Thursday, Nov. 17. This will close access to East and Paulina lakes and lakes at the north end of the Cascade Highway. Anglers will continue to have access to Elk, Lava, Hosmer and a few other lakes from the south.
  • The Bend Pine Nursery Pond was stocked with trophy-size trout last week and some of these fish should still be available.
  • Trout fishing on the lower Deschutes River has been excellent, and expect the Crooked River to heat up once whitefish start spawning and trout start keying in.

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.

Cascade Lakes Highway and access road to East and Paulina Lakes are currently open but will most likely close after the next significant snowfall. Deschutes County will issue a statement prior to an anticipated road closing.

Visit Deschutes County’s website for current information.


Fall sampling indicated good numbers of 12 to 14 inch fish. Water level is higher than normal for this time of year.

BEND PINE NURSERY: rainbow trout, bluegill, bass

Pond was stocked with trophy-size rainbow trout last week. 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 has received its fall stocking, and should offer good fishing opportunity.

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. Winter can be a great time to fish the Crooked. The whitefish should start spawning soon, which can trigger some epic trout fishing as trout key in on whitefish eggs. 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. Please report any tagged fish to the Prineville Office (541) 447-5111.

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

Steelhead are now distributed throughout the entire lower 100 miles of the river.
While overall run size is down this year, anglers are still able to find success. Recent warm weather has improved success in the area from Maupin upstream to Warm Springs.

Trout fishing has been excellent with the recent warm weather. Anglers will want to focus their efforts during the warmer parts of the day.

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

Open to fishing all year.

EAST LAKE: rainbow trout, brown trout, kokanee

Open to fishing all year. Wild rainbow trout must be released.

ELK LAKE: brook trout, kokanee, cutthroat trout

Open to fishing all year.

FALL RIVER: rainbow trout

Open to fishing all year. Restricted to fly-fishing only with barbless hooks.

Rainbow Trout

Andrea with a nice rainbow trout she caught
-Photo by Douglas E Osbon-

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

Water levels may be fluctuating this time of year so check the levels before you head out. Trout are averaging 12 to 14 inches long. Some nice sized bullhead were caught on the south shore. Good numbers of bass and crappie were found along the rocky shoreline to the north but most were smaller individuals.

HOOD RIVER: summer steelhead, winter steelhead

Early winter steelhead have been reported at Bonneville Dam, and soon should be entering the Hood River. A few stray hatchery summer steelhead will also still be available in the river. Anglers are reminded that the river is currently closed for Chinook angling.

HOSMER LAKE: brook, rainbow and cutthroat trout

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

Open to fishing all year.

LAVA LAVE (SMALL): rainbow trout, brook trout

Open to fishing all year.

METOLIUS RIVER: redband trout, bull trout

Closed to fishing above Allingham Bridge. Fly fishing only upstream of Bridge 99.

NORTH TWIN LAKE: rainbow trout

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. Fishing season on Ochoco Creek closes Nov 1.

OCHOCO RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, black crappie, smallmouth bass

Fall sampling showed good numbers of healthy rainbow trout measuring up to 18-inches long. Good numbers of bass and crappie were found along the rocky shoreline near the dam but most were smaller, around 8-inches long. The water level at the ramp is low but irrigation season is over so the reservoir should slowly start to fill with fall precipitation.

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

Open to fishing all year. Wild rainbow trout must be released.

PINE HOLLOW RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, largemouth bass

Water levels in the reservoir should be improving with recent rains. The reservoir was recently stocked with rainbow trout and anglers should find good fishing.

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

Trout fishing has been fair near the dam. Fishing for warmwater fish has been good, especially for smallmouth bass. The water level is low at the State Park ramp but the irrigation season is over so the reservoir should start to fill with fall precipitation.

PRINEVILLE YOUTH FISHING POND: rainbow trout and largemouth bass

Fishing for trout should be good as the pond was recently stocked.


No recent reports.


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

Open to fishing all year.

SPARKS LAKE: cutthroat trout

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

Trout fishing should be improving on recently stocked rainbow, as water conditions should be excellent for fishing.

rainbow trout
Jay's biggest rainbow on a fly!
-Photo by -Sarah Hanson-

THREE CREEK LAKE: rainbow trout, brook trout

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 angling year round, but access to the boat ramp may be closed by gate. Check with Ochoco National Forest at 541-447-6500.

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

Closed to fishing for the season.

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  Central Zone Hunting


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.


Canada Goose
Canada Goose
- Photo by Dave Budeau -

Waterfowl season is open. Popular spots include Prineville Reservoir, where water levels are low, 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.

Bear season closes Nov. 30 in all eastern Oregon units. Bear are present throughout the district, but at higher densities on forest lands at higher elevations on the Ochoco National Forest. The better locations to scout would be on the more densely forested north slopes of the Lookout Mountain and Paulina Ranger Districts in the Ochoco Unit. Remember, check in of harvested bears is mandatory within 10 days. Call first to make an appointment.

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 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.

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 baq 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.


Black Bear: Bear season ends Nov. 30. 

Waterfowl: Season dates are Nov. 2- Jan. 29. Birds are starting to arrive from up north as we are starting to observe large “rafts” of ducks along the Columbia. 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.

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.

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.


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.

Ruffed Grouse
Ruffed Grouse
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

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.

Waterfowl: Goose, Duck, Coot and Merganser – Season is now open, and will remain 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.

Black Bear season open until Nov. 30. Black Bears can be found on the wildlife area in the oaks looking for dropped acorns, but the best chances of finding bears will be at higher elevations above the wildlife area. Focus hunts near natural food sources such as berries, nuts and insects, as well as near water. Please refer to page 28 of the Big Game Hunting Regulations for certain area and weapon restrictions.

Eurasian Collared Doves are UNPROTECTED with no season or bag limit restrictions. Hunters only need a hunting license to harvest these birds. Often found in urban areas, make sure you are outside city limits when discharging a weapon.

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.

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

Golden Eagle
Golden Eagle
Photo by Kathy Munsel, 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 interior gates will close Nov. 15 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 Sisters area include sightings of Canada Goose, Common Goldeneye, California Quail, Bald Eagle, Mourning Dove, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, White-headed Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Steller's Jay, Black-billed Magpie, White-breasted and Pygmy Nuthatch, Varied Thrush, and American Goldfinch to list but a few. Waterfowl are found at many locations and can be readily seen by Visitors to Bend along the Deschutes River in the Old Mill District. Common species include; Wood Duck, Mallard, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Common Merganser, and Horned Grebe. 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.  11/29/16

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

Get your cameras ready! White River Wildlife Area is an excellent place to capture mature black-tail bucks engaged in rutting activity. Deer have been rutting for several weeks now and not much time remains before they begin dropping their antlers. Lots of opportunities exist for photographers. Snow covered landscapes, waterfalls, and all kinds of wildlife are abundant on the Area. 

It’s possible to see bald and golden eagles on the Wildlife Areas well as other raptors such as red-tailed hawks, American kestrels, northern harriers, and the occasional prairie falcon. Look for migratory birds like the rough legged hawk that are now migrating through.

Lewis’s woodpeckers, pileated woodpeckers, flickers, western meadowlarks, Steller’s jays, scrub jays, gray jays, Townsend’s solitaire, horned larks, golden-crowed kinglets, Western Bluebirds and robins are all at home on the Wildlife Area. (11/28/2016)

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