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Weekly Recreation Report: Central Zone

September 20, 2016

 Central Zone Fishing

Kokanee Salmon
Kokanee salmon
-Photo by William J. Knox-

Weekend fishing opportunities

  • Anglers report fishing is fair for kokanee at Crescent Lake
  • Fall River will be stocked with rainbow trout this week

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.

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Anglers have been having fair success. The water is still dirty but recent sampling indicates many 12 inch trout are available in addition to the brood size fish that were recently stocked.

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

Warm temperatures will limit angler success, trout fishing will resume this fall. Great spot for kids!

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

Anglers report fair fishing for rainbow trout. All wild rainbow trout must be released. Closed to angling after Oct. 31.

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

Open all year.

CROOKED RIVER BELOW BOWMAN DAM: redband trout, mountain whitefish

Fishing has been fair. Anglers are finding more whitefish than trout.

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 all year.

DAVIS LAKE: largemouth bass, redband trout

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

Fly-fishing on the Deschutes
-Video by Bob Swingle, ODFW-

DESCHUTES RIVER, Mouth to the Pelton Regulating Dam: summer steelhead, fall Chinook, redband trout, whitefish

Summer steelhead are in the lower river from the mouth upstream to Sherars Falls. Steelhead fishing has been slower than normal this year, as fish counts are down at Columbia River Dam counting stations. Good numbers of larger than average (2-salt) fish are making up the bulk of the catch. Best fishing will be found in the early morning, and late evening, when water temperatures are the coolest.

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.

Fishing for fall Chinook is improving throughout the river downstream from Sherars Falls. A strong fall Chinook run is expected for the Deschutes, anglers targeting these fish will find good success.

Trout fishing remains good in the river mostly upstream from Sherars Falls. Fly anglers should focus on caddis hatches in the morning and evening.

Counts at the Sherars Falls salmon and steelhead trap. Check the trap catch to see when fish begin migrating upstream of Sherars Falls.

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 angling after Sept. 30. Fishing restricted to artificial flies and lures only. Wild rainbow trout must be released

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 Fisherman
Fall River Fisherman
-Photo by Rick Hargrave-

FALL RIVER: rainbow trout

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

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

Fishing has been good for warmwater fish.

HOOD RIVER: summer steelhead

Anglers are reminded that the Chinook season on the Hood River closed on June 30. Anglers may target steelhead but not Chinook. Anglers are catching a few summer steelhead, high glacial flow may limit success.

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

Fishing has been fair for kokanee, bass and bull trout. Anglers are reminded there are small numbers of spring Chinook 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. Has been recently stocked with rainbow trout.

LAURANCE LAKE: Rainbow trout, cutthroat trout

Fishing has been good for hatchery rainbow trout in the lake for both fly and spinner anglers.

LAVA LAKE (BIG): rainbow trout

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

LAVA LAVE (SMALL): rainbow trout, brook trout

Open to fishing all year.

LOST LAKE: rainbow trout, brown trout

Conditions should be excellent for angler success at Lost Lake.

METOLIUS RIVER: redband trout, bull trout

Anglers report fair fishing for trout. Fly fishing only upstream of Bridge 99. Closes to angling Oct. 31 above Allingham Bridge.

rainbow trout
Rainbow trout
-Photo by Aaron Watzig-

NORTH TWIN LAKE: rainbow trout

Lake was stocked last week with rainbow trout. Open to fishing all year. Anglers report good fishing for 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

Fishing has been fair for trout and excellent for bass.

ODELL LAKE: lake trout, kokanee, rainbow trout

Open to fishing all year. All tributaries to Odell Lake are closed to fishing.

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

Irrigation demand has reduced the reservoir level. Anglers should focus on fishing early morning, or late evening when temperatures cool.

Prinevill Reservoir
Prineville Reservoir
-Photo by ODFW-

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.

PRINEVILLE YOUTH FISHING POND: rainbow trout and largemouth bass

Fishing for trout has been good.


No recent reports. Water levels are likely getting low and water temperature warming.


Pond was stocked with rainbow trout last week. Open 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

Anglers report fair fishing for 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 will resume in the fall, as the lake has warmed for the summer. Anglers can find some excellent largemouth bass fishing in the lake during the summer.

THREE CREEK LAKE: rainbow trout, brook trout

Open to fishing all year.

rainbow trout
Rainbow Trout
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

WALTON LAKE: rainbow trout

Fishing for 14-16 inch holdover trout has been excellent. The lake was recently stocked with catchable sized trout and will be continually stocked throughout the summer.

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

Anglers report fair fishing for trout in the Deschutes arm of the reservoir. Stream regulations apply in the free-flowing portion which extends further downstream as the reservoir continues to drain. River portion of Wickiup Reservoir closes to fishing after Sept. 30. Consult the 2016 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations for additional information.

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  Central Zone Hunting

OPEN: COUGAR, BEAR, ARCHERY DEER AND ELK, BIRD (Forest Grouse, Mourning Dove and Mtn Quail in Hood Rvr and Wasco open see regs)

Band-tailed pigeon open Sept. 15-23 statewide.

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.


Bear season opened Aug. 1 in all 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 of harvest, please check the synopsis for required parts and make an appointment.

Archery Deer and Elk closes Sept. 25. Hunters should focus efforts on early mornings and evenings, and around water sources and cooler north slopes. Check with the Ochoco National Forest and Prineville BLM for latest fire restrictions. Reminder: The Ochoco and Maury units are controlled entry hunts, and hunters must possess the proper controlled archery tags.

- Royalty Free Image-

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.

Mourning Dove season opened Sept. 1. Hunters are reminded that Eurasian-collared doves are unprotected and can be taken year round.

Grouse Season opened September 1 and 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 is Aug. 1-Nov. 30. Bears can be found by glassing open areas. Look for areas with recent bear activity and berries or wild cherries to increase your chance of success. Remember that all harvested bears must be checked in to an ODFW office, unfrozen within 10 days of harvest. Placing a stick in the mouth of harvested bear is encouraged for easier tooth extraction.

Archery Deer and ELK: Archery season closes Sept. 25. Hunters should expect good deer and elk numbers similar to last season. The White River and Hood Units have the most public lands available, some Weyerhaeuser lands are available by permit only.

Upland birds: Early bird surveys indicate bird numbers appear to be higher than last bird hunting season. Dove, Forest Grouse, and Quail began Sept. 1. 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 unit. 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. Calling with fawn in distress can be effective this time of year. Cougars have large home ranges so remember to be patient and persistent.

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.


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.

Elk/Deer: Archery season for deer and elk goes through Sept. 25. Most bucks migrate to their summering areas in higher elevations but can be found throughout the unit. Elk can be found scattered throughout the wildlife area as well as higher elevations on Mt Hood National Forest.

Upland Bird: Forest Grouse and Mountain Quail opened Sept. 1 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.

Mourning Dove: Season opened Sept. 1 and goes through Oct. 30. The daily bag limit is 15. Mourning doves seem to be more spread out this year than in past years, but can be found in most areas near water and grain fields.

Black Bear season open Aug. 1-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.

Eurasian Collared-Dove

Eurasian Collared-Dove
- Photo by Greg Gillson-

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

Red-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
-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.

Deschutes County

At this time of year hot weather conditions in the high desert can make viewing wildlife challenging. Birds are more active in the early morning hours and many mammals will find a shady bush, hollow tree, burrow, or safe rocky area to escape the heat of the day. Even reptiles that require the sun to bring their bodies up to “working temperature” have to seek shade during the hottest hours as they are unable to sweat or pant to shed heat. That said, if you are out and about during the heat of the day, the best places to see wildlife are wetlands, lakes, and rivers with robust riparian and emergent vegetation. This is generally true at any time of the year, but especially so when the thermometer rises and wildlife change their activity patterns to avoid temperature extremes. Like us, many wildlife species look for a shady spot to gain refuge from the heat, and being flushed from their shelter to avoid contact with curious humans can cause unnecessary stress. To avoid this, it is best to provide wildlife space and enjoy them from a distance with the aid of binoculars or a spotting scope.

Excellent places to visit and increase your chance of seeing wildlife include any of the Cascade lakes and reservoirs, such as Wickiup, Davis, Elk, and Crane Prairie. Lower elevation sites include Smith Rock State Park at Terrebonne where peregrine falcons, bald eagles, and golden eagles can all be found. In addition, riparian habitat and wetlands along the Deschutes River offer premier birding opportunities and the promise of other wildlife viewing.

Ponds and lakes are great places to find treefrogs, western toads, and long-toed salamanders. Late summer is the time when most amphibian species metamorphose from tadpoles and larvae into mini frogs and salamanders. One good site to find newly changed tree frogs and western toads is Sparks Lake on the Cascade Lakes Highway, but be careful where you step as they can sometimes be found crossing nearby trails in the hundreds or thousands.

Western fence lizards and sagebrush lizards can be seen through most of the day, but as previously mentioned, they will seek shade during the hottest hours. They can be found in many areas of Deschutes County, but the best places to find them include sagebrush habitats with rocky outcrops. If you find yourself in open areas with volcanic soils or in pine woodlands, look for the diminutive short-horned lizards as they sit motionless near active ant mounts ready to enjoy a meal of their favorite six legged food.

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.

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 08/08/16


bighorn sheep
California Bighorn Sheep
-Photo by Bob Swingle, 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. Most raptor species are finishing up their nesting season and fledglings have taken their first flight. Young hatch year birds can now be seen learning to fly and hunt for themselves.

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. It is best to go birding in the early morning hours before it gets too hot for birds to be very active. Some common species seen include Bullock’s Oriole, Lazuli Bunting, Mourning Dove, Violet-green Swallow, and Cliff Swallow.

White River Wildlife Area

Bull elk
- Photo by Dean Dunson-

This time of year bull elk will be showing signs of rutting behavior by rounding up cows into harems. Listen for elk bugles and cow chirps early in the morning or late in the evening. The majority of White River Wildlife Areas deer are in their summering areas in higher elevations but can still be found throughout the wildlife area. Most deer fawns have lost their spots and have become more mobile following their mothers around. If traveling on or near the wildlife area, be alert for does and their fawns darting across the road. The wildlife area is home to many other game and nongame species. Look for wild turkeys foraging for acorns or the occasional bear or cougar as they move throughout the wildlife area.

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, northern harriers, and the occasional prairie falcon can also be 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, Western Bluebirds and robins are all at home on the Wildlife Area. There have also been lots of magpies spotted flying around this year. (8/30/2016)

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