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

Weekly Recreation Report: Northeast Zone

May 23, 2017

 Northeast Zone Fishing

Wallowa Lake
Wallowa Lake
- Photo by Martyne Reesman-

Weekend fishing opportunities:

  • Kokanee fishing at Wallowa Lake is heating up and some nice fish are being caught.
  • Kinney Lake in Wallowa County has been consistently producing trout.
  • Bass and crappie fishing has been picking up in McKay and Willow Creek reservoirs.
  • There will be a free fishing event for kids will be held at Marr Pond on June 3 from 9 am to 1 pm. No license is required to participate and prizes will be awarded. Hot dogs will also be provided for lunch.  Contact: Wallowa Hatchery (541) 426-4467.

Send us your fishing report

We’d love to hear about your recent fishing experience. Send us your 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.

ALDRICH PONDS (Roosevelt and Stewart Lakes): trout

Access is now open to Aldrich Ponds and fishing is good for carry-over trout.

BULL PRAIRIE RESERVOIR: rainbow and brook trout

Fishing should be good for carry-over trout. Trophy-size trout were stocked in September but no reports have been received. Access road is open and snow free.

GRANDE RONDE RIVER: trout, whitefish, bass, steelhead

Steelhead season is closed on the Grande Ronde River. The river is currently high and will be difficult to fish throughout the spring as runoff keeps the river high and off color. Look for bass fishing to pick up in July when flows drop. Trout fishing can also be good during the spring if flows allow.

HATROCK POND: trout

The pond has been stocked with both legal- and trophy-size trout and should provide good fishing.

HOLLIDAY PARK POND: rainbow trout

Holliday Park Pond was stocked last week fishing should be good. An ADA fishing dock for anglers with disabilities is available.

HUNTER POND: rainbow trout

The pond has been stocked with legal-size rainbow trout. To measure the catch rate of trout stocked at Hunter Pond, ODFW marked approximately 25 of these with an orange colored tag just under the dorsal fin. If you catch one of these tagged fish, please report the tag number to Tim Bailey, District Fish Biologist at 541-962-1829. Some of these tags will have a $50 reward available.

From I-84 take Hwy 244 towards Ukiah. At the Blue Mtn summit, turn left onto USFS Rd 5160. Proceed for approximately 3 miles to the Jct. of roads 5160 and 5155. Stay on 5160. Just past this Jct. on the right will be spur 710. Take this spur. The pond is just off 5160.

Fishing the Imnaha River

Randy Johnson plays a steelhead he hooked and landed on the Imnaha River
-Photo by Andy Martin-

IMNAHA RIVER: steelhead, trout, bass

Steelhead season is closed on the Imnaha River. The river is currently high and will be difficult to fish throughout the spring as runoff keeps the river high and off color. Look for bass fishing to pick up in July when flows drop. Trout fishing can also be good during the spring if flows allow.

Managers will be monitoring the spring Chinook run as they make their way up the Columbia and Snake rivers. As the run progresses the biologists will assess spring chinook opportunities on the Imnaha River.

JOHN DAY RIVER: bass, steelhead

Small mouth bass fishing has been fair but river flows have been high. Steelhead fishing is now closed in the upper river above Kimberly.
Check river levels.

LONG CREEK POND, CAVENDER POND: trout

Cavender Pond was stocked with trophy-size trout last September.

LUGER POND: rainbow trout

The pond has been stocked with legal-size rainbow trout. To measure the catch rate of trout stocked at Luger Pond, ODFW marked approximately 50 of these with an orange colored tag just under the dorsal fin. If you catch one of these tagged fish, please report the tag number to Tim Bailey, District Fish Biologist at 541-962-1829. Some of these tags will have a $50 reward available.

Take the Palmer Junction Road north out of Elgin about 10 miles to USFS 63. Follow USFS 63 for about 9 miles, then left on USFS 6306. Luger Pond is 2.5 miles on the right, near Luger Springs campground.

MAGONE LAKE: rainbow and brook trout

The forest access road to the lake is likely not accessible by vehicles due to snow. No reports have been received on lake conditions.

McKAY RESERVOIR: warmwater/trout

Trout fishing has been fair, and is usually best before the water gets too warm. Fishing for crappie and bass is picking up as the water is clearing and staring to warm. The reservoir is at full pool.

2017 Family Fishing at McNary Ponds
2017 Family Fishing at McNary Ponds, Hermiston
-Photo by Kathy Munsel-

McNARY PONDS: trout

There will be a free youth fishing event at McNary Ponds on May 20 from 10 a.m. to noon.

The ponds have been stocked with both legal- and trophy-size trout and should provide good fishing.

MORGAN LAKE: rainbow trout

Opens to fishing April 22. Trophy-size rainbow trout will be stocked for the opener.

PEACH POND (Ladd Marsh): rainbow trout

The pond has been stocked with pounder and legal-size rainbow trout.

ROULET POND: rainbow trout

The pond has been stocked with pounder and legal-size rainbow trout.

ROWE CREEK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout

Remains open all year. Trout fishing is fair on carry over trout

TATONE POND: trout

The pond has been stocked with legal- and trophy-size trout and should provide good fishing.

UMAPINE POND: rainbow trout

The pond has been stocked with legal-size rainbow trout.

From I-84 take Hwy 244 towards Ukiah. At the Blue Mtns. summit, turn left onto USFS Rd 5160. Proceed for approximately 7.9 miles to the Umapine OHV Campground. The pond is within the Campground.

UMATILLA RIVER: spring chinook

Spring Chinook fishing was good last week with anglers averaging 7.8 hours per spring chinook caught. All of the reported catch has been between Threemile Dam and the HWY 395 bridge. River flow and clarity was good last week.

Anglers can access fish counts at Threemile Dam fish counts. Find flow data.

WALLOWA COUNTY PONDS: rainbow trout

All ponds except Salt Creek Summit and McGraw ponds (Snow) have been stocked.  Fishing has been good and should continue into summer. Kinney Lake has consistently produced fish throughout the spring and fishing should continue to be good into the summer

A free fishing event for kids will be held at Marr Pond on June 3 from 9 am to 1 pm. No license is required to participate and prizes will be awarded. Hot dogs will also be provided for lunch.  Contact: Wallowa Hatchery (541) 426-4467.

WALLOWA LAKE: rainbow trout, kokanee, lake trout

Kokanee fishing has picked up at Wallowa Lake with anglers catching some larger fish ranging up to 17-inches. As warmer conditions approach, catch rates will improve and anglers can expect good fishing into the early summer.

Some holdover trout are also available that have grown to good sizes. These fish take a little more time to find but can be worth the effort.

WALLOWA RIVER: steelhead, mountain whitefish

Steelhead season is closed on the Wallowa River. However, trout fishing is open due to rule changes two years ago. Anglers have found good success for rainbow trout ranging to 19-inches. Whitefish are also plentiful and on the bite. At these higher flows fish tend to be holding close to the banks in water where they can conserve energy.

Spring is a great time to fish the Wallowa River with good hatches of caddis, salmonfly, and golden stoneflies into early summer. Recently, fly anglers have found success on hare’s ears and woolly buggers fished under an indicator.

Floy Tag
Report tagged fish.
-Photo by ODFW- .

WILLOW CREEK RESERVOIR: trout

The reservoir has been stocked with trophy trout. To monitor the success of this stocking, fish have been tagged with floy tags, some of which carry a $50 dollar reward.

Crappie and bass fish is picking up as the water temperature warms.

Please report a caught tagged fish to the ODFW Pendleton office 541-276-2344.

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  Northeast Zone Hunting

OPEN: COUGAR, COYOTE, SPRING BEAR (see regs), SPRING TURKEY

Bear and turkey hunting close May 31.

Wolf OR42
OR42, the breeding female of the Chesnimnus Pack
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Wolves in Northeast Oregon

Wolves are protected by state law and it is unlawful to shoot them. Coyote hunters in northeastern Oregon 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 La Grande office (541) 963-2138 or online with the Wolf Reporting Form.

Use the Oregon Hunting Map to see where to hunt.

BAKER COUNTY

Cougars can be found throughout Baker County but hunters should target areas with high concentrations of deer and elk. Setting up on a fresh kill or using distress calls can all be productive techniques. Hunters are required to check in the hide of any cougar taken, with skull and proof of sex attached. Remember a 2017 cougar tag and hunting license is needed to hunt as of Jan. 1.

Coyote numbers are good throughout the district. Try calling in early morning and late afternoon. Remember to ask for permission before hunting on private properties.

GRANT COUNTY

Ground Squirrels are starting to emerge. There are some good hunting opportunities on private land along the John Day Valley, Fox Valley, and Bear Valley. Most hunting areas on private land so remember to get permission before you hunt.

Turkeys can be found throughout the county and will move to higher elevations as the snow melts. Most birds are a mid to lower elevation near the forest boundary. Toms are starting to strut and will respond well to hen calls.

Cougar hunting remains open. Successful hunters should remember that check-in of the hide with skull and proof of sex attached is mandatory; see the regulations for details. Remember a 2017 cougar tag and hunting license is needed to hunt as of Jan. 1.

Coyote numbers are good in most of the district. Coyotes may respond to distress calls. Try calling in the early morning and late evening.

MORROW, GILLIAM AND WHEELER COUNTIES

Cougar hunting is open. Cougar are well distributed in our forested areas. 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.

The Coyote population is healthy with good numbers of coyotes available for those who wish to pursue them. Watch wind direction to help prevent giving away your location. Calling with game distress calls can be very successful.

UMATILLA COUNTY

Cougar are well distributed in forested areas of the Walla Walla, Mt. Emily, and Ukiah units. Hunters will have best success by finding a fresh naturally made kill and sitting on it, or by using predator calls. Some success has come from following tracks until the cougar is located. Remember a 2017 cougar tag and hunting license is needed to hunt as of Jan. 1.

Coyote are numerous throughout the County and hunters should have good success calling. Remember to ask permission before hunting on private lands.

Black Bear
Black Bear
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

UNION COUNTY

Spring Bear - The late fall green-up and warm spring days, although few, have been producing plenty of bear forage. Look for sign of bear along closed roads in timbered areas and on open ridges where they have been digging wild onions. Hunters will have the greatest success glassing in the early morning and just before dark.

Turkey numbers should be stable throughout the county due to the high quantity of birds hatched in 2016. Some winter loss has been observed, but will likely not affect where birds are found. Hunters should spend time walking closed roads looking for sign and listening from ridge tops to locate gobbling toms. Remember to ask for permission before hunting on private properties.

Cougars are common in Union County. Focus on game rich areas with long ridgelines or saddles that cats typically travel. Setting up downwind of a deer or elk killed by a cougar can be productive. Nonresident hunters can include a cougar tag with others tags for only $14.50. All cougars taken must be checked in within 10 days of harvest; call for an appointment before check in. Remember a 2017 cougar tag and hunting license is needed to hunt as of Jan. 1.

Coyote numbers are high throughout the district. Try calling in early morning and late afternoon. Remember to ask for permission before hunting on private properties.

Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area

Hunting on all lands North and East of Foothill Rd are closed. The Glass Hill portion of the wildlife area is open to hunting.

Big Game: Glass hill does occasionally have bears and cougars. They are at low densities and seem to pass though. Most of their activities in the spring will be on the upper half of the hill. Hunters can try slow stalking the roads or using predator calls to be successful.

Turkeys: Turkeys can also be found on Glass hill. These birds spend their time in the transition between the open fields and the dense forest feeding and traveling amongst the brush. The birds are sensitive to pressure so hunters might be successful trying slow, soft calling. Also prime times will be the first part of season and the last based on hunter pressure.

WALLOWA COUNTY

BLACK BEAR: Spring bear season continues thru May 31, and a good density of black bears exists throughout the district. Most of our snow is gone from low and middle elevation areas of the district and bears are already moving onto rigdes and upper elevation areas in search of ground squirrels, and roots, and tubers. In spring, black bears are fair weather fellows and really only venture out on warm, sunny days. The best strategy for finding them this time of year is to sit on a spot with a good view of open canyon sides and use binoculars or a spotting scope to locate them. The animals feed off and on during all daylight hours and patience is the order of the day when spotting spring bears.

TURKEY: Spring turkey season continues thru May 31. Turkey numbers are expected to be low this year because many of them had a hard time finding food over winter with the heavy snows which we had. Most of our snow is gone from low and middle elevation areas of the district, turkeys are now in their nesting areas. The best strategy for finding them this time of year is to travel the forest roads or hike into areas where turkeys might be and call for them or just listen for their calls early in the morning.

Cougar: Populations are moderate throughout Wallowa County. Most lions are taken incidental to other hunting; however, calling with fawn bleat, or locating a cougar kill and waiting for a cat to return are often successful techniques.

Coyote: Good numbers of coyotes can be found throughout Wallowa County. Calling coyotes with rabbit distress type calls has been effective for hunters. It is important to choose areas with abundant coyote sign and little human activity.

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 Northeast Zone Wildlife Viewing

Baker County

Bighorn sheep can be seen in the Burnt River Canyon west of Durkee or along the Snake River Road south of Richland. The best viewing is in the early morning and late in the evening.

Bald and golden eagles can be seen along the Snake River. Take the Snake River Road between Richland and Huntington.

Early in the morning and late in the afternoon are good times to view wildlife.

Fern Ridge Wildlife Area
Elkhorn Wildlife Area
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Elkhorn Wildlife Area

Elkhorn Wildlife Area is known for the Rocky Mountain elk and mule deer herds that frequent the area during the winter. There are two good viewing sites. The Anthony Creek site is located about eight miles west of I-84 on North Powder River Lane. From I-84 take the North Powder Exit (Exit 285). About 150 elk can be seen here on any given day. From the overlook on Auburn Road, watch hundreds of elk and mule deer. It is on the south side of Old Auburn Road, which branches off Highway 7 about six miles south of Baker City.

Grant County

Bighorn sheep may be viewed from the South Fork near the Murderers Creek road. Early mornings are your best chances for catching them out on the rocky outcrops.

Song Birds are starting to return to the John Day Valley. There are good birding opportunities along Hwy 26 and the South Fork John Day.

Sandhill Cranes are migrating through the county and can be found stopping to rest in Fox and Bear Valleys.

UNION COUNTY

Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area

Mark your calendar: Ladd Marsh Bird Festival begins May 19 with Mark Obmascik, author of Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature and Fowl Obsession, as featured speaker.
 
Note: All visitors must have in their possession a free daily permit to access the wildlife area. Permits are available at several self-check-in stations at entry points and parking lots. Wildlife viewers and anglers also need a parking permit to park on the wildlife area. The $10 daily or $30 annual permit can be purchased online or at an ODFW office that sells licenses or at a license sales agent. Learn more about ODFW’s Wildlife Area Parking Permit Program.

The Tule Lake Unit and Glass Hill are open to the public. Vehicles are not permitted except on the Tule Lake Auto Route. Visitors are advised to carefully read posted signs and consult the wildlife area administrative rules. Rules that apply to all areas are at the top (at the link), and then scroll down to page 8, #635-008-120, for additional rules specific to Ladd Marsh. Dogs are not permitted within the Wildlife Area, including the Glass Hill Unit, on or off leash except during authorized game bird hunting seasons.

There are numerous quality viewing opportunities from county roads that pass through the area. Binoculars or a spotting scope will help as many animals are best viewed from a distance.

Great horned owls have hatched. Watch for the fuzzy young in the nest. These owls often nest very low in trees – do not approach closely as you may cause the adults to abandon the nest. Red-tailed hawks are nesting and Swainson’s hawks have returned to the area. Swainson’s are already busy nest-building. Northern Harriers can be seen displaying as they, too, get ready to lay eggs.

The first Canada geese should hatch very soon so broods of yellow goslings will be visible in ponds and wetlands. Mallards and other ducks are also beginning to nest.

Most of the local sandhill crane pairs are on nests with hatching expected in early May. The first American Bitterns of the season have also arrived.

As always, do not approach wildlife that is nesting or with young. Disturbance may cause them to be more vulnerable to predators.

UMATILLA COUNTY

Columbia Basin Wildlife Areas

Willow Creek and Coyote Springs Wildlife Areas are both found next to interstate 84 and the Columbia River and have excellent viewing for wetland and riparian obligate bird species. The upland areas are also available for savanna and shrub steppe species of birds. Willow Creek has an ample deer herd and the evidence of beaver activity can be seen on the Willow Creek delta area of the wildlife area.

Western Painted Turtle
Western Painted Turtle
-U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service-

The Irrigon Wildlife Area holds riparian and wetland habitat and hosts a number of species of birds associated with each habitat. One can see a number of waterfowl and wading bird species in the pothole pond areas. Painted turtles are also common in the pond areas. White pelicans can be commonly found along the Columbia River as well. Geese and ducks are beginning to build along the Columbia River and will be commonly trading back and forth along the river.

Umatilla County Uplands

Upland and forested riparian areas will have a number of wintering birds using those areas.

ELK will be more common in the early morning and late afternoon in mid and elevation areas. Roads moving upslope from the valley floor to the mountain areas would be best to see these animals.

WHITE-TAILED DEER are common along the foothills of the Blue Mountains and can be seen either early morning or evening in those areas. Mule deer are found in better numbers in the desert and mountain areas.

Common raptors in the open areas of the county are red-tailed hawks, rough-legged hawks, prairie falcons, and golden eagles. Look for bald eagles perched in the larger trees along Wallowa Lake shore or along the Grande Ronde River in the Troy area.

A good place to observe mule deer is along the Wallowa Lake highway between Joseph and the south end of Wallowa Lake. Drive slowly and watch along the moraine on the east side of the lake around dawn and dusk. Be careful to use the turnouts when stopping to watch these animals, as there will be other traffic on the road. White-tailed deer can be found throughout the Wallowa Valley on or near agricultural lands.

Many elk are back on the Zumwalt Prairie now. Try driving the Zumwalt Prairie Road and looking carefully on ridge tops. Elk can also be observed regularly along the Powwatka Ridge Road between 18 and 27 miles north of the town of Wallowa. These areas are county roads that run through private property, so please respect the landowner’s privacy and remain on the county road and park out of the traffic lanes while watching the elk. Once you find a herd, use binoculars or a spotting scope to observe the animals.

Canada geese and several species of ducks can be seen feeding in agricultural fields and along streams around the county. Most of our summer resident birds are now in the area. 4/15/17

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