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Weekly Recreation Report: Northeast Zone

October 25, 2016

 Northeast Zone Fishing

Snake River
The Snake River from Idaho along Hells Canyon Reservoir.
-Photo by Gary Halvorson, Oregon State Archives-

Weekend fishing opportunities:

  • Chinook salmon fishing is open on the Snake River with a bag limit of six hatchery fish.
  • Steelhead is open on the Grande Ronde, Imnaha, and Wallowa rivers.

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 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

Aldrich Ponds are located on the Phillips W. Schneider Wildlife Management Area, located east of Dayville, OR. A WMA parking permit is required. The ponds are hike in access only (1.3-1.7 mile hike). Bag limit: 2 trout per day; see pg. 53 in the regulations book.

BULL PRAIRIE RESERVOIR: rainbow and brook trout

Bull Prairie Reservoir was stocked with trophy sized trout the last week of September, fishing is good. A campground and a boat launch are available. Bait, lures and flies are all producing.

GRANDE RONDE RIVER: trout, whitefish, bass, steelhead

Steelhead season is in full swing on the Grande Ronde however fishing has been relatively slow. Look for more fish to show up as the season progresses. Similar to other Columbia basin runs, the Grande Ronde stock is tracking below expectations this year. On the upside, a large majority of the returning fish are two-salt meaning larger average size. Harvest is limited to three hatchery steelhead per day and must be recorded on the combined Angling Tag. A Columbia River Basin Endorsement is also required.

rainbow trout
Katherine's first Trophy Trout in Grandpa's boat.
-Photo by Nathan Jones-

HOLLIDAY PARK POND: rainbow trout

Holliday Park Pond was stocked with trophy sized trout the last week of September, fishing is good. An ADA fishing dock for anglers with disabilities is available.

HUNTER POND: hatchery rainbow trout

Hunter Pond was stocked with 150 one pound rainbow trout the last week of September. Fishing should be good.

From I-84 take Hwy. 244 towards Ukiah. At the Blue Mountains 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.

IMNAHA RIVER: trout, bass

Anglers are finding steelhead in the lower sections and some PIT-tagged fish have been detected in the river. Similar to other Columbia basin runs, the Grande Ronde stock is tracking below expectations this year. On the upside, a large majority of the returning fish are two-salt, meaning they are larger average size. Harvest is limited to three hatchery steelhead per day and must be recorded on the Combined Angling Tag. A Columbia River Basin Endorsement is also required.

JOHN DAY RIVER: wild steelhead, smallmouth bass

The flows are coming up and temperatures are cooling. River flow level is now at 358 at Service Creek and rising allowing boat access to the lower river (John Day River flows). Steelhead have arrived and fishing is good up to Cottonwood State Park. Most of the steelhead are wild and must be released without removal from the water. Fish are being caught on flies, jigs, lures and bait. All anglers are encouraged to keep up to three hatchery fish per day on the John Day River.

Smallmouth bass fishing is fair but cold water temperatures will slow the fishing the remainder of the year.


The camp ground and boat ramp access road are closed for the season, anglers may walk in from this location or the trail head which is located approximately ¼ mile past the main entrance. Anglers will likely have the lake to themselves this time of the year and angling for rainbow trout should be good as water temperatures have cooled putting the trout back on the feed in shallower water. Lures, flies and bait and bait should all be productive.


Cavender Pond was stocked with trophy sized trout the last week of September, fishing is good.

LUGER POND: hatchery rainbow trout

Luger Pond was stocked with 150 one pound rainbow trout the last week of September.

MAGONE LAKE: rainbow and brook trout

The lake was stocked the second week of June with legal and trophy sized trout and fishing is good.

McHALEY POND: rainbow trout

The pond has been stocked with legal-sized trout and fishing is good.

McKAY RESERVOIR: Warmwater species

Closed for the winter; area reopens March 1, 2017

MORGAN LAKE: rainbow trout

Open to fishing.

Olive Lake
Olive Lake
-Photo by Rick Swart, ODFW-

OLIVE LAKE: rainbow trout, brook trout, and kokanee

Umatilla Forest Service has closed portions of Olive Lake due to a mechanical failure in the water release gate on Olive Lake Dam. The area closed to public entry is approximately one-half acre and will be signed, fenced and defined by a string of buoys extending from the dam into the water.

The campground and hiking trail around the lake remain open as well as all other water activities outside the restricted area, however the drop in the lake may impact access to the boat ramp and docks. The gate will remain open until the lake drops to a level where it is safe to repair, approximately 27 feet. ODFW will continue to monitor the situation.

PEACH POND (Ladd Marsh): rainbow trout

The pond was stocked with pounder and legal-sized rainbow trout mid-October.

PENDLAND LAKE: rainbow trout

Fall is one of the best times to fish Pendland Lake, a small boat or float tube is essential to getting anglers away from the shoreline weed growth. All angling methods will work but fly fishing is the best method to target rainbow trout in the fall months.

ROULET POND: rainbow trout

The pond was stocked with pounder and legal-sized rainbow trout mid-October.


Remains open all year. Fishing is fair for carryover and stocked trout.

TAYLOR GREEN POND: hatchery rainbow trout

Taylor Green Pond was stocked with 150 one pound rainbow trout the last week of September. Fishing is good. From Hwy. 203 at Union, turn left staying on Hwy. 203 towards Medical Springs. At the summit between Union and Medical Springs, turn left onto USFS Road 7700 (opposite snowpark area). Proceed East on 7700 road for about 9 miles to USFS Road 7740 on the right. Proceed on the 7740 road for about 1/4 mile. The rock pit pond are on the right.


The forest ponds provide a good opportunity for a combination trip for hunters, the forest ponds are good camping locations and can provide a break from hunting. All ponds should provide good fishing for rainbow trout.

UMATILLA RIVER: salmon, steelhead

The lower Umatilla River North of HWY 730 is included in the emergency closure for salmon and steelhead angling on the Columbia River, closure started Oct. 22 through Dec 31.

Good numbers of fall Chinook and coho are entering the lower Umatilla. Anglers are having success using spinners and small diving plugs. Steelhead returns have slow to date. Anglers should consult the regulations for specific regulations.

Anglers can access fish counts at Threemile Dam fish counts. Flow data


ODFW is currently assessing the management of these ponds and wants to know what is important to the people who fish these ponds. Future plans may involve changes in the number of trout stocked, fish species available, or facility improvements. A survey is available at the ponds and on the ODFW website.

New to Kinney Lake this year, non-motorized watercraft are now allowed. Kinney Lake is currently very low and may be difficult to fish however the reservoir is slowly filling.

Salt Creek Summit still has fish available and were actively rising during a recent visit by the local biologist.

Kokanee Salmon
Ron Campbell landed a 9 lbs. 10.7 oz. kokanee from Wallowa Lake
-Photo by Ron Campbell-

WALLOWA LAKE: rainbow trout, kokanee, lake trout

Wallowa Lake has fished very well for trout this summer. As the fall progresses the remaining stocked fish will begin switching to more natural food. Try natural baits and natural imitations to attract these fish. Bait should be either hung under a float or set just off bottom. Kokanee anglers have been reporting catching daily limits of 25 fish. Kokanee size appears to be improving with reports of fish in the 8-9 inch range and some fish as large as 12 inches.

WALLOWA RIVER: steelhead, mountain whitefish

Trout fishing should continue to be good through the fall in the Wallowa River. The October caddis hatch is still producing some bugs that the fish should be willing to eat. Also try small mayfly patters. Mountain whitefish are also very abundant in the Wallowa and are readily caught on small bead-head nymphs.

Steelhead season opens Sept. 1. A few steelhead are available in the fall however the best fishing is in late winter and early spring. Harvest is limited to three hatchery steelhead per day and must be recorded on the Combined Angling Tag. A Columbia River Basin Endorsement is also required.


The ponds have been stocked and should provide good angling.

WALLA WALLA RIVER: rainbow trout

The Walla Walla River should provide good angling for rainbow trout in the Harris Park area, anglers are reminded of the lure’s and flies only regulation. Anglers may not target Bull trout and are required to release any Bull trout caught.

WILLOW CREEK RESERVOIR: crappie, bass, brown bull head, trout

Angling for warm water fish should be taking center stage at Willow Creek Reservoir. The lake has been stocked with trophy trout and should provide good angling.

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  Northeast Zone Hunting


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.

- Royalty Free Image-


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.

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.


Elk and Deer –Fawn ratios were fair and buck ratios were near MO this year so hunting should be similar to last year. The Murderers Creek-Flagtail and Camp Creek TMA’s are in effect so hunter need to be aware that the green dot road closures are in effect. The Rail Creek Fire west of Unity is contained but area closure do to the fire may limit access for hunts in portions the West Beulah unit. Hunters are encouraged to check for updated fire information. The USFS is conducting some controlled burns throughout the forest so hunter should pay attention to signed areas where burns are planned and avoid those areas.

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.

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

Bear population are doing well and archery hunters reported seeing bear frequently, so rifle deer hunters may want to purchase their fall bear tag before deer season. Fall bear tag sale dead line is Sept. 30.


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.

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.


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.

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


Rifle Elk hunters can expect to find good numbers of animals in all Union County units. Spike hunters will find yearling bulls with cows in herds. Bull hunters should focus efforts on areas of steep terrain and heavy cover adjacent to water and feed. Older bulls often seek solitude to recover from the rut.

Forest Grouse should be plentiful this season. Look for ruffs in moist canyon bottoms choked with Alder and Hawthorn trees. Blues can be found above 5000 feet elevation on ridge tops.


Wild Tom Turkey in Eastern Oregon
-Photo by Lance James-

Fall turkey season continues for those hunters who already have a tag; tags for 2 Eastern Oregon hunts have sold out. Birds are plentiful everywhere in Union County. Hunt around water sources and in areas with wild fruit trees.

Black bears will be focused on fruit and berries in the early fall. Look for bears in riparian areas with Hawthorn trees or on slopes with Huckle or elder berries. Hunters should concentrate hunting during the early morning and evening hours. All bears taken must be checked in within 10 days of harvest; call for an appointment before check in. Season closes Nov. 30.

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.

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

Updated Oct. 17, 2016

WATERFOWL HUNTERS TAKE NOTE: This summer, Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area has experienced dry and windy conditions resulting in significant water loss. ODFW would like to make sure hunters have the most current information of these condition before planning their hunt.

With the recent storms and available irrigation water, 2 or three additional wetlands have huntable water as well as the original four wetlands that have water left in them from the summer. Water is still very limited. There are ducks using the area, but with limited water, pressure will push waterfowl off the area quickly. Waterfowl does key in on the grain food plots around the wildlife area. These areas can be productive hunting spots.

Glass Hill is open for Big game hunting. Elk, Mule Deer, and Whitetail deer utilize this area year around. Whitetail are usually found on the lower elevation portion amongst the thick shrub vegetation while Mule deer and elk inhabit primarily the upper timber habitat.
The Ladd Marsh Whitetail deer population have suffered from blue tongue disease in the last few years the same as the rest of Union County.

Mule deer and elk populations are still holding solid on Glass Hill. Increased pressure usually moves these animals onto private property early but they may return later in the seasons.

Slow stalking or stand hunting should be effective on Glass Hill.


Elk: First bull elk season starts Oct. 26 and hunters can expect good success as elk numbers are generally above management objective. Further, some rain has fallen recently and fall green-up is underway, which provides improved feed conditions and allows the elk to spread out across the landscape more. .

Deer: Antlerless deer hunts in agricultural areas ended on Oct. 23. Antlerless hunters experienced good success, particularly if hunting for white-tailed deer.

Forest Grouse: Forest grouse in Wallowa County did not fare as well as grouse in other parts of the state this year because cold, wet weather in June when the eggs were hatching caused high chick mortality early on. Some ruffed grouse can still be found in draw bottoms with dense brush. Blue grouse are found higher on the slopes and on ridgetops near the edge of timber stands.

Black Bear
Black Bear
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Black Bear: Bear hunting has been good early in the morning and late in the evening in draw bottoms and along streams where bears are feeding on hawthorn, service berry, elder berries, and other fruits. However, many bears will be going into their dens in the next few weeks as the weather cools and we start getting some snow. Season closes Nov. 30.

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

Grant County

There is a good chance to see mountain goats from Roads End above High Lake in the Strawberry Wilderness. Best chance is early in the morning but goats can be visible all day. There has also been a pair of Peregrine Falcons seen in the same area, a chance for a rare viewing opportunity.

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.


Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area

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, including the auto route, is closed to daily access. The area, and the rest of the wildlife area, is open Saturdays, Sundays, Wednesdays and holidays during the pheasant quail and waterfowl hunting seasons. The Glass Hill unit is open 7 days a week to foot and horse traffic only. 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. As hunting seasons commence, wildlife viewers should be aware of other users and consider avoiding locations where hunters are set up.

Many summer species have left the area for their wintering grounds and few winter species have arrived. Most Swainson’s hawks have gone, headed for South America but rough-legged hawks have not arrived.

White-crowned Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow
- Photo by Kathy Munsel, ODFW-

White-crowned sparrows are present in good numbers and song sparrows are widespread and abundant.

Deer and elk can be seen from county roads using fields and meadows, especially in early morning.

Sandhill cranes have left the area headed south to their wintering areas in California. (10/4/2016)


Common raptors in the open areas of the county are red-tailed hawks, American kestrels, and golden eagles. Occasionally ferruginous, Swainson’s hawks and prairie falcons can also be seen. Look for bald eagles and ospreys perched in the larger trees along Wallowa Lake shore or on power poles near water in the valley.

Many elk have returned to the Zumwalt Prairie now. Try driving the Zumwalt and Pine Creek Roads and looking carefully at 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 also be seen feeding in agricultural fields and along streams around the county or flying into the north end of Wallowa Lake in the evenings to roost. 9/20/16

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