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Weekly Recreation Report: Northeast Zone

September 19, 2017

 Northeast Zone Fishing

Black Crappie
Black Crappie
-U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service-

Weekend fishing opportunities:

  • Reduced steelhead bag limit in Grande Ronde Imnaha; catch and release only for mainstem Snake River – Season opens Sept. 1
  • Crappie are still biting at McKay Reservoir when you can find a school.
  • With warmer weather, fish early and late for cold water species such as trout, kokanee and steelhead. Look for fish in deeper water where the temperatures are cooler.
  • Walleye fishing continues to be good in and around the mouth of the Umatilla River.
  • Bass and crappie fishing has been picking up in McKay and Willow Creek reservoirs.

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

BULL PRAIRIE RESERVOIR: rainbow and brook trout

Fishing is good for stocked and carry-over trout. Trophy-size trout were stocked in September but no reports have been received.

GRANDE RONDE RIVER: trout, whitefish, bass, steelhead

Reduced steelhead bag limit when season opens Sept. 1. Steelhead limits were reduced due to the underperforming runs. Managers will monitor these runs in hopes of reinstating the normal bag limit.

The Grande Ronde has reached base flow and will be easy to wade but difficult for boats other than small rafts. Fishing for smallmouth bass during the summer can be good with a lot of medium-sized bass and a few larger fish mixed in.

While steelhead season is open fish don’t normally show up in good numbers until the end of the month but there may be a few around. Cooler weather will improve trout fishing and a fantastic October caddis hatch is usually just around the corner.

HOLLIDAY PARK POND: rainbow trout

Holliday Park Pond has been stocked and fishing is good. An ADA fishing dock for anglers with disabilities is available.

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 limits were reduced to 1 fish due to the underperforming runs. Managers will monitor these runs in hopes of reinstating the normal bag limit. While steelhead season is open fish normally don’t show up in good numbers until the end of September and into October however a few fish may be around.

Fishing for bass on the Lower Imnaha can be good during the summer months as some fish move up out of the Snake River. Trout and whitefish can be found in the upper reaches using usual summer tactics. Remember, bull trout and salmon are present in the river and cannot be kept. Please release these fish quickly and carefully.

JOHN DAY RIVER: bass, steelhead

Smallmouth bass fishing has been excellent from the mouth upstream to Kimberly. Anglers will have the most success fishing early and late in the day. Smallmouth fishing will also be productive in the North Fork John Day River from its mouth upstream to Camas Creek.

Check river levels.

JUBILEE LAKE: rainbow trout

Access to Jubilee Lake is open and the main campground is now open. The lake has been stocked with legal and trophy trout, there should also be good numbers of carry over trout. As water temperatures warm anglers should fish the deeper water near the dam and in the center of the lake.

LONG CREEK POND, CAVENDER POND: rainbow trout, largemouth bass

Both ponds have been stocked with trout. Largemouth bass are available in Cavender pond.

LOST LAKE: rainbow trout

Fishing for rainbow trout is great, the lake was stocked with trout this spring and offers a nice change of pace for anglers or hunters in the Olive Lake/Desolation Creek area willing to make a short hike or bicycle ride up the road to the lake.

From Dale, take USFS 053 for about .6 miles to USFS 10. Stay on USFS 10 for about 20 miles. At USFS 045 turn right, travel for about .3 miles then turn left on USFS 030 and travel .5 miles to USFS 020. Access to the lake is walk in only, hike approximately two miles up USFS 020 to reach the lake.

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

Fishing should improve for bank anglers as temperatures begin to cool over the next month and trout begin to feed closer to shore.

McKAY RESERVOIR: crappie, bass, yellow perch, brown bullhead

Fishing for warmwater species is good, crappie will be suspended in deeper water during the day and come to near the surface in late evening/night. The reservoir is approximately half full.

MORGAN LAKE: rainbow trout

No recent reports.

OLIVE LAKE: rainbow trout, kokanee

Access to the dam and surrounding area is currently restricted but fishing remains open throughout the rest of the lake.

Peach Pond
Peach Pond
-Photo by Cathy Nowak, ODFW-

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.


Trout fishing is fair on carry over trout

TAYLOR GREEN POND: rainbow trout

The pond was stocked with legal-size rainbow trout the week of May 29. To measure the catch rate of trout stocked at this 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 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. There is a popular camping area just beyond the 7740 road on the right. Proceed on the 7740 road for about 1/4 mile. The rock pit and pond are on the right.

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: salmon, steelhead, trout

Regulation update: Open for coho and fall Chinook salmon Sept. 1 – Nov. 30 from the Hwy. 730 Bridge upstream to CTUIR reservation boundary located upstream of Hwy. 11 Bridge.

Salmon and steelhead returns are off to a slow start, Columbia River counts are tracking behind schedule and Umatilla River flows are low and water temperatures are still high.

The upper river should provide fair angling for rainbow trout.

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


The forest ponds have been stocked and should provide good fishing for rainbow trout.


Stocking has ended for most ponds, however forest ponds will receive a small number of fish prior to rifle deer season. Many of the ponds in the Wallowa Valley become difficult to fish during late summer because of weed growth but fish are still available.

Marr Pond has experienced a draw down due to damaged water control structures and bag limits have been removed. Fish are however still available as biologists observed numerous fish last week

Wallowa Lake
Wallowa Lake
- Photo by Martyne Reesman-

WALLOWA LAKE: rainbow trout, kokanee, lake trout

Trout fishing has been very good at Wallowa Lake for stocked trout. Try baits that mimic natural food late in the summer and into the fall as stocked trout have been off of hatchery feed for some time and usually switch over.

Kokanee size is up this year with most fish between 8 and 12 inches with a few ranging over 16 inches. Kokanee fishing has slowed but fish are still available. Change tactics from the usual methods to find these summer fish.

WALLOWA RIVER: steelhead, mountain whitefish

The Wallowa River is fishing well for small to medium rainbows and large whitefish. The river is no longer floatable for most craft unless you’re willing to do a lot of dragging. However, nearly the entire river is easily wadeable.

Steelhead season is open on the Wallowa but fish usually don’t show up until later in the fall and in larger numbers in the late winter and early spring.


The ponds have been stocked and should provide good fishing.


The pond has been stocked and fishing for rainbow trout should be good.


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. Anglers have been finding good success fishing for trout.

Crappie and bass fishing have been good.

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

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  Northeast Zone Hunting


Hunting forecasts now available

Biologists from around the state weigh in on what to expect this fall. See the Big Game and Bird Hunting forecasts online.

Free pheasant hunts for youth hunters – Sign up now
These events are only open to youth who have passed hunter education. (ODFW has many hunter education classes and field days available before the events.) An adult 21 years of age or older must accompany the youth to supervise but may not hunt. More info

Long draw fire
The Long Draw Fire in southeastern Oregon burned in sage-grouse habitat.
- ODOT Photo -

Hunting and fire danger in Oregon

ODFW does not close hunting seasons due to fire danger. However, hunters may face restrictions due to fires burning on public land and reduced access to private lands during fire season. More info including list of private land closures

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.


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.


Elk can be found in good numbers throughout the county. Good areas to look are on national forest lands that do not have open roads. Look for areas of at least one or two square mile or wilderness areas like the North Fork John Day or Strawberry. Elk should start responding to calls as rut beings over the next couple of weeks.

Deer populations are down a little because of harsh weather last winter but there are still some good hunting opportunities. Look for areas that have had recent wildfires such as Aldrich Mountain, Flagtail Mountain, Silver Butte, and Canyon Creek.

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.

Black Bear
Black Bear
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Bear populations are good and provide a good late summer hunting opportunity. Look for areas around huckleberry patches, generally on higher elevation north slopes, or around wet meadows.


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.


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 hunting near 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 Bears are plentiful throughout the county. Bears can be concentrated along creeks and rivers in the late summer feeding on Hawthorn berries and other fruits. This year’s bumper berry crop should make for good early season bear hunting in Union County. Hunt in the early morning and evenings for the best chance of seeing bears. Bear skulls must be checked in within ten days of harvest, see regulations.

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

Starting Aug. 1, 2017, All lands North and East of Foothill road are open to hunting Weekends, Wednesdays and all federal holidays. Please refer to Big game and Game Bird regulations for season dates and additional regulations.
Hunting equipment is limited to short range (Shotgun, Archery, or muzzleloader) equipment only. Rifles and handguns are prohibited at all times.
The Glass Hill portion of the wildlife area is open to hunting during authorized seasons only. Please refer to the ODFW big game and game bird regulations for season dates.
Please call the Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area with any questions 541 963 4954.


Notice: Hancock Timber lands in the Sled Springs unit have been closed to overnight camping due to fire precaution measures. Day use only is allowed. You can check latest status at their Hotline 541 962 2184.

Forest Grouse: Forest grouse in Wallowa County did not fare well because of the severe winter and cold, wet weather in June that caused high chick mortality early on. Some grouse were successful with a second nesting attempt, so hunters may encounter younger birds this year. 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.

Elk Hunt

Mt Emily Archery Bull
-Photo by Bryan Langley-

Archery: Season closes Sept. 24. Bull elk hunting has been slow for most units, because hunters have been dealing with dry hunting conditions.  Rain this week is expected to improve hunting conditions.  Buck hunters can expect only fair to poor success as mule deer numbers are still below management objective and dry conditions will make stalking difficult. Hunters are reminded to check USFS regulations on camp/cook fires.

Mountain Goat: The early goat hunts are almost complete and we have been checking in several nice goats including 2 that could go in the record book.

Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep: Our bighorn sheep hunts also are winding down and we have checked in 3 rams so far.

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. Huckleberries are gone now and bears are also now seeking out old apple orchards.

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

Bighorn sheep
Burnt River California Bighorn Sheep
- Photo by Brian Ratliff, ODFW -

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.

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.

Mountain goats may be viewed in the steep cliffs around Strawberry, Slide, and High lakes in the Strawberry Mountains.


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 Glass Hill Unit remains open to the public. The Tule Lake Auto Route will close July 31 for the season. Beginning August 1, the Tule Lake Access Area, as well as the rest of the wildlife area, will be open to public access Sat., Sun., Wed. and holidays. 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.

Shorebirds are using areas with receding water including Schoolhouse Pond where a variety of sandpipers was seen recently. Raptors are on the wing, hunting to feed young and teach them to hunt themselves. Red-tailed hawks, Swainson’s hawks and northern harriers can be seen throughout the area.

Sandhill cranes will soon begin gathering in larger flocks as they prepare for migration south. Please report any sandhill cranes wearing leg bands to the Ladd Marsh staff (541-963-4954). If possible, note the color and order of bands on each of the bird’s legs (e.g., pink above white on left leg; silver above black on right leg). The specific combination and order can identify individual birds.

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

As always, do not approach wildlife that is nesting or with young. Disturbance may cause them to be more vulnerable to predators. 7/25/2017


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.

White Pelicans
American White Pelicans
-Photo by Kathy Munsel-

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.


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. We counted nearly 1500 elk on the Prairie last week from the air. 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. 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. Some of our summer resident birds are now starting to migrate south and a few migrants from farther away have begun passing through.

Kokanee salmon are now spawning in the Wallowa River just upstream from Wallowa Lake. The best viewing opportunities are from the bridge over the road entering Wallowa Lake State Park and from the river bank between there and the lake. 8/22/17

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