Northeast Zone Fishing
|Drift Fishing for Winter Steelhead
-Photo by Kaela Knutson
Weekend fishing opportunities:
- Weaver Pond, near Enterprise, and Roulette Pond, near Elgin, were stocked with surplus steelhead for an additional fishing opportunity.
- The Imnaha River should continue to drop and fishing should start to improve this week.
The moderating weather conditions have been having an impact on ice conditions in many areas. With ice thinning and starting to pull away from shore, anglers should be increasingly cautious when stepping out on the ice. Take the following precautions: use the “buddy system,” wear a PFD in case of thin ice, carry a throw-rope, and use a heavy metal staff to check for thin-ice. REMINDER: The state of Oregon does not allow human-made ice holes larger than 12-inches in diameter or length.
If your favorite fishing spot is no longer listed
It could be the area is closed, inaccessible due to mud or snow, 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 which is currently closed to all access from Feb. 1 –April 14 to protect big game wintering.
BULL PRAIRIE RESERVOIR: rainbow and brook trout
The reservoir has frozen and ice fishing is available. Fishing should be fair since trophy sized trout were stocked in September but no reports have been received. Road access may be limited due to snow.
GRANDE RONDE RIVER: trout, whitefish, bass, steelhead
The Grande Ronde is very high and fishing will be difficult.
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.
HOLLIDAY PARK POND: rainbow trout
Holliday Park Pond was stocked with trophy sized trout the last week of September and fishing should be fair. An ADA fishing dock for anglers with disabilities is available.
IMNAHA RIVER: steelhead, trout, bass
Flows have made for a tough spring fishing the Imnaha. The river should continue to drop and fishing should start to improve this week.
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.
Winter steelhead fishing
-Photo by Bob Swingle, ODFW-
JOHN DAY RIVER: wild steelhead
Recent above freezing temperatures have opened up the majority of the river for fishing access. The majority of steelhead are scattered from the mouth up to Kimberly. Most John Day steelhead are wild and must be released without removal from the water. There are however some hatchery steelhead strays in the river and anglers are encouraged to keep up to three hatchery fish per day. Fish are being caught on flies, jigs, lures and bait.
Check river levels.
LONG CREEK POND, CAVENDER POND: trout
The pond has frozen but ice is likely to thin to support anglers. Fishing should be fair once ice thaws. Cavender Pond was stocked with trophy-sized trout the last September.
MAGONE LAKE: rainbow and brook trout
The lake is iced over and should provide fair ice fishing. The forest access road to the lake is likely deep snow conditions and not accessible by vehicles.
MARR POND: surplus steelhead
Steelhead collected at the hatchery weirs have been relocated to Marr pond to provide opportunity to catch some large fish. These stockings will occur periodically into March. This is a great chance for young anglers to hook into a “monster.”
Once these fish are stocked into the pond they are legally considered “trout” and do not require a steelhead tag or Columbia Basin Endorsement and do not have to be recorded on a tag. Only one fish over 20-inches may be kept/day.
McKAY RESERVOIR: warmwater/trout
Trout fishing will be fair with the cold water temperatures and muddy conditions as a result of high flow conditions. Angling for yellow perch and brown bullhead will be the main warm water targets in the early spring months.
MORGAN LAKE: rainbow trout
Closed to fishing.
PEACH POND (Ladd Marsh): rainbow trout
The ice cover on the pond has melted. The pond was stocked with pounder and legal-sized rainbow trout mid-October. First stocking for 2017 will occur early to mid-April.
ROULET POND: rainbow trout
The ice cover is melting. The pond was stocked with pounder and legal-sized rainbow trout mid-October. First stocking for 2017 will occur early to mid-April.
ROWE CREEK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout
Remains open all year. Proceed with caution if reservoir is iced-over. Ice may be too thin to support anglers. Trout fishing is fair but the water level is very low.
UMATILLA RIVER: steelhead
The river has been high and unfishable for the last two weeks. Once the high flows subside fish should be spread throughout the system.
Anglers can access fish counts at Threemile Dam fish counts. Flow data
WALLOWA COUNTY PONDS: rainbow trout
The ice is off Kinney Lake and anglers can drive to the parking lot. Recent reports are that catch rates are good for rainbow trout from 12- to 14-inches. These fish were stocked last fall to provide a winter and early spring fishery.
|Wallowa Lake in the Winter
- Photo by Bob Swingle, ODFW -
WALLOWA LAKE: rainbow trout, kokanee, lake trout
Wallowa Lake is now free of ice and accessible for fishing. Boat docks have not been installed so launching a boat will be a creative process. Anglers are reporting finding nice sized rainbow trout to 18-inches.
Anglers have also reported catching kokanee to 13-inches, which is much improved from previous years.
WALLOWA RIVER: steelhead, mountain whitefish
The Wallowa River is hitting full swing for steelhead and anglers are regularly finding fish. However, the river is currently very high and fishing will be difficult. When flows drop, this is a great fishery to get young anglers started on steelhead with easy access and the ability to warm up in a nearby vehicle. Tying a beadhead nymph below a jig or bait can regularly produce whitefish to keep kids interested. These nymphs will also produce steelhead at a surprisingly high rate.
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.
WILLOW CREEK RESERVOIR: trout
Fall and winter provide a good opportunity for trout fishing. The water level is at its lowest of the year, so most fishing is from the shore or with small boat. Anglers fish the lower end of the reservoir, with night crawlers and Powerbait on the bottom.
Northeast Zone Hunting
OPEN: COUGAR, COYOTE
|Gray Wolf from the Walla Walla 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.
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.
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
- Royalty Free Image-
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 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.
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 hunting in the snow
-Photo by Charlotte Ganskopp-
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
All hunting seasons authorized on Ladd Marsh are closed. Beginning February 1, the wildlife area, including the Glass Hill Unit, is closed to public entry. The Glass Hill Unit will re-open April 1.
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. Remember a 2017 cougar tag and hunting license is needed to hunt as of Jan. 1.
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.
Northeast Zone Wildlife Viewing
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.
Winter bird species are starting to migrate through the area.
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
Anthony Creek Feedsite Tour
-Photo by Nick Myatt-
Elkhorn Wildlife Area is known for the Rocky Mountain elk and mule deer herds that frequent the area during the winter. When snow covers the ground, ODFW staff feed elk and deer to encourage them to stay in the higher elevations and out of agricultural fields.
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.
Bald Eagles can be observed along Hwy 26 between Prairie City and Dayville.
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
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.
At this time all of Ladd Marsh, including the Glass Hill Unit, is closed to public entry. The Tule Lake Public Access Area will open to visitors March 1. 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 begun nesting. Watch for the incubating bird’s head showing above the nest. Some red-tailed hawks are “staking out” nest sites and performing nest repairs. Egg laying won’t be far behind. American kestrels remain common throughout the area and are often seen hunting from perch sites and may now be seen in pairs. A single prairie falcon is still using areas along Pierce Rd.
White-crowned sparrows are present in good numbers and song sparrows are widespread and abundant. Northern shrikes, while not common can be found at various locations on the area.
Ponds and wetlands have thawed and are full of bot water and birds. Tundra swans have been using the refuge below Foothill Road as well as Schoolhouse Pond east of Peach Road. Greater white-fronted geese are in and Canada geese are paired up. Canada geese will be on nests soon. Thousands of ducks are utilizing the area including mallard, gadwall, northern pintail, bufflehead, scaup and American green-winged teal.
Elk and deer have remained at lower elevations. They can often be seen from county roads by glassing the slopes of Glass Hill or across the flats to the east. Use caution to avoid spooking wildlife into roads or highways for their safety and the safety of the traveling public. 2/21/2017
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.
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.
-Photo by Cathy Nowak-
Locals report seeing American robins, black-billed magpies, belted kingfisher, downy woodpecker, bohemian waxwings, northern flickers, white-crowned sparrow and yellow-rumped warbler. Raptors in the area include American kestrel, bald eagles, northern harriers, and red-tailed hawks. Waterfowl seen include American Coot, American wigeon, Canada geese, common merganser, hooded merganser, northern shoveler and snow geese. Shorebirds and other waterbirds observed include American white pelican, Great blue heron, Black-crowned night-heron, ring-billed gull and Western grebe. 1/3/2017
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 lower 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 in winter are red-tailed hawks, rough-legged hawks, prairie falcons, golden eagles, and occasionally a gyrfalcon. Look for bald eagles perched in the larger trees along Wallowa Lake shore or on power poles near water in the Wallowa Valley and Grande Ronde River in the Troy area. Migrating bald eagles can also be seen in the Prairie Creek and Elk Mt. Road areas east of Enterprise.
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.
|Rocky Mountain Elk
- Photo by Brian Ratliff, ODFW-
Many elk are moving back onto the Zumwalt Prairie now, although some are still on the breaks above Little Sheep Creek or the Imnaha River. Try driving the Zumwalt Prairie Road or Lower Imnaha River Road and looking carefully on ridge tops. 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.
While many of our migrant waterfowl have already headed north with the advent of warmer weather, some can still be seen flying into Wallowa Lake in the evenings from the county park at the north end of the lake. Canada geese and several species of ducks can also be seen feeding in agricultural fields and along streams around the county. Other migrants have begun to move into the area including: Say’s phoebes, horned larks, and robins. Mountain bluebirds have returned from their southern haunts and can be seen in the Wallowa Valley and Imnaha Canyon. Two sandhill cranes were located this week along Highway 3 in the Snow Hollow area north of Enterprise. 3/21/17
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