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

Weekly Recreation Report: Northeast Zone

August 12, 2014

 Northeast Zone Fishing

Jubilee Lake
Jubilee Lake
- Photo by Bob Swingle, ODFW -

Weekend fishing opportunities

  • Jubilee Lake is a great location to beat the heat and catch some trout; the lake stocked last week with both legal and trophy-sized trout.
  • The Walla Walla and Umatilla Rivers are at summer time flow levels making for some good trout fishing.
  • Anglers willing to hike off the beaten track will find good warm weather trout fishing at Jump-Off-Joe, Strawberry and Slide lakes.

Warm temperatures increase stress on fish

With summer temperatures heating up throughout the state, anglers should take special care when catching and releasing fish.

  • Fish early in the mornings when water temperatures are lower.
  • Fish in lakes and reservoirs with deep waters that provide a cooler refuge for fish.
  • Use barbless hooks, land fish quickly and keep them in the water as much as possible in order to minimize stress.
  • Shift your fishing efforts to higher elevation mountain lakes and streams where water temperatures often remain cool.
  • Target warmwater species, such as bass, bluegill and crappie, that are available in many lakes and reservoirs statewide. However, even warmwater fish can feel the effects of the heat and anglers should try to land and release them as quickly as possible.

New salmon, steelhead, sturgeon endorsement

Beginning Jan. 1, 2014 anglers fishing for salmon, steelhead or sturgeon in the Columbia River and its tributaries will be required to have a Columbia River Basin endorsement. See a map of the Basin and get more information.

2014 trout stocking

The 2014 trout stocking schedule for the Northeast Zone is now posted on-line on along with other districts on the ODFW trout stocking page.

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: rainbow trout

Anglers can make either a 2 mile hike to Roosevelt Lake (Lower Lake) or a 2.5 mile hike to Stewart Lake (Upper Lake). Fishing is good for carryover rainbow trout at both ponds.

BULL PRAIRIE RESERVOIR: rainbow and brook trout

Fishing for carryover rainbow and brook trout is fair. Trout are now concentrated in the deeper part of the reservoir near the dam. Vegetation growth is affecting fishing access for bank anglers.

GRANDE RONDE RIVER: trout, bass

The Grand Ronde River flows have dropped and the water is warming up. Fishing for bass can be great under these conditions. Look for bass near rocky outcrops and shelves. Bass will take a variety of lures including top water baits. Trout fishing will be difficult under warm water conditions. Look for trout near turbulent water where the water is well oxygenated.

Remember, only adipose-fin clipped trout may be retained and all bull trout must be released unharmed.

HOLLIDAY PARK POND: trout

Trout fishing is fair but vegetation growth is affecting fishing access for bank anglers.

HUNTER POND: trout

Hunter Pond is located about 3 miles south of Hwy 244 off of USFS Rd 5160. The pond is located on the 710 spur just west of 5160. The pond was stocked the last week of May.

The Imnaha River
The Imnaha River
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

IMNAHA RIVER: trout, bass, Chinook

The Imnaha River is now closed to all salmon angling as of Sunday, July 27. Flows have dropped considerably from earlier in the season. Bass fishing should begin to pick up on the lower river as fish move up from the Snake. Trout fishing may be difficult in the lower river as water temperatures start to warm. Remember, below the mouth of Big Sheep Creek only adipose-fin clipped trout may be harvested. All bull trout must be released unharmed.

The upper Imnaha has a healthy population of mountain whitefish and can produce some large fish. Look for whitefish in deep pools and runs. Whitefish will take small bead-head nymphs and small spinners.

JOHN DAY RIVER: smallmouth bass, trout

Smallmouth bass fishing is good in the lower river but flows have dropped to 250 cfs making boat travel very difficult. Trout fishing is fair on the South Fork and on the Middle Fork but flows will remain very low for the remainder of the summer.
Check John Day River flows

JUBILEE LAKE: rainbow trout

The lake has been stocked and should provide good fishing for rainbow trout. Anglers should concentrate on the deeper areas near the dam or use a non-motorized boat to reach the deeper areas of the lake.

JUMP-OFF-JOE LAKE: brook trout

This high lake near Desolation Creek fishes well all summer and presently has large brook trout available. It requires a ½ mile hike. Fishing is poor from the bank but packing in a float tube or raft will greatly improve your chances.

LONG CREEK POND, CAVENDER POND: trout

Bass fishing is fair but trout fishing is poor. Fish activity is limited by high water temperatures and vegetation growth is affecting fishing access for bank anglers.

LUGER POND: trout

The pond was stocked the last week of May.

MAGONE LAKE: rainbow and brook trout

The fishing has slowed for brook trout as the lake temperature is over 65 degrees. Carryover and legal sized rainbows were stocked recently and are available.

MORGAN LAKE: rainbow trout

No recent report.

rainbow trout
Rainbow Trout
-Photo by Roger Smith-

OLIVE LAKE: rainbow, kokanee

This high lake stays cool all summer and is accessible by vehicle for bank or boat angling. There is a campground with boat launch. Kokanee fishing has slowed down as water temperatures warmed but can still be caught in deeper water. Carryover rainbows are available along with recently planted jumbo trout.

PEACH POND (Ladd Marsh): rainbow trout

The pond has been stocked several times this spring, the last being early June. Catch rates will decline as the season progresses into summer and water temperatures warm.

ROULET POND: rainbow trout

The pond has been stocked several times this spring, the last being early June. Catch rates will decline as the season progresses into summer and water temperatures warm.

ROWE CREEK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout

Fish activity is limited by high water temperatures. Low water and vegetation growth is affecting fishing access for bank anglers. Fishing is poor.

STRAWBERRY AND SLIDE LAKES: rainbow and brook trout

These high lakes in the Strawberry Mountain wilderness area provide good fishing all summer. Strawberry lake requires a 1.5 mile hike and Slide Lake is another mile further.

Fish can be caught from the bank but packing in a float tube or raft will improve your chances.

TAYLOR GREEN POND: rainbow trout

This was a new stocking site in 2013. The pond is located in a gravel pit just off USFS Rd. 7740, approximately ½ mile south of the Jct. with USFS Rd. 7700. The pond was stocked the last week of May. Fishing is good.

TROUT FARM POND: rainbow and brook trout

Fishing for rainbow and brook trout is fair. Carryover and legal sized rainbows are available. Vegetation growth is affecting fishing access for bank anglers.

UMATILLA FOREST PONDS: trout

The following ponds have been stocked to date: Ninemile, Shimmiehorn, skyline, Boundary, Key hole, Pearson Ridge Twin, Goldfish, 5412, Yellow Jacket, Granite Meadows, French Corral, Four Corners and Frog Heaven. The South Umatilla Ponds will be stocked this week (Ellis, Gopher springs, Divide well, Rock pit, Sugarbowl, 5320, Thompson and Stinkwater) All should provide good fishing.

UMATILLA RIVER: trout

The upper Umatilla is open to catch-and-release trout fishing and fishing for rainbow trout has been good. Anglers should consult the synopsis for detailed regulations.

Threemile Dam fish counts

Wallowa Lake
Wallowa Lake
- Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

WALLOWA LAKE: rainbow trout, kokanee, lake trout

Fishing for rainbow trout has been great over the last month and there are no signs of catch rates slowing. Trout have been caught with a variety of methods but a simple rig with Powerbait has been best. The lake was stocked with tagged rainbow trout in an effort by ODFW to better understand the utilization of this fishery. Tagged fish have been caught at very high rates and over $1,700 in rewards have been paid.

WALLOWA RIVER: steelhead, mountain whitefish, chinook

The Wallowa river closed to all salmon fishing as of Sunday, July 27. The flows in the Wallowa have dropped considerably and the river is becoming easier to wade. Anglers are finding some larger fish and catch rates have been good. The best dry fly angling is in the late evening. During mid-day nymph fishing will produce the most fish. Most spinner and bait angling techniques will also be very effective. Look for trout where the water is well oxygenated and near structure. Remember, below Rock Creek only adipose-fin clipped trout may be harvested. All bull trout must be released unharmed.

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  Northeast Zone Hunting

OPEN: COUGAR, BLACK BEAR

Snake River Wolf Pack Howling
-Video by ODFW-

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. ODFW needs hunters’ assistance to establish wolves’ presence in Oregon; 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

Closure of Wallowa Mountain Loop Road (Forest Road 39)

BEAR season opened August 1. Successful hunters, remember check-in of bear skull is mandatory; see the regulations for details. Biologists recommend propping the bear’s mouth open with a stick after harvest; it makes for easier tooth collection and measuring.

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.

GRANT COUNTY

Phillip W. Schneider Wildlife Area is closed due to South Fork Complex Fires. ODFW will announce its reopening on the website. The most up to date information

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.

MORROW, GILLIAM AND WHEELER COUNTIES

YOUTH ELK hunts open in the Heppner and Fossil units on August 1st. Elk are generally well distributed across the forested areas of the Heppner and Fossil units. Fossil unit hunters should try any of the areas in the north and west of the forest. he upper end of Stahl canyon is usually a good place to start looking. Heppner unit hunters will want to focus in areas with good grazing near cover for elk. Any of the areas in northern portion of the forest or along any of the creeks running water would be a good place to start. As always hunters will want to focus in areas with fresh elk sign. Getting away from roads should improve your odds of success.

Cougar hunting is open. Cougar are well distributed in our forested areas. Calling with distress calls or cougar vocalizations can be effective. 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.

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.

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

UNION COUNTY

BLACK BEARS are plentiful throughout the county. Look for sign around fruit trees and in canyon bottoms. Bears can be concentrated along creeks and rivers in the late summer. This year’s bumper berry crop should make for good early season bear hunting in Union County. Huckle, Service and Hawthorn berries are all in full swing. 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.

cougar
Cougar
- Royalty Free Image-

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 good 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 seasons now closed. Ladd Marsh harvest statistics

Note: all visitors including hunters must have in their possession a free daily permit to access the wildlife area. Permits will be available at several self-check-in stations at entry points and parking lots beginning in late September. Wildlife hunters, viewers and anglers also need a parking permit to park on the wildlife area. Hunters receive a free parking permit with their hunting license. The $7 daily or $22 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. Parking permits are to be displayed on the vehicle dash. More information

WALLOWA COUNTY

Closure of Wallowa Mountain Loop Road (Forest Road 39)

Closure of Upper Imnaha River and Hat Point Roads: The Upper Imnaha River Road from the town of Imnaha to its junction with the Freezeout Creek and the Hat Point Road are both closed because of firefighting activities associated with the 5 Mile Fire.

ANTLERLESS ELK: The youth hunts for antlerless elk are underway in most hunt units. Numbers of elk are strong throughout most of Wallowa County and most elk are on their summer ranges. They are often in large herds this time of year and so are localized. Consequently, hunters should be aware that there are large parts of their range that have no elk, but when they do find elk they are likely to find 100-200 in a herd. When hunting or scouting look on timbered ridges where they can rest in the shade during the day. Elk this time of year usually move to the larger meadows at night to feed.

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.

COUGAR: Cougar numbers are strong 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.

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 Northeast Zone Viewing

bighorn sheep
Bighorn Sheep
-Photo by Kenneth Buzzard-

BAKER COUNTY

Upland game bird broods are beginning to be seen in the area. Along the Snake and Burnt River are good places to look.

Bighorn sheep can be seen in the Burnt River Canyon west of Durkee or along the Snake River Road south of Richland. Ewes can be seen with their lambs this time of year. 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.

Elk and deer can be seen with their young. Give them extra space to avoid separating young from the group. Remember to leave any young wildlife where you found them. 7/29/14.

GRANT COUNTY

Quail chicks can be viewed along roads and in riparian areas. For the avid birder, the best place to see the most diversity of songbirds this time of year are in and around riparian areas.

As the snow recedes on the Strawberry Mountains mountain goats can be readily seen. The best places to see mountain goats are High Lake and Little Strawberry Lake. Nannies can be seen with their kids at both locations.

Fawns and calves are becoming more visible this time of year. Deer and elk will be seeking higher elevations as summer heats up and this is a great opportunity to view some of their young as they migrate. Please leave fawns and calves alone; moms may not be visible but are close by. 7/7/14.

MORROW, GILLIAM and WHEELER COUNTIES

Summer is here, and most of our birds are fledged for the Heppner District. House finches, northern oriels, mourning doves, western kingbirds, horned larks, and the ever present American kestrel, can be seen in many of the yards of the area.

In areas with sage brush loggerheaded shrikes can be seen moving about. Horned larks can be seen in most open areas of grass and wheat. Grasshopper sparrows can be seen in the northern portion of the District.

California quail can be seen with their broods along most areas that have good riparian vegetation. Chukar and Hungarian partridge can be seen out with their broods along the steeper areas of the foothills. Pheasant can be seen with their broods along the alfalfa fields in the area,

Only our common raptors remain―northern harrier, red-tailed hawk and a few golden eagles in areas with habitat for them. The occasional Swainson’s hawk can still be seen in the north end of the District.

Deer and elk can be seen with their young in the forested areas of the district. The fawns and claves are moving with their mothers now. Watch meadows at dawn and dusk for the best chance so see elk; deer are more hit and miss. Pileated woodpeckers can be seen in the areas of the forest with large snags. Turkeys can be seen with their young moving around and feeding. 7/29/14.

UMATILLA COUNTY

Deer and elk are starting to orient to green-up areas of annual grass in the low and mid slope areas of the Blue Mountains. Large herds of elk will be intermingled in the trees at mid elevation areas. Deer will be more widespread with small groups present from near field edge to upper forest areas.

Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area

Birdwatchers at Ladd Marsh
-Photo by Kathy Munsel, ODFW-

UNION COUNTY

Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area

Note: New this year: 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 $7 daily or $22 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 Public Access Area and auto route are open to the public. The Glass Hill Unit is open to public entry for foot and horse traffic only. Please see the note above regarding daily permits.

Visitors are advised to carefully read posted signs and consult game bird regulations before entering the wildlife area. Dogs are not permitted within the Wildlife Area, on or off leash except during authorized 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.

Waterfowl are numerous and varied but somewhat harder to find in the tall, late-summer vegetation. These include Canada Goose, Mallard, Gadwall, Cinnamon Teal, Green-winged Teal, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Redhead, Blue-winged Teal and Northern Shoveler. Eared Grebes, Horned Grebes, Pied-billed Grebes and American Coots are also present. Black-necked Stilts and American Avocets can be seen in shallow flats and at wetland edges.

Shorebird migration is in progress with recent observations including Spotted, Solitary, Least, Western and Semipalmated Sandpipers; Marbled Godwit, Long-billed Dowitcher and both Wilson’s and Red-necked Phalarope.

Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets have fledged from a nearby rookery and several of each species may be seen in a single pond or wetland along with Black-crowned Night Herons.

Local Greater Sandhill Cranes have hatched and the young have fledged. Cranes may begin to gather in large groups in preparation for their 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.

Raptors are common in the area and include Northern Harriers, Swainson’s Hawks and Red-tailed Hawks. Red-tails have fledged and the Swainson’s Hawks have either fledged or are very close to it. Swainson’s may stay another 3 to 4 weeks before heading south.

For more information on access rules for Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area, please consult the Oregon Game Bird Regulations or call the wildlife area (541) 963-4954. 8/4/14

WALLOWA COUNTY

Most mule and white-tailed deer are on their summer ranges now and the does have dropped their fawns. If you find a deer fawn that is not with its mother, leave it alone because its mother is probably nearby and will expect to find it where she left it when she returns.

The elk on the Zumwalt Prairie are on the open prairie now and also in the mid-elevation forests. Occasional large herds can be seen from the Zumwalt Road or on The Nature Conservancy’s Zumwalt Prairie Preserve. Once you find a herd, use binoculars or a spotting scope to observe the animals.

Young mountain goats and bighorn sheep are now venturing out with their nursery herds and now is a good time to view them near Hat Point above Hells Canyon. They often congregate just north of the USFS lookout tower to lick salt along the rim.

Resident waterfowl can still be seen flying into Wallowa Lake in the evenings from the county park at the north end of the lake. Canada geese can be seen feeding in agricultural fields and along streams around the county, and many broods have already hatched so look for young goslings around ponds and along streams in the valley.

Our three species of forest grouse have finished their mating season and the hens are escorting broods of young grouse around in their respective habitats - ruffed grouse in brushy areas, especially near riparian strips, dusky grouse (the old name was blue grouse) in grassy openings in the forest near steep canyon areas, and spruce grouse a in densely forested areas on the Eagle Cap wilderness, especially along McCully Creek. 8/4/14.

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