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

Weekly Recreation Report: Northeast Zone

September 1, 2015

 Northeast Zone Fishing

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

Weekend fishing opportunities:

  • The 2 p.m. fishing closure for trout, steelhead, salmon and sturgeon in streams has been lifted as of Sept. 1.
  • Trout fishing in Wallowa Lake has been very good thanks, in part, to additional stocked trout diverted from nearby ponds too warm to receive fish.
  • Crappie fishing continues to be good in McKay Reservoir, with the best catches coming early and late in the day.
  • Walleye fishing continues to be excellent on the Columbia River from McNary dam downstream to Boardman.

Low water levels can put stress on fish

While water temperature have returned to near normal in many areas, water levels continue to be very low. Anglers should continue to exercise care when catching and releasing fish by following a few precautions:

  • Fish early in the day when water temperatures are cooler.
  • Check water temperatures frequently and stop fishing when they exceed 70 degrees.
  • Use barbless hooks so you can release fish quickly.
  • Use appropriate gear to land fish quickly.
  • Keep the fish in the water while you unhook it, and cradle the fish upright until it revives enough to swim away.
  • Use your judgement. If conditions seem especially severe (low, hot water) stop fishing, or move to another location where waters may be cooler.

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.

GRANDE RONDE RIVER: trout, whitefish, bass

The river remains open for trout whitefish and bass. However, the 2:00 p.m. closure for trout due to drought conditions is in effect. Fishing for smallmouth bass will be good with lots of fish in the river, warm temperatures and low flows.

Steelhead season will open on Sept. 1, however few fish will be in the river until later in the month.

HOLLIDAY PARK POND: rainbow trout

Pond has been stocked with both legal and trophy-sized trout. Fishing has been fair. Pond does have an ADA fishing dock for anglers with disabilities.

HUNTER POND: hatchery rainbow trout

This pond has been stocked with 250 legal-sized rainbow trout. From I-84 take Hwy 244 towards Ukiah. At the Blue Mtns 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.

The Imnaha River is current low with some very warm temperatures. Fishing for trout and whitefish may be difficult for the remainder of the summer. However, the lower river can produce well for smallmouth bass and this can be good fishing during the hot summer months. The 2:00 p.m. trout fishing closure is in effect for the lower river below Freezeout Creek.

Spring Chinook season will close at the end of the day July 12.

Flow data for the Imnaha can be found on the Idaho Power website.

The John Day River
The John Day River
-Photo by Jessica Sall-

JOHN DAY RIVER: smallmouth bass

Smallmouth bass fishing is good with many being caught. There also has been a fair number of catfish being caught. Bass anglers may try their luck higher in the North Fork below the town of Dale. Bass are present up to Dale but in lower numbers.

John Day River flows

Please check the sport fishing regulation updates on the ODFW website for new regulations on the John Day River.

JUBILEE LAKE: rainbow trout

Fishing has been best in the early morning and late evenings, bank anglers should also look for the deep water areas near the dam or bring a non-motorized boat and fish deep in the middle of the lake.

The lake has been stocked and should provide good fishing for rainbow trout.

LONG CREEK POND, CAVENDER POND: trout

Both ponds are fair fishing and are open all year. Cavender pond has had both legal and trophy-sized trout stocked.

LUGER POND: hatchery rainbow trout

Fishing restrictions will be relaxed on Lugar Pond in preparation for an upcoming fish removal project. Starting Sept. 1, fish may be harvested by hand, dip net, or angling. Daily bag and possession limits will also be lifted.

Luger Pond has been stocked with 500 legal-sized rainbow trout. This pond is accessible to persons with disabilities, having compacted gravel trails and two fishing platforms. The pond is located within a beautiful forest setting in the Blue Mountains.

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

Lake has been stocked with both legal and trophy-sized rainbow trout. Fishing has been fair. Magone is a great place to escape the summer heat with a decent swimming beach available.

McHALEY POND: rainbow trout

Pond has been stocked with legal and trophy-sized rainbow trout. Fishing is fair.

McKAY RESERVOIR: crappie, bass

Water levels are dropping quickly; the water level is below the concrete portion of the boat ramp but is still usable on the gravel portion of the ramp. Crappie fishing continues to be good, with the best catches coming early and late in the day.

MORGAN LAKE: rainbow trout

The City of La Grande has closed access to Morgan Lake due to extreme fire danger.

OLIVE LAKE: rainbow trout, brook trout, and kokanee

Fishing is good and lake has been stocked with both legal and trophy-sized rainbow trout. Some kokanee are being caught at 30 to 40 feet depth.

PEACH POND (Ladd Marsh): rainbow trout

Fishing restrictions will be relaxed on Peach Pond in preparation for an upcoming fish removal project. Starting Sept. 1, fish may be harvested by hand, dip net, or angling. Daily bag and possession limits will also be lifted. These relaxed regulations will be effective until Sept. 25, when the pond will be closed to all fishing through Dec. 31, to prevent public exposure to rotenone.

PENDLAND LAKE: rainbow trout

Fall is one of the best times to fish this lake, as water temperatures drop fish go back on the feed. Fishing is good in this weedy but very productive lake. Fly fishing is one of the best ways to target trout in this lake, a small boat or float tube is recommended to get anglers to the open water.

ROULET POND: rainbow trout

Stocked with rainbow trout in the spring.

ROWE CREEK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout

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

TAYLOR GREEN POND: hatchery rainbow trout

Taylor Green Pond has been stocked with 250 legal-sized rainbow trout. Some holdovers from last year are also 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. Proceed on the 7740 road for about 1/4 mile. The rock pit pond are on the right.

rainbow trout
Rainbow Trout
-Photo by Roger Smith-

UMATILLA/WALLA WALLA FOREST PONDS: trout

Fishing restrictions will be relaxed at Boundary, Keyhole, Yellowjacket, Granite Meadows, Goldfish and Windy Springs ponds in preparation for upcoming fish removal projects in October. Starting Sept. 1, fish may be harvested by hand, dip net, or angling.

Daily bag and possession limits will also be lifted. These relaxed regulations will be effective until Sept. 25, when the ponds will be closed to all fishing through Dec. 31, to prevent public exposure to rotenone.

UMATILLA RIVER: trout

The Upper Umatilla should be fair for catch-and-release fishing for rainbow trout.

WALLOWA COUNTY PONDS: rainbow trout

Fishing restrictions will be relaxed at Kinney Lake in preparation for an upcoming fish removal project in October. Starting Sept. 1, fish may be harvested by hand, dip net, or angling. Daily bag and possession limits will also be lifted. These relaxed regulations will be effective until Sept. 25, when the ponds will be closed to all fishing through Dec. 31, to prevent public exposure to rotenone.

Due to potentially lethal water temperatures, trout stocking in Wallowa County ponds was suspended during June. Ponds affected by these changes are; Salt Creek, McGraw, Honeymoon, Teepee, Victor, Weaver, Marr, and Kinney Lake. Trout that would have been released in these ponds were stocked in Wallowa Lake in addition to scheduled trout stockings.

These ponds are traditionally stocked through July with Honeymoon, Teepee, Salt Creek and McGraw also receiving trout in late September to benefit deer hunters. With moderating temperatures managers have determined if these ponds will receive these traditional fall stockings.

WALLOWA LAKE: rainbow trout, kokanee, lake trout

Trout fishing has been good at Wallowa Lake. The lake has received additional rainbow trout stocking due to other area water bodies being too hot to receive fish. This means the lake has been heavily stocked with both legal-size and trophy trout.

Kokanee anglers have found some recent success, however the fish are still running on the small side.

Biologists have received few reports on the kokanee fishery; however, late spring and early summer is usually best. Lend a hand to local biologist and report your kokanee fishing experience at ODFW Fishing Reports.

In 2014 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 $2,700 in rewards have been paid. Some of these fish have likely held over from last year and are available to anglers. If you catch one of these tagged fish, please report the number, location, date, where in the lake the fish was caught and the size to the ODFW office in Enterprise or online.

WALLOWA RIVER: spring Chinook, steelhead, mountain whitefish

The Wallowa River flows are currently extremely low; howeve,r water temperatures are getting cooler and anglers are finding good early morning success. Please be mindful of the well-being of the fish when practicing catch-and-release fishing during drought conditions.

WESTON POND: trout

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

WILLOW CREEK RESERVOIR: crappie, bass and trout

Angling for crappie and bass has been fair; look for schools of crappie suspended offshore. Trout fishing has slowed with the warm water temperatures, but will improve as fall approaches.

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  Northeast Zone Hunting

OPEN: COUGAR, BLACK BEAR, ARCHERY DEER AND ELK, MOURNING DOVE, FOREST GROUSE

Archery seasons open Aug. 29 – Know before you go!

Hunters will face fire restrictions and some closures and they need to know what those are before they go. More info. Some good resources for fire information: InciWeb, National Forest webpages, Oregon Dept Forestry

ODFW is not closing archery season due to fires.

Eagle Complex Fire update

Forest officials have reduced the size of the Eagle Complex Fire Closure Area, bringing it closer to the footprint of the fire. Safety of firefighters and the public continues to be our number one priority as the fire remains active and firefighting resources continue to work in the area. Firefighting hazards such as snags, increased firefighter traffic on local roadways and heavy equipment still exist within the area closure and we urge the public to check with local offices or on our websites for more information before traveling. Please visit www.fs.usda.gov/wallowa-whitman/ to view the reduced closure area order and map.

A 3-year-old male Gray Wolf from the Imnaha Unit
-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

The 39 road near Halfway is now open and only minor shoulder work remains.

The Eagle Complex fire in the Keating Unit currently has a closure associated with it but the area of closure was recently reduced. See the Wallowa Whitman National Forest website for current travel restrictions and map of the affected area.

Deer and elk: Archery hunters should find deer and elk around water and cool moist northern aspects. The continuation of warm temperatures will limit animal activity to early morning and late evening. Remember to check the regulations for the area you will be hunting.

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 to pick up a 2015 tag.

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.

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.

Grouse season starts September 1. Blue grouse can be found in the higher elevations while ruffed grouse are more common in wetter areas. Hunters should expect an average year for grouse. Successful hunters are asked to place the tails and wings from harvested birds in the collection barrels.

GRANT COUNTY

The Canyon Creek Complex Fire is currently burning in the eastern portion of the Murderers Creek Unit and has consumed nearly 75,000 acres of forest. Currently, the USFS has an area closure from Laycock Creek road (Co Rd 49) east to Big Summit Prairie (Co Rd 62) and from FS road 16 north to Hwy 26; basically, all of east Murderers Creek including the Strawberry Wilderness. Conditions and closure are changing and hunters are encouraged to visit inciweb for updated fire information.

Archery season began August 29th. Archery season is expected to be similar to past years. We observed decent bull ratios in all units and good calf recruitment with a notable improvement in the Desolation Unit. Cooler weather is forecasted for the opening weekend which may improve hunting. Elk tend to rut more actively as temperatures drop and the first cool nights of early autumn occur. Deer populations appear to be increasing slightly and a good number of mature bucks were observed in last fall surveys. Hunters should look for areas of early seral forage, like old burns or wet meadows, as deer will key in on those areas in late summer.

Hunters need to be aware of fire and fire restrictions. The Malheur National Forest is currently in phase C restrictions, which means no camp fires, no combustible engines (i.e. generators), and no motorized cross country travel. Hunters should also carry a shovel and 5 gallons of water to stop any accidental starts. Please visit the Malheur National Forest website for more information.

Grouse season starts September 1 and grouse populations appear to be similar to last year. Blue grouse can be found on ridge tops like Nipple Butte, Aldrich Mountain or Vinegar Hill. Ruffed grouse can be found along riparian area like Murderers Creek or Camp 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. Remember to pick up a 2015 tag.

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

Elk archery season opened on Saturday. The elk population for the Heppner is still slightly above MO for the unit and the Fossil unit’s population is stable. Bull ratios have remained constant from last year for both units. The elk calf ratio for both units remains low this year as well. While there will be fewer spike bulls than previous years, there are still good numbers of bulls in the forest.

The dry conditions in the forest have elk condensed in areas that have more water. Hunters will increase their success by focusing on north slopes with good grazing available near open water. With predicted cooler weather, elk generally become more active. Hunters are reminded that the fire restrictions are still in effect on the National Forest. Even with the recent rain, no camp fires are allowed.

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.

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 County and hunters should have good success calling. Remember to ask permission before hunting on private lands.

UNION COUNTY

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. Remember to pick up a tag for 2015.

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 berry crop is not quite what 2014 was but should still 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.

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

The Ladd Marsh YOUTH ARCHERY Deer season opens Aug. 29 and runs through September 13. Youth hunters should find good numbers of deer on the area, especially around tree and shrub rows. The Glass Hill Unit, only, is open to general season archery hunters. Vehicles, camping and fires are prohibited.

The September Canada Goose season will be open September 12th-15th. The wildlife area is extremely dry; very few ponds/wetlands will have huntable water during this hunt. Call the wildlife area for current conditions.

Ladd Marsh harvest statistics for waterfowl

Note: all visitors including hunters must have in their possession a free daily permit to access the wildlife area. Permits and area maps/regulations are available at several self-check-in stations at entry points and parking lots. 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. Parking permits are to be displayed on the vehicle dash.

WALLOWA COUNTY

The majority of the public land in the Wenaha Unit in Wallowa County is closed to public access due to the Grizzly Fire Umatilla NF closure – this includes all of Wenaha Wildlife Area. Check InciWeb or the Forest Service website for the latest maps and information.

Notice: Hancock Timber lands in the Minam and Sled Springs units are currently closed to motor vehicles and camping due to fire precaution measures.

Black Bear: Bear hunting is expected to be good early in the morning and late in the evening in draw bottoms and stream bottoms where bears are feeding on hawthorn, service berry, and elder berries.

Archery: Bull elk hunting was good for the opening weekend in most units. Hunters are having to deal with very dry hunting conditions. Buck hunters can expect only fair success as 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.

Forest Grouse: Hunters can expect to find blue grouse on ridge tops near wet spring areas. Numbers are still below long term averages, so hunters will need to work a little harder to find birds. Ruffed grouse numbers have been more stable and hunters should have good success hunting riparian areas.

Black Bear: Bear hunting is expected to be good early in the morning and late in the evening in draw bottoms and stream bottoms where bears are feeding on hawthorn, service berry, and elder berries.

 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 numbers 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.

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 Northeast Zone Wildlife Viewing

Bighorn sheep
Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep Ram
- Photo by Pat Matthews, 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. Young lambs can be seen this time of year with ewes across most of the bigborn sheep range. The best viewing is in the early morning and late in the evening. Please remember to leave wildlife alone. It is crucial for their survival to keep human interactions to a minimum.

Bald and golden eagles can be seen along the Snake River. Take the Snake River Road between Richland and Huntington. 6/2/15.

GRANT COUNTY

There is a Forest Closure due to the Canyon Creek Complex Fire. The closure map is available on inciweb or on the Malheur National Forest website. The Strawberry Mountain Wilderness, including Strawberry Lake are within the closure boundary. 8/24/15

Countywide

Bighorn Sheep: Bighorn ewes and lambs can be viewed early morning along the South Creek road near Black Canyon on the east side. Rams can be seen usually up Smokey Creek and Oliver Creek. Snakes are out and about this time of year in this area. Watch your steps in rocky areas and riparian areas as snakes tend to hang out in these areas. Snakes are best viewed from a distance; consider yourself a lucky person if you see one as not too many people get a chance to. Be careful not to run them over on the South Fork Road.

Bald and Golden eagles can be viewed along the John Day River. The best time to see them is early in the morning. Watch for other raptors including Redtail Hawks and Northern Harriers, roosting in large trees and on power line poles.

Watch for deer and elk crossing the highways. Doe and Elk Cows will be followed by their fawns and calves, please slow down and take an extra minute to allow for their young to cross the road. Dawn and dusk are the most active time for deer and elk and are not easily seen due to low light conditions by drivers alongside the road. 6/29/2015

MORROW, GILLIAM AND WHEELER COUNTIES

Summer is in full effect here in the Heppner District. For wildlife watchers looking to escape the heat of the foothills for the relative cool of the forest there are several viewing opportunities.

Pileated woodpeckers can be seen in the Bull Prairie area. Lewis woodpeckers can be spotted in southern end of the forest from Bull Prairie to Potamus creek. Mountain and western blue birds can be seen along the open areas of the forest. American goldfinches are a sight this time of year with their bright plumage.

Mule deer and elk can be seen with their fawns and calves, any area that has water is a good bet at dawn or dusk.

Big horn sheep can be seen from Potamus Point but it does take some luck and a lot of scanning to find them. Dawn and dusk are the best times to see them as they do not move in the heat of the day much.

Raptors can be seen with their recently fledged young in much of the forest. Red-tailed hawks, American kestrels, and golden eagles can all be seen in the Wheeler burn in the southwest end of the forest. Great grey owls can be seen in the swale creek area near the 21 road.

In the foothills of the District short owls can be seen at dusk, the irregular wing beat is a great identifier. Loggerheaded shrieks can be seen in those areas that have sage brush. Horned larks, grasshopper sparrows, and savanah sparrows can be seen in the grasslands in the northern part of the District. Swainson’s and red-tailed hawks can be seen in the sage and grasslands areas of the District.

The ospreys are still near the nest site at Willow Creek Reservoir. Kingfishers can be seen along Willow Creek in Heppner.

A wide array of birds is coming into the yards of the District. One can see Lazuli bunting, norther oriel, western kingbirds, house finch, brewers black birds, and barn swallows coming into feeders and sprinklers. 8/4/2015

UMATILLA COUNTY

Quality viewing opportunities can be obtained in the Columbia Basin during the early hours of daylight for fledglings of various species of passerines, raptors, waterfowl, shorebirds and upland game birds.

The Columbia Basin wildlife areas (Willow Creek, Coyote Springs, Irrigon, and Power City), State/County parks, Federal and Tribal areas/refuges along with public roads access throughout the county provide great public access to a multitude of habitats and associated mammalian and avian species. Numerous spring seeps, creeks, rivers and large reservoirs distributed throughout the county provide an abundance of habitat types composed of mixed agricultural lands, savanna and shrub steppe, upland grasslands, riparian and wooded corridors and complex wetlands.

Coyote Springs: On July 22, a 165 acre grassland fire sparked by transmission lines consumed over 85 acres of the wildlife area. Currently there are no access restrictions but there has been significant upland habitat loss due to the fire. Staff will be working to conduct habitat restoration activities in the coming months.

Woodhouse’s Toad
Woodhouse’s Toad

Reptilian and amphibian species associated with these abundant habitats throughout the county can be seen amongst other species the Painted Turtle, Woodhouse and Western Toad in the wetland potholes of the Irrigon Wildlife Area.

The Umatilla National Forest, BLM and county roads provide good access to the Northern Front Range of the Blue Mountains. Heat has arrived and the perennial grass and forbs have begun to dry in the mid elevations.

Deer and Elk are moving to cooler microclimates distributed throughout the forest. Fawns and calves have been observed at heal and should be visible for viewing amongst these associated habitats. 8/4/2015

UNION COUNTY

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 $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 unit, including the auto route, is open for the season. The Glass Hill unit is open to foot 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 above 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, 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.

Extremely dry weather has resulted in nearly complete dry-down of wildlife area wetlands. Hatchling waterfowl may experience high stress levels as wetlands dry out and they attempt to move to remaining water. In some cases, it is a long way to find water. If you encounter broods moving across dry land, please be extra careful not to follow or otherwise stress them. As with the rest of N.E. Oregon, fire danger on Ladd Marsh is extremely high.

A few shorebirds continue in the shallows and mud flats left by the drying conditions. Western, least, solitary and semipalmated sandpiper, long-billed dowitcher, and other shorebirds have been observed recently. American avocets and black-necked stilts are still on the area.

High numbers of raptors are using the area as hatch year birds learn to hunt along with adults.

At least 30 American white pelicans have been seen both in the air and on ponds. Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets take advantage of fish trapped in drying ponds and may be found in relatively high numbers. Egrets can often be found perched in trees where they stand out in their bright white plumage.

Sandhill cranes are using harvested grain fields on private lands to feed on waste grain. They will stage in large numbers in these and other fields for a few more weeks before making the long 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.

Deer and elk may be visible in fields and meadows as they look for water and green forage. Take care not to approach them to avoid spooking them into roadways or other hazards. 9/1/15

Northern Harrier
Dark Morph Swainson’s hawk
-Photo by Kathy Munsel-

WALLOWA COUNTY

Common raptors in the open areas of the county are red-tailed hawks, with occasional ferruginous and Swainson’s hawks also present. A resident pair of bald eagles is again using the nest at the south end of Wallowa Lake. Look for them in a large cottonwood tree near where the Wallowa River runs into the lake. A pair of ospreys can be seen at or near their nest, which is located on a power pole about 1 mile northwest of the town of Lostine near Highway 82.

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 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 Lostine River Road 4-5 miles south of the town of Lostine, and along the Powwatka Ridge Road between 18 and 27 miles north of the town of Wallowa. All of 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.

Waterfowl can 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 and summer residents are moving into the area including, western tanagers, Say’s phoebes, horned larks, killdeers, and robins. Mountain bluebirds are also arrived back from their southern haunts and can be seen in open grassland areas near trees. 9/1/15.

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