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

Weekly Recreation Report: Northeast Zone

April 26, 2016

 Northeast Zone Fishing

Fishing the Imnaha River

Randy Johnson plays a steelhead he hooked and landed on the Imnaha River
-Photo by Andy Martin-

Weekend fishing opportunities:

  • Steelhead are still present in the Imnaha River, although the season closes April 30.
  • Steelhead fishing is slow to fair on the Wallowa River

If your favorite fishing spot is no longer listed

It’s probably because that river, lake or reservoir is closed for the season, inaccessible due to snow and bad roads, or offers limited fishing opportunities during the winter months. These water bodies will re-appear in the Recreation Report when they re-open next spring, or when access and/or opportunity improves.

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 Grande Ronde is running high and may not be produce well for the rest of the season unless flows come back into shape. Look for flows at the Troy gauge to be less than 4,000 CFS before the river starts to fish well. Remember, the new closure date for the Grande Ronde River steelhead fishery is now April 30. Year-round fishing for hatchery trout will also be allowed beginning Jan. 1, 2016.

HOLLIDAY PARK POND: rainbow trout

Pond was stocked last September with trophy-sized trout and will be stocked second week of April. An ADA fishing dock for anglers with disabilities is available.

HUNTER POND: hatchery rainbow trout

This pond will be stocked with legal-sized rainbow trout the week of May 16. 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.

IMNAHA RIVER: Steelhead

Steelhead are still available in the Imnaha River, however flows will make catching fish difficult. Warmer weather will likely keep the flows high with runoff till the close of steelhead season on April 30. This year’s run is one of the best in recent past. Year-round fishing for hatchery trout is also allowed under the 2016 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations.

JOHN DAY RIVER: steelhead

Steelhead fishing has been slow on the John Day River due to high flows. Steelhead have dispersed throughout the system and numbers are increasing above Service Creek in the upper John Day. Best success is likely in the upper river reaches.

Anglers have success primarily drifting with jigs, shrimp or eggs with a bobber. Another popular method is drifting a worm along the bottom. Fly anglers are primarily nymphing with lower success.

ODFW encourages all anglers to keep any ad-clipped steelhead taken in this fishery. All wild (adipose intact) steelhead must be released unharmed.

John Day River flows

LONG CREEK POND, CAVENDER POND: trout

Cavender Pond was stocked last fall with trophy trout and is schedules to be stocked second week of May.

LUGER POND: hatchery rainbow trout

Luger Pond was treated with the chemical fish toxicant rotenone in the fall of 2015 and all fish were removed. The pond with be restocked with legal-sized rainbow trout the week of May 16, 2016.

MAGONE LAKE: rainbow and brook trout

Unsure of lake condition. Lake may not be accessible at this time due to snow covered spots along the access road (4-wheel drive is advised). Stocking is scheduled to occur second week of June.

McHALEY POND: rainbow trout

Pond was recently excavated to improve capacity and to remove aquatic weeds. Very few fish are in the pond post excavation treatment and fishing will be poor. Stocking is scheduled to occur second week of April.

Yellow Perch
Yellow Perch

McKAY RESERVOIR:

Opened for angling March 1, early season trout fishing is fair, the water is still cold and turbid. Yellow perch, are the first warm water fish to be active and bite in the spring, and McKay has good numbers of perch but they are small.

MORGAN LAKE: rainbow trout

Opens to Fishing Friday, April 22.

OLIVE LAKE: rainbow trout, brook trout, and kokanee

Unsure of lake condition and the access road is snow covered in locations (4-wheel drive is advised). Stocking is scheduled for second week of June.

PEACH POND (Ladd Marsh): rainbow trout

The pond was stocked with rainbow trout the first week of April.

ROULET POND: rainbow trout

The pond was stocked with rainbow trout the first week of April.

ROWE CREEK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout

Remains open all year. Fishing is fair for carryover and stocked trout. Stocking is scheduled for third week of May.

TAYLOR GREEN POND: hatchery rainbow trout

Will be stocked with legal-sized rainbow trout the week of May 23. 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.

UMATILLA/WALLA WALLA FOREST PONDS: trout

Boundary, Keyhole, Yellowjacket, Granite Meadows, Goldfish and Windy Springs ponds are closed to angling until Dec. 31 due to pesticide applications to remove unwanted fishes. These ponds are closed to access by the public until all signage is removed. Stocking of these ponds will resume during the spring of 2016.

UMATILLA RIVER: steelhead

Last week catch rates were slow, the water level has been high and off color. Steelhead are spread throughout the river system, creel surveys are now concentrated on the upper river area, but good angling opportunities are still available in the lower river. Anglers can access fish counts at Threemile Dam fish counts. Flow data

WALLOWA COUNTY PONDS: rainbow trout

The Wallowa county ponds will be stocked in early May but may have a few holdover fish available.

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

New to Kinney Lake this year, non-motorized watercraft will be allowed at Kinney Lake. Remember, to be respectful of the private land access that the Triple Creek Ranch and WVID#1 have provided and pack out any trash you bring or find.

Wallowa Lake
Wallowa Lake
- Photo by Martyne Reesman-

WALLOWA LAKE: rainbow trout, kokanee, lake trout

Holdover trout are being caught with a few fish to 18 inches. During the spring the fish have keyed in on more natural baits so shy away from the brightly colored baits. Kokanee can also be caught by jigging deep during the winter months. Wallowa Lake does not reliably freeze every year. However, when the lake does freeze, ice fishing can produce good catch rates for trout and kokanee.

WALLOWA RIVER: steelhead, mountain whitefish

Steelhead fishing on the Wallowa has slowed but fish are still available. This will be the first year anglers can fish for trout through May. Some great hatches occur during this time of year and may result in some great fishing. Remember, the new closure date for the Wallowa River steelhead fishery is now April 30. Year-round fishing for hatchery trout is now allowed under the 2016 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations.

Remember, the Wallowa is a whitefish factory and can produce some large fish. Whitefish are native to Oregon and are a respected sportfish across the west. Whitefish can be great in the smoker and are a great way to keep kids interested while steelhead fishing. To catch them, use beadhead nymphs a size #12-16 hook and fish for them in quick runs that are knee to waist deep.

WILLOW CREEK RESERVOIR: trout

Winter/spring provides the best opportunity for trout fishing, bank anglers use bait fished on the bottom.

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  Northeast Zone Hunting

OPEN: COUGAR, CONTROLLED SPRING BEAR (see regs), SPRING TURKEY

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.

Black Bear
Black Bear
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

BAKER COUNTY

Black Bear - Green up has begun to appear in the lower elevation areas. The mild weather of the past couple of weeks will have bears out and active in the early part of the season. Look for bears close to timber stringers feeding on open ridges. Successful hunters need to remember to check in their bear within ten days of harvest. It cannot be frozen and propping open mouth of bear will help in aiding tooth collection later.

Turkey - Look for spring turkeys to be moving from wintering grounds to their nesting areas. Listen for males to be calling early and late in the evenings to help locate gobblers. Over winter survival was good this past year so expect good numbers of birds this season.

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

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

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.

Cougar
Cougar
- Royalty Free Image-

UNION COUNTY

Cougars are common in Union County. Focus on game rich areas with long ridgelines or saddles that cats typically travel. Setting up downwind of a deer or elk killed by a cougar can be productive. Nonresident hunters can include a cougar tag with others tags for only $14.50. All cougars taken must be checked in within 10 days of harvest; call for an appointment before check in.

Coyote numbers are high throughout the district. Try calling in early morning and late afternoon. Remember to ask for permission before hunting on private properties.

Spring Bear hunters can expect better than anticipated access to mid-elevations for April, due to the warmer weather early in the month. Expect timbered north aspects to have snow above 5000 feet elevation. Bears will be out feeding in early mornings and evenings. Spot and stock techniques remain the most productive for spring hunters with a few bears being taken with fawn distress calls in late May.

Turkey hunters can expect better numbers of birds than in previous years. An excellent hatch in 2015 put plenty of chicks on the ground for this season. Look for birds anywhere in the county with the largest numbers still found in the Wenaha and Mount Emily units. Road access will be good, snow will block some access above 5000’ in April.

Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area

The portion of Ladd Marsh East of Foot Hill road is now closed to all hunting.

Glass Hill Unit is again open to wildlife recreation activities beginning April 1, 2016. This portion will be open and available to both spring bear and turkey hunting. Bears have been seen at the higher elevations of the property in the past but sightings have been very sporadic. The habitat is dense making visibility very limited. Hunters should try to scout for recent activity before spending much effort in bear hunting the property.

Turkeys can be found at the lower elevations but hunting pressure is high.

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.

Vehicles, camping and fires are prohibited on the wildlife area at all times.

For more information please call 541 963 4954

WALLOWA COUNTY

BLACK BEAR: Spring bear season is in full swing, and a good density of black bears exists throughout the district. Most of our snow is gone from mid and low elevation areas of the district and bears will begin waking up and making forays away from their dens in search of early season foods, such as green grass, ground squirrels, and roots and tubers. In spring, black bears are fair weather fellows and really only venture out of their dens on warm, sunny days. The best strategy for finding them this time of year is to sit on a spot with a good view of open canyon sides and use binoculars or a spotting scope to locate them. The animals feed off and on during all daylight hours and patience is the order of the day when spotting spring bears.

TURKEY: Spring turkey season also is going now. Turkey numbers have increased this year in the district and they over-wintered very well with the warm winter that we had this year. Most of our snow is gone from mid and low elevation areas of the district. Turkeys are spread into nesting areas. The best strategy for finding them this time of year is to travel the forest roads or hike into areas where turkeys might be and call for them or just listen for their calls early in the morning.

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
Bighorn Sheep, Deschutes River
- Photo by Brad Robins -

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.

Deer can be seen throughout the valley. Early in the morning and late in the afternoon are good times to view wildlife. Driving through the foothills of the Baker valley and through the Keating valley can turn up good numbers of deer. 2/23/16

Grant County

For the adventurous person, there is a great opportunity to snowshoe or cross country ski up the trail to Strawberry Lake in the Strawberry Wilderness area to view groups of nanny and kid mountain goats. Or try snowshoeing up Onion Creek trail to view the billies.

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.

MORROW, GILLIAM AND WHEELER COUNTIES

The cold weather has mule congested in the valley bottoms. During a quick drive from Heppner to Lexington the average viewer should be able to spot lots of mule deer. Any of the meadows in the forest one can spot bucks chasing does. One can also spot great grey owls in the forest as well. Try the Swale creek area, there is usually one that can be found in that area. Grey-crowned rosy finches, blue birds, western and mountain, grey jay, Steller’s jay, Clark’s nutcracker can all be seen in the forest as well.

Umatilla County

Winter has broken and birds are starting to come out and be visible in all of the low and mid elevation habitats in the County. Ferruginous hawks started arriving in late February and have been forming pairs and working on their nests. They can be seen during the day soaring in loose pairs. Rough-legged hawks are still present and observable from public roads in open grassland areas and valleys in timbered forest areas. Bald eagles are still moving up and down the larger river systems looking for carrion to scavenge. Riparian areas are beehives of activity by migrating and resident birds.

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.

Turkeys are starting to move off their wintering areas and dispersing into the mid slope areas. Toms should start gobbling early in the morning as the weather improves. 2/23/16

Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area

Sunset at Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area
-Photo by David Bronson-

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 $10 daily or $30 annual permit can be purchased online or at an ODFW office that sells licenses or at a license sales agent. Learn more about ODFW’s Wildlife Area Parking Permit Program.

The Tule Lake Unit, including the auto route, is now 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 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.

It is baby season on Ladd Marsh. Please use care not to approach or disturb wildlife, especially those with young as this may make them more vulnerable to predators. Many Canada Goose broods have hatched. Goslings may be seen in ponds and wetlands throughout the area. Thousands of ducks of many different species are in ponds and flooded fields. Mallards have begun nesting. American White Pelicans have been using Schoolhouse Pond sporadically. Also watch for pelicans in flight above the wildlife area.

Great Horned Owls have hatched and Red-tailed Hawks are sitting on eggs. Northern Harriers And Swainson’s Hawks are beginning to nest

Tree, cliff, northern rough-winged and violet-green swallows are back and may be seen on bridges and power lines throughout the area. Black-necked Stilts, American Avocets and other shorebirds are using shorelines and mud flats, especially in Schoolhouse Pond.

A few Sandhill Cranes have hatched their young. Pairs with young may be seen in meadows from a distance. 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. 4/26/16

WALLOWA COUNTY

Common raptors in the open areas of the county in winter are red-tailed hawks and rough-legged hawks. Look for bald eagles perched in the larger trees along Wallowa Lake shore or on power poles near water in the valley. 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.

Elk are returning to the Zumwalt Prairie and can be seen from the Zumwalt Road. Be prepared for snow on the roads as several places have drifted and can get soft in the afternoon due to warmer temperatures. These are county roads that run through private property, so please respect the landowner’s privacy and remain on the county road but 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 most 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 also arrived back from their southern haunts and can be seen in the lower areas of the Imnaha Canyon. 3/28/16

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