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Weekly Recreation Report: Northeast Zone

September 27, 2016

 Northeast Zone Fishing

Chinook Salmon
Chinook Salmon
-Photo by Patti Abbott-

Weekend fishing opportunities:

  • Fall is a great time for some trout fishing in the mountain lakes.
  •  Chinook salmon fishing is open on the Snake River with a bag limit of six hatchery fish.
  • Steelhead is open on the Grande Ronde, Imnaha, and Wallowa rivers.
  • Smallmouth bass fishing is excellent on the John Day River downstream from Kimberly and on the North Fork up to Monument.
  • Crappie fishing continues to be good at McKay Reservoir, with best fishing late in the evening and at night. Fish are suspended and fairly deep but move up in the water column late in the evening.
  • Walleye fishing is fair in the Columbia from McNary Dam to Boardman. Troll deep diving plugs or drift downstream with bottom bouncers and spinner/worm combos.
  • Olive Lake will be drawn down nearly 27 feet this fall due to a mechanical failure at Olive Lake Dam. Umatilla Forest Service closed public access to a small portion of the lake, however all recreation activities will remain open outside of the closed areas. ODFW will continue to monitor the situation. If you have any questions or concerns please contact the Umatilla National Forest or ODFW’s John Day District field office.

If your favorite fishing spot is no longer listed

It could be the area is closed, inaccessible due 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, located east of Dayville, OR. A WMA parking permit is required. The ponds are hike in access only (1.3-1.7 mile hike). Bag limit: 2 trout per day; see pg. 53 in the regulations book.

BULL PRAIRIE RESERVOIR: rainbow and brook trout

Bull Prairie Reservoir is scheduled to be stocked with trophy sized trout the last week of September, fishing should be good. A campground and a boat launch are available. Bait, lures and flies are all producing.

GRANDE RONDE RIVER: trout, whitefish, bass, steelhead

Steelhead season is open on the Grande Ronde and anglers are picking up a few fish. However, fishing typically doesn’t pick up until later in the month with the best fishing taking place on through the fall. 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 is scheduled to be stocked with trophy sized trout the last week of September, fishing should be good. An ADA fishing dock for anglers with disabilities is available.

HUNTER POND: hatchery rainbow trout

This pond was last stocked with rainbow trout in mid-May. The next stocking is planned for late September. From I-84 take Hwy. 244 towards Ukiah. At the Blue Mountains 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: trout, bass

Steelhead season is open, and some of the best fishing days take place in late September and early October. 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.

JOHN DAY RIVER: smallmouth bass

Smallmouth bass fishing is good with many fish being caught downstream from Kimberly and on the North Fork up to Monument. River flows are steady but low, make sure to check the flows before planning your trip.

John Day River flows

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


Angling for rainbow trout should be good as water temperatures have cooled putting the trout back on the feed in shallower water. Lures, flies and bait and bait should all be productive.

This is a 97-acre lake located within the Umatilla Forest about 54 miles northeast of Pendleton. Located near the summit of the Blue Mountains at an elevation of 4,696 ft. Bank access is good. Amenities include a 50-site Forest Service campground on the west side of the lake, an ADA-accessible 2.8 mile paved hiking trail around the lake, and a paved boat ramp. Only electric motors may be used on boats.


Cavender Pond is scheduled to be stocked with trophy sized trout the last week of September, fishing should be good.

LUGER POND: hatchery rainbow trout

This pond was last stocked with rainbow trout in mid-May. The next stocking is planned for late September.

MAGONE LAKE: rainbow and brook trout

The lake was stocked the second week of June with legal and trophy sized trout and fishing is good.

McHALEY POND: rainbow trout

The pond has been stocked with legal-sized trout and fishing is good.

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


Crappie fishing should be good once you find schools of them, look for concentrations of crappie along the deeper willow edges and near rock outcroppings. Bass fishing has been good for both large and smallmouth. The reservoir is at 50 percent pool elevation, the boat ramp is still usable but water level is past the concrete ramp.

MORGAN LAKE: rainbow trout

Open to fishing.

OLIVE LAKE: rainbow trout, brook trout, and kokanee

Umatilla Forest Service has closed portions of Olive Lake due to a mechanical failure in the water release gate on Olive Lake Dam. The area closed to public entry is approximately one-half acre and will be signed, fenced and defined by a string of buoys extending from the dam into the water.

The campground and hiking trail around the lake remain open as well as all other water activities outside the restricted area, however the drop in the lake may impact access to the boat ramp and docks. The gate will remain open until the lake drops to a level where it is safe to repair, approximately 27 feet. ODFW will continue to monitor the situation.

PEACH POND (Ladd Marsh): rainbow trout

The pond was last stocked with rainbow trout the first week of May. The next stocking is planned for mid-October.

PENDLAND LAKE: rainbow trout

Fall is one of the best times to fish Pendland Lake, a small boat or float tube is essential to getting anglers away from the shoreline weed growth. All angling methods will work but fly fishing is the best method to target rainbow trout in the fall months.

ROULET POND: rainbow trout

The pond was last stocked with rainbow trout the first week of May. The next stocking is planned for mid-October.


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

TAYLOR GREEN POND: hatchery rainbow trout

This pond was last stocked with rainbow trout in late May. The next stocking is planned for late September. 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.


The forest ponds provide a good opportunity for a combination trip for hunters, the forest ponds are good camping locations and can provide a break from hunting. All ponds should provide good fishing for rainbow trout.


Trout anglers in the upper river can expect fair angling for rainbow trout. Anglers can access fish counts at Threemile Dam fish counts. Flow data


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 are now allowed. Kinney Lake is currently very low and may be difficult to fish however the reservoir is slowly filling.

Salt Creek Summit still has fish available and were actively rising during a recent visit by the local biologist.

WALLOWA LAKE: rainbow trout, kokanee, lake trout

Wallowa Lake has fished very well for trout this summer. As the fall progresses the remaining stocked fish will begin switching to more natural food. Try natural baits and natural imitations to attract these fish. Bait should be either hung under a float or set just off bottom. Kokanee anglers have been reporting catching daily limits of 25 fish. Kokanee size appears to be improving with reports of fish in the 8-9 inch range and some fish as large as 12 inches.

WALLOWA RIVER: steelhead, mountain whitefish

Trout fishing has been good on the Wallowa this summer and some large fish are being caught. Focus efforts in the early morning or late evening for the best success. Mountain whitefish are also very abundant in the Wallowa and are readily caught on small bead-head nymphs.

Steelhead season opens Sept. 1. A few steelhead are available in the fall however the best fishing is in late winter and early spring. 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.


The ponds have been stocked and should provide good angling.

Willow Creek Reservoir
Willow Creek Reservoir
- Photo by Kathy Munsel-

WALLA WALLA RIVER: rainbow trout

The Walla Walla River should provide good angling for rainbow trout in the Harris Park area, anglers are reminded of the lure’s and flies only regulation. Anglers may not target Bull trout and are required to release any Bull trout caught.

WILLOW CREEK RESERVOIR: crappie, bass, brown bull head, trout

Angling for warm water fish should be taking center stage at Willow Creek Reservoir. The lake has been stocked with trophy trout and should provide good angling.

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  Northeast Zone Hunting

OPEN: COUGAR, BEAR, CONTROLLED RIFLE DEER (opens Oct. 1), BIRD (Forest Grouse, Mourning Dove open see regs)

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.

deer hunt

Hayden, 14, got this big buck. He's pretty proud.
-Photo by Shane Johnson-


Deer season opens Oct 1. The dry summer means water availability in some areas will play an important role in animal distribution. Hunters should concentrate on areas with available green forage for best results. Dark Canyon, Patrick Creek and Pine-Keating TMA’s go into effect Sept 28. For fire updates and area closures please check with the Wallow-Whitman National forest.

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.


Elk and Deer – Controlled rifle deer season opens Oct. 1. Fawn ratios were fair and buck ratios were near MO this year so hunting should be similar to last year. The Murderers Creek-Flagtail and Camp Creek TMA’s are in effect so hunter need to be aware that the green dot road closures are in effect. The Rail Creek Fire west of Unity is contained but area closure do to the fire may limit access for hunts in portions the West Beulah unit. Hunters are encouraged to check for updated fire information. The USFS is conducting some controlled burns throughout the forest so hunter should pay attention to signed areas where burns are planned and avoid those areas.

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.

Bear population are doing well and archery hunters reported seeing bear frequently, so rifle deer hunters may want to purchase their fall bear tag before deer season. Fall bear tag sale dead line is September 30th.


Deer hunting opens Oct. 1 for those with the controlled rifle tag. Cooler conditions and some moisture is expected for the opening weekend of buck season. This should help with hunter success. However will low fawn survival from last year hunters will find fewer yearling bucks which may make hunting a little more difficult. Hunters will find deer scattered throughout the Heppner, Fossil and Columbia Basin units. Hunters can hunt on the national forest and BLM lands or they can also hunt the Heppner Regulated Hunt Area.

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.


Controlled rifle deer season opens Oct. 1.

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.


Forest Grouse should be plentiful this season. Look for ruffs in moist canyon bottoms choked with Alder and Hawthorn trees. Blues can be found above 5000 feet elevation on ridge tops.

Fall turkey season opens Oct. 8. Hunters can purchase tags on a first come first serve basis until the quota is filled. Birds are plentiful everywhere in Union County. Hunt around water sources and in areas with wild fruit trees.

Rifle Deer hunters can expect to find bucks near water sources. Look for springs near dense cover. Warm days will keep deer from moving during daylight hours, precipitation will increase deer activity. Staying in the field all day will increase chances of encountering deer.

Black bears will be focused on fruit and berries in the early fall. Look for bears in riparian areas with Hawthorn trees or on slopes with Huckle or elder berries. Hunters should concentrate hunting during the early morning and evening hours. All bears taken must be checked in within 10 days of harvest; call for an appointment before check in.

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.

Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area

Glass Hill is open for Big game hunting. Elk, Mule Deer, and Whitetail deer utilize this area year around. Whitetail are usually found on the lower elevation portion amongst the thick shrub vegetation while Mule deer and elk inhabit primarily the upper timber habitat.
The Ladd Marsh Whitetail deer population have suffered from blue tongue disease in the last few years the same as the rest of Union County.

Mule deer and elk populations are still holding solid on Glass Hill. Increased pressure usually moves these animals onto private property early but they may return later in the seasons.

Slow stalking or stand hunting should be effective on Glass hill as the property is still very dry and the vegetation is noisy to walk through.


Notice: Hancock Timber lands in the Minam and Sled Springs units have now re-opened to camping after the recent fire precaution measures.

Forest Grouse: Forest grouse in Wallowa County did not fare as well as grouse in other parts of the state this year because cold, wet weather in June when the eggs were hatching caused high chick mortality early on. Some ruffed grouse can still be found in draw bottoms with dense brush. Blue grouse are found higher on the slopes and on ridgetops near the edge of timber stands.

deer hunt

Mule deer buck taken opening morning of the 2015 rifle season in Wallowa County.
-Photo by Matthew Snyder-

Rifle Buck: Buck hunters can expect average success as deer numbers are still below management objective, but recent rains have alleviated dry conditions and stalking should be easier. Hunters are reminded to check USFS regulations on camp/cook fires.

Mountain Goat: Most of the early season goat hunters have completed their hunts now and several nice goats were checked in.

Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep: All our bighorn sheep hunters are done now with their hunts. All 4 hunters harvested very nice rams with the largest scoring 183 B&C points.

Black Bear: Bear hunting has been good early in the morning and late in the evening in draw bottoms and along streams where bears are feeding on hawthorn, service berry, elder berries, and other fruits.

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.

Coyote: Good numbers of coyotes can be found throughout Wallowa County. Calling coyotes with rabbit distress type calls has been effective for hunters. It is important to choose areas with abundant coyote sign and little human activity.

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 Northeast Zone Wildlife Viewing

Bighorn sheep
Bighorn Sheep, Deschutes River
- Photo by Brad Robins -

Grant County

There is a good chance to see mountain goats from Roads End above High Lake in the Strawberry Wilderness. Best chance is early in the morning but goats can be visible all day. There has also been a pair of Peregrine Falcons seen in the same area, a chance for a rare viewing opportunity.

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

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, will close to all public entry Saturday, October 1. The area will re-open for Saturdays, Sundays, Wednesdays and holidays with the opening of waterfowl and pheasant seasons October 8. The Glass Hill unit is open 7 days a week to foot and horse 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.

Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area

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

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.

Many summer species have left the area for their wintering grounds and few winter species have arrived. Most Swainson’s hawks have gone, headed for South America but rough-legged hawks have not arrived.

Deer and elk can be seen from county roads using fields and meadows, especially in early morning.

Sandhill cranes are gathering in larger groups for feeding or roosting. Soon they will begin their southward migration 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). 9/27/16


Common raptors in the open areas of the county are red-tailed hawks, American kestrels, and golden eagles. Occasionally ferruginous, Swainson’s hawks and prairie falcons can also be seen. Look for bald eagles and ospreys perched in the larger trees along Wallowa Lake shore or on power poles near water in the valley.

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 Powwatka Ridge Road between 18 and 27 miles north of the town of Wallowa. These areas are county roads that run through private property, so please respect the landowner’s privacy and remain on the county road 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.

Canada geese and several species of ducks can also be seen feeding in agricultural fields and along streams around the county or flying into the north end of Wallowa Lake in the evenings to roost.

Kokanee salmon are now spawning in the Wallowa River just upstream from Wallowa Lake. The best viewing opportunities are from the bridge over the road entering Wallowa Lake State Park and from the river bank between there and the lake. 9/20/16

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