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Weekly Recreation Report: Northwest Zone

Updated May 3, 2016

 Northwest Zone Fishing

Weekend fishing opportunities:

  • A Family Fishing Event is scheduled for Saturday, May 7 at Vernonia Pond from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.

EVENT: Razor clamming workshops Saturday, May 7 and Sunday, May 8 at Fort Stevens State Park.

Bring the kids as this is a family friendly workshop where everyone can learn how to spot, dig for and cook razor clams. Pre-registration and fee ($12 for kids, $52 for adults) required; see event listing links for more information or go to

Send us your fishing report

Fishing the Nestucca
Fishing in the Nestucca River
-Photo by Kathy Munsel-

We’d love to hear about your recent fishing experience. Send us your own 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.

Trout season in coastal river systems will re-open May 22, 2016.

2016 trout stocking schedule

The 2016 trout stocking schedules for the North Coast Watershed (pdf) on the ODFW Trout Stocking Page. Take a look to find out when and where Oregon’s hatchery trout are being released around the state.


Town, Hebo, and Cape Meares lakes, and Vernonia Pond are scheduled to be stocked the week of May 2. This is the last scheduled stocking prior to free fishing weekend in June.

Warmwater fish may become more active with warm weather forecasted. Look for some possible early largemouth bass action in Lake Lytle, Coffenbury Lake, Cullaby Lake, Sunset Lake, and Cape Meares Lake.

Town Lake, Cape Meares Lake, Coffenbury Lake, Lost Lake, Lake Lytle, and Lorens Pond have been stocked with surplus hatchery steelhead over the winter.


Rainbow trout stocking is underway in many locations along the mid coast. Look at the stocking report to see the full stocking season.

Fishing for the various warm water fish species tends to be slower during the winter month but can pick up quickly as spring nears and fish move to the shallows for spawning. There are numerous lakes in the Florence area that can provide good opportunity and have both boat and bank access.

ALSEA RIVER: steelhead

Winter steelhead fishing is slow. The river closes to all fishing effective May 1 and will reopen with the cutthroat trout fishery on May 22.


Spring Chinook angling is showing some signs of improvement. The best opportunity is in the lower bay and tidewater, but a few fish should be moving into upstream areas also. A few summer steelhead are showing up too. Gear restrictions take effect in Three Rivers May 1. Check regulations. The river is closed upstream of Moon Creek until May 22.


The river basin is closed to all fishing above the head of tide and will reopen for cutthroat trout fishing on May 22.

SILETZ RIVER: steelhead

Winter steelhead fishing is slow. This time of year is typically dominated by mostly wild fish. Side drifting, bouncing bottom or bobber fishing can be productive.


The river basin is closed to all fishing above the head of tide and will reopen for cutthroat trout fishing on May 22.


Spring Chinook are available in decent numbers, and angling is improving. The tides this weekend are conducive to fishing the upper bay, although afternoon tides could be productive in the lower bay. Trolling herring or large bladed spinners are the most productive techniques.

Wilson River Winter Steelhead
-Photo by Ross Henshaw-

TRASK RIVER: steelhead, Chinook

Spring Chinook angling is fair. Fish are spread out from tidewater up to the hatchery. Bobber and bait is the best bet. Steelhead fishing is slow. Anglers are reminded that gear restrictions take effect May 1 from the Cedar Creek Wooden boat slide to the marker at the Lorens Drift wooden boat slide site.

WILSON RIVER: steelhead, Chinook

Fishing for steelhead and spring Chinook is slow. The water is low and clear, so use lighter gear and target the deeper holding areas.

YAQUINA RIVER: steelhead

The river basin is closed to all fishing above the head of tide and will reopen for cutthroat trout fishing on May 22.

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  Northwest Zone Hunting


Cougar are most effectively taken by using predator calls. However, cougar densities are relatively low on the north coast. Successful hunters, remember you must check in cougar (hide and skull) at an ODFW office within 10 days of harvest and bring them in unfrozen. It’s also a good idea to prop their mouths open with a stick after harvest for easier tissue sampling, teeth collection and tagging.

See regulations for details (pdf).

Controlled spring bear continues until May 31, see the hunting forecast for tips

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 Northwest Zone Wildlife Viewing

May is the peak month for the spring migration of shorebirds on their way north to Arctic breeding grounds. Many of the birds use the beaches as their navigation route, and can often be seen resting and feeding on north coast beaches during the daylight hours. Binoculars, along with a good field guide, are great aids in viewing and distinguishing the various species that may be encountered.

Lately, whimbrels, large brown non-descript shorebirds have been seen on the north coast, as they often are during May. They can be seen on the beaches or foraging in pastures in Clatsop and Tillamook counties. By June, they are typically gone on their way to the northern nesting grounds.

The forests in the north coast area are starting to come alive with sounds of songbirds declaring their nesting territories. As of now, most of the birds are those species found here year-round, but soon the songs of many neo-tropical migrants will also fill the forest. For areas of highest songbird diversity, look for mixed stands of hardwoods and conifers.

Great Egret near Tillamook
Great Egret near Tillamook
-Photo by Kathy Munsel-


Three Arch Rocks NWR, located just west of Oceanside, has historically been home to thousands of nesting common murres and other colonial seabirds, and it is still possible to see large numbers of them staging below the rocks in the water. However, few birds nest there anymore due to the near constant presence of bald eagle that has severely disrupted nesting on the larger rocks in recent years. Instead, the Steller sea lions are a very reliable denizen on the lower rock in front, Seal Rock. They can be seen loafing on the rock, often with young pups in the mix. These are the larger and lighter-colored cousin to the more common California sea lion.


The Twilight Eagle Sanctuary, located east of Astoria, just off of Hwy 30 is a great place to observe not only bald eagles, but a host of wintering waterfowl. The viewing platform is complete with interpretive panels and provides a great overview of Wolf Bay on the lower Columbia River. Tundra swans are occasional seen there off in the distance near the main river channel. As always, optics are very helpful here.

Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area

Elk viewing has been good at Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area. With the recent warm weather elk have been visible in the mornings and evenings. Good places to look are the Fishhawk Tract along Hwy 202 and the Beneke Tract along the first 1.5 miles of Beneke Creek Road. Bull elk have shed their old antlers and new growth is already visible. Many returning visitors have arrived at the wildlife area. Tree and violate green swallows can be seen gliding over fields and checking out nest boxes along view area fence lines. Band-tailed pigeons have been observed near area bird feeders. Many other song bird species can be seen in and around viewing areas.

Visitors are reminded that areas posted as Wildlife Refuge are closed to public access and that Wildlife Area Parking Permits are required on the Wildlife Area.

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