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Weekly Recreation Report: Northwest Zone

Updated February 9, 2016

 Northwest Zone Fishing

Fishing the Siletz
Fishing on the Siletz River
-Photo by Andy Walgamott-

Weekend fishing opportunities:

  • Surplus hatchery steelhead have been released into Town Lake, Cape Meares Lake, Coffenbury Lake, Lost Lake, Lake Lytle, and Lorens Pond.
  • Steelhead fishing is fair to good on many North Coast streams.

Send us your fishing report

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) District and the South Willamette Watershed (pdf) District are posted 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.


Trout stocking will resume in March. Town Lake, Cape Meares Lake, Coffenbury Lake, Lost Lake, Lake Lytle, and Lorens Pond have been stocked with surplus hatchery steelhead.


Stocking of rainbow trout will begin soon in many mid coast water bodies. 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 months. 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 fair to good. During lower clear flows, it’s better to focus efforts in the mid to lower river sections. Casting spinners / spoons, or floating bait or a jig are good options.

KILCHIS RIVER: steelhead

Steelhead fishing has been fair to good depending on conditions, with fish spread out through the river. Use lighter gear as the river clears.


Winter steelhead are available in Big Creek, Gnat Creek and the NF Klaskanine rivers. Fishing has been good. There are still some fresh hatchery fish around.


Winter steelhead fishing should be fair to good. Fish are spread through the system. Boaters should watch for downed wood.


Winter steelhead angling in the North Fork Nehalem should be fair to good. Lots of fish are in the system although the number of fresh fish is tapering off. The mainstem Nehalem River should produce fair to good angling depending on flows and river condition. Steelhead are entering the Salmonberry River also.

Anglers who catch a steelhead or salmon with numbered tag(s) are encouraged to report catch information via the internet or by calling ODFW at 503-842-2741 and asking for Derek Wiley. All live tagged fish that are not legal to retain or are voluntarily not kept should be released quickly and unharmed with tags intact.


Steelhead fishing has been fair to good when river conditions are conducive to angling. Fish are available throughout the entire fishery area. Three Rivers is still producing fair to good catches also.

OLALLA LAKE: cutthroat trout, rainbow trout

The reservoir reopens Feb. 1 and trout stocking at this location is scheduled to begin the week of Feb. 8 with the release of 2,000 rainbows. This site is a 120-acre reservoir on Olalla Creek about a mile north of Toledo, Ore. The shoreline and much of the surrounding landscape is owned by Georgia Pacific Corporation and is managed as commercial timberland. The company allows public access to the water, and small boats without motors may be launched.
Anglers on the Siletz River
- Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

SALMON RIVER: steelhead

Winter steelhead fishing is fair and fish can be found throughout the mainstem as river conditions allow. Casting lures, bouncing the bottom or drifting jigs or bait under a bobber are good techniques to consider.

SILETZ RIVER: steelhead

Winter steelhead fishing is slow to fair for both bank and boat anglers. River conditions should remain low and clear for most of the week. Side drifting, bouncing bottom or bobber fishing can be productive.

SIUSLAW RIVER: steelhead

The winter steelhead fishery is fair for both the Siuslaw and Lake Creek systems. River conditions should remain low and clear for most of the week. Casting lures, bobber fishing or pulling plugs are good options.


Catch-and-release fishing for sturgeon could be good. Fish the channel edges on the outgoing tides.

TRASK RIVER: steelhead

Winter steelhead fishing should be fair to good. The north and south forks will have steelhead available also.

Anglers who catch a steelhead or salmon with numbered tag(s) are encouraged to report catch information via the internet or by calling ODFW at 503-842-2741 and asking for Derek Wiley. All live tagged fish that are not legal to retain or are voluntarily not kept should be released quickly and unharmed with tags intact.

WILSON RIVER: steelhead, Chinook

Steelhead angling should be good as the river drops from recent high water. Fish are spread out through the system. Angling for Chinook is closed. An error in the 2016 Fishing Regulations mistakenly lists river as open for hatchery Chinook beginning January 1. The correct opening date is April 1.

YAQUINA RIVER: steelhead

The winter steelhead fishery is slow to fair in the Big Elk. During low clear conditions, anglers should use smaller presentations and focus on deep holding water. Anglers are reminded that there is a lot of private property along the Big Elk. Casting lures or bobbers fishing are the best techniques for this river.

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  Northwest Zone Hunting

- Royalty Free Image-


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).

NW Permit Goose: The next hunt period opens on Feb. 6 and goes through March 10. Hunters are reminded that taking of dusky Canada geese is prohibited, and that there will be no check stations for goose hunters as in previous years.

Wilson’s snipe are found in marshes and on wet areas on old logging landings. These small birds are challenging targets with a shotgun, and the season extends through Feb. 21, 2016.

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 Northwest Zone Wildlife Viewing

Canvasback Duck
Canvasback Duck
- Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

The canvasback is a unique-looking duck with its gently sloping forehead, red head and white/gray body. A diving duck, it usually occupies lakes and deeper waters of estuaries. There are two locations on the north coast that are generally reliable when it comes to finding them. One is Cape Meares Lake, west of Tillamook and next to the village of Cape Meares. The other is SW end of the Hwy 101 Bridge that crosses Young’s Bay. 1/19/16

The Oregon Coast Birding Trail is a great resource for all things birding along the Oregon coastline. The website includes lists of trails by region, a planning guide, checklists, a schedule of special events and more. For example, in the north coast region, there are 43 suggested bird trails alone! It’s a resource well worth investigating. 1/25/16

Migratory ducks, as well as loons, grebes and coots, have been present on the north coast now for a while, and offer decent viewing opportunities on most estuaries. Recent freezing weather and iced-up ponds in the valley have driven more birds over to coastal areas. Optics, such as binoculars or spotting scopes, really help in identification of the birds. 1/4/2016

Snowy plovers have been seen on north coast beaches this fall and will likely make more appearances throughout the winter months as well. Also, with the heavy storm season upon us, be on the lookout for unusual birds on beaches and spits that may have been blown ashore after strong sou’wester events.


Great egrets have recently been seen in Tillamook area pastures along the Nestucca, Tillamook, Trask and Wilson rivers. These elegant-looking white birds are slightly smaller than their cousins, the great blue herons, but can sometimes be seen foraging together in the same fields. Groups of up to 70 in one field have been seen recently.

Wintering raptors are nothing new to the fields around Tillamook but there have recently been large concentrations of them, sometimes squabbling over voles and field mice. Most of the birds are juvenile red-tailed hawks, but there are also adults and other buteo species present. A good field guide can help distinguish between the similar-looking juveniles, dark- and light-phase adults. 1/4/2016

The Nestucca Bay NWR near Pacific City is host to a variety of Canada geese, including the Aleutian, dusky, western and cackler races. They can easily be seen from Hwy 101, just north of Neskowin. To sort out races of geese, or read neck collars, binoculars or a spotting scope are very helpful. Last year there was a rare visitor, a tundra bean goose; it stayed at the NWR quite a while. The nearly all-white snow goose is an occasional visitor as well.


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.

Roosevelt Elk

Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area
-Photo by Rick Swart, ODFW-

Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area

Elk viewing has been good at Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area with the winter feeding program under way. Elk have been staying out in the open fields for much of the day. Best viewing times are 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.

Visitors are urged to use caution around the main viewing area as construction activities are occurring. The public restrooms are closed for remodeling, and will remain closed though mid-January. Portable restrooms are available. Visitors are reminded that areas posted as Wildlife Refuge are closed to public access. Posted portions of the Beneke Tract are closed to entry during any open Saddle Mt. Unit elk season, August 1, 2015 to March 15, 2016 (see big game regulations for exceptions). Wildlife Area Parking Permits are required on the wildlife area.

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