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Weekly Recreation Report: Northwest Zone

July 28, 2015

 Northwest Zone Fishing

Benson Bowers
Benson Bowers with a bright Clackamas summer steelhead.
-Photo by Jon Bowers-

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.

Warmer temperatures increase stress on fish

However, anglers reduce the stress from catch-and-release fishing by following a few precautions:

  • Fish early in the mornings when water temperatures are lower.
  • Fish in lakes and reservoirs with deep waters that provide a cooler refuge for fish.
  • Use barbless hooks, land fish quickly and keep them in the water as much as possible in order to minimize stress.
  • Shift fishing efforts to higher elevation mountain lakes and streams where water temperatures often remain cooler.

Warmwater fish like bass, crappie and bluegill also feel the effects of the heat, so please follow these precautions in all your summer fishing.

Very low water levels in coastal streams will present some challenging fishing conditions. Scale down your gear, using smaller weights and baits, and lighter leaders. Look for fish, especially steelhead, to hold in different parts of the river than they normally would. Due to warm water temperatures, fishing may be best early in the morning.

Statewide drought updates

For the latest statewide drought conditions, see the State of Oregon’s Drought Watch.


Trout fishing is likely to be slow. Due to warm conditions, concentrate on early morning hours when fish are likely to be the most active.

Warm water fishing is slow to fair. Coffenbury, Cullaby, Sunset, Lytle, Cape Meares, and Town lakes, and Vernonia Pond all offer opportunity for largemouth bass. Weed growth and water quality may be a problem in some areas.

The latest trout stocking schedule.


Fishing for the various warm water fish species is fair to good during the summer months. There are numerous lakes in the Florence area that can provide good opportunity and have boat and bank access.

ALSEA RIVER: cutthroat trout

The cutthroat trout fishery is fair in the mainstem and in some of the large tributaries. With the low and warm river conditions the best opportunities will be in the early morning when water temperatures are the coolest. Small spinners are typically productive as wells as small spoons or fly fishing with nymphs or streamers.

KILCHIS RIVER: cutthroat

Cutthroat fishing should be fair. Sea-run cutthroat should be available in good numbers in tidewater areas. Water levels are extremely low and clear so use very light gear.


Catch-and-release fishing opportunity for cutthroat trout is available. These are small streams, with very low flows and clear water at this time. Using light gear and stealthy tactics should produce fair fishing.

NEHALEM RIVER: Chinook, cutthroat

Angling for Chinook is improving. The best reports have come from the lower by near the jaws, but some fish are being caught at least up to the Wheeler area. Troll herring or spinners near the bottom. Sea-run cutthroat can be caught throughout the bay and tidewater areas, and further upstream. Troll or cast small lures or flies along the channel margins or in areas of cover, such as logs or woody debris.

NESTUCCA RIVER AND THREE RIVERS: steelhead, Chinook, cutthroat

Fishing is slow for spring Chinook. Fish are available through tidewater and into the lower river. Water levels are low, and temperatures warmer than normal. The best bite will likely be first thing in the morning. Steelhead fishing is slow. Fishing for cutthroat trout should be fair to good, with increasing numbers of sea-runs in tidewater. Fishing for spring Chinook closes July 31 above Cloverdale, and Three Rivers is closed to all fishing downstream of the hatchery.

SALMON RIVER: cutthroat trout

Cutthroat trout fishing is slow to fair with the early morning being the most productive. Using small lures like spinners, spoons or various flies can be productive.

Williams Family

Steve Williams with his daughter and son, Kathyrn and Kyle after a day of steelhead fishing on the Siletz River.
-ODFW Photo-

SILETZ RIVER: steelhead, cutthroat trout

Summer steelhead fishing is fair in the upper river. Low flows and warming river temperatures are making new fish race up into the cooler holding waters of the gorge area. New fish will continually be moving into the river through the summer with peak numbers typically in July. River flows are much lower than normal for this time of year so think small and subtle presentations. Typical steelhead tactics apply such as bobber and jig / bait, or casting spoons or spinners.

Cutthroat trout are now also open to harvest and can be found throughout the main stem river and many large tributaries.

SIUSLAW RIVER: cutthroat trout

The cutthroat trout fishery is slow to fair. Fishing during the early mornings or in the larger tributaries is the most productive. River conditions are very low and warm for this time of year. Bait is not allowed above the head of tide but small spinners, spoons and fly fishing can be very productive.

TILLAMOOK BAY: sturgeon, Chinook

Spring Chinook fishing closes July 31 and transitions to the fall season August 1. Expect slow fishing until later in August. Trolling herring or large bladed spinners are the two most popular techniques. Catch-and-release fishing for sturgeon is slow.

TRASK RIVER: steelhead, Chinook, cutthroat

Spring Chinook fishing closes July 31. An occasional summer steelhead is being caught. Fishing for cutthroat trout is fair to good. The hatchery hole area is closed to all fishing through Oct. 15.

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, cutthroat

Summer steelhead fishing is slow also. Fishing for cutthroat trout should be fair. Use lighter gear for best results as the water is extremely low and clear. Spring Chinook fishing closes July 31.

YAQUINA RIVER: cutthroat trout

Cutthroat trout fishing is slow to fair. The best opportunities are coming in the early mornings when river temperatures are the coolest. River conditions are very low and warm for this time of year. The mainstem Yaquina and Big Elk Creek are good places to try casting small spinners or spoons as well as bait fishing near the head of tide.

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  Northwest Zone Hunting


Use the Oregon Hunting Map to see where to hunt.

Black bear season opens on August 1.With the rather warm weather, bears will be most active early in the morning and late in the evening in openings such as clear-cuts. Most wild berry crops are early this year so look for patches of salmonberry, thimbleberry and the different types of huckleberries where bears may be foraging. Like with cougar, predator calling during the mid-day hours can be very productive.

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.

Black bear season opens on August 1. With the rather warm weather, bears will be most active early in the morning and late in the evening in openings such as clearcuts. Most wild berry crops are early this year so look for patches of salmonberry, thimbleberry and the different types of huckleberries where bears may be foraging. Like with cougar, predator calling during the mid-day hours can be very productive.

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 Northwest Zone Wildlife Viewing

Swainson's Thrush
Swainson's Thrush
- Wickipedia-

Although nesting season for songbirds may be winding down now that August is approaching, both year-round residents, such as the winter wren and white-crowned sparrow, along with neo-tropical migrants like the Swainson’s thrush and yellow warbler, continue to fill the forest with the songs of male birds in their nesting territories.

Brown pelicans are arriving to the north coast in increasing numbers as summer is here. These large, near-shore ocean-dwelling birds are entertaining to watch whether they are gliding just over the waves or stooping to dive for fish. Some good areas to observe them include Cape Meares State Park and the South Jetty at the Columbia River, accessed through Ft. Stevens State Park.


Steller sea lions are common on the smaller nearshore rocks on the eastern edge of the Three Arch Rocks NWR, located just west of Oceanside. Both adults and pups are present and can be distinguished by size and coloration. The refuge is home to these marine mammals nearly year-round except in the fall when they take a brief hiatus. Bring binoculars or a spotting scope for best viewing.

Common murres are seabirds that have historically nested on top of nearshore rocks, such as Three Arch Rocks NWR. They have been seen there and on other rocks such as Pyramid Rock near Cape Meares NWR during the nesting season. However, nesting will likely be minimal on those areas due to predation by bald eagles in recent years, so more nesting is will occur on small obscure ledges, generally protected from predation.


American white pelicans have been nesting on islands (mainly Miller Sands) on the lower Columbia River now for several years. As their name implies, they are large white birds – the only ones like that you’ll see there during the summer months. In Oregon, they typically nest inland in eastern portion, so seeing them in western Oregon is a rarity. One place you may be able to see them from land is the viewing platform at the Twilight Eagle Sanctuary, located just off of Hwy 30, east of Astoria. Bring a spotting scope for best viewing.

Roosevelt Elk
Roosevelt Elk
-Photo by Jim Yuskavitch, ODFW-

Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area

Elk viewing has been fair at Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area. With the hot and dry weather conditions, viewing has been restricted to early mornings and late evenings. Most fields have been mowed so elk should be more visible when they are out. Check areas along Hwy 202 and the first 1.5 miles on Beneke Creek Road.

Band-tailed pigeons have been seen near viewing areas along Hwy 202. A variety of song birds are visible throughout the area, especially near the bird feeders at most viewing areas.

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 until September. 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 open to the public starting March 16 and will remain open until August 1.

Wildlife Area Parking Permits are required on the wildlife area. 7/20/15

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