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

Weekly Recreation Report: Northwest Zone

August 25, 2015

 Northwest Zone Fishing

Send us your fishing report

Bluegill
Bluegill
-U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service-

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.

NORTH COAST LAKES

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.

MID COAST LAKES

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.

Cutthroat Trout
Cutthroat Trout
-Photo by Charlotte Ganskopp-

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 and are moving to upstream areas. Water levels are extremely low and clear so use very light gear. The 2 p.m. angling closure applies to all fishing above tidewater.

LOWER COLUMBIA TRIBUTARIES: cutthroat

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. Angling is closed after 2 p.m. daily in areas above tidewater.

NEHALEM RIVER: Chinook, cutthroat, coho

Fishing for Chinook is fair to good. An occasional hatchery coho is caught also. Water temperatures are warm, so incoming tides may produce the best bites as cooler ocean water pushes in. Fish are available in the lower bay up to Nehalem, with increasing numbers of fish moving to upper tidewater areas. Troll herring or spinners near the bottom, or bobber fish in upper tidewater.

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. No bait is allowed above tidewater through August, and angling above tidewater is closed after 2 p.m. daily.

NESTUCCA RIVER AND THREE RIVERS: steelhead, Chinook, cutthroat

Steelhead fishing is slow. Fishing for cutthroat trout should be fair to good. Fishing for spring Chinook closed July 31 above Cloverdale, and Three Rivers is closed to all fishing downstream of the hatchery. All areas above tidewater are closed to angling after 2 p.m. daily until further notice.

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.

Chinook Salmon
Fall Chinook Salmon
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

TILLAMOOK BAY: Chinook, coho

Fall Chinook season began Aug. 1. Fishing for Chinook and hatchery coho is slowly improving as a few fish enter the bay. Trolling herring or spinners are the two most popular techniques. Casting spinners can be productive at times in some of the mid-bay channels.

TRASK RIVER: steelhead, Chinook, cutthroat

Spring Chinook fishing closed 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. The river above tidewater is closed to angling after 2 p.m. daily.

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. Fishing for cutthroat trout should be fair. Use lighter gear for best results as the water is extremely low and clear. Spring Chinook fishing closed July 31. All angling is closed after 2 p.m. above tidewater until further notice.

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

OPEN: COUGAR, BLACK BEAR, ARCHERY DEER AND ELK (open Aug. 29)

The 2015-16 Oregon Game Bird Regulations are now available online and hard copies should be available at POS license vendors very soon.

Black Bear
Black Bear
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Use the Oregon Hunting Map to see where to hunt.

Archery seasons open Aug. 29 – Know before you go!

Hunters will face fire restrictions and some closures and they need to know what those are before they go. More info. Some good resources for fire information: InciWeb, National Forest webpages, Oregon Dept Forestry

ODFW is not closing archery season due to fires.

Deer and elk archery will likely be slow during the opening weekend, especially with the dry conditions in the forests. Access will very likely be limited only to public (state and federal) lands as access on industrial forest lands is predicted to remain closed until significant precipitation occurs. Hunting success typically improves for elk in September as they move more into the rut.

Black bear will be slow with the rather warm weather, and 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 blackberries, thimbleberries 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. Successful hunters must check in their bear 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.

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.

Forest grouse and mountain quail season opens Sept. 1 in western Oregon with hunting predicted to be good as the birds had excellent nesting conditions this spring and summer. Look for sooty (blue) grouse in higher elevations, such as ridge tops. Ruffed grouse are more common on mid-slope and riparian areas. Mountain quail prefer brushy clearcut areas on south or west-facing slopes.

Mourning dove season also opens Sept. 1, but there not many of these birds on the north coast as there is limited grain agriculture in the region. A larger and similar looking dove – the Eurasian collared dove – is an invasive species and can be hunted year-round with just a hunting license.

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 Northwest Zone Wildlife Viewing

Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican
-Photo by Patti Abbot-

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.

Reports of dead seabirds have started coming in to ODFW offices in August. Many of the birds are young-of-the-year common murres that are showing symptoms of extreme emaciation. This is consistent with starvation, which is not surprising given the rather warm ocean surface temperatures for most of the summer. The prevailing warm and clear ocean waters indicate a relatively unproductive ecosystem associated with the current El Nino conditions.

Band-tailed pigeons have been residing on the north coast all summer, but are now more visible in the forest. This is because wild berry crops, such as red elderberry and cascara, are ripening, and the pigeons readily take advantage of this plentiful food source in the coast range.

TILLAMOOK COUNTY

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.

CLATSOP COUNTY

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.

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 closed to entry during any open Saddle Mt. Unit elk season, August 1, 2015 to March 15, 2016 including the general bow seasons (see big game regulations for exceptions during the Western general rifle deer season).

Wildlife Area Parking Permits are required on the wildlife area. 8/18/15

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