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Southwest Zone Map

Weekly Recreation Report: Southwest Zone

October 18, 2016

 Southwest Zone Fishing

Weekend fishing opportunities:

  • Bank anglers are also catching salmon at the Coos Bay city boardwalk, Isthmus Slough, and mouth of Daniels Creek.
  • 900 trophy trout were recently released in Fish Lake.
  • Anglers can now fish for salmon with a second rod in most SW Zone streams through Oct. 31 if they purchase a two-rod endorsement for $21.50. News release.
  • Fishing for trout has been improving at Howard Prairie Reservoir as temperatures have cooled. Trout in the 14-19 inch range are being caught by both bank anglers and trollers.
  • The upper Rogue has been fishing fairly well for summer steelhead with low pressure.
  • Coho are being caught in decent numbers in the lower Umpqua but only hatchery coho may be harvested.
  • Bass fishing in Tenmile Lakes and on the Coquille River has been good.

Please check online regulations for the most up-to-date information.

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.

2016 trout stocking schedules

For detailed information about when and where hatchery trout are going to be released, please refer to the 2016 ODFW Trout Stocking Schedules page.

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

AGATE LAKE: largemouth bass, black crappie, bluegill, bullheads

Fishing for warmwater gamefish should be good, with the best fishing occurring early and late in the day for bass. Night crawlers and crappie jigs should work well throughout the day. The lake is 16 percent full and the boat ramp is open from dawn until dusk. The boat ramp is useable.

APPLEGATE RESERVOIR: largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, trout

Fishing for trout should start picking back up with the decreasing reservoir temperatures. Trout anglers will want to try trolling, with a good bet being a wedding ring/bait combination early in the morning. Fishing with bait from shore in the upper reservoir should also produce.

Smallmouth and largemouth bass fishing should be good on small and regular Senkos fished off the points and boulder areas. The lake is 26 percent full. The Hart-Tish, Copper, and French Gulch boat ramps are available. The concessionaire at Hart-tish Park has closed camping for the season but the boat ramp should still be available.

APPLEGATE RIVER: steelhead, trout

The Applegate River is open for trout angling but closed to Chinook and steelhead angling. Wild trout must be released unharmed. Rainbow trout over 16 inches are considered steelhead and must be released through Dec. 31.

ARIZONA POND: rainbow trout

The pond has been lowered to help control aquatic vegetation. This pond is managed by Oregon State Parks for youth-only fishing. It is located at Arizona Beach State Recreation Area, approximately half way between Gold Beach and Port Orford.

BEN IRVING RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, bass, bluegill, yellow perch, crappie

Ben Irving has been stocked with 5,000 trout this year, and there are still opportunities to catch rainbows from previous year stockings. Warmwater fishing for bass, crappie and bluegill will slow with dropping temperatures. Try using soft-plastics and swimbaits around structure for positive results.


Rain this week should move Chinook into the lower river giving bank anglers a chance to catch some nice fish. Anglers will want to check regulations before heading out, as there are gear and boundary restrictions in place.
Cullaby Lake
Cullaby Lake
-Photo by Kathy Munsel, ODFW-

COOPER CREEK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, bass, bluegill

Cooper Creek has been stocked with over 10,000 rainbow trout in 2016. Fishing for bass and bluegill will slow with dropping temperatures. Dropping soft plastics in clear areas among weeds should yield positive results.


Rainbow trout were stocked in Upper Empire, Bradley, Saunders, Powers, and Butterfield lakes last week. Due to extremely low water levels, Lower Empire Lake was not stocked. Trout that were destined for Lower Empire Lake were stocked into Upper Empire and Butterfield lakes. Currently fishing for trout has been decent in the deeper lakes like Eel Lake. Anglers are having success slowly trolling wedding rings.

COOS RIVER BASIN: Dungeness crab, bay clams, rockfish, salmon

Trout fishing in streams is open until Oct. 31. Fishing with bait is now allowed in streams above tidewater.

With the recent rains the majority of the Chinook salmon have moved out of the estuary and are now in the river and streams. Bank anglers are also catching salmon near the hatchery acclimation sites like at the Coos Bay city boardwalk, Isthmus Slough, and mouth of Daniels Creek.

There is no season this year for wild coho in Coos Bay but anglers may harvest hatchery coho.

Anglers have been catching a few rockfish along the jetties and submerged rock piles. Fishing for rockfish in the bay has been spotty. The marine fish daily bag limit for bottom fish (rockfish) is seven fish and a separate daily limit for lingcod (two). Anglers can only keep 3 blue rockfish and 1 canary rockfish as part of their daily limit and there will be no harvest of China, quillback, or copper rockfish. Retention of one cabezon per day is allowed as of July 1.

Crabbing continues to be very good for people crabbing from boats. A few legal size crab have been caught off the docks in Charleston.

Recreational harvest of bay clams remains open along the entire Oregon coast. Clamming is excellent during low tides near Charleston, off Cape Arago Highway, and Clam Island. There are also good places to dig clams even on positive low tides in Coos Bay.

Recreational harvest of razor clams and mussels is closed from the entire Oregon coast due to elevated levels of domoic acid. This includes all beaches and all bays. Before any shellfish harvest trip, make sure to check the Oregon Department of Agriculture website for any updates.

COQUILLE RIVER BASIN: crab, smallmouth bass, salmon

Trout fishing in streams is open until Oct. 31. Fishing with bait is now allowed in streams above tidewater.

Chinook salmon fishing has been slow in the Coquille Basin. With the recent rains the majority of the salmon have moved out of tidewater and into the rivers. There is no season this year for wild coho in the Coquille but anglers may harvest hatchery coho.

Fishing for smallmouth bass has been good in the mainstem and South Fork Coquille. Jigs, crawdad crankbaits, and nightcrawlers will all work to catch smallmouth bass.

Crabbing has been decent for boat crabbers across from Bandon in the lower Coquille.


As part of the new regulation simplification process, Diamond Lake is now back to the Southwest Zone regulation of 5 trout/day.

Anglers that are planning on taking a trip to Diamond Lake should check with the Umpqua National Forest (541-498-2531) or Diamond Lake Resort for information on seasonal camp and ramp closures.

Fishing has been good. Most anglers have had success using Powerbait or trolling small lures. Diamond Lake was stocked with around 300,000 fingerling rainbow trout in early June, and there are plenty of legal-sized holdover trout currently in the lake. Diamond Lake was stocked with Tiger Trout in early June. These fish are intended to assist in controlling illegally introduced Tui Chub. Tiger Trout are catch-and-release only and need to be released immediately unharmed.

Anglers can check fishing and water conditions at Diamond Lake on the Diamond Lake Resort website, or call their toll free number at 1-800-733-7593, ext. 5 for updates.

ELK RIVER: Chinook

Rain this week should improve river conditions and get some Chinook moving.

Emigrant Lake
Angler on Emigrant Lake
-Photo by Daniel Vandyke-

EMIGRANT RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, largemouth and smallmouth bass, crappie

Fishing for bass, crappie, and other warmwater fish should be good. With the low reservoir levels fish will be away from shore in 20-30 feet of water. Look for humps and structures on the bottom. There’s not much in the way for flooded vegetation until the reservoir fills again. Emigrant Reservoir is currently at 18 percent of capacity. The Jackson County boat ramp is not useable.

EXPO POND: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, bluegill, black crappie

Fishing for largemouth bass, bluegill, and black crappie should be good in the morning and evening. Expo was stocked last week and fishing should be good.

Access from Gate 1.5 will get you to the southernmost pond, which was stocked earlier this year with rainbow trout. Gate 5, which leads to the RV park is open as well. A day use fee to park here is now $4. An annual parking permit can be purchased from Jackson County Parks Department for $30.

FISH LAKE: rainbow trout, brook trout, spring Chinook

Water clarity at Fish Lake has been improving, but algae is still present. 900 trophy trout were released the week of Sept. 19-23. The reservoir is now at 19 percent full and submerged stumps are showing. The USFS ramp at Fish Lake is mostly useable by trailered boats but the marina is closed until mid-Novemeber.

FLORAS LAKE: rainbow, cutthroat trout

As waters cool this fall, anglers can expect trout fishing to improve. Look for trout to move from deeper waters and start feeding along weed lines. This lake is best fished by boat. Anglers can launch at an improved boat ramp at Boice Cope County Park. Boat anglers are reminded to clean all aquatic vegetation off their boats and trailers before heading home to help control the spread non-native plants and animals.

GALESVILLE RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, bass, coho smolts

In addition to trout, the reservoir has also been stocked with coho smolts for the last few years and there have been reports of them being caught in good numbers on the lake. Many people mistakenly think these fish are kokanee. The coho smolts should be adipose fin-clipped, and please remember to release the ones less than 8-inches long.

In Galesville Reservoir, all landlocked salmon are considered trout and are part of the five-per-day trout limit, with only one trout over 20-inches long allowed for harvest. Galesville has been stocked with about 8,000 legal size trout and 50 trophy trout over five pounds each this year.

Fishing for bass and other panfish with the use of bait and artificial lures such as swimbaits around structure should give positive results but will slow with dropping temperatures. Call 541-837-3302 for information on camping and boat launching conditions.

GARRISON LAKE: rainbow, cutthroat trout

Cooler temperatures should improve trout fishing, as fish move from deeper water and start feeding near weed lines. Anglers should check the weather before heading out as it can be very windy.

HEMLOCK LAKE & LAKE IN THE WOODS & Umpqua High Lakes: trout

Anglers fishing the high lakes in the Umpqua District are encouraged to e-mail fishing reports. Contact the Forest Service at 541-496-3532 for road conditions.

Hemlock Lake was stocked with approximately 6,000 legal size plus rainbow trout in 2016, and Lake in the Woods was stocked with approximately 1,000 legal size plus rainbow trout as well. In addition, there are opportunities to catch holdover rainbow trout that were stocked in previous years. Remember only trout over 8-inches may be harvested, and only one trout over 20-inches may be kept per day.

rainbow trout
Rainbow Trout
-Photo by Roger Smith-


Fishing for trout has been improving again for trout as temperatures have cooled down a bit. Surface temps were in the 63 degree range this weekend. Reports of trout in the 14-19 inch size range are being caught by both bank anglers and trollers.

Fishing for smallmouth bass should be good.

The lake is now 46 percent full. Visibility in the lake is improving and shouldn’t significantly affect fishing. With dropping lake elevation, boaters should be aware of submerged stumps and islands posing a hazard particularly around Buck Island. Not all water hazards can be marked with dropping reservoir levels. For best results under these conditions, get an early start when the fish are more active.

Try using a threaded nightcrawler under a bobber or powerbait fished off the bottom. When water clarity is good, trolling with a wedding ring/bait combination and sliding sinker is a tried and true method on this lake. Legal-sized trout have been stocked to complement trout stocked last year and a good number of 15-20 inch holdovers.

Boat access at the Marina ramp is still in good condition. Klum Landing boat ramp is still usable but the campground is now closed. Willow Point ramp and campground is now closed for the season. This past weekend anglers caught mostly smallmouth bass, however some trout were caught.

HYATT LAKE: rainbow trout

During this time of year, fishing for trout is best in the morning, and in water 25-35 feet deep. Stocked legals and some trophy trout are still being caught. Anglers fishing from shore will want to concentrate on the deeper water near the dam if they are targeting trout. Fishing for largemouth bass has been good.

The reservoir is 41 percent full. The Cascade boat ramp is still operational, but the dock is completely out of the water. Wildcat boat ramp is a gravel unimproved boat ramp. Users are advised to launch at their own risk. The Mountain View ramp is not very useable by trailered boats.

ILLINOIS RIVER: trout, steelhead

The Illinois River is open for trout angling. Since only hatchery trout may be retained, and hatchery trout are not likely to be to be found in the Illinois River at this time of year, fishing will be primarily catch-and-release for the native cutthroat trout.

LAKE MARIE: rainbow trout, yellow perch

Lake Marie was stocked with 5,000 legal trout this year. Most anglers use PowerBait or worms. Perch fishing has been somewhat slow, but should continue to be productive for those using worms on the bottom.

LAKE SELMAC: trout, largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie

Trout fishing should be improving with decreasing water temperatures however there is a lot of aquatic weeds. The lake will be stocked with 600 pounders this week and fishing should be good.

LEMOLO RESERVOIR: brown trout, rainbow trout, kokanee

This reservoir is stocked several times a year with rainbow trout of various sizes, and the lake was stocked with 4,500 rainbow trout in 2016. There are also excellent opportunities to catch large brown trout in Lemolo with many anglers having luck trolling in deeper areas of the reservoir or casting spinners from shore.

Kokanee in Lemolo are considered trout and therefore fall under the daily limit for trout of 5 per day and 1 over 20 inches. Contact Lemolo Lake Resort at 541-957-8354 for weather/road conditions and additional information.

Loon Lake
Loon Lake
-Photo by Rick Swazrt, ODFW-

LOON LAKE: rainbow trout, bass, bluegill

Loon Lake was stocked with 7,500 legal size rainbow trout this year. The lake should offer decent fishing for crappie, bluegill and bass. Anglers should use slow presentations with lures or bait for best results. Visit the BLM and Loon Lake Resort websites for information on opening dates and camping this summer.

LOST CREEK: rainbow trout, bass

Trout fishing is still good at Lost Creek.

Lost Creek reservoir was stocked last week with legal and trophy sized fish and fishing should be good. Surface water temperatures have dropped to 58 degrees and the fall months are shaping up to continue the good trout fishing here. Trollers have caught fish along the dam, along the shoreline to the right of the marina, and upstream of the Hwy. 62 Bridge trolling with a wedding ring. Bank anglers are catching fish near the Takelma ramp and near the marina and spillway using Powerbait or threading a nightcrawler below a bobber.

Fishing for largemouth bass and smallmouth bass should also be good. The lake is 42 percent full.

MEDCO POND: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, bluegill

400 trout pounders will be stocked in Medco this week and fishing should be good. Boat anglers are reminded that gas engines are not allowed on Medco Pond.

Remember that many warmwater species can be found close to shore near structure, and it is possible to cast out too far to catch fish.

PACIFIC OCEAN AND BEACHES: bottomfish, Dungeness crab, surf perch, salmon,

Recreational harvest of crab is open along the entire Oregon Coast. The ocean is closed for Dungeness crabs from Oct. 16- Nov. 30.

Recreational harvest of razor clams and mussels is closed from the entire Oregon coast due to elevated levels of domoic acid. This includes all beaches and all bays. Before any shellfish harvest trip, make sure to check the Oregon Department of Agriculture website for any updates.

Recreational ocean salmon fishing from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt. is open for Chinook salmon through Oct. 31. Anglers are allowed two salmon per day with a minimum size for Chinook at 24 inches or larger. The non-selective coho season closed on Sept. 30.

The Nearshore Halibut season is open seven days a week from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt. As of Oct. 17, 2 percent of the nearshore quota remains. The Summer All-Depth Halibut season had 10 percent of the quota remaining as of Oct. 17. Please monitor the marine zone updates for season information.

As of Oct. 1, fishing for bottom fish opened back up to all-depths.

Fishing for black rockfish has been good from Coos Bay south to Bandon. Fishing for ling cod has been decent. The marine fish daily bag limit is seven fish and a separate daily limit for lingcod (two). Anglers can only keep 3 blue rockfish and 1 canary rockfish as part of their daily limit and there will be no harvest of China, quillback, or copper rockfish. Anglers may harvest one cabezon per day.

To help anglers identify common species and comply with the regulations, ODFW has produced several sheets of ID Tips for blue vs. black rockfish and for China, copper and quillback rockfish, as well as a handout titled “What Can I Keep, and How Many?”

PLAT I RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, bass

Plat I was stocked with 4,500 legal size trout this year. In addition to trout fishing, the lake also has good bass fishing. Anglers may have success catching trout and bass with bait such as PowerBait and nightcrawlers where access is available.

Some of the trout may have copepods which are tiny parasites on their bodies and gills. These are not harmful to humans, but the lesions can be removed and the meat should be thoroughly cooked.

Reinhart Pond
Reinhart Pond
-Photo by Rick Swart, ODFW-

REINHART POND: trout, largemouth bass, bluegill

Reinhardt was stocked last week and fishing should be good.


Rogue River, lower: steelhead, half pounders, fall Chinook, coho

Rain this week will probably move most of the Chinook and coho out of the bay and into the lower River.

Half pounder steelhead are spread throughout the lower river. Half pounders are immature steelhead that return to the Rogue this time of year and run 12 to 15 inches. These fish will return back to the ocean in the spring. Anglers can do well fishing spinners or casting flies in the riffles.

As per zone regulations: Anglers are reminded that angling is restricted to artificial flies and lures from Foster Creek upstream to Whiskey Creek from Sept. 1 to Oct. 31.

Rogue River, middle: steelhead, trout

Per zone regulations: Beginning October 1, angling for Chinook is closed upstream of Hog Creek boat ramp to Cole Rivers Hatchery Dam. Summer steelhead are available and fishing has been dependent on when a fresh pod of fish move through the area. Try fishing with nightcrawlers, spinners, and side drifted roe. Nymphing flies is also very effective. Fishing for summer steelhead in the middle Rogue gets good about this time of year.

The Rogue River is open to trout angling. Only hatchery trout can be retained. Wild trout must be released unharmed. Rainbow trout over 16 inches are considered steelhead and must be tagged as part of the daily salmon/steelhead catch as per zone regulations.

Up to date flow and temp info

For those interested in checking conditions before getting on the river, the City of Grants Pass Water Division’s website offers information on river conditions at Grants Pass as well as a link to a river camera.

Rogue River, upper: steelhead, trout

As per zone regulations: Anglers are reminded that beginning Sept. 1 through Dec. 31, all Chinook angling is closed from Fishers Ferry Boat Ramp upstream to Cole Rivers Hatchery Dam. Angling is also restricted to artificial flies (no bait) from Sept. 1 through Oct. 31 from Fishers Ferry to Cole Rivers Fish Hatchery. Additionally, no added weights or attachments except a bubble or similar floating device attached to the line can be used during the Sept. 1 – Oct. 31 period from Fishers Ferry upstream to Cole Rivers Hatchery Dam. Anglers will be allowed to use artificial lures and flies beginning Nov. 1 from fishers Ferry Boat Ramp upstream to the boat ramp at Shady Cove, but angling for Chinook will remain closed.

Angling pressure has been very light in the upper Rogue and fishing has been slow. Nymphing will produce the best success. The river is currently a bit high and colored up but expect conditions to improve by Wednesday and fishing for steelhead should be good.

Anglers can keep five hatchery rainbow trout per day. Non-adipose fin-clipped rainbow trout and all cutthroat trout must be immediately released unharmed. Track the fish returns to Cole Rivers Fish Hatchery by the collection pond tally.

As of Oct. 12, a total of 1,710 summer Steelhead have entered the hatchery, with a whopping 8 new fish entering for the week. The outflow from Lost Creek reservoir is 1,226 cfs. For more flow and temp info, see link below.

Up to date flow and temp information

Rogue River, above Lost Creek Reservoir: trout

Striped Bass
Striped Bass

This area offers good trout fishing, easy access, beautiful scenery, numerous Forest Service campgrounds, and cooler temperatures making this a great destination throughout the week and weekends. Spinners tipped with nightcrawler, or fished by themselves work great up here. It is also a good place for the novice fly angler to try their luck at nymph fishing under an indicator.

SMITH RIVER, Umpqua: striped bass, trout, Chinook salmon

Angling is restricted to artificial flies and lures above tidewater. Retention of adipose fin-clipped steelhead is allowed in tidewater. Sturgeon fishing is catch-and-release only. The daily limit for striped bass is 2 per 24 hour period. Trout is catch-and-release up to Sisters Creek. Chinook opened Aug. 1 in the North Fork up to Johnson Creek and in the mainstem up to Spencer Creek. There have been reports of decent catches of fall Chinook below Spencer Creek in the mainstem Smith.


TENMILE BASIN: trout, bass, yellow perch, coho

Trout fishing has been slow in Tenmile Lakes due to warm water. Trout anglers should fish in the deep water and fishing is usually best in the mornings.

There is no wild coho fishery in Tenmile Lakes this fall.

Largemouth bass fishing has been good over the past month. Anglers are catching bass near structure or on the deep end of the weed lines using spinner baits, jigs, or rubber worms. Top water lures have been effective in the early mornings or evenings.

Fishing for yellow perch has been slow in Tenmile Lakes. Anglers fishing along the edge of the weedlines are having the best success. Worms fished near the lake bottom work very well for catching yellow perch.

The water level in the lakes is very low so boat anglers should use caution.

TOKETEE LAKE: brown trout, rainbow trout

Fishing is open in Toketee year-round. For more information call the U.S. Forest Service at 541-498-2531.


Contact the Forest Service at 541-957-3200 for road and trail conditions. Red Top Pond, which offers excellent bank fishing opportunities, was stocked with 1,500 legal size plus rainbow trout in 2016. In addition, there should be plenty of holdover legal-sized trout from previous stockings in these waterbodies. Anglers fishing the high lakes in the Umpqua District are encouraged to e-mail fishing reports.

UMPQUA RIVER, MAINSTEM: steelhead, Chinook

The mainstem Umpqua is closed to wild steelhead harvest, but remains open year-round for adipose fin-clipped steelhead. Please note the changes in regulations this year on page 33 of the 2016 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations booklet. On the Main, anglers can harvest 2 wild spring Chinook per day and up to 5 wild springers from Feb. 1 – June 30. From July 1– Dec. 31, you can harvest 2 wild Chinook per day, and in combination with the other salmon/ steelhead recorded on your salmon tag, up to 20 fish total. Fin-clipped hatchery fish can be recorded on a separate hatchery harvest tag that is available. There is no limit on the number of hatchery tags that can be purchased. Daily limits still apply.

Chinook fishing has been pretty slow in the tidewater portions of the mainstem. There have been reports of good numbers of coho being caught in the lower Umpqua and please remember that only hatchery coho may be harvested.

Smallmouth bass angling should offer excellent harvest opportunities into the fall months.

The 50 Places to go fishing within 60 minutes of Roseburg,” handout which is available online or at the office, identifies several good places for salmon and steelhead fishing.

Trout fishing is catch-and-release only in the mainstem and closed Sept. 15 in the tributaries.

UMPQUA RIVER, NORTH: steelhead, trout

North Umpqua River
North Umpqua River
-ODFW Photo-

Chinook fishing on the North Umpqua closed on June 30. Summer steelhead angling has slowed down but there are still hatchery summer steelhead harvest opportunities around Rock Creek and in the fly water. Please remember all wild steelhead must be released unharmed.

Note that from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 through June 30, fishing in the fly water area is restricted to fly angling only with a single barbless fly. Per the new regulation on page 31, 32 of the 2016 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations booklet, from Feb. 1 – June 30, two wild Chinook per day can be harvested. Ten wild Chinook may be harvested in the North during this time frame in aggregate with wild Chinook harvested in the Main.

North Umpqua River water levels at Winchester Dam


The South Umpqua closes from Sept. 16 through Nov. 30 to protect spawning fall Chinook salmon.

WILLOW LAKE: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, black crappie, brown bullhead

Fishing for warm water species should be good early and late in the day. Trout fishing should be picking back up with the cooling temperatures. 450 rainbow trout pounders will be stocked in Willow Lake this week. Fishing with a nightcrawler under a bobber should be produce throughout the day, and is a great way and easy way to get youngsters in on the action. The paved ramp is closed due to low water, but a temporary ramp is available for small boats.

WINCHESTER BAY: bottomfish, perch

Fishing for bottom fish in the Triangle and South jetty has been successful.


Rain this week should bring some Chinook into the lower river.

  Southwest Zone Hunting

OPEN: COUGAR, BEAR, RIFLE DEER (Cascade area closed Oct. 15-21), CASCADE ELK (closes Oct. 21), UPLAND BIRD, WATERFOWL, TURKEY (Oct. 15-Dec. 31)

Apply by Oct. 31 to bow hunt deer on C2 Ranch

Hunters with a valid, unused general archery deer tag are eligible. Six hunters will win a three-day hunt on this private ranch in Jackson County. Apply here.

Wolves and coyotes can look alike

Most wolves in the state today are in northeast Oregon but a few have dispersed further west and south. Wolves are protected by state and/or federal law and it is unlawful to shoot them. Coyote hunters 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 ODFW using the online reporting system.

black-tailed deer
Black-tailed Buck
-Photo by Brian Wolfer-

Use the Oregon Hunting Map to see where to hunt.


Waterfowl-The South Coast Goose Zone opened Oct. 1 and the Southwest Zone opens Oct. 15. Western Canada goose populations are quite high in the both zones. Since the summer was a relatively dry summer geese will be attracted to agricultural fields where grass is beginning to green up. Landowners who want to reserve green feed for cattle and other livestock may be willing to allow hunters to hunt fields where goose damage has a history of being a problem.

Other geese like lesser and cackling Canada geese are moving through the county. Scouting for these birds using agricultural fields may result in good hunting on private land, as well.

Duck Zone 1 opened Oct. 15, except that scaup can’t be hunted until Nov. 5. The US Fish and Wildlife Service reports that most populations of ducks did well nesting this summer so it is expected that hunting will be good this fall and winter. Duck numbers locally begin to increase in the fall when the first significant storms begin to make landfall. That is happening at the writing of this forecast. While numbers of ducks in south coast bays are increasing, it is expected that abundance will increase significantly in the next few weeks. In the early part of duck season most ducks can be found in the saltwater portion of local bays. As precipitation begins to fill inland agricultural fields with water many of those birds will scatter inland to take advantage of feeding opportunities there.

Duck hunters should concentrate their early season efforts in the bays. Usually hunting incoming tides is best. There can be some good shooting on an outgoing tide as well, however.

Deer – General rifle season continues, remember the Cascade area is closed Oct. 15-21 for Cascade elk season. In recent months ownership transfers between timber companies have resulted it new companies owning properties in Coos County. Hunters need to research lands they want to hunt and determine who owns the land. There is a good chance hunters will be dealing with companies they have not dealt with before. These companies will likely have different access policies than prior landowners.

Grouse & Quail – All upland bird seasons are now open. Both ruffed and “blue” grouse can be found on the coast but in low densities. Hunters chasing blue grouse should concentrate their efforts at higher elevations, along ridgelines, with open understories; hunting tends to be more productive in older growth forested land. Ruffed grouse can be found at lower elevations, along creek and valley bottoms. These birds can also be seen foraging along forest roads in the early morning and evening. Quail production has been down but above our 10-year average. Both California and mountain quail can be found on the coast. Hunters should target older clear-cuts, young forest stands, closed forest roads, and areas with open thickets and mixed timber.

Mourning Doves - The dove season is open until Oct. 30. Hunters can expect an average year. In addition, keep in mind the non-migratory Eurasian collared doves numbers are on the increase throughout the state and Coos county, and can be taken in addition to the mourning dove bag limit.

Black Bear – The fall hunting season will run through Dec. 31. Early season hunters should target berries patches and riparian areas where bears may concentrate foraging efforts. Early mornings and late evenings will see the majority of bear activity but individual animals can be found throughout the day. A word of caution to hunters, with large changes in private timber ownership throughout the county users need to be aware that access to many areas may have changed. Please contact the appropriate landowners for more information.

Coyote - Numbers are strong throughout Coos County. Using predator calls to lure them in can be an effective method for harvesting coyotes. Try calling in early morning and late afternoon. Be sure to ask permission before hunting on private land.

Cougar - Hunters can expect an average year. Cougars are abundant throughout with indicators pointing to stable or increasing numbers. Hunting cougar is a challenge because these animals are very secretive, but harvest success is greatest adjacent to private land with high deer populations using a predator call.


Elk - A few controlled elk hunts are currently open. The General Cascade Bull Elk season ends Oct. 21. Elk populations are similar to last year so this hunting year will be average. Elk numbers are highest in the Tioga with lower levels in the Dixon, S. Indigo and Melrose units. Check with landowners about access and local fire restrictions for current fire danger before going hunting.

Deer - The General Western Deer Rifle season is open through Nov. 4. Youth hunters get 2 extra days to pursue deer on the weekend of Nov. 5-6. On BLM and National Forest lands, look for deer within or near recent major land disturbance areas such as fire and logging/thinning activity. These early seral areas have the best food sources available for deer on public lands. On industrial timber lands, look for deer within recently logged units and young timber stands where food sources are in high abundance. Deer populations are similar to last year, with lower population levels at upper elevations and higher population levels on the Umpqua Valley floor. Most low elevation lands are privately owned so hunters are reminded to obtain permission before hunting on those lands. During the latter part of the season and as cold wet weather arrives, look for bucks to be more actively pursuing does. Increased hunting pressure through the season can cause these bucks to become more nocturnal, so getting out early and staying out late can bring the best opportunity of finding a deer to harvest. Check with landowners about access and local fire restrictions for current fire danger before going hunting.

Cougar – The cougar season is currently open. Hunters can expect an average year. Cougars are abundant throughout with indicators pointing to stable or increasing numbers. Hunting cougar is a challenge because these animals are very secretive, but harvest success is greatest adjacent to private land with high deer populations using a predator call.

-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Coyote - Numbers are strong throughout Douglas County. Using predator calls to lure them in can be an effective method for harvesting coyotes. Try calling in early morning and late afternoon. Be sure to ask permission before hunting on private land.

Black Bear – General bear season is open. Hunters can expect an average year. The dry weather conditions will concentrate bears near streams where foraging will be better. Glass clear cuts and meadows early mornings and late evenings to find bears taking advantage of food sources. Bear numbers are good with the highest numbers in the coast range, and with smaller populations in the Cascades.

Western Gray Squirrel – Squirrel season is currently open. Hunters can expect an average year. Squirrels are widely distributed throughout the county with good numbers in areas of oaks and conifers. Many areas of high squirrel populations are on private lands so hunters are reminded to ask for permission on these lands before hunting.

Grouse & Quail - Upland Gamebird season is currently open. Hunters are finding good numbers of grouse and quail this fall. Blue grouse success is best in mid to high elevations of the Cascades in partly open conifer stands. Ruffed grouse can be found near creeks mostly at mid elevations of both the Cascades and Coast Range. For quail, success is best in the lower elevation agricultural lands for California quail and mid-elevations of the Cascades and Coast Range near brushy clear cuts on secondary forest roads for Mountain quail. Hunters that kill grouse and Mountain quail are asked to drop off, in a paper bag, the frozen wing and tail of each grouse at the local ODFW office. Please use one bird per bag with each frozen bag of grouse parts including the species, sex, age, unit and general area of harvest for proper analysis.

Mourning Doves - The dove season is currently open, however fall rains and cooler weather will spur migration out of our area. Hunters can expect an average year. In addition, keep in mind the non-migratory Eurasian collared doves numbers are on the increase throughout the state and Douglas county, and can be taken in addition to the mourning dove bag limit.

Fall Turkey - The season is open and runs Oct. 15 – Dec. 31. Hunters can expect a good year. The 2016 summer chick counts showed good production with excellent carryover from the last year. Most turkeys are on or adjacent to low-mid elevation private lands associated with oak savannah habitat. Good turkey numbers can be found on National Forest lands around Toketee in the Diamond Lake Ranger District and around Tiller in the Tiller Ranger District. These birds are enjoying great higher elevation oak savannah habitat and are producing well. These populations are supplemented yearly through releases of turkeys removed from private lands, where they were causing property damage and general nuisance.

Waterfowl - The regular duck and goose season opened Oct. 15. Check with landowners of flooded/puddled fields before hunting.

Furbearers – Red fox harvest season opened Oct. 15. Pursuit season is currently open for bobcat, fox and raccoon.


Deer: Western General Deer Rifle season continues through Nov. 4. Remember that during the Cascade Rifle Bull Elk season (Oct. 15-21) deer season is suspended in the Rogue, Evans Creek, and Dixon units. Consult the Oregon Big Game Hunting Regulations for more information. This upcoming 2016 season should be comparable to the 2015 season.

As of Oct. 16 most deer have migrated to lower elevations. Hunters should now have the best success at these lower elevations; however there still are some deer at high elevations. So if you know of an area that holds deer later than others, it is still worth hunting.
Elk off of the Alseah Hwy, Waldport
- Photo by Ken Gagne-

Elk: Cascade elk season ends Oct. 21. Here in Jackson, Josephine, and Curry counties the Dixon, Evans Creek, and Rogue units are open to any bull elk with a visible antler. Opening weekend was off to a slow start, however now that the weather is more mild hunters should be going deeper into the forest resulting in an increased harvest. This season continues through Oct. 21, consult the Oregon Big Game Hunting Regulations for more information.

Bear: Fall black bear season continues until Dec. 31. Hunters can expect another good year. The Applegate unit has historically had some of the highest harvest in the state so focus your efforts there, however the Rogue and Evans Creek can also be very productive. Find out where bears are most likely going to appear by glassing in early mornings and late evenings to spot bears in openings around Southern Oregon. Fawn calls and other predator distress calls can also be a useful tool when trying to harvest a bear. During this time of year many bears are taken when hunters are in pursuit of other species so make sure you are prepared and have a valid bear tag with you. Remember that there is a mandatory check in of your bear skull at an ODFW office or designated collection site within 10 days of harvest, the skull must be unfrozen. See page 29 in the 2016 Oregon Big Game hunting regulations for more information.

Youth Elk season is currently open for units in our area. This is a great opportunity for the youth to harvest an elk. These hunts are designed to provide young hunters with a safe, well supervised, low-stress setting where they can enjoy the hunt while building fundamental skills. A reminder that youth are required to wear hunter orange.

Denman Wildlife Area: Remember to get your parking permit. Hunters get the permit free with their purchase of an annual hunting license. Reminder, starting April 1 bird dog training will be restricted to within the “dog training area” along Touvelle road except for organized permitted events. Remember to place your parking permit on the dash of your vehicle.

Mourning Doves: Dove season open until Oct. 30, hunters can expect a season very similar to that of 2015. Remember the daily bag limit for Mourning Doves is 15; refer to the 2016 Oregon Game Bird Regulations for more information.

Upland Game Birds: Grouse season is open, the daily bag limit is 3 of each of the two species. Both California Quail and Mountain Quail season opens Sept. 1, the daily bag limit is 10 Quail total. General pheasant season started Oct. 8 with a daily bag limit of 2 birds. As of Oct. 10 grouse and quail harvest numbers here in Jackson and Josephine have been below average; however it is still early in the season so hopefully numbers increase. Refer to the 2016 Oregon Game Bird Regulations for more information.

Waterfowl: Oct. 15 was the opening of duck and goose season in our area. Consult page 20 of the Oregon Game Bird Regulations for more information.

Fall Turkey: Fall turkey season continues through Dec 31. There are a maximum of 4,000 tags issued on a first-come, first-served basis. Consult page 18 of the Oregon Game Bird Regulations for more information.

Cougar season is open statewide year-round or until zone quotas are met. Almost all cougars are harvested when hunters are in pursuit of other species so be prepared and purchase a cougar tag this hunting season. Cougars travel many miles a day and often use major ridge lines to find prey, these ridge lines are location for predator calls. Unlike other predators, cougars will usually take longer to come in to predators calls so be prepared to sit for 1 hour or more.

Western Gray Squirrel is currently open for the part of the Rogue Unit south of Rogue River and S. Fork Rogue River and North of Hwy 140 where the season remains open year round with no bag limit. Squirrels can be found in oak or mixed conifer stands. This is a great animal to hunt for first time hunters.

Coyotes are abundant in our area. Remember to ask for permission to hunt on private lands. Hunter can find coyotes around meadows and brush piles where mice and rabbits are found. Predator calls are very useful when used in conjunction to known prey base.

 Southwest Zone Wildlife Viewing


Harbor Seal

Harbor Seal
-Photo by Kathy Munsel-

Marine Mammals

Seal and sea lion abundance in coastal waters around Coos County is high at this time of year, especially south of Coos Bay. At Simpson Reef, a heavily used haul out exists. From the lookout, viewers can see California sea lions, Steller sea lions, harbor seals and elephant seals. Do not approach seals and sea lions you may find on Oregon beaches. If you think an animal you find is in trouble, contact your local ODFW office to report the animal or contact the Marine Mammal Stranding Network an (800) 452-7888.


Early fall is the time when migratory waterfowl begin to show up on the south coast and other parts of Oregon, as they begin their southward migration. Already the number of mallards, American widgeon, surf scoters and other ducks is beginning to increase around Coos Bay, Winchester Bay and the lower Coquille River. It appears the time of year in combination with storms making landfall from the Pacific Ocean have something to do with the appearance of these birds.

The earliest migrant waterfowl will be concentrated in the lower portions of local bays, where the water is saltwater, not inland where the water is freshwater. Those interested in seeing waterfowl in the local area should spend time looking at Coos Bay along Cape Arago Hwy and East Bay Drive, Winchester Bay in the vicinity of Gardiner and the lower Coquille River at the Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge. All of these areas are easily accessed and located along good public roads.


An interesting bird species to see when you are near the rocky intertidal zone is the black oyster-catcher. These birds are dark brown or black with bright red bills and pink feet. They live their entire lives in or around the splash zone on rocks along the coast. They are non-migratory, so while they are here at any time during the year they are easiest to observe when surf conditions are small. Since they even nest near the splash zone and are extremely protective of their nests they are often seen chasing other birds that get too close to their territory. 10/4/2016


Acorn Woodpecker
Acorn Woodpecker
-Photo by Dave Budeau-

Acorn Woodpecker – Is a colorful medium-sized black and white clown faced woodpecker with a red crown sought after by birders for their lifetime bird list. This highly social woodpecker is commonly seen with young this time of the year in the lower elevations of Douglas County in pine-oak woodlands where oak trees are abundant. Look for this loud and vocal woodpecker in Roseburg at River Forks Park, N. Bank Mgt. area and Whistlers Park. Since this woodpecker is a hoarder, look for signs of a granary in the bark of large pine trees that are used to store insects and acorns in cracks and crevices.

Turkey Vultures - Vultures can be seen soaring high in the sky looking for food or on the ground utilizing expired animals. Also, look for them early mornings perched in a tree sunning themselves with their wings spread warming up. Starting around the last week in September turkey vultures will start migrating south for the winter to Mexico and Central America. Watch for turkey vulture migration roosts where many vultures congregate in groups in anticipation of the coming migration. Over a three week period and by mid-October all vultures will have migrated south. The vultures migrate in large groups (called a “kettle” of vultures) from 12 to 500 with the average being around 40 by riding hot air updrafts and southern thermals late in the afternoons. You can observe the beginning of the migration by looking very high in the sky in the afternoon to see a kettle of vultures soaring on the thermals heading south.

Migrating Birds - Many species of birds are starting their southward migration so look for species congregating at roosts and feeders or in the air just before or during migration. Some migratory species to watch are: ospreys, turkey vultures, swifts, swallows, cedar waxwings, and some species of flycatchers, warblers, finches and shorebirds.

Hummingbirds –Avoid the commercial hummingbird mixture you can buy in the store since the red dye can produce digestive problems for these small birds. Remember that you can make your own hummingbird food utilizing 4 parts water to 1 part sugar ratio but always make sure the sugar goes completely into solution before hanging up for use.

Gamebirds –Coveys of California quail are common on the Umpqua Valley floor usually associated with blackberry cover and water. Many blue and ruffed grouse and their young are found in mid to high elevation forested areas in our local mountains. Wild turkeys are very common throughout the Umpqua Valley, usually on private lands in oak savannah habitat. Most pheasants are found in central Douglas County associated with pastures and ranches.


Denman Wildlife Area

Great Egret
Great Egret
-Photo by Kathy Munsel-

Take one of two trails off Touvelle Road and enjoy birdwatching and sightseeing. This is the time of year when the wildlife area greens up with variety of flowers and wildlife. Below the fourth pond and to the north, you will find the newly built horse trail (2.5 mile) that provides great views of the Upper Table Rock and opportunities to see birds that live in oak trees, wedge leaf ceanothus and areas of riparian vegetation along the Little Butte Creek. The trail to the south that runs along the forth pond dike is our interpretive trail, come in to the office and pick up and interpretive trail guide. You will learn of some of the history of the wildlife area and the different environment unique to our area. A wide variety of wildlife can be found along this 1 ½ mile trail.

A covered viewing station on the Denman Wildlife Area provides a good opportunity to view waterfowl, egrets, raptors and songbirds. The structure was built by the Oregon Hunters Association and is accessed by a paved, ADA-accessible pathway. Two additional fishing dikes have been created to provide more fishing access. It is on Whetstone Pond, just north of the ODFW Rogue Watershed Field Office in Central Point.


This is the time of year that many different species of waterfowl are migrating through our area. Look for them near rivers and other bodies of water. Wetlands and marsh areas can also be a great place to seen geese feeding. There is a wide variety of duck species to observe as well as a few species of geese.

On the Coast

Shorebirds are currently migrating north and can be observed on area beaches and the Rogue Bay. Ospreys are actively fishing in the Rogue estuary and also nesting on the Lower Rogue. Several nests are observable from the Jerry Flat Road along the Rogue River.

Harbor seals can be observed in estuaries throughout the South Coast. Look for sandy haul out sites. Remember, spring is when seals have their pups they are often left on their own most of the day so please observe these animals from a distance. If you find pups on the beach, leave them where you found them—mother knows where they are.

For a great birding trail along the southern coast, visit Oregon Birding Trails. (8/30/2016)

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