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

Weekly Recreation Report: Southwest Zone

April 14, 2015

 Southwest Zone Fishing

Rainbow Trout

Rainbow Trout
-Photo by Jim Yuskavitch, ODFW-

Weekend fishing opportunities

  • Several are lakes and ponds will be stocked this week, including Empire, Bradley and Eel lakes.
  • Arizona Pond and Garrison Lake were recently stocked and fishing should be good.
  • Boat and bank anglers are continuing to pick up spring Chinook on the lower Rogue River.
  • Winter steelhead fishing continues to be good on the middle and upper Rogue, with a few Chinook up as far as the Grants Pass area.

If your favorite fishing spot is no longer listed

It’s probably because that river, lake or reservoir is closed for the season, inaccessible due to snow and bad roads, or offers limited fishing opportunities during the winter months. These water bodies will re-appear in the Recreation Report when they re-open next spring, or when access and/or opportunity improves.

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, bluegill, black crappie

Agate Lake is full and should provide fairly good fishing for largemouth bass and other warmwater fish when the weather improves.

APPLEGATE RESERVOIR: largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, trout

Applegate offers a quality trout fishing opportunity but reports indicate trout fishing has only been fair. Anglers have reported fair success where the creeks enter the reservoir. Boat anglers can launch at the French Gulch low water ramp.

The Oregon Health Authority issued an advisory recommending that people limit their consumption of largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, yellow perch, bluegill, and crappie taken from Applegate Reservoir due to elevated levels of mercury. Trout are not included in the advisory and remain a healthy choice for those wanting to retain fish for the table.

Steelhead
Showing off a Nice Steelhead
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

ARIZONA POND: rainbow trout

Warmer weather and some newly stocked trout should make for excellent trout fishing. The pond is managed by Oregon State Parks as youth only fishing and is located at Arizona Beach State Recreation Area; approximately halfway between Gold Beach and Port Orford.

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

The reservoir was stocked with about 2,500 trout last week and will be stocked again before spring break. Warmwater fishing for bass and crappie may improve with the recent water temperatures.

COOPER CREEK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, bass, bluegill, yellow perch, bullhead

Cooper Creek was stocked just before spring break and will continued to be stocked according to the schedule. Last year, some of the trout did 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.

COOS COUNTY LAKES/PONDS: trout,

Empire Lakes, Bradley Lake, and Eel Lake will all be stocked this week with legal-sized trout. Both legal and trophy trout were stocked last week in Empire Lakes and Powers Pond. Legal-size trout were also stocked in Butterfield Lake, Saunders Pond, and Johnson Mill Pond last week. Legal-size trout were stocked in the past month in Mingus Park Pond. Trout are biting on bait fished near the bottom or lures like spinners or spoons.

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

Steelhead fishing is open until April 30 in the Coos Basin.

Fishing has been good for rockfish inside lower Coos Bay around the jetties. The marine fish daily bag limit (which includes fishing in estuaries) is 7 fish and a separate daily limit for lingcod (two). Anglers will be able to keep only 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.

Black Rockfish
Black Rockfish
-Photo by Bob Swingle-

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?”

Crabbing has been decent in the lower bay. The best crabbing will be near the jetties and close to high tide. 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. Before any shellfish harvest trip, make sure to check the Oregon Department of Agriculture website for any updates.

COQUILLE RIVER BASIN: steelhead

Steelhead fishing is open in the Coquille Basin until April 30.

DIAMOND LAKE: trout

The warmer temperatures have melted all of the snow and ice, and the entire lake is now open. Since the North and South boat ramps are not currently snowed in, there is an opportunity for boat fishing. Anglers have been catching fish in the 12-15 inch range. The water is still very cold so the fish are biting lightly. Recently the weather has been cold and snowy. The Forest Service campgrounds are closed for the season. Anglers can check fishing conditions at Diamond Lake on their website, or call their toll free number at 1-800-733-7593, ext. 5 for updates. The Marina is open and has boats and charter trips available.

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

Emigrant Lake
Rainbow Trout at Emigrant Lake
-Photo by Daniel Vandyke-

Emigrant will be stocked with another 3,500 legal-sized rainbow trout this week. The water is still turbid, so fishing with bait or using lures that that will put off vibrations in the water will be most effective. Angling for bass and other warmwater fish should improve as the weather warms later in the week. The water level in the reservoir is at 80 percent of capacity.

EXPO POND: trout

Expo Pond will be stocked with 1,500 legal-sized rainbow trout again this week. Still fishing with PowerBait or worms will likely provide the best success. Angling for bass and other warmwater fish should improve as the weather warms later in the week. Expo Pond is located directly adjacent to the access road at gate 5.

FISH LAKE: rainbow trout, brook trout, spring Chinook

Fish Lake will be stocked this week with 5,000 legal-sized rainbow trout. Chinook salmon and brook trout are also available. In addition, tiger trout have been stocked into the lake, but must be released unharmed if caught. Fish Lake is 59 percent full and is free of ice. The Forest Service boat ramp is open.

FLORAS LAKE: rainbow, cutthroat trout

Trout fishing is hit or miss depending on the wind. The best method for catching trout is slow trolling flies or wedding ring spinners from a boat. Bank access is limited. Anglers can launch at an improved boat ramp at Boice Cope County Park. The lake can be very windy, so anglers will want to check the weather prior to heading out. 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 RESERVIOR: rainbow trout, bass

In addition to trout, the reservoir has also been stocked with coho smolts for the last couple of years. Many people mistakenly think these fish are kokanee. All of the coho smolts are adipose fin-clipped, 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. By early April, Galesville should be stocked with about 6,000 trout. Anglers are reminded all bass between 12 and 15-inches must be released, and only one bass over 15-inches may be taken per day. The reservoir is currently low. Call 541-837-3302 for information on camping and boat launching conditions.

GARRISON LAKE: rainbow trout, cutthroat

Warmer weather and some newly stocked trout should make for some good trout fishing. Access for bank anglers is best at the 12th Street boat ramp, Arizona Street, or along the foredune accessed through Tseriadun State Park. Garrison Lake is located in the middle of Port Orford. 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.

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. Most of the Umpqua’s high lakes are off of roads that are not plowed during the winter, but the lack of snowfall may allow access earlier than normal. The Little River Road (27) had a slide that prevents access to Hemlock and Lake in the Woods. Folks would have to go up Apple Creek for access. Contact the Forest Service at 541-496-3532 for road conditions.

ILLINOIS RIVER: trout, steelhead

The Illinois River is closed to all fishing until May 23. Illinois River flows at Kerby

LAKE MARIE: rainbow trout

The lake was stocked with over 5,000 trout in 2014. It will receive 2,000 trout for spring break. Most anglers use PowerBait or worms.

LAKE SELMAC: trout, largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie

Lake Selmac will be stocked with another 5,000 legal-sized rainbow trout this week. These fish, along with those previously stocked, should create good fishing for trout anglers. Still fishing with PowerBait or worms, or trolling lures should be productive techniques. Fishing for bass and other warmwater fish should improve once the weather improves.

LEMOLO RESERVOIR: Closed for fishing until April 1

Even though the reservoir is ice-free, Leomolo is closed to fishing until April 1. Contact Lemolo Lake Resort at 541-957-8354 for conditions and addition information. The Forest Service campgrounds remain closed. When Lemolo opens, it will be catch and release for brown trout from April 1 to 24.

LOON LAKE: rainbow trout, bass, bluegill

Loon Lake was stocked with nearly 8,000 trout in 2014. Loon Lake was stocked with trout before spring break. The lake also has good fishing for crappie, bluegill and bass during warmer months. The boat ramps are closed for the season. Visit the BLM and Loon Lake Resort websites for information on opening dates and camping this summer.

LOST CREEK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, spring Chinook, bass

Lost Creek offers very good winter trout fishing, and the lake has been stocked with legal-sized rainbow trout already this year. Water clarity remains good near the dam and the main body of the reservoir, but be mindful of all the floating debris that has accumulated over the winter. Fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass should pick up when the weather improves. Bank anglers may want to try fishing the shoreline at the Takelma parking area. Trollers may want to try fishing the lower portion of the reservoir while keeping an eye out for floating debris from the storm. Limits have been reported from the middle of the reservoir down to the dam over the last few weeks. The reservoir is 86 percent full, and the surface temperature is 51oF.

MEDCO POND: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, bluegill

Medco is a great place for spring fishing. Trout are available. Anglers are asked to check trout this year for adipose fin clips, and report Medco trout catches back to ODFW at 541-826-8774.

Dungeness Crab
Dungeness Crab
-Photo by Kathy Munsel, ODFW-

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

The ocean is open for harvest of Dungeness crab.

Anglers continue to catch a few surf perch from the beaches near Bandon and Coos Bay. The best fishing is usually on the incoming tide. Sand shrimp is one of the best baits to use when fishing for surf perch.

Recreational ocean salmon season from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt. opened on March 15. The season is open for all salmon except coho salmon, with a bag limit of two salmon per day, and a minimum size for Chinook salmon at 24 inches or larger.

Starting on April 1, fishing for bottom fish is restricted to inside the 30 fathom curve. Fishing for black rockfish 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. Retention of cabezon is not allowed Jan. 1 – June 30.

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, warmwater fish

In addition to trout fishing, the lake also has good bullhead fishing. Bass can be harvested from March 1 to Oct. 31 and are catch-and-release only from Nov. 1-Feb. 29. The reservoir received about 1,500 trout last week and should receive more before spring break. The water level in the reservoir may still be low.

Some of the trout do 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.

REINHARDT POND: trout

Reinhardt Pond has been stocked with legal-sized rainbow trout, and trout fishing should be good. Fishing for bass and bluegill should improve as the weather warms.

ROGUE RIVER

Rogue River, lower: winter steelhead, spring Chinook

Boat and bank anglers are continuing to pick up spring Chinook, with a good number of hatchery fish being caught. Rains this week increased flows and improved fishing conditions.

Rogue River, middle: steelhead, trout

Fishing has been good for winter steelhead throughout the middle Rogue for anglers side-drifting bait and back-trolling plugs. A few spring chinook have also made it to the Grants Pass area. The water temperature dropped to 48°F as of Monday with a flow of 1,470 cfs. For those interested in checking conditions before getting on the river, the City of Grants Pass Water Division’s website offers information on NTU’s at Grants Pass as well as a link to a river camera.

Rogue River, upper: steelhead, trout

Winter steelhead are spread throughout the upper Rogue in good numbers, and are providing good fishing for anglers using a variety of techniques. The flow at Gold Ray was 1,530 cfs and the water temperature was 46oF on Monday morning. The outflow from Lost Creek Reservoir was 800 cfs at 46oF. As of April 1, a total of 2,047 winter steelhead and 2 spring chinook have been collected at Cole Rivers Hatchery.

rogue river
Rogue River above Lost Creek
-Photo by Rick Swart, ODFW-

Rogue River, above Lost Creek Reservoir: trout

The river above Lost Creek is open for trout fishing year-round.

SMITH RIVER, Umpqua: steelhead, sturgeon, striped bass

Most of the steelhead will be wild, therefore fishing will be primarily catch-and-release. Striped bass fishing will pick up as spring progresses.

SODA SPRINGS RESERVOIR: Closed to fishing.

TENMILE BASIN: steelhead, largemouth bass, yellow perch

Steelhead fishing is open in the Tenmile Basin until April 30.

Bass anglers have been catching several largemouth bass in Tenmile Lakes. Bass can be found this time of the year in shallow water near structure like logs or weed lines.

A few anglers have been catching yellow perch from the fishing dock at the County Boat Ramp. A worm or piece of cut bait fished near the bottom works well for catching yellow perch.

TOKETEE LAKE: brown trout, rainbow trout

Fishing is open in Toketee year-round. The boat ramp is currently closed and the reservoir is partially drawn down. For more information call the U.S. Forest Service at 541-498-2531.

UMPQUA HIGH LAKES AND FOREBAYS: trout

Most of these lakes are off Forest Service Roads that are not plowed during the winter. Contact the Forest Service at 541-957-3200 for road and trail conditions.

UMPQUA RIVER, MAINSTEM: steelhead, spring Chinook

The mainstem Umpqua is closed to wild steelhead harvest, but remains open year-round for adipose fin-clipped steelhead. This fishery is primarily catch-and-release since the number of hatchery fish is relatively low compared to the number of wild fish. Plunkers should have some success throughout the season following rain events that cause the steelhead to hug the shoreline. Spring chinook have now been caught on the Umpqua. Low water conditions makes some boating access difficult.

Please note the changes in regulations this year on page 40 of the 2015 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 – July 31. From Aug. 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.

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.

North Umpqua River
North Umpqua River
-ODFW Photo-

UMPQUA RIVER, NORTH: steelhead, spring Chinook

Remember all wild steelhead must be released unharmed. Fishing for winter steelhead will continue to improve, peaking in February through March. Most of the fish returning to the North are wild so the fishing is mostly catch-and-release. Spring chinook have reached Winchester dam and some are being caught. Fishing should continue to improve throughout April. Reports from the Idleyld Park Store have had a few anglers come in a have their photos taken with their fish, but overall the start of the season has been pretty slow.

Note that from Oct. 1 through June 30, fishing in the fly water area is restricted to a single barbless artificial fly which can be dressed with conventional fly tying material. Spring chinook will start arriving in late March or early April. Per the new regulation on page 40 of the 2015 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations booklet, from Feb. 1 – July 31, 2 wild chinook per day can be harvested and up to 10 wild chinook during this time frame in combination with wild chinook harvested in the Main. Remember that from March 1 through July 31 the anti-snag gear restrictions apply on the North from the Lone Rock boat ramp upstream to the fly area boundary above Rock Creek. The Mainstem from Soda Springs Dam, including Soda Springs Reservoir, up to Slide Creek Dam is closed year-round to fishing.

Rock Creek Hatchery and new RockEd facility will be closed to visitors from March 16 through June.

North Umpqua River water levels at Winchester Dam

UMPQUA RIVER, SOUTH: steelhead

Reports are that steelhead fishing is just about done. The peak numbers of fish normally show up from February to late March. Fish have been caught in the Canyonville area and hatchery fish have been reported. The hatchery program for winter steelhead is centered in the South Umpqua, which offers the best chance for catching an adipose-fin clipped steelhead for harvest. Most hatchery fish are caught from Canyonville downstream. All wild fish must be released unharmed. Plunking should be good at places such as Lawson Bar, Myrtle Creek and behind Seven Feathers. The water has been low making it harder for long boat drifts, but still suitable for bank anglers.

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

Willow Lake will be stocked this week with another 4,500 legal-sized rainbow trout. Bank anglers should do well fishing bait, while boat anglers should catch fish by trolling with bait or lures or by still fishing with bait. The bass and other warmwater species should get more active once the weather improves and the water warms. Willow Lake is 100 percent full.

WINCHESTER BAY: bottomfish, perch

Fishing for bottomfish in the Triangle and South jetty has been successful. It was reported that striped perch were caught along the jetty and they were of good size. Crabbing has been slow recently.

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  Southwest Zone Hunting

OPEN: COUGAR, SPRING BEAR, SPRING TURKEY (opens April 15)

SW Oregon spring bear tags sold out Feb. 9, 2015.

See the turkey hunting forecast.

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.

Use the Oregon Hunting Map to see where to hunt.

Black Bear
Black Bear
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

COOS COUNTY

Bear – The black bear population in Coos County is healthy. In general terms, the population is denser toward the coast. This does not mean the only good hunting is closer to the coast, though. Hunters should look for forest openings that will attract bears such as clear cuts and slides where grass it growing. As bears become active in the spring they are most interested in eating green, vigorously growing grass. They are generally most active in early morning or late afternoon. Hunters will have the best success if they take their time glassing these areas meticulously. Once a bear is located spend time to verify it is not a sow with cubs before attempting to harvest the bear.

Due to warm conditions this winter and spring, green-up is well under way and bears are becoming active. Unlike most years hunting bears in the early part of the spring season is a good tactic this year.

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 hunting is 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.

DOUGLAS COUNTY

HUNTING:

GAME:

Cougar – Opened on January 1st. 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.

Bear – Opened on April 1st and continues through May 31st. Bear numbers are good with the highest numbers at lower elevations in the coast range with lower numbers elsewhere in the coast range and Cascades. Hunters can focus on open meadows early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Successful bear hunters are required to check in the skull within 10 days of the kill.

Turkey – For all others general spring turkey season starts April 15th so start practicing your calling. Last year’s chick/poult counts showed above average production so hunters can expect the spring gobbler hunt this year to be excellent. Over the last 14 years all indicators point to a healthy turkey population in Douglas County. While the hens are off nesting the first part of the season most toms are found on private land sometimes adjacent to public lands. In general, most turkeys are found on or adjacent to low-mid elevation private lands associated with oak savannah habitat. Hunters are reminded to obtain permission before hunting on private lands. Local public lands augmented with turkeys last winter include Tallow Butte in the South Umpqua and Toketee Airstrip in the North Umpqua drainage.

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.

JACKSON, JOSEPHINE, CURRY COUNTIES

The Jackson Cooperative Travel Management Area is in effect until April 30. This agreement between government agencies and private partners provides hunters with access to a variety of lower elevation areas to hunt. Now that hunting seasons are over, the roads continue to remain closed within designated areas unless posted to provide very little disturbance to wildlife, especially deer and Elk. Maps can be obtained online through ODFW’s website; click on the Oregon Hunting Access Map

Turkey

Turkey in Yamhill County
-Photo by David Budeau-

TURKEY season will open statewide April 15. See regs for details. After last year’s successful nesting season, we have an increase in turkey numbers allowing this season to be better than those of the past few years. Turkey flocks continue to be found in a wide variety of places in our counties. Plenty of public lands have turkey, often found in grassy/oak savannas on BLM lands and lower elevation timber/meadow lands of the Rogue National Forest, although most will be found on private land where permission will needed to be acquired before hunting. Turkeys will be feeding on green grasses and insects. Use locator calls before light or after dark to locate roosting trees; then set up in an area of their travel and begin calling as light approaches.

BEAR season is open and continues thru May 31. All spring bear tags are sold out. Typically spring bear hunting improves as the season goes along. Boars are usually first to show and sows show later. This is what usually occurs when we have a normal winter season. This year may be a bit different with very little winter and warm sunny days. Bear activity may occur earlier. Bear number continue to be high. When bears are out they will be feeding in grassy openings. Focus on south facing hillsides in the early mornings and evenings. Good spots to check are skid roads and side roads that are untraveled with lots of grassy margins and bear sign. Remember successful bear hunters need to checking in an unfrozen skull; otherwise tooth collection, measurement and tagging is difficult. Biologists recommend propping the bear’s mouth open with a stick after harvest; it makes for easier tooth collection and measuring. Weyco permits for bear hunting information

Shed Antlers

The season is here to find antler sheds. A few of the deer have already lost their antlers, within the next month most will lose them. Most deer sheds will be found in deer winter range which is usually below 3500 feet, often around oak trees and buck brush. Most deer winter range in Jackson county has road closures found in the Jackson Cooperative Travel Management Areas Maps (refer to ODFW Maps). Elk will begin losing their antlers next month. Elk can have a higher elevation winter range up to 5000 feet and sheds are often found around meadows and clearings.

Denman Wildlife Area: Remember to get your parking permit. Hunters get the permit free with their purchase of an annual hunting license. Display on car dash.

Cougar season is open statewide year-round or until zone quotas are met. Most cougar hunters’ success comes from predator calls.

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.

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 Southwest Zone Wildlife Viewing

Stellar Sealion
Steller Sea Lions - Rogue Reef
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

COOS COUNTY

Elk

Due to green up of grass in Coos County elk are very visible right now. These animals move in to clear cuts and other forest openings to feed on the grass there. Those interested in seeing these animals should concentrate their search on south slopes. Many bulls have shed their antlers. Now, they will start the process of regrowing antlers. By July, some will have a significant amount of their antlers visible. By mid-August most will have the majority of their antlers regrown.

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.

Shorebirds

Shore birds found along the coast now are here for winter. In places fairly large numbers can be seen. Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge is probably the best place in Coos County to see these birds. The Bandon Marsh Unit is located immediately north of Bandon and is probably the best part of the refuge to visit for shore bird observation. Otherwise mud flats in Coos Bay, Winchester Bay (Douglas County) and the Coquille Bay are great places to check. Recently large flocks of shore birds have been seen on the Coos Bay North Spit beaches and other beaches in the area.

Bufflehead
Bufflehead male in breeding plumage
- Photo by Cathy Nowalk, ODFW-

Waterfowl

Waterfowl abundance is high presently in Coos County. The birds in Coos County now are primarily here to spend the winter. The Coquille Valley is a great place to see dabbling ducks in large numbers. As many as 95% of the pacific coast dabblers stopover in the Coquille Valley during the migration. A large number of them spend the winter there. For those interested in seeing large numbers of diving ducks Coos Bay in the vicinity of Cape Arago Hwy. and Clam Island, on the Coos Bay North Spit, are good places to look. Also, sea ducks like surf scoters are easy to find right now in all the coastal bays. 3/31/15

CURRY, JACKSON, JOSEPHINE COUNTIES

Curry County

For a great birding trail along the southern coast, visit Oregon Birding Trails

Whale watching is occurring along the coast through end of May with one migration heading south until February. This migration is occurring two miles off shore. March through May is their northern migration when they will be cruising closer to shore.

Viewing points within Curry County from north to south are Battle Rock, Cape Sebastian, Cape Ferrelo, and Harris Beach State Park.

Jackson and Josephine Counties

Check out Roxy Ann Peak trail as an area to view the Rogue Valley and the various wildlife found along the way. Roxy Ann Peak

Jackson and Josephine counties are full of flocks of blackbirds, meadowlarks and a variety of sparrows, so take the opportunity to do some bird watching.

Killdeer

A bird known by its shape and behavior as plover. They have a distinct double black band on their breast and a loud piercing call: kill-dee or dee-dee-dee. They are found in low to no vegetation areas such as lawns, golf courses, driveways, parking lots, and gravel-covered roofs, as well as pastures, fields, sandbars and mudflats. They protect their nest by leading predators away by acting like they have a broken wing. Be aware of their nest which are often found in gravel driveways. Found throughout Oregon.

Shed Antlers

Denman Wildlife Area

Denman Wildlife Area
-Photo by Bob Swingle-

The season is approaching to find antler sheds. Few of the deer have already lost their antlers, within the next month most will lose their antler. Most deer sheds will be found in deer winter range which is usually below 3500 feet, often around oak trees and buck brush. Most deer winter range in Jackson county have road closures found in the Jackson Cooperative Travel Management Areas Maps refer to ODFW Maps. Elk will begin losing their antlers next month. Elk can have a higher elevation winter range up to 5000 feet and sheds are often found around meadow and clearing.

Denman Wildlife Area

Swallows have returned to Denman Wildlife Area to inhabit our song bird boxes, come watch them soar around and begin staking out their new home.

Many people are visiting the area for fishing opportunities where bass, blue gills and bull head cat fish are caught. School and scout groups are scheduling appointments where Area staff has provided presentations and tours of the area.

DOUGLAS COUNTY

EVENT

Umpqua Valley Migratory Bird Festival

The Umpqua Valley bird day is at the Douglas County Fairgrounds (exit 123 on I-5) on Saturday April 18, 2015 at the Earth Day Celebration. Admission is free.

Songbirds

Various songbirds like Western Bluebirds, Black-headed Grosbeaks, House Wrens, thrushes and various sparrows are present at Stewart Park Duck Pond and Stewart Park trail in Roseburg.  Remember to clean out your songbird nesting boxes or put up new boxes now since courtship, nest building and raising nestlings happens for many birds in April and May.

Purple Martin
Purple Martin female
- Photo by Kathy Munsel-

Purple Martin

The early arrivals (scouts) have arrived at Plat-I reservoir in Sutherlin and Ten Mile Lakes near Lakeside. The best opportunity to view North America’s largest swallow is in the early morning flying high above the water capturing insects or checking out nesting cavities, nesting boxes or gourds.

Ospreys

Ospreys have returned to the Umpqua Valley from their wintering areas in Central and South America.  Ospreys are also know as fish hawks and can be seen flying above rivers or lakes looking for fish in the water.  This time of the year look for male ospreys diving into the water capturing fish, and taking the captured fish back to the female on the nest.

Fish Passage

Winter steelhead and spring Chinook migrating upstream passing through Winchester dam fish ladder on the N. Umpqua River which is free and open to the public. To view the migrating steelhead go to exit 129 on I-5, proceed southeast on 99 to the fish ladder on the north side of the river.

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