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ODFW WEEKLY RECREATION REPORT
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Southwest Zone Map

Weekly Recreation Report: Southwest Zone

May 23, 2017

 Southwest Zone Fishing

Trout fishing at Howard
John Thompson with 21" trout caught at Howard on Saturday.
-Photo by Dan VanDyke-

Weekend fishing opportunities:

  • Spring Chinook fishing continues to be good in the mainstem Umpqua and some are being caught in the North Umpqua as well.
  • Anglers had been catching spring Chinook pretty consistently in the lower Rogue.
  • May is when summer steelhead will begin migrating through the mainstem Umpqua.
  • Fishing for trout and coho smolts has been good in Galesville Reservoir.
  • Fishing for bass and other warmwater species has been picking up in several area water bodies.
  • Largemouth bass fishing in the Tenmile Basin has been good and should continue to pick up.

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

The lake is full and, the boat ramp is open from dawn until dusk. Fishing for largemouth bass, crappie, and other warmwater fish has been good. Look for fish to be around structure along the shore.

APPLEGATE RESERVOIR: largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, trout

Applegate Reservoir will be stocked this week with 14,000 legal-size and 500 one-pound rainbow trout, which should make for very good trout fishing. Trolling with a wedding ring/bait combination has been effective, as has still fishing with bait from the shore. Fishing for smallmouth bass should be good. The water temperature was 60oF as of Monday morning, and the lake was 98 percent full. Hart-Tish Park and boat ramp are open. The Copper Boat Ramp is also open.

APPLEGATE RIVER: winter steelhead, trout

The Applegate River is now open for trout fishing. Two hatchery trout may be harvested per day. Wild trout must be released unharmed.

ARIZONA POND: rainbow trout

Trout fishing has been good, but weed growth is making it a little tougher. Best trout fishing is in the morning or evening. The pond is scheduled to receive numerous stockings through the spring. This pond is managed by Oregon State Parks for youth-only fishing. It is located at Arizona Beach State Recreation Site, approximately half way between Gold Beach and Port Orford.

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

Ben Irving has been stocked several times with legal-size trout. There are still opportunities to catch carryover fish, as well. Warmwater fishing for bass, crappie and bluegill should improve with increasing temperatures.

BURMA POND: rainbow trout

Burma Pond, located on BLM land east of the town of Wolf Creek, was stocked last week with legal-size rainbow trout, so trout fishing should be good. Largemouth bass are also available.

CHETCO RIVER: Closed

The river re-opens to fishing May 22.

COOPER CREEK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, bass, bluegill

Cooper Creek has been stocked with several hundred trophy-size trout and has received several deliveries of legal-size trout. Fishing for bass and bluegill should improve with increasing temperatures.

COOS COUNTY LAKES/PONDS: trout

Upper Empire Lake, Coos Bay
Upper Empire Lake, Coos Bay
-Photo by Kathy Munsel-

Trout will be stocked in the Millicoma Pond at the Millicoma Interpretive Center and fishing should be excellent. Millicoma Pond is intended for children under the age of 12. Please call before traveling to Millicoma Pond to make sure the gates are open. The phone number is (541)267-2557.
Trout are scheduled to be stocked in Empire Lakes and Tenmile Lakes during the week of May 29. This will be the last trout stocking in the area until October.

ODFW is implementing a tag reward trout study on Empire Lakes for 2017 in which anglers will be asked to report tagged trout that are caught. Anglers can report tags on the ODFW website. Some of the tags will be worth a $50 gift card. This study is an effort by ODFW to compare stocking of “larger” trout to last year’s stocking of “legal” size trout.

COOS RIVER BASIN: Dungeness crab, bay clams, rockfish

Streams and rivers are now open to trout fishing until Oct. 31. Fishing is restricted to artificial flies and lures in streams above tidewater. Anglers may harvest 2 trout per day that are a minimum of 8 inches long.

Anglers are still catching a few rockfish and surfperch 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). The 7 fish marine bag limit will remain in place, with these adjustments for 2017: Create a sub-bag limit of 6 black rockfish, Remove the sub-bag limit for canary rockfish, Add China/quillback/ copper rockfishes to the sub-bag limit with blue/Deacon rockfish and change the limit from 3 to 4. Finally remove the 10-inch minimum size for kelp greenling. Retention of cabezon is not allowed until July 1.

Recreational crabbing is open inside the Coos Bay estuary. Crabbing has been good one day and slow the next day in Coos Bay. Even when crabbing is good, crabbers will need to sort through lots of crab to get a limit.

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, trout

Streams and rivers are now open to trout fishing until Oct. 31. Fishing is restricted to artificial flies and lures in streams above tidewater, except the South Fork Coquille where bait is allowed. Anglers may harvest 2 trout per day that are a minimum of 8 inches long.

Smallmouth bass fishing in the Coquille Basin will improve as the water temperatures warm up in the next couple of weeks.

Recreational crabbing is open in the Coquille estuary but crabbing is very slow due to the large amounts of freshwater coming downstream.

DIAMOND LAKE: trout

As part of the 2016 regulation simplification process, Diamond Lake is now back to the Southwest Zone regulation of 5 rainbow trout per day. Anglers that are planning on taking a trip to Diamond Lake should check with the Umpqua National Forest (541-498-2531) for information on seasonal camp and ramp closures. 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. Diamond Lake is open year-round.

With the lake being mostly “iced-off” fishing has been good. A significant portion of fish caught have been larger than 12-inches. Diamond Lake was stocked with tiger trout in early June of 2016. 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 and unharmed if caught.

DUTCH HERMAN POND: rainbow trout, largemouth bass

Dutch Herman Pond, located on BLM land east of the town of Wolf Creek, was stocked last week with legal-size rainbow trout.

ELK RIVER: closed

The river re-opened to fishing May 22.
Emigrant Lake
Rainbow Trout at Emigrant Lake
-Photo by Daniel Vandyke-

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

Emigrant has been stocked with legal-size rainbow trout. Fishing for bass, crappie, and other warmwater species should be good. Look for fish to be around structure along the shore. The reservoir is currently full.

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

Anglers can once again fish the pond just to the north of the arena, which is now within a RV Park developed by Jackson County. Fishing has been good for stocked rainbow trout. Parking is available to the right as you drive in Gate 5. A day use fee to park here is $4. An annual parking permit can be purchased from Jackson County Parks Department for $30.

A short walk from the day use parking area provides access is the southernmost pond which was stocked earlier this year with rainbow trout and offers good fishing for warmwater fish. Three parking spots are available at Gate 1.5, but parking is not allowed on Penninger Road.

FISH LAKE: rainbow trout, brook trout, spring Chinook

Fish Lake has been stocked with legal-size and trophy-size rainbow trout. Brook trout, tiger trout, and stocked Chinook salmon are also available. Fishing for rainbow trout and Chinook salmon has been fair. The Forest Service boat ramp and campground are open. The Fish lake Resort restaurant, boat launch, and campground are currently open Fridays through Sundays. The reservoir is now 72 percent full.

Anglers are encouraged to report catches of larger spring Chinook or tiger trout to the local ODFW district office at 541-826-8774. Tiger trout must be released unharmed.

FLORAS LAKE: rainbow, cutthroat trout

Trout fishing should improve by the weekend as weather starts to dry out. The 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

Galesville has been stocked several times in 2017 with legal-size trout and with over 50 trophy-size trout. In addition to trout, the reservoir has been stocked with coho smolts and there have been reports of them being caught in good numbers. 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.

Fishing for bass and other panfish will improve with increasing temperatures. Call 541-837-3302 for information on camping and boat launching conditions.

GARRISON LAKE: rainbow, cutthroat trout, bass

Increasing weed growth has slowed trout fishing for bank anglers. Boat anglers are still doing very well on a mix of trophy and legal trout. Anglers will want to watch the weather and fish when the lake is not too windy.

ODFW is implementing a tag reward trout study for 2017. Anglers will be asked to report tagged trout that are caught. Some of the tags will be worth money. Anglers can report the tag number to the ODFW Gold Beach office (541) 247-7605 or on ODFW’s website. Tags can be cut off or pulled out of fish being released. The study is an effort by ODFW to see what size of trout contribute to the fishery the best. Garrison is always an excellent trout fishery, and this study will only help improve it.

HEMLOCK LAKE & LAKE IN THE WOODS: trout

Hemlock Lake should be accessible soon if not already. 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.

Trout fishing at Howard
John Robinson with 21" trout caught at Howard Prairie Reservoir..
-Photo by Dan VanDyke, ODFW-
Hyatt Ramp
Hyatt Ramp on April 22, 2017
-Photo by Dan VanDyke, ODFW-
Lake in the Woods has been stocked in 2017, but Hemlock has been inaccessible to the liberation truck. 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.

HOWARD PRAIRIE RESERVOIR:

Fishing has been good for rainbow trout, with many of the fish between 14 to 18 inches. The lake will be stocked with another 5,100 legal-sized rainbow trout this week. Anglers have been doing well by still-fishing bait and by trolling bait/lure combinations. Fly anglers have been doing especially well at the upper end of the reservoir. Fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass should be improving as the water warms. The lake is full. The marina (boat rentals and moorage) and restaurant/store are open, as are the Jackson County Parks campgrounds and boat ramps.

HYATT LAKE: rainbow trout

Fishing has been good for rainbow trout, with many of the fish in the 14 to 20-inch range. The lake will be stocked with another 5,100 legal-sized rainbow trout this week. Still fishing with bait, trolling lures, and fly fishing have all been productive. Fishing for largemouth bass should be improving as the water warms. The reservoir is 62 percent full. The Mountain View boat ramp is open. The campgrounds are scheduled to open this Friday, May 26.

ILLINOIS RIVER: trout, steelhead

The Illinois River is now open for trout fishing. 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 has been stocked twice this year with legal-size trout. Most anglers use PowerBait or worms to catch trout and yellow perch.

LAKE SELMAC: trout, largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie

Selmac has been stocked with legal-size rainbow trout and trout fishing has been good. Fishing for largemouth bass, bluegill, and crappie has also been good. Look for these fish around structure along the shore.

LEMOLO RESERVOIR: brown trout, rainbow trout, kokanee

The reservoir has been difficult to access due to snow conditions. Contact Lemolo Lake Resort at 541-957-8354 for weather/road conditions and additional information.

The reservoir was stocked with 4,500 rainbow trout in 2016. It was recently stocked with 6,000 legal size trout. There are also excellent opportunities to catch large brown trout and kokanee. Kokanee in Lemolo are considered trout and therefore fall under the daily limit for trout of five per day with only one of those measuring over 20-inches.

LOON LAKE: rainbow trout, bass, bluegill

Loon Lake has been stocked several times in 2017 with legal-size trout. Fishing for crappie, bluegill and bass will improve with increasing temperatures. Slower presentations such as jigging can be a good technique.

Visit the BLM and Loon Lake Resort websites for information on opening dates and camping.

LOST CREEK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, bass

Lost Creek Reservoir will be stocked this week with 10,000 legal-sized and 1,500 one-pound rainbow trout. Fishing has been good for anglers trolling bait and/or lures. Bank anglers have been catching fish near the Takelma Ramp, marina, and spillway using spinners, Powerbait, or a nightcrawler below a bobber. Fishing for smallmouth bass should be good. The reservoir is 99 percent full, and the surface temperature is 62oF.

MEDCO POND: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, bluegill

Two thousand legal-size rainbow trout were stocked into Medco Pond, and fishing for them has been very good. Fishing has also been good for bass and bluegill. Anglers are reminded that Medco Pond is privately owned. Gas engines are not allowed on the pond, and bank access is restricted to the west shore.

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

Recreational crabbing is open along the entire Oregon coast.

Bottom fishing has been good when the ocean conditions allow. Fishing for bottom fish is now restricted to inside the 30-fathom curve. A few black rockfish have been seen feeding on/near the surface recently.

Recreational Chinook salmon fishing is open from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain. Anglers may have two salmon per day but is closed to retention of coho except during the selective and non-selective coho seasons. The selective coho season opens on June 24 through July 31 or until the 18,000 marked coho quota has been met.

The next All Depth Halibut days are June 1-3. The nearshore halibut season does not open until June 4.

Recreational harvest of razor clams is CLOSED on the entire Oregon coast due to elevated levels of domoic acid. The recreational harvesting of mussels is OPEN along the entire Oregon Coast from the Columbia River to the California border. Before any shellfish harvest trip, make sure to check the Oregon Department of Agriculture website for any updates.

Surf perch fishing has been good when ocean swells are small. Surf perch anglers will do the best fishing with sand shrimp or Berkley Gulp sand worms. Fishing is typically best on the incoming tide.

Reinhart Pond
Plat 1 Reservoir
-Photo by Rick Swart, ODFW-

PLAT I RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, bass

Plat I has been stocked several this year with legal-size trout. 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: trout, largemouth bass, bluegill

Reinhart Pond has been stocked with legal-size and trophy-size rainbow trout. Fishing for them has been good. Fishing for warmwater species has also been good.

ROGUE RIVER

Rogue River, lower: spring Chinook, surf perch

Boat anglers are picking up springers consistently, but the majority of fish have been wild. Most angling pressure has been in the lower river and the top of estuary.

Anglers have been picking up a few surf perch off the sand spit in the lower estuary.

Rogue River, middle: steelhead, trout

A few spring Chinook salmon have been landed, but fishing for Chinook remains slow. Chinook have been caught on bait-wrapped plugs and on roe. Anglers are reminded that only hatchery Chinook with clipped adipose fins may be retained. Fishing is also slow for steelhead since the majority of the winter steelhead are gone and the summer steelhead have not yet arrived.

The river is now open for trout fishing. Five hatchery trout may be harvested per day. Wild trout must be released unharmed.

As of Monday morning, the flow at Grants Pass was 4,630 cfs, the turbidity was 4 NTUs, and the water temperature was 56oF. 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

Fishing for spring Chinook has been slow to fair since relatively few Chinook have made it to the upper Rogue so far. Anglers are reminded that only hatchery Chinook with clipped adipose fins may be retained. Due to low returns of spring Chinook salmon to Cole Rivers Fish Hatchery, the popular “Hatchery Hole” has been closed to all fishing through July 31. The fishing deadline has been moved downstream 1,200 feet. This closure is necessary to help ensure Cole Rivers Fish Hatchery collects enough Spring Chinook to meet future production goals.

Fishing is also slow for steelhead since the majority of the winter steelhead are gone and the summer steelhead have not yet to arrive.

The river is now open for trout fishing. The salmonflies should soon begin emerging, which should result good trout fishing. Five hatchery trout may be harvested per day. Wild trout must be released unharmed.

As of May 17, a total of 2,335 winter steelhead and six spring Chinook have returned to Cole Rivers Hatchery. (Track the hatchery returns at fish returns to Cole Rivers). The outflow from Lost Creek Reservoir on Monday morning was 3,522 cfs, but scheduled to rise to 3,700 later in the day. The water temperature in the river was 50oF. The flow at RayGold was 4,620 cfs with a temperature of 52oF.

Up to date flow and temp information.

Rogue River, above Lost Creek Reservoir: trout

The weekly stocking of rainbow trout in the Rogue River above the reservoir will begin this week and continue through the summer. Some of the usual stocking sites are still blocked by snow or have swift current, so for this week, only the following sites will be stocked: Mill Creek Campground; River Bridge Campground; Woodruff Bridge; Union Creek Campground; Farewell Bend Campground; Mt. Stella Bridge; and Hwy 230 between MP 9 and 10. In addition to the stocked trout, the river and its tributaries also support naturally produced rainbow, cutthroat, brook, and brown trout.

SMITH RIVER, Umpqua: trout

Opened to fishing on May 22.

SODA SPRINGS RESERVOIR: closed

Soda Springs remains CLOSED. There has been some recent articles stating that the reservoir is open to fishing. The reservoir is closed to evaluate its use by salmon and steelhead.

SPALDING POND: rainbow trout

Spalding Pond will be stocked again this week with legal-size rainbow trout.

Tenmile Lake
Tenmile Lake
-Photo by Rick Swart, ODFW-

TENMILE BASIN: trout, bass

Streams and rivers are now open to trout fishing until Oct. 31. Fishing is restricted to artificial flies and lures in streams above tidewater. Anglers may harvest 2 trout per day that are a minimum of 8 inches long. Trout fishing in Tenmile Lakes, Eel Lake, Saunders Lake are open all year. Anglers have been catching trout in Eel and Tenmile lakes trolling wedding ring spinners tipped with a worm.

Largemouth bass fishing has been good and will continue to pick up as the water temperatures warm up. Anglers are catching bass in shallow water near structure or on the deep end of the weed lines using jigs or rubber worms.

TOKETEE LAKE: brown trout, rainbow trout

Fishing is open in Toketee year-round, but weather conditions may prevent access. For more information call the U.S. Forest Service at 541-498-2531.

UMPQUA HIGH LAKES AND FOREBAYS: trout

Lakes accessible from hiking trails and that were stocked last year: Calamut, Connie, Bullpup, Fuller, Cliff, Buckeye, Maidu, Twin “b”, Pitt, and Skookum lakes. 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 as lakes may be difficult to access due to snow.

Red Top Pond, which offers excellent bank fishing opportunities, was stocked in late April 2017. In addition, there should be plenty of holdover legal-size 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, spring Chinook, shad

The mainstem Umpqua is closed to wild steelhead harvest but remains open year-round for adipose fin-clipped steelhead. Spring Chinook season is in full swing with regular reports of anglers catching fish throughout the main. Summer steelhead should begin migrating through the main in May.

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, anglers 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 traditional season for shad is from Mother’s Day to Father’s Day. There are some reports of shad being caught by spring Chinook anglers.

UMPQUA RIVER, NORTH: steelhead, spring Chinook

Summer steelhead season should start soon.

There have been some reports of spring Chinook being caught above and below Winchester Dam. Per the new regulation, 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. Anti-snagging rules are in effect from March 1 through July 31 in the area below the fly boundary. This rule includes hook restrictions (one single-point hook with less than ¾” gap) and a leader length of no more than 36 inches. Please refer to the fishing regulations for more information.

Note that from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 through June 30, fishing in the fly water area is restricted to fly fishing only with a single barbless fly.

UMPQUA RIVER, SOUTH: trout, bass

The South opened on May 22 to trout and warmwater fishing.

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

Willow Lake will be stocked again this week with 3,000 legal-size and 1,500 pound-size rainbow trout. Anglers should do well still-fishing with bait, trolling or casting lures, or fly-fishing. Fishing for bass and other warmwater species should be good. The paved ramp and campground are open, and the lake is full.

WINCHESTER BAY: bottomfish, perch

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

WINCHUCK RIVER: closed

The river re-opens to fishing May 22.

  Southwest Zone Hunting

OPEN: COUGAR, COYOTE, SPRING BEAR, SPRING TURKEY

Bear and turkey hunting close May 31.

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.

COOS COUNTY

Hunters need to be aware that ownership of several timber land parcels in Coos County has recently changed. In some cases the new owners have different access policies than their predecessors. Make sure you know what the policy is before accessing private land and don’t assume the policy is the same as prior years.

Black Bear
Black Bear
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Spring Black Bear- The spring Black Bear season continues until May 31. The hunt that pertains to Coos County is the SW Oregon Limited hunt. Bears are becoming active, although, rainy and windy conditions appear to subdue their activity to briefly. Likely due to the extended winter conditions, bears appear have been slow to come out of dens this year and initially they spent a lot of time in the riparian areas. It may be that they focused their feeding on skunk cabbage. More recently hunters are reporting seeing them in clear cuts and open slopes where grass grows vigorously. Growing grass tends to have more nutrition and is more tender and digestible.

Hunters should begin to see bears regularly on grassy slopes, especially those that face south or west. Bears generally breed in June, so, as the month of May wears on bear activity will increase considerably.

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. Remember a 2017 cougar tag and license is needed to hunt as of Jan. 1.

Turkey populations in Coos County are in good shape presently. Due to several years of good nesting and survival, turkey populations are at a relatively high level presently and flocks have been seen in places where they were not in prior years. Unfortunately, very few turkey flocks spend much time on public land in Coos County. Therefore, hunters must contact landowners for permission to hunt private lands, where most turkeys can be found.

Some of the general areas in Coos County where good numbers of turkeys exist are on private lands near the Coquille Valley, along the coast south of Bandon and in the South Fork Coos and Millicoma River drainages. Hunters must get permission to hunt private lands in these areas, no different than anywhere else.

DOUGLAS COUNTY

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.

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 – Bears are becoming more active in both the Coast Range and the Cascades. Hunters should target bears along south facing green slopes, grassy abandoned roads, and marshy creek bottoms. Look for locations where food is available in great supply and make it a point to be there before sunrise or just before sunset for the best opportunity to spot a black bear.

Spring Turkey –The general spring season runs through May 31. All indicators point to a healthy turkey population in Douglas County. In general, most turkeys are found on or adjacent to low-mid elevation private lands associated with oak savannah habitat. ODFW has also supplemented prime habitat within the Umpqua National Forest with turkeys over the last several years. Healthy turkey production around the Toketee, Tiller and Upper Cow Creek areas of the Umpqua National Forest can give hunters a different experience and opportunity to test their turkey calling skills. Hunters are reminded to obtain permission before hunting on private lands.

JACKSON, JOSEPHINE, CURRY COUNTIES

Spring Bear season continues until May 31 here in Southern Oregon. Bear numbers are very good here in Southern Oregon, especially in the Applegate and Rogue units which have some of the highest bear harvest numbers in the state. Bear harvest seems to be improving as the month of May progresses. Typically boars emerge from their dens earlier than sows and cubs. Remember that it is illegal to harvest a sow with cubs. In general it is good to start off the season glassing open hillsides during sunny mornings and evenings. Bears will most likely be out at this time feeding on grasses and anything else they can fill their bellies with. As the season continues into May another useful method of hunting is using a fawn distress call. There are many newborn fawns this time of year so you are imitating a natural food source. Other predator calls can be successful as well. Remember that within 10 days of harvest you are required to check your bear skull in at an ODFW office, the skull must be unfrozen and preferable have the mouth propped open. If the skull is brought in frozen we will not be able to pull a tooth and you will likely have to be sent home to return when it is thawed. For more information refer to page 30 of the 2017 Oregon Big Game Hunting Regulations.

Spring Turkey season continues through May 31. Turkey numbers remain good in our area which should lead to a productive hunting season. So far turkey harvest in our area has been good. Many hunters have been successful in filling their first tag and have gone on to buy a second. Harvest should remain good throughout the remainder of the season.

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.

Cougar
Cougar
- Royalty Free Image-

Cougar season is open statewide year-round or until zone quotas are met (see zone quota page). 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. It is a good idea to use specific cougar sounds in conjunction with a general prey distress sound, cougar whistles can be one of these very useful sound while calling. Unlike other species cougars will come in slowly and spend lots of time looking for the source of the sound. So be sure to remain very still and keep your eyes open for the cougars head only, as they will often peer around an obstacle to get a better view while remaining hidden.

This time of year can be productive by driving roads after a fresh snow and looking for cougar tracks. By doing this you can narrow down the area worth setting up and calling. There is a mandatory check in of all cougars harvested within 10 days of the after harvest; the unfrozen skull, hide, and proof of sex must be taken to an ODFW office during normal business hours. If a female cougar is harvested it is also mandatory to bring in the reproductive tract in order to gain valuable population data. For more information refer to page 34 of the 2017 Oregon Big Game Hunting Regulations.

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

COOS COUNTY

Marine Mammals

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

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. Presently, large numbers of Steller and California sea lions are using the haul out. Also, large numbers of harbor seals are present. It is likely that Northern elephant seals are there too. All of these animals are visible from the look out at Simpson Reef located along Cape Arago Hwy. Do not approach seals and sea lions you may find on Oregon beaches.

California grey whales, humpback whales and others tend to migrate through Oregon waters in spring as they head back to the North Pacific and the Bearing Sea. March and early April are great times to see these animals. At times several whales can be seen at once from one vantage point. California grey whales will often come very close to shore feeding. It is not uncommon to see these huge animals next to jetties and nearshore rocks or just outside of the furthest breaking waves on beaches.

Cape Arago is a wonderful place to see these animals, for those wanting to see them. Occasionally these whales will even enter Coos Bay. Generally, the best time is at or near high tide, when the water next to shore is deepest.

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.

Waterfowl

Waterfowl numbers are high presently in the Coos and Coquille drainage systems, but that may be hard to believe due to the fact that these birds are widely scattered. Large amounts of precipitation lately has resulted is extensively inundated agricultural lands throughout Coos County and other parts of the coast. Those who are interested in seeing these birds should spend their time searching the upper extents of tributaries of the Coos and Coquille drainages where agricultural lands exist. Birds will, generally not move into the forested extent of these drainages in large numbers.

Coquille Valley Wildlife Area (CVWA) is located near the town of Coquille. To access CVWA area take Hwy. 42 from Coquille toward Coos Bay. From there take North Bank Rd. to the west. The public parking area for CVWA is located about ½ mile west from the intersection of Hwy. 42 and North Bank Rd. along North Bank Rd. Beaver Slough Tract, located north of the public parking area, is open to public access. It is a great place to paddle a canoe in the spring when water inundation makes that form of travel easy. Wildlife Viewing opportunity abound along Beaver Slough. Refer to the map posted at the public parking area to make sure you stay on your public land. Permits are required for anyone who accesses CVWA. The permits are available at the parking area and are free of charge. Make sure you put the “A” half in the appropriate box at the parking area and carry the “B” half with you. At the end of the trip put this half in the same box after filling it out. Enjoy this newly acquired wildlife area.

Shorebird migration is well underway. May is the month when we tend to see the largest concentration of shorebirds in the County. In fact biologists who work on the Western snowy plover recovery effort recently reported seeing 14 different species of shorebirds on local beaches in one day. Those interested in seeing these birds can find good viewing opportunities on the beach at Bullards Beach near Bandon, Bandon National Wildlife Refuge and Horsefall Beach, near Coos Bay. Keep in mind portions of some beaches are closed to access this time of year to protect nesting Western snowy plovers. Closed beaches will have clear signage to this effect. However for more information visit the Oregon State Parks office or Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife office which are both located in Charleston. Phone numbers are (541) 888-3778 for Oregon State Parks and (541) 888-5515.

Winter storms bring seabirds in close to shore. Many even move into the bays to forage on fish and crustaceans. On occasion over the past few years, herring, a small schooling fish, have, spawned in the rocks and vegetation found close to the bar but within Coos Bay. This causes a great congregation of a variety of seabirds. A great place to view these birds is the parking area next to a pump station at Fossil Point in Coos Bay. This pump station is located next to Cape Arago Hwy. When this spawning event occurs hundreds of scoters, scaup and a variety of other birds often found in the marine environment will congregate there to feed on herring eggs. Precisely when herring spawn seems to be variable but when they do thousands of eggs are attached to vegetation in rocky areas during a single night. 3/28/2017

Turkey Vulture
Turkey Vulture
-Photo by Dave Budeau-

DOUGLAS COUNTY

Turkey Vultures - The turkey vultures have arrived in the Umpqua Valley. Watch for roosted turkey vultures with wings wide open, warming in the morning sun and watch out for turkey vultures as you drive the local roads. Many vultures are hit and killed by vehicles as they forage on road struck animals.

Waterfowl – Ducks and geese are nesting around ponds, lakes, wetlands and rivers throughout Douglas County. Watch for nestlings following adult waterfowl in the following weeks as they learn to forage.

Turkeys – Turkeys are abundant on the Umpqua Valley floor. Watch for toms strutting and gathering hens for spring breeding. Look for these birds within the oak savannah habitat and surrounding oak woodlands where food and roosting resources are available. ODFW does not recommend feeding turkeys as these concentrated birds do a significant amount of damage to properties and buildings when concentrated around baited sites within residential and agricultural areas.

Amphibians - The frogs and salamanders are out. Start to watch for frog and salamander egg masses and tadpoles to show up in ponds, puddles, creeks, and ditches. This can be a fun experience for kids and their parents to watch the development and metamorphosis processes of these critters.

Reptiles – As we get warmer, longer days, watch for local lizard, snake and turtle populations to become more active. Lizards and snakes will be taking advantage of morning and evening sun and southern exposed rock formations (and roads) to warm themselves. Turtles will be seen basking on logs and banks of local ponds, streams and reservoirs.

Osprey - Ospreys 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.

Purple Martin – Purple Martins have arrived so look for them around Plat I Reservoir, Cooper Creek Reservoir and Ten Mile Lake. Purple Martin is our largest swallow in North America and is uncommon & mainly found in Western Oregon communally nesting usually near a large water body.

Young Wildlife – As spring births occur, the occasion to notice and watch young wildlife makes for a great learning experience for children and families. Be careful not to get too close however, and don’t take any wildlife from their habitat. If orphans are noticed, if safe or unharmed, leave animal where it is found and contact ODFW or Umpqua Wildlife Rescue (541-440-1196) in Douglas County. Most baby wildlife that is found, believed to be abandoned or orphaned, are simply waiting for mothers to return from foraging. If baby birds are found outside of nests, either return to nest if possible or leave on ground or limb below nest. Mother birds will likely be watching and waiting from a distance for people or predators to leave the area.

Hummingbirds – It time to hang up your feeders for our summer hummers. 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.

Deer – Don’t feed the deer in your area. This is the time of year when we start receiving reports from the public of sick looking deer with little to no hair or patches of hair missing. This condition referred to as “Deer Hair Loss Syndrome” or DHLS has been affecting local deer populations for the last 20 years. Many of the affected deer are does or fawns. This condition is believed to be caused by exotic biting lice in high numbers on affected deer, and can result in death for some while others overcome this condition. An infected deer can pass lice easily to other deer when they congregate in areas where fed so ODFW recommends to not feed the deer to minimize lice transfer and increasing the DHLS in our area.

Shed Antlers – Now is a good time to get out in the woods and look for shed deer and elk antlers. Be careful not to harass deer and elk out of critical winter range habitat.

JACKSON and JOSEPHINE COUNTIES

Rogue Valley Audubon Society

The 2017 Birdathon is on May 5th at 6:00 pm and will continue for 24 hours. This is a chance for you to create a team and have a friendly competition with other birders from around the valley in an attempt to raise money for the Rogue Valley Audubon Society. More information

First Wednesday of the month bird counts at Agate Lake. On the first Wednesday of every month the Rogue Valley Audubon Society gathers at Agate Lake outside of White City to conduct a bird count. The event is open to the public and starts at 8:30 am.

Denman Wildlife Area

Denman Wildlife Area
-Photo by Bob Swingle-

Denman Wildlife Area

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 Denman 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 on Whetstone pond to provide more fishing access, it is possible to catch bass, bluegill, bullhead catfish, black crappie, and carp. Warm water fishing should become more productive as the weather improves. The pond is located just north of the ODFW Rogue Watershed Field Office in Central Point.

A prescribed burn was conducted on the Denman Wildlife Area near Little Butte Creek last fall for habitat restoration and enhancement. This newly opened area could potentially be a good spot to view wildlife frequenting the area and benefiting from the habitat improvement. Last month it was seeded with a mix of red clover, birdsfoot trefoil, and other desirable grasses. As the weather continues to get better we should start to see fresh growth for wildlife to feed on.

Song Birds

Several types of swallows are beginning to nest in our bird boxes around the Denman Wildlife area office.

Canada geese

Canada Geese mate for life and pairs are breaking off from their flocks to find nesting sites. We are now starting to see goslings running around the wildlife area with many more to come. They will soon be everywhere in the fields and ponds for people to watch.

Cackling Geese

There is a single pair of Cackling geese that are residents of the wildlife area. They have been seen repeatedly in front of Whetstone pond near our main Central Point ODFW office. These geese are similar in appearance to Canada Geese but are only about half the size. It is uncommon for Cackling Geese to take up permanent residence in the Rogue Valley.

Turkey Vultures

A few turkey vultures are starting to appear in the Rogue River Valley from their wintering grounds. The Denman Wildlife Area and surrounding areas is a good place to view these birds and possibly get some good pictures.

Red-naped Sapsucker

The Red-naped Sapsucker is a member of the woodpecker family; it is characterized by the red on its nape as well as its throat. They are short distance migrants that winter in woodlands and aspen groves. Common in the Rocky Mountains and low lying state lands it is seldom seen as far west as the Rogue Valley, however during the past few weeks there have been sightings near Emigrant Lake in Ashland. It gets its name from its coloration as well as its feeding behavior. The Red-naped Sapsucker will drill tiny holes in tree bark in neat rows, then return to feed on the sap that leaks out.

Wilson's Snipe
Wilson's Snipe
- Photo by Maxine Wyatt-

Snipe

Snipe are small, fast and erratic low-flying birds that can be hard to identify. They can be easily confused with killdeer and other shorebirds. Snipe are found in muddy or shallow water areas feeding on insects. Snipe almost always emit a call when they take off in flight. Denman Wildlife Area has decent numbers of snipe.

Turkeys

Turkey are beginning their breeding season and it can be an interesting display to watch. Males called toms are starting to collect groups of females called hens. Toms have begun to make sounds called gobbles which can be heard from long distances. These toms spend much of their time strutting, which consists of them spreading their tail feathers and puffing up their chest feathers in order to impress the hens they are trying to attract. There are turkeys throughout southern Oregon, including on the Denman Wildlife Area. Be aware that spring turkey hunting season runs April 15-May 31.

For a great birding trail along the southern coast, visit Oregon Birding Trails. (4/11/2017)

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.

For a great birding trail along the southern coast, visit Oregon Birding Trails. (4/25/2017)


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