-Photo by Ross Henshaw-
Weekend fishing opportunities
- Recent rains have brought winter steelhead into the rivers. Look for fishing to improve as the high water begins to subside.
- Steelhead fishing is picking up on the middle and upper Rogue River – and look for it to get better over the next couple of weeks.
- Anglers have been catching good numbers of hatchery steelhead on the South Umpqua.
- Spring chinook have begun arriving in the lower Umpqua and Rogue rivers.
- Several lakes/ponds in Coos County will be stocked this week; Expo and Reinhart ponds will be getting trophy size fish in addition to legals.
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.
2014 trout stocking
The 2014 trout stocking schedule will be posted as soon as it becomes available – usually in February or March, depending on the zone. In the meantime, the 2013 schedule can often be used as a general guideline for 2014.
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: trout, largemouth bass, black crappie
Legal and large size rainbow trout were stocked in October. The reservoir level is steadily increasing and is now at 66 percent of capacity. Anglers fishing Agate are encouraged to report their catch to the local ODFW office at 541-826-8774. Agate is open from dawn to dusk daily.
APPLEGATE RESERVOIR: largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, trout
Anglers have found fair to good fishing on rainbow trout with multiple limits of 10-14 inch fish. Also, French Gulch boat ramp is now operable for launching trailered boats. The shoreline is still steep and muddy, making the winter reservoir pool difficult to fish from shore. Anglers may be able to fish from shore at the upper end of the reservoir. Please be aware that the streams flowing into Applegate Reservoir are currently closed to fishing. Only the reservoir is open to fishing at this time.
APPLEGATE RIVER: rainbow and cutthroat trout, winter steelhead
Fish are spread throughout the river with reports that fish have been caught up at Cantrall Buckley, even with the low water. Expect a good surge of fish this week as the river is predicted to rise significantly downstream of Ruch. The river is currently open to steelhead fishing and the use of bait is allowed, however, only adipose fin clipped steelhead may be harvested and fishing from a floating device is not allowed. Anglers are reminded to use care when releasing fish, keeping fish in the water and handling them gently. Dam releases will continue at 80 cfs until further notice.
ARIZONA POND: rainbow trout
Slow. The first scheduled stocking is the middle of March. The pond is managed by Oregon State Parks and is open only to youth 17 and under.
-U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service-
BEN IRVING RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, bass, bluegill, yellow perch, crappie
The reservoir was stocked with about 5,000 trout in 2013 and 2014 stocking will begin in March. Over 3,000 trout will be stocked in the next couple weeks. A few may be just shy of legal size for harvest. Warmwater fishing for bass and crappie will be best around the edges where there is some structure, but is slowing with colder water temperatures.
CHETCO RIVER: steelhead
Steelhead fishing has been pretty good when river conditions have been dropping and clearing. Anglers are catching a mix of fresh and spawned out steelhead. This is a good time of year to run plugs or cast spinners as water temperatures increase and steelhead become more aggressive. Anglers will want to check flows before heading to the river.
Chetco River flows near Brookings
COOPER CREEK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, bass, bluegill, yellow perch, bullhead
Cooper Creek received about 10,550 trout ranging from 8 inches to 2 pounds in 2013 and recently received 550 trout. The lake will also be stocked with about 4,000 more fish in the next couple weeks. A few of the fish may be just shy being legal size for harvest. Trout fishing with PowerBait has been succesful. 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.
COOS COUNTY Lakes/Ponds: rainbow trout
The trout stocking truck had a problem with its aerators last week so no trout were stocked in any of the Coos County lakes. The aerators are now all fixed so trout will be stocked in Bradley Lake, Saunders Lake, Johnson Mill Pond, Powers Pond, and Empire Lakes this week.
COOS RIVER BASIN: Dungeness crab, bay clams, steelhead, rockfish
Steelhead anglers have been catching fish in the South Fork Coos River and also in the East and West Fork Millicoma rivers. The rains forecasted for this week will most likely bring all the river levels up slightly. The West Fork Millicoma River will be the first river to clear. Anglers have had success catching steelhead on sand shrimp when the rivers are running low and clear.
In the Coos Basin, from Dec. 1 through April 30, anglers may keep one additional adipose fin-clipped steelhead per day for a total aggregate of 3 adult fish harvested daily. Anglers wanting to fish the South Fork Coos River will need to pick up an access permit from the Weyerhaeuser Dellwood office.
Fishing for rockfish and lingcod should be good around the jetties and other submerged rockpiles inside the bay.
Crabbing in Coos Bay continues to be slow.
In a cooperative effort including ODFW and OSU researchers, hundreds of red rock crabs have been tagged with a small blue “floy tag” in Charleston to gain an understanding of their growth, age, movement, population size, and fishery. Red rock crabs are native to Oregon and are found in only a few Oregon estuaries. If you catch a tagged red rock crab please contact the ODFW Charleston office at 541-888-5515.
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. For more information on shellfish in Coos Bay click on the following link: Shellfish Assessment of Coastal Oregon. Before any shellfish harvest trip, make sure to check the Oregon Department of Agriculture website for any updates.
COQUILLE RIVER BASIN: steelhead
Fishing was very good on the North Fork and South Fork Coquille rivers last week. River levels will most likely go up slightly with the forecasted rain this week but there should still be plenty of steelhead to catch once the rivers drop back into shape. In the Coquille Basin, from Dec. 1 through April 30, anglers may keep one additional adipose fin-clipped steelhead per day for a total aggregate of 3 adult fish harvested daily.
DIAMOND LAKE: trout
|Father and son fishing at Diamond Lake
Diamond Lake received an additional 16,000 trout in late August. These were 8-inch legal-sized trout. The lake also received about 20,000 sub-legal trout in November. Anglers should remember to release all trout smaller than 8 inches. Ice fishing has been a mixed bag. Anglers willing to try different depths and setups have been more successful. Please remember to fill out the ice fishing survey forms that can be found at the Marina and inside the resort’s double-doors.
Anglers can check fishing conditions at Diamond Lake on their website, or call their toll free number at 1-800-733-7593, ext 236 or 238 for updates. The road around the lake, campgrounds and boat ramps are not plowed during the winter.
ELK RIVER: steelhead
Lots of steelhead around and rain this week will make for some good fishing conditions. Anglers will want call and check river conditions before heading out. The river fishes best at 5 feet and dropping. Check river conditions by calling 541-332-0405.
EMIGRANT RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, black crappie
Emigrant is currently 43 percent full. Trout are still available. The boat ramp at the park is open dawn to dusk, but is likely limited to smaller boats due to lower than usual water levels. Expect the warmwater fishing to start picking up soon.
EXPO POND: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill
Expo Pond will be stocked with 200 trophy sized and 1,500 legal sized trout this week and was stocked with legal and large size rainbows in October.
FISH LAKE: rainbow trout, brook trout, spring Chinook
Anglers should be prepared for winter conditions and varying levels of ice coverage. Some open water is available near the resort and fishing should be good. Fish Lake offers stocked rainbow trout and spring Chinook salmon, along with naturally produced brook trout. Some tiger trout have been stocked but these fish must be released unharmed.
There are reports of good numbers of spring Chinook in the 10-12 inch range being caught. Anglers are encouraged to report catches of larger spring Chinook or tiger trout to the local ODFW district office at 541-826-8774.
FLORAS LAKE: rainbow, cutthroat trout
The lake is best fished from a boat, as there is limited bank angling. 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
Galesville Reservoir is open to fishing year-round. 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. The older coho are generally 12 to 14-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. Some hatchery steelhead have recently been placed in Galesville. Over 4,000 trout will be stocked in Galesville during the next couple of weeks. A few may be just shy of legal size for harvest.
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. Call 541-837-3302 for information on camping and boat launching conditions.
-Photo by Wes Niestrath-
GARRISON LAKE: rainbow trout, cutthroat
When high or low water make for poor steelhead fishing on local rivers anglers can head to Garrison to do a little fishing. The lake usually has a good carry over trout population. Garrison is scheduled to be stocked in the middle of March. Boat anglers will want to keep an eye on the weather and fish the lake when there is no wind. Access for bank anglers is best at the 12th Street boat ramp or along the foredune accessed through Tseriadun State Park. Garrison Lake is located in the middle of Port Orford.
HEMLOCK LAKE & LAKE IN THE WOODS & Umpqua High Lakes: trout
For access to high lakes, contact the Forest Service at 541-958-3200 for information on current road conditions and lake accessibility. The road to Hemlock and other high lakes is not plowed during the winter.
HOWARD PRAIRIE RESERVOIR: Closed to fishing until April 26.
HYATT LAKE: Closed to fishing until April 26.
ILLINOIS RIVER: trout, steelhead
The Illinois River is open to steelhead fishing. The Illinois gets little pressure in part because it is hard to access. Anglers willing to do some hiking can have a high quality fishing experience.
Fishing is restricted to artificial flies and lures. For anglers who want the opportunity to harvest a steelhead, the mainstem Illinois River from the confluence with Klondike Creek upstream to Pomeroy Dam is available. Non adipose fin-clipped steelhead, at least 24 inches in length may be kept, 1 per day and 5 per year as part of the daily or annual steelhead/salmon catch limit. Consult the regulations for more information. The Illinois should be in great shape for fishing. Rain this week could blow the river out but the Illinois clears quickly and fishing should be great by the weekend.
The Illinois River below Pomeroy Dam near Cave Junction is open for trout fishing. This is primarily a catch-and release-fishery on wild trout. All non-adipose fin-clipped rainbow trout and all cutthroat trout must be released unharmed.
Illinois River flows at Kerby
LAKE MARIE: rainbow trout
The lake was stocked with about 4,500 trout last year. Most anglers use PowerBait or worms.
LAKE SELMAC: trout, largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie
Selmac was stocked with 5,000 legal-size trout three weeks ago. Also, rainbow trout, legal and large-size fish stocked last fall, are still available. Still fishing with PowerBait or worms, or trolling lures should all be productive for trout. Warmwater fishing should start picking up soon.
LEMOLO RESERVOIR: Closed to until April 1
LOON LAKE: rainbow trout, bass, bluegill
-U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service-
The lake can also provide good fishing for crappie, bluegill and bass. Fishing is slow and both the BLM and Resort’s boat ramps are closed. The lake will be stocked with over 4,000 trout in the next couple weeks. A few may be just shy of legal size for harvest.
LOST CREEK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, spring Chinook, bass
Lost Creek Reservoir is a fall and winter hot spot for trout anglers. Both legal-sized and trophy trout were stocked in October, complementing holdover trout that reach 16-17 inches in length. Lost Creek is a good bet as reports indicate fish are being caught by bank anglers using Powerbait and boats trolling flashers at a depth of 30 to 50 feet.
MEDCO POND: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, bluegill
Trout and warmwater fish are available.
PACIFIC OCEAN AND BEACHES: bottomfish, Dungeness crab
Recreational Dungeness crabbing is open in the ocean.
Fishing for bottom fish including rockfish, and lingcod is open at all depths until April 1. Fishing for bottom fish has been good when the ocean has been calm enough to get out. The marine fish daily bag limit is seven fish and a separate daily limit for lingcod (two). Retention of cabezon is not allowed until July 1.
PLAT I RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, warmwater fish
In addition to trout fishing, the lake also has good bullhead fishing. The reservoir has been re-filling with the recent rains. Bass can be harvested from March 1 to Oct. 31 and are catch-and-release only from Nov. 1-Feb. 29. The reservoir will have nearly 3,000 trout stocked during the next couple of weeks. A few may be shy of legal size for harvest.
REINHART PARK POND: trout
Reinhart Park Pond will be stocked this week with 50 trophy size and 300 legal-sized trout and was stocked three weeks ago with 300 legal-sized trout and was stocked in October with legal and large-size rainbow trout.
Rogue River, lower: steelhead, spring Chinook
Steelhead fishing has been good for plunkers as the river drops and clears. Boat anglers anchoring close to the bank and running plugs or spin-n-glos are picking up a few fish, but will do better as the river clears. Anglers will want to check flows before heading out and try to fish as the river is dropping and clearing. Anglers reported the first spring Chinook was caught.
Rogue River, middle: steelhead, trout
Success has increased through this section and anglers should expect more fish to move into this area and fishing should only get better over the next couple of weeks. The river rose Monday and is expected to rise again this week possibly blowing out. Anglers can have success casting flies, drifting night crawlers, casting spinners like a Panther Martin with a black body and gold blade, plugs (black, red or purple), and puff balls with roe or shrimp. The flow at Grants Pass was 4530 cfs and the water temperature peaked at 48.5°F on March 4.
Beginning Feb. 1, retention of wild steelhead, at least 24 inches in length, 1 per day, five per year, is allowed in the entire Rogue mainstem from Gold Beach to the diversion dam at Cole Rivers Hatchery. Consult the 2013 fishing regulations for more information. Take care when releasing fish.
The Rogue River is open for trout fishing; however, only adipose fin-clipped rainbow may be kept. All non-adipose fin-clipped rainbow trout and all cutthroat trout must be released unharmed.
Rogue River, upper: steelhead, trout
-Photo by Ross Henshaw-
Reports indicate fish are being caught and the fishing will only get better as we move into March. Keep in mind the Rogue from Casey State Park to the hatchery will remain clear and provides a great opportunity for steelhead fishing when the rest of the river is blown out.
The release from Lost Creek Reservoir was 1750 cfs (temperature 41.5°F), while the flow at Gold Ray was 3600 cfs with a peak water temperature 46°F on March 4. At Cole Rivers, 157 summer steelhead entered the hatchery the week of Feb. 24, bringing the total to 2709. The past week, 124 winter steelhead entered the collection pond bringing the total to 282. That is the second highest total to date for winter steelhead returns in the last ten years so anglers should expect many more fish. Anglers should be careful when releasing fish, doing so quickly while keeping the fish in the water.
Trout fishing is always a good bet on the upper Rogue. Only adipose fin-clipped rainbow may be kept. All non-adipose fin-clipped rainbow trout and all cutthroat trout must be released unharmed.
Rogue River, above Lost Creek Reservoir: trout
This reach of the Rogue is open to trout fishing year-round. Best fall fishing will likely be found on the mainstem along Highway 62 and 230 for stocked rainbow trout, especially near release sites.
SIXES RIVER: steelhead
Muddy. Steelhead fishing should pick up as the river drops and clears.
SMITH RIVER, Umpqua: steelhead, sturgeon, striped bass
Steelhead are present in the Smith. There is no hatchery program in the Smith River, so the area is primarily a catch and release fishery.
SODA SPRINGS RESERVOIR: Closed to fishing.
TENMILE BASIN: steelhead
Well over 200 steelhead have been recycled from the Eel Lake Fish Trap back downstream into Tenmile Creek at Spinreel Park to give anglers another chance to catch these fish. A few bright, fresh fish continue to enter the Eel Lake Fish trap each week. There is bank fishing access at Spinreel Park, at the mouth of Eel Creek, and also along Eel Creek. Fishing in Eel Creek opened on Jan. 1. In the Tenmile Basin, from Dec. 1 through April 30, anglers may keep one additional adipose fin-clipped steelhead per day for a total aggregate of 3 adult fish harvested daily.
TOKETEE LAKE: brown trout, rainbow trout
Fishing is open in Toketee year-round. The campground and boat ramp are now open. For more information call the U.S. Forest Service at 541-498-2531.
UMPQUA HIGH LAKES AND FOREBAYS: trout
Clearwater Forebay #2 received about 500 nice 14-inch trout around Labor Day. For brook trout anglers should try Cliff, Buckeye, Skookum (North Umpqua), Maidu, Twin and Wolf lakes. Linda, Pitt Lake, and Calamut have been stocked with a native rainbow for the last couple of years. Bullpup and Fuller still have brook trout, but were also recently stocked with some fingerling native rainbows. Contact the Forest Service at 541-957-3200 for road and trail conditions. The roads to these lakes are not plowed during the winter.
UMPQUA RIVER, MAINSTEM: steelhead
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. People interested in harvesting a steelhead should fish the South Umpqua from late January through April. Plunkers have enjoyed some success while the river was dropping. The river should be dropping through the weekend.
Springers have started to arrive. Most anglers will start fishing in the Scottsburg area and move upstream as the season progresses. The mainstem Umpqua is closed to trout fishing until the spring trout opener May 24.
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.
Umpqua River flows near Elkton
UMPQUA RIVER, MAINSTEM: steelhead
Randy Johnson plays a steelhead
-Photo by Andy Martin-
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. People interested in harvesting a steelhead should fish the South Umpqua from late January through April. Plunkers have enjoyed some success while the river was dropping. The river should be in shape for both bank and boat anglers through the weekend.
Springers should be arriving soon. The mainstem Umpqua is closed to trout fishing until the spring trout opener May 24.
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.
Umpqua River flows near Elkton
UMPQUA RIVER, NORTH: steelhead
Rock Creek Hatchery is once again open for visitors. The hatchery is open to visitors from 7:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. The new RockEd facility is lacking displays, but can be opened on request by calling the hatchery at 541-496-3484.
Remember all wild steelhead must be released unharmed. Over 1,500 steelhead have been counted through the end of January, and fish movement through the ladder has been steady since then. The river should be dropping this weekend. The water is warm and the fish have been moving.
Note that from Oct. 1 through June 30, angling in the fly water area is restricted to a single barbless artificial fly which can be dressed with conventional fly tying material. 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 angling.
North Umpqua River water levels at Winchester Dam
UMPQUA RIVER, SOUTH: winter steelhead
The South Umpqua is open for winter steelhead fishing. The number of steelhead has increased in the South and should peak in March through early April. Most hatchery steelhead return to the South Umpqua, so anglers interested in harvesting a hatchery fish will be most successful in the South. The rain has improved conditions on the South. Both bank and boat anglers have been doing well and a good number of hatchery fish have been caught recently.
WILLOW LAKE: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, black crappie, brown bullhead
Willow Lake was stocked in October with legal and large-size rainbow trout, and fishing should be good on these and holdover trout through fall and winter. Trolling spoons, spinners or lures behind flashers will work well or still fishing with worms or PowerBait. The boat ramp at the park is open dawn to dusk, but is likely limited to smaller boats due to lower than usual water levels.
WINCHESTER BAY: winter steelhead
Steelhead will be migrating up the Umpqua for the next several months. Most steelhead fishing in the lower, Main and North Umpqua is catch-and-release since most of the fish are wild. Anglers wishing to harvest a hatchery fish should focus on the South Umpqua.
WINCHUCK RIVER: steelhead
Lots of steelhead around and rain this week should make for good river conditions.
- Royalty Free Image-
OPEN: COUGAR, COYOTE
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.
Coyote populations are good in Coos County and they will often respond to calls. Calling coyotes in the coast range is challenging due to brush. Many landowners with sheep are complaining about losses of sheep to coyote predation. Hunters interested in hunting coyotes may find success in asking for permission to hunt private land where landowners are losing sheep.
Cougar – Cougar season is open. Hunting cougar is most successful adjacent to private land with high deer populations.
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.
WATERFOWL - The season is now closed.
Bobcat & Gray Fox –Healthy populations throughout Western Oregon. Fox and bobcat pursuit season ended February 28, 2014.
River Otter, Beaver & Raccoon–Healthy populations throughout Western Oregon. The last day of the season for these species is March 15, 2014.
Mink & Muskrat – Currently open. Healthy populations throughout Western Oregon. The last day of the season for mink and muskrat is March 31, 2014.
JACKSON, JOSEPHINE, CURRY COUNTIES
The Jackson Cooperative Travel Management Area is in effect. 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
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. Hunters are encouraged to carry a cougar tag while hunting other animals; you never know when an opportunity will come available. Most cougar hunters’ success comes from predator calls.
|Western Gray Squirrel
-Photo by Kathy Munsel-
Western Gray Squirrel season remains open year round with no bag limit in that part of the Rogue Unit south of Rogue River and S. Fork Rogue River and North of Hwy 140. 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.
Goose – South Coast Zone goose season will be Feb.22 – March 10, 2014. This season is only allowed on private lands by permission. The populations are high; season success will depend on migration and California hunting pressure. Any questions call ODFW offices in Gold Beach or Central Point.
Furbearers – Currently open: Bobcat, Gray Fox, Raccoon, Muskrat/Mink, River Otter and Beaver. Population for these animals remains healthy. Bob cat and gray fox seasons ended February 28. Bob cat pelts with jaws need to be checked in within five (5) business days after the season ends.
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|Stellar Sealions - 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. From the look out, 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 fact, in trouble, contact your local ODFW office to report the animal or contact the Marine Mammal Stranding Network an (800) 452-7888.
Rain has caused flooding to occur in inland valleys like the Coquille Valley. The result of this is that many waterfowl have left the coastal bays and moved into these valleys. Waterfowl numbers will continue to be high as long as agricultural lands in these areas are flooded. A birding tour on North Bank Lane and Hwy. 42S will provide many opportunities to view waterfowl as they feed in these agricultural fields.
Sea ducks are scoters eiders, harlequin ducks and other ducks that spend most of their lives in the ocean or estuaries or near these environments. Surf scoters are the most common sea duck in coos County. Presently there are large numbers of them in local bays. These ducks are strong swimmers and fliers. They often are found in flocks numbering in the hundreds. The Coos Bay North Spit is a good place to see these birds gathered in flocks that at times are vast.
- Photo by Greg Gillson-
The mud flats around Coos Bay, the lower Coquille River, Winchester Bay and others provide winter feeding areas for shorebirds of a variety of species. While most shorebirds winter much farther south than the Oregon coast, some do winter here. Those interested in seeing these birds will find an opportunity along Cape Arago Hwy., South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Area and New River Area of Critical Environmental Concern. 1/14/14.
CURRY, JACKSON, JOSEPHINE COUNTIES
Cackling Canada Geese
Rogue Valley has had an increase in cackling Canada geese (Cacklers). They are the smallest subspecies of Canada geese, weighing around 3-5 pounds with a distinctive high pitched call. Other identifying features would be the darker brown breast and shorter bill. They nest in western Alaska and typically spend the winters in California Central Valley. Now more and more are wintering in western Oregon.
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-
Ringtails are small, forest carnivores, nocturnal in habits, and secretive in nature. Ringtails are common in South West Oregon, but rarely seen due to their nocturnal behavior. They are buff to dark brown in color with white under parts and a black and white striped tail. The ringtail prefers to live in rocky habitats associated with water. Often known as Ringtail cat or Miner’s cat but they are not a cat they are in the raccoon family.
The Pileated Woodpecker is one of the biggest, most striking forest birds on the continent. It’s nearly the size of a crow, black with bold white stripes down the neck and a flaming-red crest. Look (and listen) for Pileated Woodpeckers whacking at dead trees and fallen logs in search of their main prey, carpenter ants, leaving unique rectangular holes in the wood. The nest holes these birds make offer crucial shelter to many species including swifts, owls, ducks, bats, and pine martens. These Woodpeckers can be found around old burns up elk creek in Jackson County.
A chunky bird the shape of a wren with a short stubby tail, found in western streams, the American Dipper is North America's only truly aquatic songbird. It catches all of its food underwater in swiftly flowing streams by swimming and walking on the stream bottom. Stands about 7 to 8 ½ inched tall.
Denman Wildlife area
|American Bald Eagle
-Photo by Blaine Fanning-
Hunting season will continue through Feb. 16 on the Denman Wildlife Area. It is encouraged for other recreational users to wear bright orange or other bright colored clothing, and to stick to the trail systems.
Bird watchers are welcome to visit the area to see variety of local waterfowl and hawks. A bald eagle has been sighted regularly around Wheatstone Pond. Many Northern Harriers, Red-tailed hawks, and Rough-legged hawks have been seen hunting throughout the valley.
On the Coast
For a great birding trail along the southern coast, visit Oregon Birding Trails.
Whale watching is good along the coast through the end of May. The northern migration occurs March through May and whales will be cruising closer to shore than they do on the southern migration. Viewing points within Curry County from north to south are Battle Rock, Cape Sebastian, Cape Ferrelo and Harris Beach State Park.
A few turkey vultures have arrived in the Umpqua Valley. This year, they arrived on Jan. 20 in the Coquille Valley; the Umpqua Valley is usually a few weeks later. Look for more to return from their wintering grounds in Mexico and points south.
Winter Steelhead are migrating upstream and passing through Winchester dam fish ladder on the N. Umpqua River. The fish ladder is free and open to the public with the best viewing in the late afternoon hours when the water is not muddy. To view the migrating fish go to exit 129 on I-5, proceed southeast on 99 to the fish ladder on the north side of the river.
The Pacific (chorus) tree frog is starting to vocalize around ponds, puddles and other watered areas getting ready for spring breeding season. They can be heard vocalizing on warmer days and afternoons.
Great horned owls and other smaller owls are calling in the evenings or early mornings in areas of wooded habitat.
Springtime is just around the corner. Now is a good time to clean out your songbird and wood duck boxes. Always remove old nesting material to encourage birds to take up residence. The most common birds that use songbird nest boxes are bluebird, swallow, chickadee, nuthatch and wren. Other species that can use other types of nesting boxes and nesting structures are wood duck, Canada goose, purple martin, robin, flicker, downy woodpecker, screech and barn owl and sparrow hawk.