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Weekly Recreation Report: Southwest Zone

June 27, 2017

 Southwest Zone Fishing

Chinook Salmon
Spring Chinook Salmon
-Photo courtesy Dr. Tom Danelski-

Weekend fishing opportunities:

  • Spring Chinook fishing is good in the North Umpqua but closes July 1.
  • Pink-fin surf perch fishing in the lower Umpqua has been great. Fishing in the outgoing low-tide is the key.
  • Fishing for trout in Diamond Lake has been excellent when weather allows.
  • Largemouth bass fishing in the Tenmile Basin has been good and should continue to pick up.
  • Spring Chinook and summer steelhead are now available now throughout the Rogue.
  • Trout anglers have excellent choices for fishing right now in the Rogue watershed. Lost Creek Reservoir, Willow Lake, Howard Prairie Reservoir, Fish Lake and Applegate Reservoir are all producing either good numbers of nice and/or big trout. The Rogue River above and below Lost Creek Reservoir offers additional trout fishing opportunity for anglers who want to fish flowing water, but remember that flows are very high due to snowmelt.

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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 86 percent full and, the boat ramp is open from dawn until dusk. Fishing for largemouth bass, crappie, and other warmwater fish has been good. With the warm, sunny weather, fishing will be best early and late in the day.

APPLEGATE RESERVOIR: largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, trout

Applegate Reservoir is well stocked with legal-size and one-pound rainbow trout, which should make for 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 with a reservoir surface temperature of 61oF. Hart-Tish Park and boat ramp are open. The Copper Boat Ramp is also open.

APPLEGATE RIVER: winter steelhead, trout

The Applegate River is open for trout fishing. Two hatchery trout may be harvested per day. Wild trout must be released unharmed. Releases from the reservoir were 599 cfs and the river temperature at release was 56oF on Monday.

ARIZONA POND: rainbow trout

Trout fishing has been good, but weed growth is making it a little tougher. The pond is not scheduled to be stocked anymore this year, but there are still quite a few trophy trout swimming around. Best trout fishing is in the morning or evening.

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 should be good.

CHETCO RIVER: cutthroat trout

Decreasing flows and warmer water temperatures have improved trout fishing in the tributaries. Anglers fishing the estuary are picking up good size cutthroat on a regular basis.

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 be good.

COOS COUNTY LAKES/PONDS: trout, warmwater fish

Zachary Hanson with his largemouth bass -Photo by Josh Hanson-

Largemouth bass fishing has been good in many of the area smaller lakes. Bluegills can be found in area lakes right along the weed lines.

Trout fishing continues to be good at Empire Lakes and Eel Lake but trout fishing will slow down as through the month as water temperatures continue to warm. Anglers are having good success using PowerBait at Empire Lakes, while trolling a wedding ring spinner has worked very well at Eel Lake.

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.

Fishing for rockfish inside the Coos Bay estuary has been good one day and slow the next. Anglers are having the most success fishing along the jetties and submerged rock piles. 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.

Crabbing this past weekend was good for those crabbing from a boat. There was a mixture of hard and soft shelled legal Dungeness crab.

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

COQUILLE RIVER BASIN: crab, trout, smallmouth 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, 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 has been good throughout the Coquille and South Fork Coquille rivers. Anglers are having success catching smallmouth bass on small spinners, crankbaits, jigs, and worms.

Recreational crabbing is open in the Coquille estuary. Crabbing has been very slow but will pick up in the next couple of months.


Trout fishing has been excellent. A significant portion of fish caught have been larger than 12-inches. Diamond Lake has been stocked with tiger trout. 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.

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.

ELK RIVER: cutthroat trout

The best fishing has been in the lower river and estuary.

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

Fishing for bass, crappie, and other warmwater species should be good. With the warm, sunny weather, fishing will be best early and late in the day. Smallmouth bass will be primarily found along the rocky banks; while largemouth bass and panfish will congregate around the flooded willows. The lake is currently 89 percent full.

Fish Lake
Fish Lake June 6, 12017.
Water color due to algae bloom.
-Photo by Dan Vandyke-

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. Stocked rainbow trout are still available, but anglers will have the best success fishing for bass and panfish. With the warm, sunny weather, fishing will be best early and late in the day. 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 rainbow trout. Brook trout, tiger trout, and stocked Chinook salmon are also available. With the lake warming up, look for fish to move toward the springs on the east end of the lake or to deeper areas. Still fishing with bait is generally one of the more productive methods, especially if water clarity is poor. The reservoir is now 86 percent full.

FLORAS LAKE: rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, bass

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 should be good. Call 541-837-3302 for information on camping and boat launching conditions.

GARRISON LAKE: rainbow trout, 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.

Anglers are reporting that most of the trout being caught have numerous freshwater Copepods on them. Copepods are common on fish and found throughout Oregon. Only when they are present in extremely high numbers can they effect the health of a trout. Copepods don’t pose an issue for humans.

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.


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.

Lake in the Woods has been stocked in 2017 and Hemlock has been recently stocked as well. 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
Howard Prarie Marina, May 28, 2017
-Photo by Dan VanDyke, ODFW-


Last fall Howard Prairie was stocked with over 150,000 six-inch trout, followed by 10,000 legal-sized trout this spring. These fish are 9- to 13-inches now, and are growing quickly on the abundant food available. Fishing should be good, especially with the holdover trout up to 20-inches still being caught.

Still fishing by boat with PowerBait, or trolling flashers like a ford fender with a worm or a wedding ring/worm combination should be good. Bank anglers continue to have steady success at the jetty (a universal access fishing platform is available) and at the dam. Boat anglers have been more successful when fishing in the deeper areas of the lake around Buck Island and near the dam.

Fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass has been fair. The lake is 97 percent full. The Klum Landing boat ramp will be closed for maintenance from June 26 through noon on June 28. The other three ramps on the lake will remain open.

HYATT LAKE: rainbow trout

An extra batch of rainbow trout were recently stocked. Trout fishing has been fair to good at Hyatt. Nightcrawlers produced more fish than did spoons being cast from shore. Fishing for largemouth bass is improving as the water warms.

The reservoir is 59 percent full. The Mountain View boat ramp is open. Anglers should note that the parking are near the dam has been closed by the Bureau of Reclamation this season as the agency begins repairs on the dam.

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 several times this year with legal-size trout. Anglers are reporting good catch rates. Most anglers use PowerBait or worms to catch trout and yellow perch.

LAKE SELMAC: trout, largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie

Fishing for rainbow trout has been fair, and the bluegill bite was very good. Remember that it is easy to cast too far for bass and panfish at Selmac. Many of these fish can be caught (and even seen) fairly close in. With the warm, sunny weather, fishing will be best early and late in the day.

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 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 was stocked last 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 91 percent full, and the surface temperature is 72oF.

MEDCO POND: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, bluegill

Medco Pond was stocked last week with 1,500 legal-sized rainbow trout so fishing should be good. Fishing has 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. Fishing for rockfish and ling cod was good this past weekend.

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 opened this past weekend and will remain open until July 31 or until the 18,000 marked coho quota has been met. Anglers have reported catching (and releasing) hatchery coho in the Charleston area before the season opened.

The next All Depth Halibut days are scheduled for June 29- July 1. As of June 17, there is 24 percent of the All Depth Halibut quota remaining. The nearshore halibut season (inside 40 fathoms) is now open seven days a week except when there are All Depth Halibut days. As of June 18, there is 86 percent of the Nearshore quota remaining.

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.

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
Plat 1 Reservoir
-Photo by Rick Swart, ODFW-

REINHART POND: trout, largemouth bass, bluegill

Reinhart Pond has been stocked with legal- and trophy-size rainbow trout. Some of these fish should still be available. Fishing for warmwater species should be good, especially early and late in the day.


Rogue River, lower: spring Chinook, summer steelhead, surf perch

Spring Chinook fishing has slowed in the river with increasing water temperatures and dropping flows. Boat anglers are starting to troll the estuary and picking up a few Chinook.

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

Rogue River, middle: steelhead, trout

Spring Chinook and Summer Steelhead are available, and fishing has improved slightly over the past week. Back-trolling plugs and side-drifting bait have been among the more productive techniques.

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, the flow at Grants Pass was 3,170 cfs, the water temperature was 61oF, and the turbidity was 3 NTUs. 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, Chinook

Both summer steelhead and spring Chinook are available for upper river anglers. Fishing has been slow to fair since relatively few fish have made it to the upper Rogue so far. 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. Starting on Saturday, July 1, anglers will be able to retain wild Chinook, per zone regulations, between Fishers Ferry Boat Ramp and Dodge Bridge. Above Dodge Bridge, only hatchery Chinook may be retained.

The salmonfly “hatch” is winding down, but the trout are still taking flies on the surface. Five hatchery trout may be harvested per day. Wild trout must be released unharmed.

As of June 21, a total of 41 summer steelhead and 434 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 was 3,016 cfs. The water temperature in the river was 52oF. The flow at RayGold was 3,100 cfs with a temperature of 55oF.

Up to date flow and temp information.

NOTICE: Boat ramps will be closed temporarily for pavement maintenance as follows:

  • Dodge Bridge - All Day June 29, AM (till noon) June 30
  • Takelma - All Day June 30, AM (till noon) on July 1

Rogue River, above Lost Creek Reservoir: trout

The weekly stocking of rainbow trout in the Rogue River above the reservoir has begun and will continue through the summer. This should make this section of the river a great place to catch some fish, and a great place to go to avoid the heat in the valley. Anglers should be aware, however, that the water is still high and cold due to all the snow melt. 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 remains CLOSED. The reservoir is closed to evaluate its use by salmon and steelhead.

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 Lake trolling wedding ring spinners tipped with a worm.

Largemouth bass fishing has been very good with anglers catching lots of bass on Senkos and other plastics. Now that the bass spawn is almost over, fish will be spreading out and moving to deeper water. Fishing for bass will be best early mornings and evenings.

TOKETEE LAKE: brown trout, rainbow trout

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


Reports from some of the high lakes have been excellent with folks catching their limits.

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, has been stocked several times. 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, Pink-fin or Redtail surf perch

Pin-fin fishing has been great in the lower river with folks picking up their limits of 15 in a couple hours.

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. Shad fishing has slowed down but fish are still available

UMPQUA RIVER, NORTH: steelhead, spring Chinook

Chinook fishing closes July 1.

Anglers are catching some summers throughout the North.

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 has been stocked with legal-size and pounder rainbow trout and fishing should be good. Anglers should do well still-fishing with bait, trolling or casting lures, or fly-fishing. With the warm weather, the trout will likely be found in the deeper areas of the lake. Fishing for bass and other warmwater species should be good, especially early and late in the day. The lake is full. The paved boat ramp will be closed for maintenance from June 28 through noon on June 29; however the temporary dirt ramp will be available.

WINCHESTER BAY: bottomfish, perch

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

WINCHUCK RIVER: cutthroat trout

Anglers are picking cutthroat in the estuary. Early morning or evening tends to be the best time.

  Southwest Zone Hunting

-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-


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.


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.

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.


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.

Eurasian collared-doves – These non-natives are expanding throughout Douglas County. These birds have no protections in Oregon, so there are no closed seasons for these invasives and no limits to their harvest. Target Eurasian collared-doves around agricultural areas and forest openings where food sources are abundant. Be sure of your identification before you hunt these abundant invasive birds.

Great information about identifying this species and its habitat

- Royalty Free Image-


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 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.

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


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 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-

Turkey Vultures - Watch for roosted turkey vultures with wings wide open, warming in the morning sun. 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.

Common nighthawk – The first nighthawk’s should be arriving from their wintering areas in South America. The nighthawk is a darkish colored bird 9.5-inches long with long pointed wings and white wing patches. Nighthawks are commonly observed flying high in the evening sky catching insects on the wing emitting a nasal peent call. This migratory bird is one of the last birds to migrate to North America for nesting. It can be seen and heard in Western Oregon from cities and towns to woodlands and forests.

Killdeer – Most of the local shorebirds are nesting at this time. Shorebirds include oystercatchers, plovers, turnstones, sandpipers and phalaropes. One of the most common shorebirds and plovers in our area is the killdeer. The killdeer is a brown, white and black medium sized shore bird 10.5 inch long with two black neck bands and orange on the upper tail and lower back plus a long tail. Killdeer are commonly seen in pastures, fields, meadows, airports and soccer fields often far from water emitting a killdeer call when startled. This migratory bird has variable nests but commonly makes an unlined depression nest in the gravel. Killdeer are famous for feigning injury near its nest to distract intruders.

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

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.

Turtles – It’s the time of year for female turtles to leave their water body and head to their upland nesting areas to lay their eggs, usually within 1 mile of the water. When driving on roads next to rivers and streams keep an eye out for turtles crossing the road to avoid injuring the turtles. If you do find turtles crossing the road, safely remove them to the side they were moving towards.

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 – Fawns are starting to be seen on the valley floor. Fawns found hiding in the grass are not abandoned by their mothers or orphaned. Please don’t remove them, as their mothers will return after foraging, usually under the cover of darkness. Please control domestic dogs around deer this time of year. Many fawns are injured or killed each year when found by dogs.


Now that summer is here hiking trails at this time of year can be very hot and rather unpleasant walks. Try areas of higher elevation and early morning short walks when temperatures are lower and wildlife are more active. Traveling trails in early morning of the Sky lakes Wilderness and Crater Lake national parks provide slightly cooler temps and various wildlife. Animals that can be seen are ground squirrels, chipmunks, humming birds, stellar Jays, deer and perhaps a bear.

Rogue Valley Audubon Society

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 a.m.

Denman Wildlife Area

Denman Wildlife Area

Denman Wildlife Area
-Photo by Bob Swingle-

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.

We are done planting the grain fields on the wildlife area, as these begin to grow they can be excellent areas to view all types of birds that feed on the seeds. People coming to the wildlife area to search for agates in these recently plowed fields need to remember that all “Rock Hounding” on the wildlife area requires a permit that can be obtained at our main office on E. Gregory.

Song Birds

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

Mourning Doves

Mourning doves are found across the Rogue Valley wherever there are open grain fields and areas with roosting trees that have plenty of water. They are currently found nesting in trees or other shaded structures. They can have multiple nests throughout the early summer. They are a fast flying, graceful, wing whistling birds. They feed on small seeds of weeds and various grains. A species that is similar but slightly larger is the Eurasian collared dove. Unlike the Mourning Doves, Eurasian Collared Doves are a non-native species. They are seen around residential areas and have known to visit bird feeders. Unlike the pointed tail of the Mourning dove their tail will be square shaped.

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.

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


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.


The turkey breeding season is now over, however there are still viewing opportunities for these birds. If you spot a hen look closely in the area for her group of young, there is usually around 10 young per hen. There are turkeys throughout southern Oregon, including on the Denman Wildlife Area.


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.

Local Lakes

Lost Creek Lake provides 30 miles of trails which includes portions of the Rogue River National Recreation Trail. Along the lake and river banks a wide variety of wildlife and wild flowers can be observed. Deer may be seen early in the morning and late evenings along water ways. A brochure of the trail system can be picked up at federal land agency and visitor centers in the area.

Lake Selmac is a great place to see waterfowl, eagles, osprey and other lake shore birds. Directions from Grants Pass, take Hwy 199 west about 12 miles to lake turn off sign at Lakeshore Drive. Turn left, follow to lake.

For a great birding trail along the southern coast, visit Oregon Birding Trails. (6/20/2017)

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