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

Weekly Recreation Report: Southwest Zone

September 20, 2017

 Southwest Zone Fishing

Crabbing

Crab Tonight!
-Photo by Thomas Fisk-

Weekend fishing opportunities:

  • Anglers are reporting that smallmouth and perch fishing has been good using hardbaits at Ford’s Pond.
  • Recreational crabbing is open along the entire Oregon coast and has been good both in the ocean and in the bays.
  • Summer steelhead are providing some fair to good action on the middle and upper Rogue. Fishing for Spring Chinook is now closed upstream of Dodge Bridge.
  • Anglers are catching tuna and salmon off the south Oregon coast.
  • The Rogue River above Lost Creek Reservoir offers trout fishing opportunity for anglers who want to escape the heat of the valley, enjoy beautiful scenery and catch some fish.
  • Fishing for trout in Diamond Lake continues to be good. Fall trout fishing at Diamond can be great.
  • Largemouth bass fishing in the Tenmile Basin has been good and should continue.

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 40 percent full and the boat ramp is open from dawn until dusk. Fishing for largemouth bass, crappie, and other warmwater fish should be 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 stocked with rainbow trout. Early or late in the day will be best for all fishing at the reservoir. Surface temperatures have cooled to 65 degrees F with the recent weather. Fishing for smallmouth bass should still be good. Anglers trout fishing will still want to fish deep or near the inlet. The reservoir is at 35 percent capacity and all boat ramps are currently open. For the most current Applegate Reservoir information, call 1-800-472-2434.

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. For the most current information on releases of water out of Applegate Reservoir, call 1-800-472-2434.

ARIZONA POND: rainbow trout

The pond level is being lowered to help control aquatic vegetation.

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

Ben Irving has been stocked several times with legal-size trout and was recently stocked with “Labor Day Lunkers.” There are still opportunities to catch carryover fish, but trout fishing should pick up with cooler temperatures predicted in the short-term forecast. Warmwater fishing should be good.

CHETCO RIVER: cutthroat trout, Chinook

Anglers will want to check current conditions of the Chetco Bar fire prior to fishing the Chetco River. Road closures are in effect for the majority of the watershed. Anglers may want to start trolling the bay as Chinook salmon start to nose into the estuary in September and early October.

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. The reservoir was stocked recently with “Labor Day Lunkers.” Trout fishing has been good. Fishing for bass and bluegill should continue be productive into the fall.

Bass
Bass fishing fun!
-Photo by Amy Michelle Johnson-

COOS COUNTY LAKES/PONDS: warmwater fish, trout

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.

Rainbow trout are scheduled to be stocked in Powers Pond, Bradley Lake, Butterfield Lake, Empire Lakes, and Saunders Lake during the month of October.

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

Streams and rivers are open to trout fishing until Oct. 31. Anglers are allowed to use bait in streams above tidewater starting Sept. 1. Anglers may harvest two trout per day that are a minimum of 8 inches long.

Anglers were catching Chinook salmon from the BLM boat ramp in the lower estuary up through the Coos River and South Fork Coos River. The bite was best a couple hours before the slack tides. A few wild coho have been caught lately. There is not a wild coho season inside Coos Bay this year so all wild coho must be released but anglers may keep an adipose fin-clipped hatchery coho. Salmon anglers are having the best luck trolling cut plug herring behind a flasher.

As of Monday, Sept. 18, fishing for lingcod, rockfish, cabezon, greenling or other bottomfish are closed because the quotas for several species have been reached. This includes the ocean along with bays and estuaries.

Crabbing continues to be good for those crabbing from a boat and from the docks in Charleston. Crabbing has been best near Charleston but legal crab can be caught all the way up the bay to the BLM boat ramp off of the North Spit. 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.

The recreational harvest of razor clams is CLOSED from Cascade Head to the California Border for 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, salmon

Streams and rivers are now open to trout fishing until Oct. 31. Anglers are allowed to use bait in streams above tidewater starting Sept. 1. Anglers may harvest 2 trout per day that are a minimum of 8 inches long.

Chinook salmon are being caught throughout the Coquille River. Most anglers are fishing the lower river from Riverton to the jetties. Salmon anglers are having the best luck trolling cut plug herring behind a flasher. There is no wild coho season in the Coquille River this year so all wild coho must be released but anglers may keep an adipose fin-clipped hatchery coho.

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 has been good in the lower Coquille estuary.
rainbow trout
Diamond Lake Rainbow Trout
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

DIAMOND LAKE: trout

Trout fishing is still producing good catches. The smoke should be subsiding with rain/ snow in the forecast. A significant portion of fish caught have been larger than 12-inches. Trolling lures and bottom fishing with PowerBait across all depths continue to be productive angling methods. Fly-anglers are having good luck on the south end of the lake as well. 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

Early morning or late evening is usually the best time to fish.

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

Fishing for bass, crappie, and other warmwater species should be good. Jetski and pleasure boat pressure should be cooling off, along with the weather, so fishing should be getting better for the fall. Surface temps should drop early this week but warmwater species are still the target out here. As temperatures decrease the warmwater species should begin to be more accessible close to shore. The lake is currently 34 percent full.

FISH LAKE: rainbow trout, brook trout, spring Chinook

Fish Lake is stocked with rainbow trout, tiger trout and Chinook salmon and fishing has been good. Brook trout are also available. Still fishing on the bottom with Powerbait continues to be one of the best options for shore based anglers, especially if water clarity is poor. A portion of the rainbow trout have external parasites called copepods that can be scraped off the fish prior to cooking. Fish parasites do not pose a threat to people when cooked properly.

With the lake cooling down with the recent weather trolling should begin to be better. Still target fish near the springs on the east of the lake and about mid water column. The reservoir is holding fairly steady at 52 percent full. The USFS boat ramp is usable and water clarity this past weekend was 4-5 feet.

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.

FORD’S POND: largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, yellow perch, bluegill, crappie

Ford’s Pond (just west of Sutherlin) was purchased by the city of Sutherlin in 2016. The pond is open to the public and has a lot of bank access. Ford’s is restricted to non-motorized boats and does not have a good access point for larger boats. The pond is shallow and therefore only supports populations of warmwater fish. Anglers are reporting that smallmouth and perch fishing has been good using hardbaits.

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.

Cutthroat Trout
Cutthroat Trout
-Photo by Charlotte Ganskopp-

GARRISON LAKE: rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, bass

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

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 and fire information. Anglers at Hemlock have been consistently catching trout and was stocked recently with “Labor Day Lunkers.” Lake in the Woods has been stocked several times in 2017 and was recently stocked with about 100 Lunkers. 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: rainbow trout

Still fishing with bait is the best bet for trout anglers at Howard Prairie right now, and Powerbait continues to be the bait of choice. Trolling worms continues to produce some fish but is generally slow to fair.

Many of the trout show evidence of copepods or copepod scars. This is a natural parasite that lives on the outside of the fish and can simply be scraped off prior to cooking.

Howard Prairie water levels remain high with the lake still at 79 percent capacity. The temperature at Howard Prairie Lake and Dam outflow which is near the bottom of the reservoir was averaging 61oF this past week. Surface temperatures should be dropping to the mid-60s. Water clarity at the marina boat ramp was very good this past weekend at about 20 feet.

HYATT LAKE: rainbow trout and largemouth bass

The reservoir remains at 40 percent full, and should be cooling down to the mid to low 60’s. The Bureau of Land Management has closed the main campground at Hyatt Lake along with the two associated boat ramps, although Wildcat boat ramp remains open. Angler access is primarily from the bank along Hyatt Prairie Road.

Fishing for largemouth bass is still a good option. As temperatures decrease the warmwater species should begin to be more accessible close to shore. The parking area 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. The lake was stocked recently with “Labor Day Lunkers.” 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

Rainbow trout are available and fishing for bass and panfish should be 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. As temperatures decrease the warmwater species should begin to be more accessible close to shore. Still the trout will likely be found in the deeper areas of the lake for a few more weeks.

Lake Selmac has a lot of aquatic vegetation this time of the year around the shores. Road construction at the dam requires a detour via Deer Creek road in order to access Lake Selmac Resort on Lake Shore Drive. Eagle Loop Campground is still open, but the Mallard Loop and Trout Shelter boat ramp is currently closed due to fire camp activity.
The South Shore boat ramps can still be accessed via Lakeshore Drive. More information

rainbow trout on a stringer
Rainbow Trout on a stringer
-Photo by Bob Swingle-

LEMOLO RESERVOIR: brown trout, rainbow trout, kokanee

The reservoir has been stocked with 6,000 legal size and was recently stocked with “Labor Day Lunkers”. 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. Contact Lemolo Lake Resort at 541-957-8354 for weather/road conditions and additional information.

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 should continue to be productive as we move into the cooler fall months. 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 is stocked with rainbow trout and fishing should be very good. Many more large trout are being stocked in Lost Creek than in past years. Good bets in summer include trolling a wedding ring/worm combination behind an oval egg sinker in the main body of the lake. Upstream of the Highway 62 Bridge, Lost Creek is generally good for trout in summer using a variety of techniques, plus anglers avoid the speedboaters. Bank anglers can try the Takelma day use area. Additionally, Chinook stocked into Lost Creek are available in the deeper parts of the lake and can be fished for like kokanee.

Fishing for smallmouth bass should be good and the largemouth bass population is improving with recent projects by ODFW, local bass clubs and volunteers. The reservoir surface temperature is 70 oF and the reservoir is 47 percent full. All boat ramps are still open. For the most current Lost Creek Reservoir information, call 1-800-472-2434.

MEDCO POND: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, bluegill

Medco Pond is stocked with rainbow trout, and fishing for bass and panfish should be good. 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 and has been good both in the ocean and in the bays.

As of Monday, Sept. 18, fishing for lingcod, rockfish, cabezon, greenling or other bottomfish are closed because the quotas for several species have been reached. This includes the ocean along with bays and estuaries.

The Central Oregon Coast nearshore halibut season (inside 40 fathoms) reopened on Sunday, Sept. 3 and will be open seven days a week. Seven percent of the quota is left for the nearshore halibut season as of Sept. 10. The next All Depth Halibut days for the Central Coast Subarea will be Sept. 29-30, if there is enough quota remaining. Halibut is open seven days a week for the Southern Oregon Subarea (Humbug Mountain to OR/CA border) with 57 percent of the quota remaining.

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. The non-selective coho seasons closed on Sept. 8.

The recreational harvest of razor clams is OPEN from Tillamook Head (south of Seaside) to Cascade Head (north of Lincoln City). The recreational harvest of razor clams is CLOSED from Cascade Head to the California Border for elevated levels of domoic acid. This includes all beaches and all bays.

Clatsop Beaches are CLOSED for the annual razor clam conservation closure. This area includes beaches from the Columbia River south to Tillamook Head. The conservational closure will be lifted on Oct. 1 if domoic acid levels are below the closure limit at that time.

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. Trout fishing has been slow but should improve with forecasted cooler temperatures in the coming week. 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.

ROGUE RIVER

Chinook Salmon
Chinook Salmon
-Photo by Patti Abbott-

Rogue River, lower: Chinook, summer steelhead, half pounder steelhead, coho

 Chinook are spread throughout the lower river and estuary. The Chinook fishery has been one of the best is recent years and should continue into October. Anglers are picking up a few coho trolling the bay. Coho numbers should continue to build through September. Boat and bank anglers are picking up Chinook side-drifting eggs in some of the deeper runs downstream of Agness.

Rogue flows are dropping this week and should really improve fishing conditions for summer steelhead and half pounders. The half pounder steelhead run is also doing very well. Anglers are picking up fish all through the lower river. Spinners or flies fished in the tail outs and head of pools is a good method to catch these fish.

ODFW has started seining the lower Rogue River at Huntley Park (river mile 8) to monitor escapement of steelhead, Chinook, and coho. The project runs from mid-July to the end of October. Anglers interested in what is being caught can visit ODFW’s website and look under Fish Counts for two week updates. The seine counts at Huntley Park.

Rogue River, middle: Chinook, steelhead, trout

Anglers are reminded that Chinook angling is now closed from Fishers Ferry Boat Ramp, upstream to Cole Rivers Hatchery through Dec. 31. Anglers can still fish for Chinook below Fishers Ferry Boat Ramp, downstream to Hog Creek boat Ramp through Sept. 30, but will remain open below Hog Creek.

September is the prime time for Chinook angling in the Grants Pass area from Gold Hill to Graves Creek. Steelhead fishing should also be good with the lower water. In the Grants Pass area, Chinook anglers should find success using back-trolled plugs, back-bounced roe and/or sand shrimp, or bobbers with roe. Plugs wrapped with a sardine fillet or a wobbler in deep holes have had the best luck. The best bet for summer steelhead is drifted night crawlers, small roe or small yarn balls. They can also be still caught on a small k-9 or k-11 plug. Now is the time to start thinking about pulling out the fly rod and swing copper johns or egg imitations.

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

Water levels have dropped to close to the lowest levels for the year. 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

Anglers are reminded that Chinook angling is closed from Fishers Ferry Boat Ramp to Cole Rivers Hatchery through Dec. 31. Summer steelhead angling is still open and is providing an excellent opportunity in the upper river and should only get better as the season progresses. Trout are also available and fishing can be very good for trout in the summer months. Only hatchery rainbow trout and steelhead can be kept, while all cutthroat and wild trout and wild steelhead must be released unharmed. Anglers should be aware of spawning spring Chinook and not walk on their redds (gravel nests) or disturb these fish’s activity.

As of Sept 12, a total of 1,833 summer steelhead (147 new fish last week) and 4,174 spring Chinook (119 new last week) have returned to Cole Rivers Hatchery. (Track the current return counts of fish to Cole Rivers Hatchery). The river discharge has also decreased to fall lows of 1,147 cfs. For the most current releases of water out of Lost Creek Reservoir, call 1-800472-2434.

Rogue River, above Lost Creek Reservoir: trout

The weekly stocking of rainbow trout has ended, however, there have been reports of anglers doing very well in the river above the reservoir. Not a lot of angling pressure, especially toward the latter half of summer due to fires, and plenty of stocked trout are a recipe for a great time for those anglers willing to take a little drive!. Smoke should now be down with the recent rains, but there still could be some fire closures in effect. 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, Chinook

Trout fishing closes Sept. 15 in the mainstem and tributaries. Chinook fishing in the lower Smith should be decent as more fish move into the system but reports have indicated pretty slow fishing thus far. There is no Chinook fishing allowed above the confluence with Spencer Creek in the mainstem Smith nor above Johnson Creek in the North Fork Smith.

SODA SPRINGS RESERVOIR: closed

Soda Springs remains CLOSED. The reservoir is closed to evaluate its use by salmon and steelhead.

TENMILE BASIN: trout, bass

Streams and rivers are now open to trout fishing until Oct. 31. Anglers are allowed to use bait in streams Sept. 1. In streams, 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.

Largemouth bass fishing has been very good with anglers catching lots of bass on Senkos and other plastics. Bass will be spreading out and found in deeper water during the day. Fishing for bass will be best early mornings and evenings.

Bass
Camron caught this huge bass first 30 minutes of fishing! -Photo by Art Pila-

TOKETEE LAKE: brown trout, rainbow trout

Fishing is open in Toketee year-round but make sure to check fire conditions and road closures before heading out. For more information call the U.S. Forest Service at 541-498-2531.

UMPQUA HIGH LAKES AND FOREBAYS: trout

Reports from early in the season indicated a good catch rates. 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 fire, and check air quality conditions before heading out as well.

Lakes accessible from hiking trails and that were stocked last year: Calamut, Connie, Bullpup, Fuller, Cliff, Buckeye, Maidu, Twin “b”, Pitt, and Skookum lakes.

Red Top Pond, which offers excellent bank fishing opportunities, has been stocked several times and was stocked recently with “Labor Day Lunkers.” 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: Chinook, bass

 Chinook fishing in the estuary is steady, but slow. Bank anglers in Half Moon Bay are consistently catching Chinook and a good number of hatchery coho. There have been reports of folks catching fish throughout the main. From July 1– Dec. 31, anglers can harvest two 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. Trout fishing on the mainstem Umpqua tributaries closed Sept. 15.

UMPQUA RIVER, NORTH: steelhead

Check with the US Forest Service regarding potential fishing closures on the North Umpqua above Susan Creek. The North Umpqua Spring Chinook season closed July 1. The North Umpqua is closed to Chinook fishing till February. Trout fishing in North Umpqua tributaries from the mouth to the fly area boundary at Deadline Falls is closes Sept. 15.

Summer steelhead fishing below deadline falls has been spotty but may pick-up with cooler temperatures.

Note that from July 1 through Sept. 30 fishing in the fly water area is restricted to the use of a single, unweighted, barbless artificial fly.

UMPQUA RIVER, SOUTH: trout, bass

The South Umpqua mainstem and tributaries closed to all angling starting Sept. 16 to protect fall Chinook. It re-opens to winter steelhead fishing in December.

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

Fishing for bass and other warmwater species should be good and getting better with cooling surface water temperatures. These species should begin to be more accessible near shore. The lake is 65 percent full.

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. Anglers will want to check current conditions of the Chetco Bar fire prior to fishing the Winchuck River. Road closures are in effect for some of the watershed.

  Southwest Zone Hunting

deer hunter

Parker's first ever big game animal
-Photo by Dakota Peterson-

OPEN: COUGAR, COYOTE, BEAR, ARCHERY DEER AND ELK (closes Sept. 24), FOREST GROUSE, MOURNING DOVE, QUAIL, BAND-TAILED PIGEON (closes Sept. 23)

Hunting forecasts now available

Biologists from around the state weigh in on what to expect this fall. See the Big Game and Bird Hunting forecasts online.

Hunting and fire danger in Oregon

ODFW does not close hunting seasons due to fire danger. However, hunters may face restrictions due to fires burning on public land and reduced access to private lands during fire season. More info including list of private land closures

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

Fire Season Closures on Private Forestland

The Coquille Valley Wildlife Area will be closed through at least Oct. 1. Construction and restoration work has begun on the Wildlife Area which is part of a larger effort to restore tidal influence and wetland function to the Coquille Valley. These projects will provide a multitude of benefits for our native fish and wildlife species and infrastructure improvements will facilitate hunter access to previously closed portions of the Area. Current fire concerns may have an impact on the completion date of this project which may affect when public access can be allowed. Any questions or comments, please contact the Charleston Field Office, 63538 Boat Basin Drive, Charleston, OR (541-888-5515).

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.

Elk – Bow season closes Sept. 24. Elk populations are slightly down from previous years but hunters can still expect to find animals distributed across the county. Hunters are best served focusing on clear-cuts and open slopes in the morning and evening hours. Riparian drainages and meadows can also be productive for bugling bulls. Cool rainy conditions are finally here. This should result in elk becoming more active Fire precautions levels have been reduced due to the weather but hunters should check with local land managers to ensure access rules and regulations.

Deer - Bow season closes Sept. 24. Deer numbers are in line with long term trends and hunters can expect to find animals across the county. Riparian areas, clear-cuts, and agricultural lands can all be productive. In the mornings and evenings. When deer become more active, they may move on to brushy hill slopes and grassy meadows to feed. Fire precautions levels have been reduced due to the weather but hunters should check with local land managers to ensure access rules and regulations.

Bear – Fall bear season continues. Bears are numerous in the county and can be found along riparian areas. As the berry crop continues to progress, hunters should focus their efforts on blackberry patches, particularly along abandoned/closed roads, where bears will be concentrated. Focusing on patches that have been trampled and/or where berries are missing should be productive. Hunting these areas from tree stands or ground blinds can be very productive under the present conditions. Most opportunities will come in the early morning or late evening hours.

blue grouse wing

Blue grouse Hunting
-Photo by Nick Myatt-

Grouse & Quail – hunters can expect average harvest this year. Both grouse and quail occur in low densities along the Coast Range. Ruffed grouse can be found at lower elevations around riparian areas. Sooty grouse can be found at higher elevations, along timbered ridges. Mountain quail most often occur in young reprod and can be hunted any time of day but mornings are when birds are most active and can be found foraging along closed forest roadways.

Mourning Doves - Hunters can expect an average year. Eurasian collared dove numbers are on the increase throughout the state and our county. They can be harvested and they are NOT part of the mourning dove bag limit. These birds may provide a good alternative to mourning dove hunting if mourning doves prove hard to find.

Band-tailed Pigeons – Final reports are not yet available but survey numbers in the county were far below average. Hunter success may be limited if these results were part of a larger trend. Hunters can expect to find pigeons along the banks of coastal waterways and in lower densities along open ridges at higher elevations.

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.

DOUGLAS COUNTY

Fire Season Closures on private land (pdf)

Elk - A few controlled elk hunts opened Aug. 1. Bow season is open now. The Cascade General Bull Elk Season runs from Oct. 14-20 this year. Elk populations are similar to last year so this hunting year will be average. During the early part of the archery season, hunters should find elk on the northerly slopes and in dense conifer stands. Elk numbers are highest in the Tioga with lower levels in the Dixon, S. Indigo and Melrose units.

Deer - Bow season ends Sept. 24. General Western Deer Rifle Season starts Sept. 30 Deer populations are similar to last year, with low levels at upper elevations and high population levels on the Umpqua Valley floor. Most low elevation lands are privately owned so hunters are reminded to obtain permission before hunting on those lands. During the early part of the archery season, hunters should find deer on the northerly slopes and near water and green up areas.

Black Bear – General bear season is open. Hunters can expect an average year. As fall arrives, watch for bears utilizing late berry crops. Glass clear cuts and meadows early mornings and late evenings to find bears taking advantage of food sources. Bear numbers are good with the highest numbers in the coast range, and with smaller populations in the Cascades.

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

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

Fall Turkey - The season is from Oct. 15 – Dec. 31. There are 4000 first come-first serve tags available for this Western Oregon hunt, with tags going on sale September 20th. Hunters can expect a good year. The 2017 summer chick counts showed good production with excellent carryover from the last year. Most turkeys are on or adjacent to low-mid elevation private lands associated with oak savannah habitat. Good turkey numbers can be found on National Forest lands around Toketee in the Diamond Lake Ranger District and around Tiller in the Tiller Ranger District. These birds are enjoying great higher elevation oak savannah habitat and are producing well. These populations are supplemented yearly through releases of turkeys removed from private lands, where they were causing property damage and general nuisance.

Mourning Doves - Hunters can expect an average year. In addition, keep in mind the non-migratory Eurasian collared doves numbers are on the increase throughout the state and our county, and they are NOT part of the mourning dove bag limit.

Cougar

Cougar
- Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

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. Identify this species and its habitat

JACKSON, JOSEPHINE, CURRY COUNTIES

Deer: Archery deer season closes Sept. 24. 2016 hunter success remained the same as it was in 2015. This upcoming 2017 season should be good as well. Remember that deer in the Dixon, Rogue, and Evans Creek unit typically are at high elevations during the summer and as fall approaches they migrate down to lower elevations; however there are resident deer on the valley floor year round. In the Applegate and Chetco units deer that are present at higher elevations usually only move when pushed out by severe weather. Remember when heading out this archery season that many areas here in Southwest Oregon are at a fire danger level of Extreme which imposes restrictions based on the land you are hunting on. Visit the US Forest Service or Oregon Department of Forestry websites for more information.

Elk: General Archery Elk season closes Sept. 24 in the Applegate unit and lands outside of the US Forest Service’s National Forest boundaries in the Rogue, Dixon, and Evans Creek units. Within the National Forest boundaries in the Rogue, Dixon, and Evans Creek unit as well as the entire Chetco and Sixes units hunting is restricted to bull elk only. Always refer to the 2017 Oregon Big Game Hunting Regulation before heading out to hunt. This is expected to be an average harvest year with a slight decrease in hunter success in 2016 compared to the previous season. During the first part of the season when the weather is warmer look for elk in the cooler drainages as well as on north facing slopes. Finding and sitting on active wallows and other water sources can be very productive in hot weather. Remember when heading out this archery season that many areas here in Southwest Oregon are at a fire danger level of Extreme which imposes restrictions based on the land you are hunting on. Visit the US Forest Service or Oregon Department of Forestry websites for more information.

Fall Black Bear season continues. Hunters can expect another good year. The Applegate unit has historically had some of the highest harvest in the state so focus your efforts there; however the Rogue and Evans Creek can also be very productive. Huckleberry patches at high elevations and blackberries at low elevations seem to be a good place to start your search for bears feeding in early morning and late evening. Fawn calls can also be a useful tool when trying to harvest a bear. Here in Southern Oregon you are allowed two fall bears by purchasing your SW Additional Fall Black Bear tag, this tag is good for all of units 20-30. Remember that there is a mandatory check in of your bear skull at an ODFW office or designated collection site within 10 days of harvest, the skull must be unfrozen. In addition if you harvest a female bear you must turn in the entire reproductive tract to ODFW. See page 30 in the big game hunting regulations for more information.

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

Cougar season is open statewide year-round or until zone quotas are met (see zone quota page). With the upcoming elk and deer seasons remember to purchase your cougar tag since majority of the cougars are harvest while in pursuit of other species. 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.

Fee Pheasant hunt on the Denman Wildlife area begins on Sept. 18; in order to hunt you must purchase a $17.00 tag which allows you to harvest two pheasants, you can purchase additional tags if you would like. You must also have the proper licenses and validations. We will be releasing 160 pheasants a week until the end of the fee hunt on Oct. 6. For more information refer to the 2017-2018 Oregon Game Bird Regulations.

 Southwest Zone Wildlife Viewing

COOS COUNTY

The Coquille Valley Wildlife Area will be closed through Oct. 1. Construction and restoration work has begun on the Wildlife Area which is part of a larger effort to restore tidal influence and wetland function to the Coquille Valley. These projects will provide a multitude of benefits for our native fish and wildlife species and infrastructure improvements will facilitate hunter access to previously closed portions of the Area. Any questions or comments, please contact the Charleston Field Office, 63538 Boat Basin Drive, Charleston, OR (541-888-5515).

Shorebirds- Numerous shorebirds have been spotted out at Bullards Beach State Park near Bandon, as well as flocks out in the mudflats of the Coquille River which are visible at the Bandon National Wildlife Refuge. Another viewing spot for these birds is out at the North Spit, near Coos Bay. Please keep in mind that some portions of beach 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. 7/18/2017

Marine Mammals

PLEASE, remember that feeding any marine mammal is illegal! Feeding can cause of host of problems including a loss of natural wariness towards humans, which may lead to confrontations with humans, both wildlife watchers and recreational users. Seals and sea lions can become aggressive and can weigh in excess of 350 and 1,000 pounds, respectively. These animals should be viewed, and enjoyed, from a distance.

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. 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.

Birds of Prey

The fall migration should be ramping up in the coming weeks. Viewers can expect to see increased hawk activity in the coming weeks and months. Many birds of prey, including bald eagles, osprey, and peregrine falcons, can be viewed locally along the coast and up the various rivers and inlets around Coos Bay. Both bald eagles and osprey build large nests and are most visible in the early mornings and late afternoons. Ospreys are known for their elaborate hunting behaviors which include diving into the water from high distances and lifting fish out of the water. Their feet are specially adapted with rough pads and long, sharp talons, making the task of grabbing fish easier. Once out of the water, fish are turned to face forward, reducing drag and making flight easier.

Band-tailed Pigeons

High numbers of band-tailed pigeons will be migrating through the area over the next several weeks. High concentrations can be found adjacent to mineral sites utilized by the birds. These sites are commonly along river or inlet edges and can be found by looking for large movements of birds in the early morning. These birds can travel upwards of 32 miles per day to feed and drink. While the Pacific Coast band-tailed pigeon has experienced long term declines in numbers, the past 5- and 10-year intervals were less conclusive, perhaps signifying a halt in that decline. 7/10/2017

Shorebirds-Those interested in seeing these birds can find good viewing opportunities on the beach at Bullards Beach State Park near Bandon, Bandon National Wildlife Refuge and the North Spit, near Coos Bay. Please keep in mind that some portions of beach 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. 7/18/2017

Turkey Vulture
Turkey Vulture
-Photo by Dave Budeau-

DOUGLAS COUNTY

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.

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.

Reptiles –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.

Bats –Look for bats at dawn and dusk. Watch street lights and water bodies, where insects concentrate, bats may show up to eat up to 1000 insects per hour. 9/19/2017

JACKSON and JOSEPHINE COUNTIES

Table Rocks

The two Table Rocks of southern Oregon provide excellent nearby hiking opportunities. Upper Table Rock is located off of Modoc Rd and is slightly shorter of the two, whereas Lower Table Rock is located off of Table Rock Rd it is longer yet slightly less of a steep climb. Both of these trails provide a good opportunity to see a variety of wildlife that the Rogue Valley has to offer. Once you reach the top you have great views of the surrounding Cascade and Siskiyou mountain ranges. These hikes are lower elevation so it will get hot, because of this hiking in the early morning and late evening should provide the most enjoyable experience.

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

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.

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.

Quail

We have two species of quail here in Southwest Oregon, the first being the Mountain Quail. This species typically lives at higher elevations and is characterized by its long straight head plume and chestnut colored throat and flanks. California quail or sometimes referred to as Valley Quail is the second quail species in our area. As the name suggests this species of quail is typically found in the valleys with lower level elevation. Unlike the mountain quail, California quail have a curved head plume and the feathers on their chest give them a scaled appearance. Both of these species recently finished nesting and are now caring for their young. If you happen to see an adult look closely because there may be a large amount of young quail following nearby.

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


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