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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 23, 2014

 Southwest Zone Fishing

rogue river
Rogue River
-ODFW Photo-

Weekend fishing opportunities

  • This fall is the time to fish Rogue watershed reservoirs by float tube, kayak or raft! Fish are still available despite very low water levels at sites managed by the Bureau of Reclamation. Cooling water temperatures should mean good fishing over the next month or more.
  • On the lower Rogue, half-pounders are spread throughout the river and with new Chinook entering the river day, salmon fishing also is picking up.
  • Summer trout anglers can have success fishing the deeper waters of Applegate and Lost Creek reservoirs, fishing Lost Creek upstream of the Highway 62 bridge, or fishing the river upstream of Lost Creek Reservoir.
  • Clamming has been excellent during low tides near Charleston, and off Cape Arago Highway and Clam Island.
  • Chinook salmon fishing continues to be good on the Coos with anglers catching Chinook from the Highway 101 Bridge all the way up to the forks of the Millicoma and South Coos rivers.

Warm temperatures increase stress on fish

With summer temperatures heating up throughout the state, anglers should take special care when catching and releasing fish.

  • Fish early in the mornings when water temperatures are lower.
  • Fish in lakes and reservoirs with deep waters that provide a cooler refuge for fish.
  • Use barbless hooks, land fish quickly and keep them in the water as much as possible in order to minimize stress. Anglers who keep the fish in the water when looking for finmarks or taking photos are leaders in stewardship of the resource.
  • Shift your fishing efforts to higher elevation mountain lakes and streams where water temperatures often remain cool.
Target warmwater species, such as bass, bluegill and crappie, that are available in many lakes and reservoirs statewide. However, even warmwater fish can feel the effects of the heat and anglers should try to land and release them as quickly as possible.

2014 Coastal coho and fall Chinook seasons

Agate Lake Boat Ramp
The boat ramp at Agate Lake is unusable, Sept. 9, 2014
-Photo by Dan VanDyke, ODFW-
Agate Lake Boat Ramp
The boat ramp at Agate Lake is unusable, Sept. 9, 2014
-Photo by Dan VanDyke, ODFW-

Now available on the ODFW Web site.

2014 trout stocking

The 2014 trout stocking schedule for the SW Zone is available on-line.

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 is down to 3 percent full and the boat ramp is no longer usable. An estimated 130-acre feet of water remains for anglers wanting to fish for bass and panfish from shore. Jackson County Parks closes the park at 8pm at this time of year.

AGATE LAKE: largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, bullhead

Agate Lake is down to 3 percent full and the boat ramp is no longer usable. An estimated 130-acre feet of water remains for anglers wanting to fish for bass and panfish from shore. Jackson County Parks closes the park at 8pm at this time of year.

APPLEGATE RESERVOIR: largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, trout

Applegate Reservoir is 31 percent full. The Hart-tish facility and boat ramp are closed for the season. Based on the elevation of the reservoir on Sept. 16, the Copper ramp may not be usable, but the low water ramp at French Gulch will still be accessible. Cooling temperatures should mean improving conditions for trout anglers now and into the fall.

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

APPLEGATE RIVER: rainbow and cutthroat trout, winter steelhead

The Applegate River is open for trout fishing with a bag limit of two adipose fin-clipped rainbow trout per day. All other trout must be released. The river is closed to fishing for steelhead and salmon.

ARIZONA POND: rainbow trout

Pond levels have been lowered to help control aquatic vegetation.

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

The reservoir was stocked with about 3,500 trout during March and another 500 trout were stocked in April. An additional 1,000 trout were stocked the first week of September. Warmwater fishing for bass and crappie will be best around the edges where there is some structure. Jigging with crappie tubes in the electric motor section has been successful recently.

CHETCO RIVER: cutthroat trout, chinook

Temporary regulations have been adopted for the Chetco River starting Sept. 1, 2014. Anglers should check these regulation changes prior to fishing the river.

Chetco River flows near Brookings

The temorary regulations do not effect the tributaries, and with cooler water conditions anglers may want to fish some of the bigger tributaries for cutthroat that can reach 18 to 20-inches. Both casting spinners or fly fishing can be really good.

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

Cooper Creek has been stocked with about 9,000 trout so far this spring. Trout fishing has slowed with the warmer temperatures. Early morning is the best time to try for trout. Cooper Creek will receive 2,000 additional trout for early September fishing. Some of the trout do have copepods which are tiny parasites on their bodies and gills. These are not harmful to humans, but the lesions can be removed and the meat should be thoroughly cooked.

COOS COUNTY Lakes/Ponds: trout

Bradley Lake is scheduled to be stocked with fall “trophy” trout during the week of Sept. 29. Saunders Lake, Powers Pond, and Empire Lakes are scheduled to be stocked during the week of Oct. 6.

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

Trout season is open in the Coos Basin rivers until Oct. 31. The daily limit of trout in streams is 2 fish over 8-inches and anglers can now use bait in all streams and rivers in the Coos Basin.

Chinook Salmon
Chinook Salmon
-Photo by Patti Abbott-

Chinook salmon fishing has been good on the incoming tide the past week for anglers trolling cut plug herring. The best fishing for chinook has been from the Highway 101 Bridge all the way up to the forks of the Millicoma and South Coos rivers. There were lots of jacks caught over the past week but several 20-30 pound Chinook also. The wild coho season opened in the Coos Basin on September 15. There are several coho from the jetties to near the railroad bridge on the north side of the bay. Trolling a pink spinner is a good way to catch coho. The daily bag limit for wild (unclipped) coho is 1 per day and 2 for the season.

Crabbing in Coos Bay has been good with boat crabbers picking up limits. The best crabbing has been near the jetties but crabbers are getting legal size crab all the way up to the BLM Boat Ramp.

In a cooperative effort including ODFW and OSU researchers, hundreds of red rock crabs have been tagged with a small blue “floy tag” in Charleston to gain an understanding of their growth, age, movement, population size, and fishery. Red rock crabs are native to Oregon and are found in only a few Oregon estuaries. If you catch a tagged red rock crab please contact the ODFW Charleston office at 541-888-5515.

Clamming is excellent during low tides near Charleston, off Cape Arago Highway, and Clam Island. There are also good places to dig clams even on positive low tides in Coos Bay. For more information on shellfish in Coos Bay click on the following link: Shellfish Assessment of Coastal Oregon. Before any shellfish harvest trip, make sure to check the Oregon Department of Agriculture website for any updates.

COQUILLE RIVER BASIN: trout, smallmouth bass, salmon, crabbing

Trout season is open in the Coquille Basin rivers until Oct. 31. The daily limit of trout in streams is 2 fish over 8-inches and anglers can now use bait in all streams and rivers in the Coquille Basin.

Chinook salmon fishing has been slow/decent in the lower Coquille River up to Bear Creek for anglers trolling cut plug herring. The wild coho season opened in the Coquille Basin on Sept. 15. Fishing should pick up in the next couple of weeks.

Anglers are catching a few smallmouth bass in the mainstem and South Fork Coquille rivers. Small spinners or jigs have been working well to catch smallmouth bass. There is no size limit or bag limit on the number of smallmouth bass you can keep in the Coquille River Basin.

Crabbing has been good in the lower Coquille estuary. Dock crabbers are picking up a few legal-sized Dungeness crab at Weber’s Pier along the waterfront in Bandon.

DIAMOND LAKE: trout

Fishing has been improving. The lake is cooling down and the fish are moving around more. Most of the fish are 12 to 14-inches, but larger fish are also being caught. The fish are very plump and healthy! They’ve been holding in deeper water lately or the cooler water near Short and Silent Creeks on the south end.
Emigrant Lake
Boat ramp at Emigrant Reservoir
Sept. 9, 2014
-Photo by Daniel Vandyke-
Emigrant Lake
Boat ramp at Emigrant Reservoir
Sept. 9, 2014
-Photo by Daniel Vandyke-
Fish Lake

Fish Lake from the dam, Sept. 9, 2014
-Photo by Dan VanDyke, ODFW-

The algae blooms have been off and on. General cautions signs are still in place as a reminder to anglers should another bloom occur. The blooms have been benign.

For campground information call the Forest Service at 541-498-2531. Anglers can check fishing conditions at Diamond Lake on their website, or call their toll free number at 1-800-733-7593, ext. 236 or 238 for updates.

ELK RIVER: cutthroat trout

Cutthroat are scattered throughout the river with the estuary or upper river the best. Access to the river is limited in the lower river; the whole upper river runs through Forest Service land.

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

The reservoir is currently 11 percent full and the boat ramp at the county campground is no longer in use. Anglers fishing from personal watercraft like float tubes or fishing from shore should be able to have luck on trout, bass and panfish now and into the fall.

FISH LAKE: rainbow trout, brook trout, spring Chinook

Water levels at Fish Lake have dropped below the Bureau of Reclamation measuring gauge, and trailered boats can no longer launch at the lake. Fish Lake was a natural lake before the dam was built, however, so fishable water will remain through the fall. Surface temperatures along the shoreline last week ranged from 42F near two springs at the resort to 59F at the dam. Trout anglers may want to give places like Fish Lake a try from the shore or from small watercraft or float tubes. In addition to stocked rainbow trout, anglers can catch land-locked Chinook salmon, brook trout and tiger trout.

FLORAS LAKE: rainbow, cutthroat trout

Trout fishing is hit or miss depending on the wind. The best method for catching trout is slow trolling flies or wedding ring spinners from a boat. Bank access is limited. Anglers can launch at an improved boat ramp at Boice Cope County Park. The lake can be very windy, so anglers will want to check the weather prior to heading out. Boat anglers are reminded to clean all aquatic vegetation off their boats and trailers before heading home to help control the spread non-native plants and animals.

GALESVILLE RESERVIOR: rainbow trout, bass

Galesville Reservoir is open to fishing year-round. In addition to trout, the reservoir has also been stocked with coho smolts for the last couple of years. Many people mistakenly think these fish are kokanee. All of the coho smolts are adipose fin-clipped, 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. Galesville has been stocked with about 8,000 trout this spring. The lake also received some smolts so a few fish may be just shy of legal size for harvest. Fishing with worms in brushy areas has been good for bass and some trout recently.

Anglers are reminded all bass between 12 and 15-inches must be released, and only one bass over 15-inches may be taken per day. Call 541-837-3302 for information on camping and boat launching conditions.

GARRISON LAKE: rainbow trout, cutthroat

The lake is pretty weedy, but anglers fishing the deeper parts of the lake are finding some good trout. Early morning or late afternoon is the most productive. Boat anglers will want to keep an eye on the weather and fish the lake when there is no wind. Access for bank anglers is best at the 12th Street boat ramp, Arizona Street, or along the foredune accessed through Tseriadun State Park. Garrison Lake is located in the middle of Port Orford. Boat anglers are reminded to clean all aquatic vegetation off their boats and trailers before heading home to help control the spread non-native plants and animals.

HEMLOCK LAKE & LAKE IN THE WOODS & Umpqua High Lakes: trout

Hemlock has received over 6,000 trout this season, including some large fish just before the Labor Day holiday. PowerBait has been effective. Anglers fishing the high lakes in the Umpqua District are encouraged to e-mail fishing reports to greg.f.huchko@state.or.us.
Howard Prarie
Possible boat access as Howard Prairie Reservoir, Sept. 9, 2014
-Photo by Dan VanDyke, ODFW-

HOWARD PRAIRIE RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, bass

Howard Prairie is 30 percent full. Anglers wanting to launch a boat at Howard Prairie can try using an area of rocky shoreline at campsite 11 at Willow Point Campground, but conditions are difficult at best. Trout anglers may want to give places like Howard a try from the shore or from small watercraft or float tubes. Fishing for trout should improve as water temperatures cool through the next several weeks.

HYATT LAKE: rainbow trout, largemouth bass

The lake is 8 percent full, and there is no ramp available for trailered boats, but the reservoir is still producing fish. Fishing for largemouth bass remains good near the dam. Anglers are encouraged to keep largemouth in the 7 to 12-inch range. These fish are part of a stunted group of bass, and are a good option to take home to eat. Trout are being caught as well. Most of the trout are being caught using bait from shore, but trolling and fly-fishing from float tubes or small watercraft should produce. Trout anglers planning to release most of the fish are reminded to handle the fish carefully, keeping them in the water at all times, and remember that fishing with dough bait on treble hooks can make a safe release very challenging. The irrigation district reports that the water level at Hyatt may drop another foot in the next week before leveling off for the year.

ILLINOIS RIVER: trout, steelhead

The Illinois River is open to fishing for trout and steelhead. Anglers are restricted to artificial flies and lures only, and only adipose fin-clipped rainbow trout may be retained. Since anglers are unlikely to catch steelhead or fin-clipped trout this time of year, the Illinois currently offers catch-and-release fishing for cutthroat trout.

Illinois River flows at Kerby

LAKE MARIE: rainbow trout

The lake was stocked with over 5,000 trout this year. Most anglers use PowerBait or worms. The lake received some Labor Day lunkers and was stocked again the first week of September.

LAKE SELMAC: trout, largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie

Fishing for largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, and other warmwater species should be good early and late in the day. Anglers can catch many of the warmwater species by suspending a worm below a bobber. Crappie can be targeted with crappie jigs or small soft-plastic baits.

LEMOLO RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, kokanee

Lemolo was stocked last week with about 8,000 trout. About 90 percent of these are legal-sized and ready for the anglers. Lemolo received about 1,500 nice 14-inch trout in time for Labor Day. Fishing has been good. Brown trout are being caught and the rainbows are 12 to 16-plus inches depending on the stock. People are also catching kokanee, by trolling deeper water with a small spoon and single hook. The boat ramps are open as East Lemolo and Poole Creek Campgrounds.

From now through Nov. 1, Lemolo has a 5 trout per day, daily limit. A combination of brown trout, rainbow trout and kokanee can be harvested to make up this 5 trout limit. Only 1 trout over 20 inches can be harvested per day. For information on fishing conditions, contact Lemolo Lake Resort at 541-957-8354. For information on campgrounds contact the USFS at 541-498-2515.

LOON LAKE: rainbow trout, bass, bluegill

Loon Lake has been stocked with nearly 8,000 trout. The lake is also providing good fishing for crappie, bluegill and bass. The boat ramps will be open through early fall. For additional information call the BLM at: 541-599-2254.

LOST CREEK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, spring Chinook, bass

The surface temperature was 64F on Tuesday morning. Trout anglers will probably want to fish deep in the main body of the reservoir. Trout fishing is probably still best upstream of the Hwy 62 Bridge. Water temperatures will continue to improve for trout anglers in September and October. Anglers caught smallmouth on spinners and crankbaits recently. Lost Creek Reservoir is 43 percent full. All boat ramps are accessible.

MEDCO POND: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, bluegill

Fishing for bluegill and bass should be good early and late in the day.
Dungeness Crab

Dungeness Crab, Newport
-Photo by Kathy Munsel-

PACIFIC OCEAN AND BEACHES: bottomfish, Dungeness crab, salmon, halibut,

Crabbing has been good in the ocean from Bandon to Winchester Bay.

Fishing for bottom fish, including rockfish and lingcod is now closed outside of the 30-fathom curve until the end of September. The marine fish daily bag limit is seven fish and a separate daily limit for lingcod (two). Retention of cabezon is now allowed but only one cabezon per day per angler.

The non-selective coho fishery closed last Friday after reaching the quota. Ocean fishing for Chinook is still open.

As of Sept. 14 there is still 36 pecent of the nearshore halibut quota remaining. The nearshore halibut is open 7 days a week inside the 40 fathom line through the earlier of the quota being met or Oct. 31. The all-depth halibut season is closed for the year.

PLAT I RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, warmwater fish

In addition to trout fishing, the lake also has good bullhead fishing. Bass can be harvested from March 1 to Oct. 31 and are catch-and-release only from Nov. 1-Feb. 29. The reservoir received about 4,500 trout this year. Some of the trout do have copepods which are tiny parasites on their bodies and gills. These are not harmful to humans, but the lesions can be removed and the meat should be thoroughly cooked.

ROGUE RIVER

Rogue River, lower: half-pounders, steelhead, Chinook

Anglers have continued to pick up Chinook at a fairly regular pace in the estuary. Coho are just starting to show in the estuary. Anglers can only keep adipose fin marked coho. The bay coho fishery will continue to get better through the end of the month and early October. Chinook are spread throughout the lower river and new fish are moving in every day. Cooler river temperatures and less boat traffic this time of year can make for some good salmon fishing. Side drifting or back bouncing eggs, running plugs, or casting spinners are all good techniques for catching salmon.

Half-pounders are spread throughout the river, along with adult summer steelhead. Half-pounders are immature steelhead that move back into freshwater after spending 3 to 4 months in the ocean. These fish will return to the ocean in the spring to continue feeding until maturing as adult steelhead. The best time to fish is in the morning or evening.

Fishing the Rogue River
Cole Tidwell and Jim Bittle participated in the Middle Rogue Steelheaders salmon derby last Saturday.
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Rogue River, middle: steelhead, trout, fall Chinook

Anglers are reminded to be extremely careful when handling fish during this drought year. Fishing early in the day when water temperatures are cooler reduces stress. Always keep the fish in the water when looking for finmarks or taking photos and release fish quickly. Fishing for fall Chinook is picking up in the Grants Pass area.

Releases from Lost Creek Reservoir have dropped for the fall, and the flow at Grants Pass was down to 1100 cfs on Tuesday morning. The water temperature was averaging 64F, with a peak of 67F. Fall chinook and summer steelhead are available, and fishing should be good.

Rogue River, upper: steelhead, trout

Anglers are reminded to be extremely careful when handling fish during this drought year. Fishing early in the day when water temperatures are cooler reduces stress. Always keep the fish in the water when looking for finmarks or taking photos and release fish quickly.

The artificial fly season is underway on the upper Rogue, and summer steelhead fishing should be good. Anglers may want to try nymph patterns, or a big stonefly pattern in combination with a smaller nymph, or standard steelhead patterns. Trout fishing should be very good as well. Anglers may keep up to five adipose fin-clipped rainbow trout per day. All other trout must be released unharmed.

Releases from Lost Creek Reservoir have dropped for the fall The release from Lost Creek Reservoir was 1100 cfs and the water temperature was 53°F the morning of September 16th. The water temperature at Dodge Bridge was averaging about 57F with a peak of 62F. The water temperature at Gold Ray was averaging about 61F with a peak of 65F. As of Sept. 9th, 1,136 summer steelhead had entered Cole Rivers Hatchery (58 new for the week), and over 631 had been returned to the fishery downstream at the Gold Hill boat ramp.

Rogue River, above Lost Creek Reservoir: trout

Fish stocking has ended for the year upstream of Lost Creek, but fishing remains open and should be very good. Anglers can fish bait like single salmon eggs or worms, or cast small spinners like a Panther Martin or Rooster tail, or let a fly drift downstream below a bobber. In addition to the stocked trout, naturally produced rainbow, cutthroat, brown, and brook trout are available in the river and in many tributaries. Plentiful trout, beautiful scenery, easy access, and an abundance of Forest Service campgrounds and day-use areas make this a great place to go trout fishing.

SIXES RIVER: cutthroat trout

Cutthroat fishing has been good in the estuary when the weather has cooperated. Best access is at Cape Blanco State Park, but it can be very windy so anglers should check the weather and try to fish early morning.

SMITH RIVER, Umpqua: steelhead, sturgeon, striped bass

Trout season closes in the Smith River basin Sept. 16. Fall Chinook will move up the Smith as fall progresses.

SODA SPRINGS RESERVOIR:

Closed to fishing.

TENMILE BASIN: yellow perch, largemouth bass

A blue green algae advisory has been issued for Tenmile Lakes. The lake remains open for fishing, but the Department of Human Services provides recommendations for how the public can protect themselves and their pets.

Yellow perch are biting on nightcrawlers or jigs tipped with a worm in Tenmile Lakes. Yellow perch will be moving towards the deep water (20 feet) and concentrating in big schools. Sometimes anglers need to try several spots before finding the bigger fish. There are lots of smaller yellow perch that anglers have to sort through to catch enough keepers for a meal. Some of the keeper yellow perch are over 12-inches long.

Largemouth bass fishing has been good. Most of the bass are being caught in deep water associated with cover like submerged logs or vegetation. Crankbaits and plastics like senkos or brushhogs have been working to catch bass. As the water temperatures cool the bass will move into shallower water will bite all day long.

TOKETEE LAKE: brown trout, rainbow trout

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

UMPQUA HIGH LAKES AND FOREBAYS: trout

Clearwater Forebay #2 received nice 14-inch trout in time for Labor Day. For brook trout anglers should try Cliff, Buckeye, Skookum (North Umpqua), Maidu, Twin and Wolf lakes. Linda, Pitt Lake, and Calamut have been stocked with a native rainbow for the last couple of years. Bullpup and Fuller still have brook trout, but were also recently stocked with some fingerling native rainbows.

Contact the Forest Service at 541-957-3200 for road and trail conditions. For information on road and campground closures due to fire, go to: www.fs.usda.gov/umpqua under fire info, or http://inciweb.org/incident/3562.

UMPQUA RIVER, MAINSTEM: steelhead, smallmouth bass, trout, Chinook

The mainstem Umpqua is closed to wild steelhead harvest, but remains open year-round for adipose fin-clipped steelhead. This fishery is primarily catch-and-release since the number of hatchery fish is relatively low compared to the number of wild fish. People interested in harvesting a steelhead should fish the North Umpqua for summer steelhead. Trout fishing in the tributaries to the mainstem closes Sept. 16. The mainstem will continue to be open for catch-and-release trout fishing through Oct. 31.

Smallmouth bass fishing is good, but the river level is low. Boaters will want to check flows or consider using rubber crafts. River Forks boat ramp will be closed for repairs until about Aug. 14. The mainstem Umpqua opens for catch and release trout on May 24. Tributaries are also open. Check regulations for harvest and gear restrictions.

Fall Chinook are moving upstream and are available for anglers. Chinook have been caught up to River Forks Park. There are fishing opportunities for both boat and bank anglers to catch Chinook along the mainstem.

The 50 Places to go fishing within 60 minutes of Roseburg,” handout which is available online or at the office, identifies several good places for salmon and steelhead fishing.

Umpqua River flows near Elkton

UMPQUA RIVER, NORTH: steelhead

Rock Creek Hatchery is once again open for visitors. The hatchery is open to visitors from 7:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. The new RockEd facility is lacking displays, but can be opened on request by calling the hatchery at 541-496-3484.

Remember all wild steelhead must be released unharmed. Anglers are getting some summer steelhead in the Narrows and Swiftwater areas. Steelhead are also up in the fly waters and anglers are fishing the area more. Trout fishing in the tributaries to the North closes Sept. 16. The mainstem of the North will continue to be open for catch-and-release trout fishing through Oct. 31.

Note that from Oct. 1 through June 30, fishing in the fly water area is restricted to a single barbless artificial fly which can be dressed with conventional fly tying material. Remember that from March 1 through July 31 the anti-snag gear restrictions apply on the North from the Lone Rock boat ramp upstream to the fly area boundary above Rock Creek. The Mainstem from Soda Springs Dam, including Soda Springs Reservoir, up to Slide Creek Dam is closed year-round to fishing.

North Umpqua River water levels at Winchester Dam

UMPQUA RIVER, SOUTH: trout, smallmouth bass

The South Umpqua is open for trout and smallmouth bass through Sept. 15. Check the regulations for gear and harvest restrictions. Water levels are low, so boaters will want to check the flows or consider using rubber rafts.

The South Umpqua will be closed for all fishing from Sept. 16 through Nov. 30.

Willow Lake
Boat ramp at Willow Lake,
Aug. 20, 2014
-Photo by Daniel Vandyke-

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

At 55 percent of capacity, Willow Lake has the most water among all irrigation reservoirs in the Rogue watershed to date. Fishing for all species will be best early and late in the day.

WINCHESTER BAY: chinook

The wild coho retention from the jetty to the Scottsburg Bridge opened Sept. 15, with a one per day, 2 in the aggregate limit. The season has a 2,000 coho quota, so will be open until the quota is filled or through Nov. 30. Harvest information will be posted regularly on the ODFW website.

Winchester Bay has been good for chinook and coho fishing in the ocean. The fish have entered the river too and good numbers and chinook are being caught up to Dean Creek. Some chinook are also already moving upstream.

Bank anglers at Half Moon Bay and Osprey Point are beginning to have good success.

The 2014 Crab Bounty Hunt is now running in Winchester Bay until 2 p.m., Sept. 30. A valid shellfish license is required and tagged crab need to be taken to the Sportsman Cannery to be registered. Fishing for bottomfish in the Triangle and South jetty has been successful. Crabbing has been good recently.

WINCHUCK RIVER: closed

The river is closed to all fishing Aug. 1 to Dec. 31, 2014. The river was closed due a forecasted low return of fall Chinook salmon.

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  Southwest Zone Hunting

OPEN: COUGAR, BLACK BEAR, ARCHERY DEER AND ELK, GROUSE, QUAIL, MOURNING DOVE

See the bird and big game hunting forecasts.

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. ODFW appreciates hunters’ assistance to establish wolves’ presence in Oregon; 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

Aaron

Aaron's first buck bowhunting in eastern Oregon
– Photo by Scott Mckee–

Deer populations have been showing recovery in much of Coos County. The General Deer Bow season opened August 30 and will continue through September 28th. Due to warm and extremely dry conditions most timber companies have closed their lands to public access. There is no expectation that they will open their lands until significant rain falls. Fire danger is extremely high. Those wanting to hunt deer locally will have to concentrate on public lands like the Elliott State Forest, National Forest lands, Coos County Forest and BLM lands. Deer can be found on these ownerships if the hunter finds habitats that are attractive to deer. The best places will be near ridge tops and on a south slope where brush is growing that has not been overtaken be trees.

Elk populations are high in the Sixes Unit and increasing in the Tioga. Powers Unit elk have been stable for many years. General Bow seasons for elk also opens August 30 and runs through September 28 as does deer. As with deer, restrictions on accessing private timber lands will affect opportunity there so hunters will have to hunt public lands. Elk will be distributed based on human activity. Look for out-of-the-way drainages with no road access or other places elk may move to in order to escape humans.

Grouse and Quail seasons opened September 1. This summer was a good one for grouse and quail production. Broods seemed to have survived well. However, the past several years of poor survival for these young birds has resulted in populations that are low and that will need several good years of reproductive success to rebound. Hunters will find the best hunting for both quail and grouse on closed roads on public land. Grouse will generally be found near streams and quail will generally be found neat ridge tops, with the exception of Valley quail which are usually found near agricultural lands.

Black Bear- General Bear season opened August 1. Bear populations are robust in much of Coos County and offer opportunities for hunting. Due to mild weather conditions this spring berry production is very good this summer. Bears will be taking advantage of that food source. Hunters should look for isolated berry stands where vehicle traffic from other people will not disturb bears from feeding on berries. Places like the ends on closed forest roads where berries are growing provide some of the best places to hunt bears that are feeding on them. Walking through these areas in the early morning or late evening or setting up tree stands near these areas are great ways to hunt bears on the Oregon coast.

Cougar hunting is open. Hunters can expect an average year. Cougars are abundant throughout with indicators pointing to stable or increasing numbers. Hunting cougar is a challenge because these animals are very secretive, but harvest success is greatest adjacent to private land with high deer populations using a predator call.

DOUGLAS COUNTY

DEER - Bow season is currently open. Also, open are N. Bank Habitat Bow (thru Sept. 28th) and Umpqua Bow (thru Sept. 28th). 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. Check local fire restrictions for current fire danger before going hunting. Western Oregon General Rifle season opens up on Saturday October 4th.

Deer populations are similar to last year. Hunters are reminded to obtain permission before hunting on private lands. Hunters should find deer on the northerly slopes and near water and green up areas. Check local fire restrictions due to fire danger before hunting.

Elk - Bow season and Powers Bow end Sept. 28th. A few controlled elk hunts (Melrose and Elkton) are currently open.

Cougar season is open. Hunters can expect an average year. Cougars are abundant and widely distributed. Hunting success is best around high deer population areas using a predator call.

Bear – General bear season is currently open. Hunters can expect an average year. The dry weather conditions will concentrate bears near streams where foraging will be better. Hunters should concentrate their efforts in the berry patches in early morning and late afternoon. Bear numbers are good with the highest numbers in the coast range, and with smaller populations in the Cascades. Successful bear hunters are reminded there is a mandatory check-in for all harvested bear within 10 days of harvest (see regulations for details).

Western Gray Squirrel – Currently 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.

UPLAND GAMEBIRDS

California Quail at EE Wilson

California Quail at EE Wilson
-Photo by Kathy Munsel-

Grouse & Quail - Hunters can expect an average hunt year with the season currently open. The overall 2014 brood/chick counts indicate average production so hunters should find good numbers of game birds out in the field.

Hunting availability and success for forest grouse should be good this year even though production was down. 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. A good place to hunt forest grouse is the Toketee area on the Umpqua Forest where many habitat improvement projects have created a great grouse hunting opportunity. Check with the Diamond Lake ranger station for details on the locations of these projects.
Hunters that kill grouse 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.

Nesting season production was below average for California quail and Mountain quail, but hunting opportunity should still be good. 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 are also asked if they kill a mountain quail to drop off in a paper bag the frozen wing and tail of each mountain quail at the local ODFW office. Please use one bird per bag with each frozen bag of mountain quail parts including the species, sex, age, unit and general area of harvest for proper analysis.

MIGRATORY GAMEBIRDS:

Mourning Doves - Hunters can expect an above average year. The dove season is currently open. Most mourning doves have not migrated south since no rains have occurred in the last few weeks so their numbers are currently high. 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. Check the 2014 game bird regulations for details. Also, don’t forget to ask for permission from local landowners before hunting doves on private land.

Waterfowl: The regular goose season opens Oct. 11th. Goose hunters can expect an average to above-average year. Hunting for resident geese in Douglas County should be very good because of an excellent production again this year. Nearly all goose hunting in the Umpqua Valley is on private property and hunters should obtain landowner permission before hunting.

Furbearers: Harvest season is currently closed but pursuit season is currently open for bobcat, fox and raccoon.

JACKSON, JOSEPHINE, CURRY COUNTIES

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

Bear general season opened August 1. Hunters can expect another average year. Bear numbers continue to be abundant. The Applegate unit has one of the highest harvests for the fall season in the state for the past several years. With hot dry weather which is typical for this time of year, bears will be found around cooler wet drainages. As the berry crops become ripe hunters should locate these areas to find bears. The best times to look for bears are in the early morning and late evenings. Successful bear hunters are reminded there is a mandatory check-in for all harvested bear within 10 days of harvest (see regulations for details).

Youth Elk season started August 1 for units in our area and runs to the end of December. 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. Remember youth must wear hunter orange.

Deer bow season closes September 28. Black tailed deer populations in Jackson, Josephine and Curry counties remain strong. The end of last year’s season showed a good buck ratio with high fawn ratios. This season will again be dependent on weather conditions. Because of the calendar year, season is set back a week potentially providing cooler temperatures. However we have recently been observing mortalities due to Adenovirus (ADHD), this is a natural disease that only affects deer and it could have some impact on hunting seasons in areas where natural mortality has occurred. We would like to hear from hunters this season if they have found dead deer in the woods. Black-tailed deer in Jackson County mostly migrate from high elevation to lower elevations of the valley floor. Most deer will be in high elevations through September. Although there is a growing population of deer that remain in the valley floor, hunters need to be aware of private property. In Josephine and Curry Counties deer migrate very little and hunters can find deer at all elevations. This year we have a heavy acorn crop, deer will take advantage of the acorns in our late fall season. Fire levels are set at extreme and IFPL 3, which imposes restrictions on camp fires and vehicle activities. Check local Forest Service and State Forest web sites for updated fire restrictions. State forestry lists all private timber land closures.

Elk bow season closes September 28. Cascade elk season will be latter this year; this could provide a cooler hunt. Archery hunters will again need to pre-scout areas near water sources to find elk. From our spring elk surveys we had good bull ratios. Season should be average for the hunters. Due to the typical hot weather for our area elk are likely to be found in higher elevation or areas of cooler draws where they can retreat to in the heat of the day. Known water sources or wallow can be good location to start your hunting activities. With the high temperatures it is very important to take quick care of your downed animal and get it cooled off as soon as possible. Fire levels are set at high, which imposes restrictions on camp fires and vehicle activities. Check local Forest Service and State Forest web sites for updated fire restrictions. State forestry lists all private timber land closures.

Migratory Dove season opens September 1. New regulation changes allow for 15 doves and season goes to October 30. Dove season is very weather dependent—when the weather is hot the doves tend to be here; if it’s cold they tend to move to warmer climates. Hunters can expect a fair season for doves. Eurasian collared doves are continuing to increase in abundance and are found statewide. The Eurasian collared doves look similar to mourning doves but are considerably larger in size. These new arrivals, which are not native to the state, have no bag limit and can be hunted year round.

Grouse and Quail - Both mountain quail and forest grouse numbers are higher this year due to the mild spring, so hunters can expect a good year. Forest grouse can be found in timbered creek draws and mountain quail will be found in brushy clear cuts near water. A good bird dog will aid greatly in bird retrieval.

Fee Pheasant - Season opens September 22 – October 10. Opening day typically will have many pheasants left over after youth hunt. Pheasants will be released every night during the season. A total of 400 pheasants are set aside for the fee hunt. Parking permits need to be displayed in vehicle window when on the area. Remember to validate your tag while in the field.

Cougar season is open statewide year-round or until zone quotas are met. Hunters are encouraged to carry a cougar tag while hunting other animals; you never know when an opportunity will come available. Most cougar hunters’ success comes from predator calls.

Western Gray Squirrel season remains open year round with no bag limit in that part of the Rogue Unit south of Rogue River and S. Fork Rogue River and North of Hwy 140. Squirrels can be found in oak or mixed conifer stands. This is a great animal to hunt for first time hunters.

Coyotes are abundant in our area. Remember to ask for permission to hunt on private lands. This is the time of years rancher will welcome hunters to come onto their property to take coyotes that are cause problems with live stock.

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 Southwest Zone Viewing

COOS COUNTY

Pigeon Guillemot

Pigeon Guillemot
-Photo by Kathy Munsel, ODFW-

Sea Birds

Birds that are here for foraging include California brown pelicans, cormorants and Western grebes. Great places to watch these birds and their activities are Coos Bay, near Charleston and the Coquille Bay near the harbor in Bandon. Feeding birds can be seen diving on baitfish in the bay and sometimes working in unison to corral fish near shore. Occasionally other animals get in on the action when foraging birds have located baitfish. Seals, sea lions, porpoise, and even whales will go after these fish as birds are mounting attacks from above.

Marine Mammals

Seal and sea lion abundance in coastal waters around Coos County is high at this time of year, especially south of Coos Bay. At Simpson Reef, a heavily used haul out exists. From the lookout, viewers can see California sea lions, Steller sea lions, harbor seals and elephant seals.

Do not approach seals and sea lions you may find on Oregon beaches. If you think an animal you find is in trouble, contact your local ODFW office to report the animal or contact the Marine Mammal Stranding Network an (800) 452-7888.

Shorebirds

Shorebird migration is in full swing. A large variety of birds can be found in local bays and along beaches. Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge is probably the best place in Coos County to see these birds. The Bandon Marsh Unit is located immediately north of Bandon and is probably the best part of the refuge to visit for shore bird observation. Otherwise mud flats in Coos Bay, Winchester Bay (Douglas County) and the Coquille Bay are great places to check. 9/16/14.

CURRY, JACKSON, JOSEPHINE COUNTIES

Mourning Dove

Mourning Doves
- Photo by Maxine Wyatt-

Mourning Doves

Mourning doves are found throughout the valley where ever there are open grain fields and roosting trees with plenty of water. 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 larger and is not a native of our area is the Eurasian collared dove. They are seen around residential areas and have known to visit bird feeders. They have similar behavior habits.

Turkeys and grouse

Young turkeys and grouse are now being seen throughout the area. Hens are often seen near roadways in low elevation for turkeys and higher timber areas for grouse. Look carefully when around the adults for movement or grass moving which indicates young.

Denman Wildlife area

Hunting season starts Sept. 1 on the Denman Wildlife Area and will go into February. Other recreational users are encouraged to wear bright orange or other bright colored clothing and to stick to the trail systems. Be aware of hunters while watching the wildlife on the area.

Denman Wildlife Area has had an increase of hawks, accipiters and buteos. Many Northern Harriers, Red-tailed hawks, and Rough-legged hawks have been seen hunting throughout the valley.

DOUGLAS COUNTY

Vaux Swifts – can be observed at Fir Grove Park, downtown Roseburg and other areas at dusk. Look for the awesome aerial displays the last hour of daylight with congregating swifts flying in concentrations forming large vortex's before dropping into the top of their night roosting site.

Migrating Birds - Many species of birds are starting their southward migration so look for species congregating at roosts and feeders or in the air just before or during migration. Some migratory species to watch are: ospreys, turkey vultures, swifts, swallows, cedar waxwings, and some species of flycatchers, warblers, finches and shorebirds.

Western Pond Turtles - can be seen basking in the late summer sun in local ponds (Stewart Park) and reservoirs (Cooper Creek, Galesville, Berry Creek. Plat I, etc.).

Turkey Vultures – Starting around the last week in September turkey vultures will start migrating south for the winter to Mexico and Central America. Watch for turkey vulture migration roosts where many vultures congregate in groups in anticipation of the coming migration. Over a three week period and by mid-October all vultures will have migrated south. The vultures migrate in large groups (called a “kettle” of vultures) from 12 to 500 with the average being around 40 by riding hot air updrafts and southern thermals late in the afternoons. You can observe the beginning of the migration by looking very high in the sky in the afternoon to see a kettle of vultures soaring on the thermals heading south.

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