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Weekly Recreation Report: Central Zone

September 29, 2015

 Central Zone Fishing

Fishing Prineville Park Pond
Fishing Prineville Park Pond
-Photo by ODFW-

Weekend fishing opportunities

  • Kokanee fishing in Lake Billy Chinook has been excellent.
  • Prineville Youth Fishing Pond will be stock this week with rainbow trout.
  • Recent sampling in Ochoco Reservoir found good numbers of trout up to 16-inches. Lots of smallmouth bass, too.
  • Good numbers of healthy trout showed in a recent sampling at Walton Lake. Most averaged 10 to 12-inches but there were good numbers fish up to 16-inches.

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The water remains dirty and low. Recent sampling indicated many trout available in the 10 to 13-inch range.

BEND PINE NURSERY: rainbow trout

No recent reports.

BIKINI POND: rainbow trout

The pond will be stocked again in November.

CRANE PRAIRIE RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, brook trout, largemouth bass, kokanee

Trout daily catch limit may include one rainbow trout over 16 inches and one non fin-clipped (unmarked) rainbow trout.

NOTE: Anglers who harvest one rainbow trout over 16 inches that is non fin-clipped have met both of these special regulations.

Lake Trout
Crescent Lake Mackinaw
-Photo by Amy Paine-

CRESCENT LAKE: rainbow trout, brown trout, lake trout and kokanee

No recent reports.

CROOKED RIVER BELOW BOWMAN DAM: redband trout, mountain whitefish

Fishing for trout and whitefish has been excellent. Fish that are being released should not be removed from the water.

Flows below Bowman Dam

CULTUS LAKE: rainbow trout, lake trout

No recent reports.

DAVIS LAKE: largemouth bass, redband trout

No recent reports. Restricted to fly-fishing only with barbless hooks.

DESCHUTES RIVER, Mouth to the Pelton Regulating Dam: summer steelhead, redband trout, whitefish

The best trout fishing is from Warm Springs to Maupin.

Good fishing has been reported from the mouth upstream to the Sherars Falls area. However, anglers should be aware that the White River has been creating poor visibility on and off all summer. Anglers should watch The Dalles Dam counts and expect fishing to continue to improve.

Anglers who catch a tagged hatchery steelhead with an orange anchor tag, are encouraged to report catch information to ODFW at 541-296-4628. Anglers catching a tagged wild fish should release it immediately without recording any information.

Counts at the Sherars Falls salmon and steelhead trap can be found on the ODFW web site. The trap is only in operation from July to the end of October.

Lake Billy Chinook to Benham Falls: rainbow trout, brown trout

Anglers report good fishing for trout. Fishing restricted to artificial flies and lures.

Benham Falls upstream to Wickiup Reservoir: rainbow trout, brown trout

Anglers report good fishing upstream of Bend. Five trout per day, which may include 2 non fin-clipped rainbow trout.

Wickiup Reservoir upstream to Crane Prairie: rainbow trout, brown trout

Closed to fishing upstream of ODFW markers located near West South Twin boat ramp upstream to Crane Prairie.

Crane Prairie Reservoir upstream to Little Lave Lake: rainbow trout, brook trout

Closes to fishing on Sept. 30. Catch-and-release only for rainbow trout. Five brook trout per day.

East Lake
East Lake
-Photo by Rick Swart-

EAST LAKE: rainbow trout, brown trout, kokanee

Anglers report good fishing for kokanee and trout. Unmarked rainbow trout must be released.

ELK LAKE: brook trout, kokanee, cutthroat trout

No recent reports.

FALL RIVER: rainbow trout

Anglers report good fishing for trout. Restricted to fly-fishing only with barbless hooks.

HAYSTACK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, brown trout, kokanee, largemouth bass, black crappie, bluegill

No recent reports.

HOOD RIVER: summer steelhead, trout

Steelhead fishing on the Hood will be slow through the summer and early fall. Anglers can expect a few fish in November and December.

HOSMER LAKE: brook, rainbow and cutthroat trout, Atlantic salmon

No recent reports.

LAKE BILLY CHINOOK: bull, brown and rainbow trout, kokanee, smallmouth bass

Fishing for kokanee has been excellent.

Anglers are reminded there are small numbers of spring Chinook and summer steelhead in Lake Billy Chinook as part of the reintroduction effort. Please release these fish unharmed.

LAKE SIMTUSTUS: bull trout, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass

No recent reports.

LAURANCE LAKE: Rainbow trout, cutthroat trout

Should provide excellent opportunities, anglers fishing early in the morning will find best success.

LAVA LAKE (BIG): rainbow trout

No recent reports.

LAVA LAVE (SMALL): rainbow trout, brook trout

No recent reports.

LOST LAKE: rainbow trout, brown trout

Lost Lake offers great fishing at one of Oregon’s most scenic lakes.

METOLIUS RIVER: redband trout, bull trout

Special fishing regulations apply to the Metolius River. All tributaries except Abbot, Lake, and Spring Creeks are closed to fishing. Opportunities for challenging catch-and-release flyfishing for native redband trout and bull trout in a pristine mountain stream are excellent.

NORTH TWIN LAKE: rainbow trout

No recent reports. There is good bank access around entire lake.


Angling is restricted to artificial flies and lures only; two trout per day with an 8-inch minimum length.

OCHOCO RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, black crappie, smallmouth bass

Recent sampling indicated good numbers of trout up to 16-inches long. Excellent numbers of smallmouth bass, especially along the rocky shorelines near the dam.

ODELL CREEK: rainbow trout

Catch-and-release for trout.

ODELL LAKE: kokanee, lake trout

Closed to fishing for bull trout and any incidental caught bull trout must be released unharmed. All tributaries to Odell Lake are closed to fishing.

PAULINA LAKE: brown trout, rainbow trout, kokanee

Anglers report fair fishing for brown trout. Unmarked rainbow trout must be released.

PINE HOLLOW RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, largemouth bass

Water levels are dropping considerably due to drought conditions, and irrigation demands. We have been getting reports that many of the trout have copepods, which are tiny parasites on their bodies and gills. These are not harmful to humans and the lesions can be removed, but the meat should be thoroughly cooked.

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

The water level is low. All boat ramps at the Reservoir are now closed. Crappie and smallmouth bass opportunities are excellent.

PRINEVILLE YOUTH FISHING POND: rainbow trout and largemouth bass

The pond will be stocked this week with rainbow trout.

rainbow trout
Rainbow Trout
-Photo by Roger Smith-


Anglers should be prepared that low water conditions due to irrigation withdrawals will limit success in Rock Creek reservoir.


Open to fishing all year. Limit is 2 trout per day, 8-inch minimum length. Fishing restricted to juvenile anglers 17-years-old and younger.

SOUTH TWIN LAKE: rainbow trout

No recent reports. There is good bank access around entire lake.

SUTTLE LAKE: brown trout, kokanee

No recent reports.

TAYLOR LAKE (Wasco County): rainbow trout, largemouth bass

Trout fishing will slow down during the summer months, but anglers can find lots of bluegill and largemouth bass.

THREE CREEK LAKE: rainbow trout, brook trout

No recent reports.

WALTON LAKE: rainbow trout

Recent sampling indicated good numbers of healthy trout. Most trout average 10 to 12 inches long but there are good numbers of trout up to 16-inches long.

WICKIUP RESERVOIR: kokanee, brown trout, rainbow trout, largemouth bass

Closed upstream of ODFW markers located near West South Twin boat ramp.

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  Central Zone Hunting

deer hunt

Damion's Buck
– Photo by Kelly Kusak –


QUAIL is open in Hood River and Wasco counties.

2015 Big Game Hunting Forecast

Know before you go!

Hunters will face fire restrictions and some closures and they need to know what those are before they go. More info. Some good resources for fire information: InciWeb, National Forest webpages, Oregon Dept Forestry

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.


Please be aware of fire restrictions and closures in the area. Consult appropriate land management agency for details.

Cougar are present throughout the Maury, Ochoco, and Grizzly units. The Maury and Ochoco units are recommended because of their greater amounts of public lands and better accessibility. Remember cougars must be checked in at an ODFW office within 10 days of harvest. Please consult the synopsis for all required parts and be sure to call first to make an appointment.

Coyotes can offer an exciting challenge and will be closely associated with deer and antelope during the fawning time of year. Both the Maury and Ochoco have sizeable areas of public lands that provide hunting opportunities. Hunters should use caution, be properly equipped and prepared for whatever the weather might bring.


Black Bear: Bear season is August 1-Nov. 30th. Bears can be found by glassing open areas Look for areas with fresh bear sign and berries or wild cherries to increase your chance of success. Remember that all harvested bears must be checked in to an ODFW office, unfrozen within 10 days of harvest. Placing a stick in the mouth of harvested bear is encouraged for easier tooth extraction.

CONTROLLED RIFLE DEER: Biologists are collecting buck deer teeth for ongoing research from the Hood (42) and White River (41) units. Hunters are encouraged to submit a front incisor from harvested bucks. Please call the office at 541-296-4628 on how to submit a tooth.

Coyotes: There are good numbers of coyotes in Hood River, Wasco and Sherman Counties. Those wishing to pursue will find the best success near agricultural lands. Be sure to ask permission to hunt private lands.

Cougar: Cougars can be found in the same areas as deer and elk as they follow them through their migration routes. Calling with fawn in distress can be effective this time of year. Cougars have large home ranges so remember to be patient and persistent. Hunters are required to check-in the unfrozen hide and skull, with proof of sex attached to an ODFW office within 10 days. Hunters are also required to provide the reproductive tract of harvested female cougars. See pg. 42 of the regulations for details.

Upland birds: Bird numbers appear to be significantly higher than the 2013 and 2014 seasons. Hunters looking for areas to hunt are encouraged to explore the UCAP properties and public properties in the Deschutes and John Day river canyons.

Hunters are reminded to check on access prior to entering the field.


A parking permit is now required to use/park on the White River Wildlife Area along with other ODFW wildlife areas. Camping is allowed only in designated areas.

Patrick Wheeler

Patrick Wheeler with his buck.
-Photo by Patrick Wheeler-

Buck Deer – Rifle: Oct. 3 – Oct.14. One Buck with visible antler. Bucks are scattered throughout the Wildlife Area but Most of the larger bucks are still higher in the mountains in the more remote sections of the Mt. Hood National Forest. Bucks can be found feeding early in the mornings and later in the evenings in fields and clearings. In the heat of the day try searching for them in cooler draws and canyons.

Fire Closures: All land on the Wildlife Area is open to hunting at this time as long as all rules and regulations of Oregon Department of Forestry are met. Check the Oregon Department of Forestry Web site for rules and required firefighting equipment that must be carried in all vehicles. Be careful not to park vehicles in tall grass or brush and remember that ATV’s are not allowed on the Wildlife Area.

Black Bear: Aug. 1 – Nov. 30: Black bears can be found on the Wildlife Area but most of them live a little higher in the mountains. With the hot dry conditions that we are having, finding bear tracks on dirt roads is a good way to see if they are using the area that you plan on hunting. Don’t forget to scan hillsides and meadows for grazing bears in the morning and evening hunts. Remember that all harvested bears must be checked in to an ODFW office, unfrozen within 10 days of harvest. Placing a stick in the mouth of harvested bear is encouraged for easier tooth extraction.

Blue & Ruffed Grouse Sept. 1 – Jan. 31, 2016 Daily Bag Limit: 3, Possession Limit 9: Grouse can occasionally be found on the Wildlife Area but mostly on the Western boundary. They are found in more abundance at higher elevations in the Cascade Mountains. The regulations state that a feathered head or wing must be left attached to all game birds while in the field or traveling home. Note: ODFW is collecting information on grouse and mountain quail populations throughout the state. The wings and tails from hunter-harvested grouse and mountain quail provide us with information on the status of these populations. Wing Barrels and sacks to put wings/tails in will be placed at several entrances throughout the Wildlife Area. Thank you for your help collecting this information.

Mourning Dove Sept. 1 – Oct. 30 Daily Bag Limit: 15, Possession Limit 45:
Doves can be found at just about any grain field on the Wildlife Area. Another good place look for them is around ponds, springs, or other water sources.

Mountain Quail Sept. 1 – Jan. 31, 2016: Daily Bag Limit 10, Possession Limit 30:
Like grouse, mountain quail can occasionally be found on the Wildlife Area but most birds are found at higher elevations on Forest Service lands. Note: ODFW is collecting information on grouse and mountain quail populations throughout the state. The wings and tails from hunter-harvested grouse and mountain quail provide us with information on the status of these populations. Wing Barrels and sacks to put wings/tails in will be placed at several entrances throughout the Wildlife Area.

Western Gray Squirrel Sept. 12 – Oct. 18 (White River and Hood Units) Daily Bag Limit 3, Possession Limit 6: Wester gray squirrels can be found throughout the Wildlife Area. Squirrel hunting can be a great opportunity for parents and young hunters to practice their skills.

Eurasian Collared Doves are UNPROTECTED with no season or bag limit restrictions. Hunters only need a hunting license to harvest these birds. Often found in urban areas, make sure you are outside city limits when discharging a weapon.

Vehicle Access: New rules took affect that prohibit all recreational ATV use on the Wildlife Area, also camping is only allowed in designated camping areas. A parking permit is now required to use/park on the White River Wildlife Area along with other ODFW wildlife areas.

Cougar is all year or until zone mortality quotas have been met. Cougar can be found on White River Wildlife Area but are seldom seen. The annual migration of deer from higher in the Cascades will entice cougars to follow. Use weather to your advantage; look for tracks in snow, mud, and dirt.

There are many coyotes prowling about this year. Try calling for them from open fields, meadows, and pastures. The best areas to find them will be near farm grounds on the eastern boundary.

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 Central Zone Wildlife Viewing


Red-tailed, rough-legged and ferruginous hawks, northern harriers, American kestrels, prairie falcons and golden eagles can be found throughout Crook County and are usually associated more closely with open/agricultural areas. Bald eagles and osprey can be found associated with water bodies. Northern goshawks can be located throughout the Ochoco National Forest.

Prinevill Reservoir
Prineville Reservoir
-Photo by ODFW-

Prineville Reservoir Wildlife Area

The Prineville Reservoir Wildlife Area offers walk-in access to view a wide variety of wildlife, including deer, coyotes, otter, beaver, raptors, shorebirds and waterfowl. Maps of the wildlife area are available at the Prineville ODFW office, at Prineville Reservoir State Park office and the ODFW website. 6/30/15

Deschutes County

At this time of year, hot weather conditions in the high desert can make viewing wildlife challenging during the day. Birds are more active in the early morning hours. Many mammals will find a shady bush, hollow tree, burrow, or safe rocky area to escape the heat of the day, becoming most active in the mornings and evenings. Even reptiles that require the sun to bring their bodies up to “working temperature” will keep out of the sun for much of the day, again being most active in the early morning and evenings.

Some species, such as rattlesnakes, may remain active all night when temps remain warm. Be careful if you come across a rattlesnake (common in river canyons) and never try to pick one up. If you hear the warning rattle, but cannot see the snake; locate the sound and move in an opposite direction. Rattlesnakes are not aggressive and will not chase you, but they will defend themselves if threatened.

If you are out and about during the heat of the day, the best places to see wildlife are wetlands, lakes and rivers with robust riparian and emergent vegetation. This is generally true at any time of the year, but especially so when wildlife change their activity patterns to avoid temperature extremes. That said, it is best to enjoy wildlife from a distance with the aid of binoculars or a spotting scope. Like us, many wildlife species will seek a quiet shady spot to hide from the heat, and causing them to flush from their shelter to avoid contact with curious humans can place an unnecessary stress on them.

Excellent places to increase your chance of seeing wildlife include any of the Cascade lakes and reservoirs, such as Wickiup, Davis, Elk, and Crane Prairie where impressive numbers of waterfowl can be seen along with mountain chickadee, red-breasted nuthatch, gray jay, red-crossbill and many other mountain bird species. Keep your eyes and ears open for sightings and sounds woodpeckers, especially in areas with beetle or fire killed trees.

Productive lower elevation wildlife viewing sites include Smith Rock State Park at Terrebonne, and along most of the Deschutes River, especially in areas that have off river ponds, such as those found on the west side of the river near Slough Camp Ground, about 1.5 miles above Dillon Falls. Ponds and lakes are great places to find treefrog and western toad. Late summer to early fall is the time when most amphibian species metamorphose. One good site to find newly changed tree frogs and western toads is Sparks Lake on the Cascade Lakes Highway, but be careful where you step as they can sometimes be found crossing nearby trails in the hundreds or thousands.

Western fence lizards and sagebrush lizards can be seen through most of the day, but as mentioned above, they will seek shade during the hottest hours. They can be found in many areas of Deschutes County, but the best places to find them include sagebrush habitats with rocky outcrops. If you find yourself in open areas with volcanic soils or in pine woodlands, look for the diminutive short-horned lizards as they sit motionless near active ant mounts ready to suck down their favorite six legged food.

Bird watching is not just limited to wild places, as residents and visitors to Bend can watch an osprey pair nesting adjacent to the Parkway that runs through Bend and Vaux’s swifts can be seen flying over the former Bend library at 507 NW Wall St., and disappearing into the chimney at dusk. 08/03/15

Wasco and Sherman counties

The Lower Deschutes River provides ample wildlife viewing opportunities. California bighorn sheep are frequently observed in the canyon and can provide fantastic viewing all times of the year. The best spot to view sheep is from the BLM access road just downstream and across the river from Sherar’s Falls (along Hwy 216). Look for movement and the white rump patches of bighorns and remember patience and good optics is key to seeing wildlife.

Many different raptor species can be seen in the Deschutes River Canyon this time of year including Red-tailed Hawks, Northern Harriers, American Kestrels, Prairie Falcons, Peregrine Falcons and Golden Eagles. A large variety of songbird species can be viewed in riparian areas along the river.

Lazuli Bunting

Lazuli Bunting

It is best to go birding in the early morning hours before it gets too hot for birds to be very active. Some common species seen include Bullock’s Oriole, Lazuli Bunting, Mourning Dove, Violet-green Swallow, and Cliff Swallow. 6/9/15.

White River Wildlife Area

There are many different animals on White River Wildlife Area ranging from Deer and Elk to coyotes, bears, and the occasional cougar. Some of these animals are much harder to find than others.

Deer can be spotted in open fields and meadows early in the morning or in the evenings. Remember when driving around the Wildlife Area or rural roads to be watching carefully for deer along the edges ready to jump out in front of you. There are many deer mortalities every year from vehicle collisions. Not only is it bad for the deer but can cause serious injuries or be fatal to the driver and passengers.

The best time to view elk is also in the morning and evenings. They are very wary animals and don’t like hanging around when people are nearby. With upcoming hunting seasons their habits will change making them even more difficult to locate.

It is also possible to see bald and golden eagles on the Wildlife Area. Other raptors such as red-tailed hawks and rough-legged hawks are common sights. American kestrels and northern harriers are also easily seen hunting for food.

Lewis’s woodpeckers, pileated woodpeckers, flickers, western meadowlarks, Steller’s jays, scrub jays, gray jays, Townsend’s solitaire, horned larks, and robins are all at home on the Wildlife Area. There have also been lots of magpies spotted flying around this year.

Look on ponds, lakes and streams to see a variety of ducks and geese. 9/14/2015

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