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Weekly Recreation Report: Central Zone

August 27, 2014

 Central Zone Fishing

The Deschutes River
The Deschutes River

Weekend fishing opportunities

  • Summer steelhead fishing on the Deschutes continues to be good from the mouth to Macks Canyon.
  • Bass fishing has been excellent in Haystack Reservoir and Lake Billy Chinook.


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.
  • 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 trout stocking for the Central Zone

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.


Fishing has been good for trout ranging from 10- to 17-inches long; however, the quality of the flesh isn’t very good due to the warm water. The water level is a couple of feet below the end of the gravel portion of the ramp.

BIG LAVA LAKE: rainbow trout

Anglers report fair fishing.

BIKINI POND: rainbow trout

Recent reports have indicated a few fish still being caught, but fishing might be slowing down due to warmer water temperatures.

CLEAR LAKE: rainbow trout

Water levels continue to be get lower in Clear Lake. No recent reports on fishing.

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

Anglers report good fishing in the channels. Closed from 1 hour after sunset until 1 hour before sunrise.

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

No recent reports.

Redband Trout
Redband Trout
-Photo by Roger Smith-

CROOKED RIVER BELOW BOWMAN DAM: redband trout and mountain whitefish

Fishing has been consistently good. Anglers are reminded that trout over 20-inches are considered steelhead and must be released unharmed. Flows below Bowman Dam

CULTUS LAKE: rainbow trout, lake trout

No recent reports.

DAVIS LAKE: largemouth bass, redband trout

Anglers report fair fishing. Restricted to fly-fishing only with barbless hooks.

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

Steelhead fishing on the lower Deschutes from Macks Canyon downstream to the mouth has been good throughout the season. Dam counts at both Bonneville and The Dalles also have been good. Anglers should expect good numbers of fish from the mouth upstream to Sherars Falls. Periodic high glacial flow from White River has been causing some clarity issues in the lower river.

No recent reports on trout fishing, but fishing should still be good for anglers fishing the early morning and evenings.

The Deschutes opened for fall Chinook Aug.1, and will remain open through Oct. 31, 2014 from the mouth at the I-84 bridge upstream to Sherars Falls. The catch limit is two adult Chinook salmon, and 5 jack Chinook salmon per day. While early for fall Chinook, anglers should pay attention to counts at Columbia River Dams, in order to time when these fish will begin arriving in the Deschutes. Anglers should expect another large return this season.

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.

Check the trap the seasons catch at Sherars Falls as an indicator of fish movement in the Middle Deschutes. The trap is only in operation from July to the end of October.

Lake Billy Chinook to Bend: rainbow trout, brown trout

No recent reports. Fishing restricted to artificial flies and lures.

Bend to Wickiup Dam: rainbow trout, brown trout

No recent reports

EAST LAKE: rainbow trout, brown trout, Atlantic salmon, kokanee

Anglers report good fishing with reports of large rainbow being caught. Catch-and-release for all rainbow trout that DO NOT have an adipose-fin clip.

FALL RIVER: rainbow trout

River was stocked last week and this week with rainbow trout. Anglers report fair fishing. Restricted to fly-fishing only with barbless hooks.

Anglers who catch a tagged hatchery trout with a colored anchor tag are encouraged to report catch information to ODFW at 541-388-6363. Please do not remove the anchor tag if the fish is caught and released. Contact Erik Moberly 541-388-6145 for additional information.

FROG LAKE: rainbow trout

The lake has been stocked. No recent reports on fishing.

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

Fishing has been excellent for bass. Trout fishing has been slow.

HOOD RIVER: summer steelhead, trout

The Hood River closed to Chinook fishing on June 30, 2014. The mainstem and most tributaries are open to catch-and-release trout fishing. A few hatchery origin stray, along with wild summer steelhead are entering the river, and should provide anglers with some opportunity. Anglers are reminded that all non fin-clipped steelhead must be released.

Hot weather can cause rapid glacial melting on Mt. Hood creating extremely turbid water conditions in the Hood River. Successful anglers should pay attention to weather conditions, and avoid the Hood River during extended periods of hot weather.

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

Anglers report fair fishing. Restricted to fly angling only with barbless hooks.

rainbow trout
Rainbow Trout
- Photo by Kevin Clawson-

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

Fishing has been excellent for bass. 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. Kokanee are beginning to stage in the upper end of the Metolius Arm prior to spawning and are averaging 11 to 13-inches.

LAKE SIMTUSTUS: bull trout, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass

Fishing for rainbow trout has been fair in the upper part of the reservoir. Anglers report catching many pikeminnow.

LAURANCE LAKE: Rainbow trout, cutthroat trout

No recent reports, however, creel studies in past years have shown some of the best fishing in the lake is in late August and September.

LITTLE LAVA LAKE: rainbow trout, brook trout

Anglers report fair fishing.

LOST LAKE: rainbow trout, brown trout

No recent report, but anglers should find good success throughout the summer.

METOLIUS RIVER: redband trout, bull trout

No recent reports. Opportunities for catch-and-release fishing for bull trout are good from Canyon Creek downstream to the mouth. Fly-fishing only above Bridge 99.

NORTH TWIN: rainbow trout

No recent reports


Angling is restricted to artificial flies and lures only; two trout per day with an 8-inch minimum length. Trout over 20 inches are considered steelhead and must be released unharmed.

OCHOCO RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, black crappie, smallmouth bass

No recent reports. The water level is getting low enough that it will make launching larger boats difficult or impossible.

ODELL LAKE: kokanee, lake trout, rainbow trout

No recent reports. Twenty-five kokanee per day (no size limits) in addition to other trout species catch limit. Trout daily catch limit may include only 1 lake trout, 30 inch minimum length.

The Oregon Health Authority lifted a health advisory for Odell Lake on Aug. 8.

PAULINA LAKE: brown trout, rainbow trout, kokanee

Anglers report fair fishing. Catch-and-release for all rainbow trout that DO NOT have an adipose-fin clip.

PINE HOLLOW RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, largemouth bass

The reservoir is warming up and has been stocked, and is still providing good fishing early morning and late evening.

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

Fishing has been slow for trout but the fish that have been caught have been large. Bass and crappie fishing has been good.

PRINEVILLE YOUTH FISHING POND: rainbow trout and largemouth bass

Anglers are reminded that fishing is limited to kids 17 years old and younger. There is also a 2 fish bag limit.


No recent reports, but irrigation withdrawals have drawn the reservoir to a low level that will limit good fishing.


Two 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

SUTTLE LAKE: brown trout, kokanee

No recent report.

TAYLOR LAKE: rainbow trout, largemouth bass

Fishing for rainbows will be slow due to hot temperatures, but anglers can shift their efforts to largemouth bass.

THREE CREEK LAKE: rainbow trout, brook trout

Anglers report fair fishing.

WALTON LAKE: rainbow trout

Fishing has been good.

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

No recent fishing reports. Restricted to flies and lures only upstream of the ODFW marker. The reservoir is closed from 1 hour after sunset until 1 hour before sunrise.

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  Central Zone Hunting


See the big game hunting forecast online.

Wolf coyote identificationWolves 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.


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.

Ground squirrels are active in agricultural fields throughout Crook and Jefferson counties. Higher numbers are in Crook County on private lands along the Crooked River between Prineville and Paulina. Permission from landowners is necessary to access and hunt these lands.

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.


Archery Elk and Deer- General/Controlled archery deer and elk season opens August 30th and closes September28th. Units 40 (Maupin), 41 (White River), 42 (Hood), and 43 (West Biggs) are all general season hunts for both deer and elk. Tags can be picked  up over the counter before the day of the hunt. 

General Bear – Open August 1st through November 30st. Bears have transitioned there forage habits from grasses, forbs, tubers and roots to berries and insects. Most successful hunters focus there hunting areas around berry producing draws near water. Look for areas producing thimbleberries, wild strawberries, blackberries, and huckleberries. Look for browsing, rolled rocks, torn apart logs, and fresh scat. Hunting these areas during twilight hours can increase success. All harvested bears are required to be checked in to a local ODFW office within 10 days of harvest. Please make an appointment to check in the harvested bear. ODFW field office phone (541) 296-4628.

Coyote –There are high numbers of Coyotes in Hood River and Wasco Counties. Those wishing to pursue will find the best success near agricultural lands. Success can be increased if you locate dogs the night before hunting with a howl call and come back to that area with a predator call in the early morning. Be sure to ask permission to hunt private lands. Limited opportunities may also be found at White River Wildlife area, and on lower elevation forest service lands.

-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Cougar – Hunters wishing to pursue cougar will find best success near areas of deer and elk concentrations, or in canyons near bighorn sheep. Using predator calls in early summer is also highly effective. 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.


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.

Archery Buck Deer – Aug.30 to Sept.28Bag Limit: One buck with a visible antler. It was a good year for deer on the Wildlife Area with quite a few bucks being seen. Most of the larger bucks have moved off of the Wildlife Area and up higher in to the mountains. Many of the larger bucks can be found in drainages like the Badger Creek Wilderness Area or the upper potions of Three Mile Creek or White River. Hunting these areas are very difficult; thick trees, steep ground, very few if any roads, and miles of hard walking make it challenging.

Archery Elk - Aug.30 to Sept.28Bag Limit: One Elk – Elk can be found many places on the Wildlife Area. These elk can move long distances in a short amount of time and travel back and forth to and from the Mt. Hood National Forest frequently. Pre-season scouting to make sure elk are using an area is a good idea but don’t overdo it; you don’t want to chase them out of the area before you get to hunt it. Also, limit you’re calling, elk won’t respond very often to calls if people are calling at them all of the time.

Black Bear – Aug. 1 to Nov. 30 – Bag Limit: One black bear per tag, except that it is unlawful to take cubs less than one year old or sows with cubs less than one year old. Bears utilize the Wildlife Area quite often but are difficult to hunt. To see if bears are using an area look for tracks on trails and dirt roads and if you start finding rocks rolled over you know you are in a good area. Finding the bears favorite foods; grass, berries, or acorns will help in locating a bear.

Vehicle Access: Last year, 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 – Open 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.

Coyote – 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 Viewing


The Prineville Reservoir Wildlife Management Area (WMA) north shore road opened to motorized traffic on April 15. The WMA offers camping, shoreline angling and opportunities to see 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 and at Prineville Reservoir State Park office.

Spring waterfowl migration is nearing its end. Resident nesting species such as mallards, gadwall and cinnamon teal are still numerous, but will be harder to locate as nesting begins. American wigeon, shoveler, green-winged teal and wood duck can still be seen, but are less common as most have migrated through. Numerous Canada Goose broods have been seen and can be found throughout Crook County.

Caspian Tern

Caspian Tern
- Photo by Greg Gillson-

Shorebird migration is in full swing a few that have been seen include American avocets, black-necked stilts and killdeer. Common loons, pied-billed, eared and western grebe, American white pelicans, Caspian terns and a variety of gull species can also be seen around Prineville and Ochoco reservoirs.

Spring passerine migrants continue to increase in diversity and numbers as the season progresses. Common bird species that can be seen this time of year include American robin, common flicker, red-winged and brewers blackbirds, western kingbirds, American and lesser goldfinches, house finches, mountain bluebirds, spotted towhees and tree, cliff and rough-winged swallows.

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.

Deer, elk, and antelope become harder to find this time of year as they become more secretive as fawning/calving nears. 5/20/14.

Deschutes County

At this time of year, warmer weather conditions in the high desert can make viewing wildlife challenging during the day. Birds are much 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” to hunt and digest prey 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 during the hottest periods of the year.

If you are out and about when it’s hot, the best places to see the greatest variety of 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 the temperatures heat up and wildlife in drier habitats change their activity patterns to avoid extreme temperatures.

Excellent places to visit and increase your chance of seeing wildlife during the day include any of the Cascade lakes and reservoirs, such as Wickiup, Davis, Elk, and Crane Prairie. Lower elevation sites include Smith Rock State Park at Terrebonne, and 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.

Western fence lizards are our most common lizard species and can be found in many habitat types, from forests to rocky foothills in Deschutes County and around the state. Sagebrush lizards look very similar to fence lizards, but have subtle coloration differences and much finer looking scales. However, they are more limited in habitat type and most easily found, as the name suggests, in sagebrush habitats. 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 in search of their favorite food; ants.

As already mentioned, August temperatures are generally too high for snakes to be abroad during the middle of the day, but they can be found in the early morning soaking up the first rays of the sun. And keep your eyes peeled when traveling on dirt roads in the evenings as snakes like to lie along roadway edges and absorb the heat from the ground as it is released to the cool of the evening. Be careful if you come across a rattlesnake, common in canyon areas, 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.

American Bald Eagle
American Bald Eagle
-Photo by Bob Swingle, ODFW-

Both bald and golden eagles can be seen at Smith Rock State Park where potential eagle food sources, yellow-bellied marmots and ground squirrels can also be seen.

Scan the skies for a glimpse of large birds with a “V” shaped wing pattern and you are likely to be looking at turkey vultures. Northern pintails, mallards, common mergansers, great blue herons and many other wetland bird species can be found throughout the counties water bodies, and Steller's jays, white-headed woodpeckers, junco’s, sparrows, ravens, spotted towhees, hairy woodpeckers, cedar waxwings and red-cross bills are just a few of the species that can be found in the Deschutes National Forest and BLM-managed lands.

Good sites to look for birds include forest edges surrounding meadows and wetland areas. Those with patience and stealth may be rewarded by the call and possible sighting of a Virginia rail moving through thickets of cattails. Specific birding destinations to consider include Tumalo Reservoir (west of Highway 20 between Sister and Bend), Pelton Dam wildlife overlook and Lake Simstustus (Deschutes River northwest of Madras), and Hatfield Lakes (just north of the Bend airport).

Late summer to early fall is also the time when most amphibian species metamorphose and, in the case of western toads, can be seen in the hundreds or even thousands, around the edge of lakes and ponds. Lost Lake on Hwy 22 (west of Santiam Junction) and Sparks Lake on Cascade Lakes Highway, just west of Mount Bachelor are good places to look for tiny hopping western toad and tree frog youngsters. 8/04/14

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). Lambs are up and active with ewe groups. Focus your efforts near large cliff complexes for best viewing. 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. Most species have just finished nesting for the year so keep an eye out for newly fledged juveniles.

A large variety of songbird species can be viewed in riparian areas along the river also. 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.

Outdoor enthusiasts should always be aware of current fire restrictions and take extra precautions. 7/21/14

White River Wildlife Area

Hot summer weather has been baking the Wildlife Area for several weeks now, pushing up the fire danger level. A fire started in White River Canyon on July 12, burning a total of 652 acres; 390 acres was on ODFW lands and 262 acres was on BLM land. Most of the area that burnt was in the canyon and on the Pine Grove side of White River. A little of the fire burnt on the top edge of Smock Prairie but not much.

This serves as a good reminder to be extra careful when enjoying the Wildlife Area this time of year. It doesn’t take much to get a fire started so be careful when parking vehicles around dry grass and be aware that regulated closures are in effect. Entry into all lands protected by the Central Oregon Forest Protection District must comply with restrictions (pdf)

Deer can be found early in the mornings or later in the evening hours grazing in fields and pastures. They will be looking for water to drink and a cool place to retreat to in the heat of the day. There is still a bunch of spotted fawns running around with their moms that are fun to watch. Buck deer can often be seen in small bachelor bunches and their antlers are nearly grown but still in velvet.

Much like the deer, elk will be more active during the cooler morning and evening temperatures looking for shade in the timber or creek bottoms in the heat of the day.

If you can find their food sources in the mornings or evenings your chances of spotting them will greatly increase. Cow elk have had calves by now and the bull elk are still working on growing antlers.

It’s 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. 8/4/14

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