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Weekly Recreation Report: Central Zone

April 26, 2016

 Central Zone Fishing

Weekend fishing opportunities

  • Trout fishing has been fair around the dam at Prineville Reservoir, and warmwater fishing is starting to pick up.
  • Fishing has been fair at Ochoco Reservoir, with anglers reeling in trout averaging 16 inches
  • Kokanee fishing has been good lately in Lake Billy Chinook, particularly in the Metolius arm
  • Trout fishing on the Fall River has been fair. Sleep in cause the best fishing will be during the warmest part of the day, usually mid-afternoon.
  • Anglers have been catching a good number of lake trout on Crescent Lake.
  • Nymphs and streamer have been taking trout on the Metolius, where fishing has been fair.
  • Quite a few winter steelhead are still entering the Hood River, and fishing should be good

EVENT: Fly fishing workshop May 14 at Fall River Hatchery, Bend.

Learn all the basics of this sport in the morning including tying flies and casting techniques; then fish the beautiful Fall River in the afternoon. Adults only, $52 and pre-registration required. See for this and other events.

If your favorite fishing spot is no longer listed

It’s probably because that river, lake or reservoir is closed for the season, inaccessible due to snow and bad roads, or offers limited fishing opportunities during the winter months. These water bodies will re-appear in the Recreation Report when they re-open next spring, or when access and/or opportunity improves.

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.


The road leading to the reservoir is passable. Anglers are having fair success in the dirty water. Anglers using gear that has lots of scent, flash or vibration will have the most success.

BEND PINE NURSERY: rainbow trout

Open to fishing all year. Limit is two fish per day.

BIKINI POND: rainbow trout

Bikini Pond has been stocked and should be good fishing. Great spot for kids!

CRANE PRAIRIE RESERVOIR: Closed to fishing until April 22, 2016.

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

Open to fishing all year.

CROOKED RIVER BELOW BOWMAN DAM: redband trout, mountain whitefish

Fishing has been slow and will continue to be so in the recent high flows. The flows will be fluctuating as the outflow is adjusted according to the inflow as the reservoir is filled. Fishing is usually slow for a few days after the flows have stabilized.

As a reminder, all trout over 20-inches are considered steelhead and must be immediately released unharmed. Please report any tagged fish to the Prineville Office (541) 447-5111.

Flows below Bowman Dam

CULTUS LAKE: rainbow trout, lake trout

Open to fishing all year. Access may be limited during winter months.

DAVIS LAKE: largemouth bass, redband trout

Open to fishing all year. Restricted to fly-fishing only with barbless hooks. Catch and release for trout.

The Deschutes River
Fishing the Deschutes River
-Photo by Charlotte Ganskopp-

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

New 2016 regulations opened the river the entire year from the I84 bridge upstream to Pelton Regulating Dam. Trout fishing continues to be productive throughout the entire reach. Great spring weather and warming conditions should improve angler success.

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. Trap operation has ended for the season, but will resume again next summer.

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

Open for trout all year. Fishing restricted to artificial flies and lures. No size or limits on brown trout and no harvest of bull trout.

Benham Falls upstream to Wickiup Reservoir:

Closed to fishing until May 22, 2016

EAST LAKE: rainbow trout, brown trout, kokanee

Open to fishing all year. Check road closure information prior to driving to lake.

ELK LAKE: brook trout, kokanee, cutthroat trout

Open to fishing all year. Winter road closure information.

FALL RIVER: rainbow trout

River will be stocked with rainbow trout this week. Open to fishing all year. Anglers report mid-day hatches and fair fishing. Restricted to fly-fishing only with barbless hooks.

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

The reservoir was not stocked last week as indicated. It will be stocked the first week of May. Fishing for warmwater species has been picking up.

HOOD RIVER: winter steelhead

Fishing for bright winter steelhead has been excellent with good numbers of fresh fish continuing to enter the river. Anglers will want to pay close attention to river levels, and to avoid runoff conditions.

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

Open to fishing all year. Winter road closure information. New fishing regulations beginning on Jan. 1, 2016 call for catch-and-release for all species.

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

Trout limit may include one bull trout with a 24 inch minimum length limit. Rainbow trout over 20 inches and kokanee over 16 inches must be released unharmed. There are no limits on bass or brown trout.

Fishing has been good to fair for kokanee with the best fishing on the Metolius arm. Recent sampling indicates the kokanee are averaging just under 11 inches. Bull trout fishing was fair and bass fishing has been picking up. 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

Open year-round.

LAURANCE LAKE: Rainbow trout, cutthroat trout

Closed to fishing until April 22, 2016.

LAVA LAKE (BIG): rainbow trout

Open to fishing all year. Winter road closure information.

rainbow trout
Rainbow Trout
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

LAVA LAVE (SMALL): rainbow trout, brook trout

Open to fishing all year. Winter road closure information.

LOST LAKE: rainbow trout, brown trout

Snow will likely block access to Lost Lake until late spring.

METOLIUS RIVER: redband trout, bull trout

Open to fishing all year. Anglers report mid-day hatches and fair fishing. Restricted to fly-fishing only with barbless hooks.

NORTH TWIN LAKE: rainbow trout

Lake is still fishless and will be stocked with rainbow trout once levels of rotenone, used to remove illegally introduced brown bullhead, dissipates to lower levels.


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

OCHOCO RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, black crappie, smallmouth bass

Fishing has been fair for trout averaging 16 inches in length. Fishing for warmwater fish should start to pick up with the warming water.

ODELL LAKE: lake trout, kokanee, rainbow trout

Anglers report fair fishing for kokanee and lake trout. Open to fishing all year. All tributaries to Odell Lake are closed to fishing.

PAULINA LAKE: brown trout, rainbow trout, kokanee

Open to fishing all year. Check road closure information prior to driving to lake.

PINE HOLLOW RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, largemouth bass

Pine Hollow should offer excellent spring fishing, as the lake has received its spring stocking.

Prinevill Reservoir
Prineville Reservoir
-Photo by ODFW-

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

Trout fishing has been fair near the dam. Fishing for warmwater fish is picking up with the warming water.

PRINEVILLE YOUTH FISHING POND: rainbow trout and largemouth bass

Fishing for trout has been good.


Lake levels are currently good and Rock Creek Reservoir has received it’s spring allocation of rainbow trout, should be great fishing.


Pond will be stocked this week. 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

Open to fishing all year.

SUTTLE LAKE: brown trout, kokanee

Open to fishing all year.

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

Taylor Lake should offer excellent winter trout fishing opportunity, as the lake has received its winter stocking allocation.

THREE CREEK LAKE: rainbow trout, brook trout

Open to fishing all year. Check road closure information before driving to lake.

WALTON LAKE: rainbow trout

No recent reports.

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

Closed to fishing until April 22, 2016.

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  Central Zone Hunting


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.


tom turkey

A tom on the south fork of the John Day River
-Photo by Mark Kirsch-

Turkey season opened April 15. Hunters are reporting mixed success throughout the district. Turkeys can be found on forestland in the Ochoco, Grizzly, and Maury WMU’s. Turkey numbers and distribution in the district are gradually increasing, with groups scattered throughout the national forest. This winter was more severe than the mild, open winters of recent years. Significant green-up is starting to occur at lower and mid-elevations, and turkeys will likely be found in these areas as they migrate up from wintering areas. Some north-slope and high elevation areas still have snow, and hunters should contact both the Ochoco National Forest and Prineville BLM offices for road conditions and motorized access restrictions. Motorized restrictions remain in effect year-around in the South Boundary Cooperative Travel Management Area (TMA) along the southern boundary of the Ochoco National Forest. Maps of the area are available at entry portal signs, and at ODFW and Ochoco National Forest offices in Prineville.

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.

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. 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.


Spring Bear – Controlled Spring Bear Open April 1st – May 31st. With spring weather arriving, bears activity should increase giving hunters an opportunity for some pre-season scouting. Hunters should focus on clear-cuts, meadows and grassy slopes where bears are feeding on fresh tender shoots of grasses and forbs. Good optics and patience glassing these areas are key to a successful hunt.

White River Unit- Bear numbers are good in the White River unit. Despite healthy bear numbers, success rates have been fairly low in the spring and hunters tend to have a tough time finding bears for this hunt. The edges of the major drainages, such as the White River, Badger and Tygh Creeks, should be good places to find bears in the eastern edge of the unit. Areas south of Mosier provide plenty of open areas in the northwestern portion of the unit.

Hood Unit- Bear densities are good in the Hood Unit. Focus on higher elevation areas with grassy slopes and good vantage points.

Turkey- General Spring Turkey Open April 15th- May 31st. Turkeys can be found throughout the White River Unit with many public land hunting opportunities. The dispersed turkeys can be difficult to locate during the season especially after pressured by other hunters. The key to a successful turkey hunt is good preseason scouting. Identify where they roost, travel and feed and you will be more likely to bag one of these wary birds. The White River unit came in third overall in terms of turkey harvest last year, but remains a heavily-hunted unit with lower success rates per hunter. Harvest in the White River Unit has continued to increase likely due to an increase in hunters. Be aware of other hunters in the area and take necessary safety precautions. This year, the season bag limit increased from 2 to 3 turkeys. Be sure to report on your turkey tags.

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. Remember you need 2016 tag to hunt as of Jan. 1.

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.

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.


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.

Controlled Spring Bear: April 1 – May 31 Bag Limit: One black bear except that it is unlawful to take cubs less than one year old or sows with cubs less than one year old. Scan open areas in canyons and grassy hillsides to try to locate a bear. Bears will be actively feeding this time of year so be sure to look for food sources.

Don’t forget there is a mandatory check in for all harvested bears. You can find more information on mandatory check in on page 29 of the Big Game Hunting Regulations.

General Spring Turkey: April 15 – May 31 Daily Bag Limit: One male turkey or a turkey with a visible beard. Season Limit: Three legal turkeys. Turkeys can be found throughout the Wildlife Area and in the Mt Hood National Forest. Turkey hunting on the Wildlife Area is a popular sport making it very important to be sure what your target is. Be careful when using decoys and make sure that you are shooting in a safe direction; other hunters could be after the same bird that you are.

Road Closures: Green-dot seasonal roads are now closed to all motorized vehicles for the winter. These closures help prevent road damage and protect wintering wildlife. Walk-in access is still permitted once the roads are closed. The green-dot seasonal roads will reopen April 1.

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.

Cougar is open all year or until zone mortality quotas have been met. Use weather to your advantage; look for tracks in snow, mud, and dirt. Locating fresh tracks in the snow in conjunction with predator calling can be effective.

Coyotes: Try calling for them from open fields, meadows, and pastures. Using distress calls can be quite productive throughout the winter. The best areas to find them will be near farm grounds on the eastern boundary. Look for them in early morning or evening and pay attention to wind direction.

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 Central Zone Wildlife Viewing

Red-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
-Photo by Kathy Munsel, ODFW-


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.

Prineville Reservoir Wildlife Area

The Prineville Reservoir Wildlife Area offers 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.

Deschutes County

This winter saw higher than average snowfall in the mountainous regions of Deschutes County, which is good news for fish and wildlife, but wildlife watchers wishing to drive into the mountains should check conditions at ODOT’s Trip Check site before heading out. ODOT closed the Cascade Lakes Highway west of Mount Bachelor and highway 242 west of Sisters. Neither highway is ploughed and both will remain closed until the snow has melted.

The great snowfall provides an opportunity for cross country skiers and snowshoers to find and identify mammal tracks. Rabbits, deer, squirrels and many other species leave evidence of their comings and goings in the snow.

The bald and golden eagles nests at Smith Rock State Park are both active again this year and can be viewed from the parks hiking trails.

Red-tailed hawks are one of the most numerous birds of prey and commonly seen on fence and power poles scanning meadows, sagebrush shrub steppe. 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 the city, and bird watching is very popular along the Deschutes River as it flows through Bend.

Whether you’re interested in song birds, waterfowl, or raptors and prefer remote birding locations, or those closer to urban areas, directions to a long list of great birding locations can be found at East Cascades Audubon Society. Birding locations

In addition to excellent birding opportunities, wetlands offer the promise of other wildlife viewing. Long toed salamander’s eggs are hatching in lower elevation wetlands and ponds. Cascade frogs are starting to lay their eggs in sites with open water, and choruses of Pacific tree frogs can be heard singing throughout the county. At this time of year, Pacific tree frogs are typically associated with water and breeding sites, but it’s not uncommon to hear them in desert habitats and even in the city.

Early April has seen temperatures climb into the 70’s and the warmer weather will bring reptiles out from their winter slumber. Western fence lizards are commonly found in the mornings on rocky outcroppings soaking up the sun’s rays, and several snake species are now active in a variety of habitats usually associated with water. 04/04/16


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).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. Bald eagles have returned and can be seen congregating at The Dalles Dam.

Great Horned Owls

Great Horned Owl Fledglings, Bend
-Photo by Kathleen Osterhout-

One of the earliest species to begin nesting, the great horned owl can begin breeding as early as January. Pay close attention to nests made of large twigs, often made by other birds, as you may start to see young owlet heads peering over the edge.

A large variety of songbird species can be viewed in riparian areas along the river. 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. (3/21/2016)

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. Wintering deer can easily be found throughout the wildlife area. Determining bucks from does is more difficult now that most bucks have shed their antlers. Remember, watch carefully for deer along the edge of roads. 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.

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, golden-crowed kinglets, 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, as well as western grebes, coots, and mergansers. 3/15/16

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