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

Weekly Recreation Report: Central Zone

September 19, 2017

 Central Zone Fishing

Fishing the South Twin Lake
Fishing the South Twin Lake
-Photo by Dean Guernsey-

Weekend fishing opportunities:

  • North and South Twin Lakes each were stocked with 1,000 rainbow trout, making this a great fishing opportunity.
  • Anglers are reporting much better rainbow trout fishing than the last few years at Prineville Reservoir, with fish averaging 16 inches
  • The entire lower Deschutes River is now open for trout fishing.
  • Bull trout and kokanee fishing has been picking up on Lake Billy Chinook.
  • Reports of good trout fishing on Crane Prairie.
  • Recent sampling of Antelope Flat Reservoir and Walton Lake showed excellent winter survival with most trout in the 12 to 14-inch range.
  • Lost and Clear lakes are now accessible: Both have been stocked and each has received an extra load of trophy-size fish.

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.

ANTELOPE FLAT RESERVOIR: rainbow trout

The water is dirty, but anglers are reporting good catches of both stocked and carryover rainbow trout from 12-18 inches. Water levels are still good, the water is just below the paved portion of the ramp.

BEND PINE NURSERY: rainbow trout, bluegill, bass

Anglers may keep two fish per day.

BIKINI POND: rainbow trout

The pond has warmed past best fishing opportunities for trout. Good opportunity will return in late summer or early fall as temperatures cool.

CENTURY POND: rainbow trout

The pond is located ¼ mile west of the junction of USFS Rd 46 (Century Drive) and USFS Rd 4635.

CLEAR LAKE: rainbow trout

No recent reports, the lake is likely getting low due to irrigation withdrawals.

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

Wild rainbow trout must be released. Only one trout over 20-inches per day. Cooler weather should distribute fish throughout the reservoir and increase feeding activity.

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

Open to fishing all year. One lake trout per day, 24-inch minimum length.

CROOKED RIVER: redband trout, mountain whitefish

Angling opportunities for redband trout and whitefish are improving. Recent surveys indicate the trout population has rebounded considerably from 2016. Most fish are in the 8-12 inch range, with the occasional larger trout. We are excited to see this popular fishery coming back.

CULTUS LAKE: rainbow trout, lake trout

Open to fishing all year.

DAVIS LAKE: largemouth bass, redband trout

Open to fishing all year. Restricted to fly-fishing only with barbless hooks. Catch-and-release for trout. No limits on warmwater fish.

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

DESCHUTES RIVER, MOUTH TO THE PELTON REGULATING DAM: redband trout, summer steelhead, whitefish

Fall salmon fishing in the Deschutes should be good. The pre-season forecast for fall salmon returning to the Deschutes is about 17,000 adults. September and early October will be the best time to fish. Anglers are reporting quite a few fish caught in the Sherars Falls area. The fall salmon season closes on Oct. 31, 2017.

Steelhead fishing has improved on the lower Deschutes from Moody Rapids upstream to Sherars Bridge and should continue to be decent until mid-October.

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. The trap is only in operation from July to the end of October. Trapping has ended at Sherars Falls for the season.

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. Fall is a great time of year to fish this section.

Benham Falls upstream to Little Lava Lake:

Wild rainbow trout must be released. 2 trout per day (including brook and brown trout, kokanee, and hatchery rainbow trout). Opportunities for brook trout upstream of Crane Prairie Reservoir are excellent.

DEVILS LAKE: rainbow trout

Open to fishing all year.

EAST LAKE: rainbow trout, brown trout, kokanee

Anglers report good fishing. Open to fishing all year. Wild rainbow trout must be released. Cooler weather should provide excellent angling opportunities, particularly for brown trout along the shoreline.

Elk Lake
Elk Lake
-Photo by Jessica Sall-

ELK LAKE: brook trout, kokanee, cutthroat trout

Open to fishing all year. 25 kokanee per day in addition to daily trout limit. No size limits on kokanee. Fall is an excellent time to target brook trout along the shoreline.

FALL RIVER: rainbow trout

Anglers report good fishing for rainbow trout. Open to fishing all year. Restricted to fly-fishing only with barbless hooks.

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

Fishing should be good this year. The reservoir was stocked with 9,500 legal-size trout and 75 brood fish. Warmwater fish are plentiful but tend to be on the smaller side.

HOOD RIVER: Summer steelhead

Anglers will find a few summer steelhead available in the river. Water temperatures may limit fishing opportunity, as glacial melt will limit water clarity.

Angling for fall Chinook in the Hood River is prohibited.

HOSMER LAKE: brook, rainbow and cutthroat trout

Anglers report good fishing. Open to fishing all year. Restricted to fly-fishing only with barbless hooks. Catch-and-release for all species.

KINGSLEY RESERVOIR: rainbow trout

The area around Kingsley is closed to public access due to the Eagle Creek Fire.

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

Bull trout are concentrated in the upper end of the Metolius Arm prior to and following spawning. Harvest limited to one fish over 24 inches. Tribal permit required for Metolius Arm. Opportunities for kokanee are poor. Brown trout opportunities in the upper part of the Deschutes Arm are excellent.

LAKE SIMTUSTUS: bull trout, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass

Opportunities for 12-16 inch rainbow trout are good. Tribal permit required.

LAVA LAKE (BIG): rainbow trout

Open to fishing all year. Fall fishing for large rainbow trout should be very good.

LOST LAKE: rainbow trout

The area around Lost Lake is closed to access due to the Eagle Creek Fire.

METOLIUS RIVER: redband trout, bull trout

Anglers report good fishing for bull trout. Fishing is restricted to fly fishing only upstream of Bridge 99 (Lower Bridge). Catch-and-release for trout including bull trout. Bait is not permitted below Bridge 99 (Lower Bridge).

NORTH TWIN LAKE: rainbow trout

Open to fishing all year. Fall fishing should be excellent.

OCHOCO CREEK UPSTREAM TO OCHOCO DAM: rainbow trout

Fishing 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

Opportunities for both wild and hatchery rainbow trout continue to be very good. Average size is 12-16 inches. Trout are widespread throughout the reservoir. Black crappie and smallmouth bass are also available. The boat ramp is unusable now.

ODELL LAKE: lake trout, kokanee, rainbow trout

Open to fishing all year. All tributaries to Odell Lake are closed to fishing. All bull trout must be released unharmed. Kokanee are preparing to spawn and getting darker.

PAULINA LAKE: brown trout, rainbow trout, kokanee

Open to fishing all year. Wild rainbow trout must be released. Fall angling for brown trout should be good.

Rainbow Trout
Rainbow caught in Pine Hollow Reservoir, Wamic, Oregon
-Photo by Rick Hargrave-

PINE HOLLOW RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, largemouth bass

Lake levels are low but fishing has continued to be fairly good.

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

Anglers are reporting much better rainbow trout fishing than the last few years with fish averaging 16 inches. Despite a die-off earlier this year, opportunities for black crappie continue to be excellent. The reduction in numbers will increase growth and size of remaining fish. The Powderhouse Cove boat ramp may be unusable but the State Park ramp is good.

PRINEVILLE YOUTH FISHING POND: rainbow trout and largemouth bass

Trout stocking will resume when the water temperature is suitable.

ROCK CREEK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout

No recent reports. Lake levels are likely dropping from irrigation withdrawals.

SHEVLIN YOUTH FISHING POND: rainbow trout

Open to youth only (17 years and under) and disabled anglers. Limit is two fish per day.

SOUTH TWIN LAKE: rainbow trout

Open to fishing all year. Rainbow trout fishing should be excellent

SPARKS LAKE: cutthroat trout

Open to fishing all year. Fly fishing only, barbless hooks required.

SPRAGUE POND: rainbow trout

Turn at Cow Meadow sign off USFS Rd 40. Take first left at first dirt road and follow road to pond.

SUTTLE LAKE: brown trout, kokanee

Open to fishing all year. 25 kokanee per day in addition to daily trout limit. No size limits on kokanee.

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

No recent reports, likely slow for trout fishing.

rainbow trout
Rainbow Trout
-Photo by Kolby Zurbrugg-

THREE CREEK LAKE: rainbow trout, brook trout

Open to fishing all year. Opportunities for rainbow and brook trout are excellent.

WALTON LAKE: rainbow trout

Angling for rainbow trout is excellent with both boat and bank anglers reporting good catches of 12-18 inch rainbow trout. All gear types are producing good results. Anglers are reminded no boat motors are allowed on Walton.

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

Reservoir is pool is drawn down and about one-third full. Anglers are encouraged to not disturb spawning kokanee and brown trout in the Sheep’s Bridge area. Snagging or attempting to snag a fish is unlawful.

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  Central Zone Hunting

OPEN: COUGAR, COYOTE, BEAR, ARCHERY DEER AND ELK (closes Sept. 24), FOREST GROUSE, MOURNING DOVE, CALIF QUAIL, MTN QUAIL IN HOOD RIVER, WASCO COS, BAND-TAILED PIGEON (closes Sept. 23)

Hunting forecasts now available

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

Free pheasant hunts for youth hunters – Sign up now

Free hunts are being held in The Dalles (Tygh Valley). These events are only open to youth who have passed hunter education. (ODFW has many hunter education classes and field days available before the events.) An adult 21 years of age or older must accompany the youth to supervise but may not hunt. More info.

Long draw fire
The Long Draw Fire in southeastern Oregon burned in sage-grouse habitat.
- ODOT Photo -

Hunting and fire danger in Oregon

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

Wolves and coyotes can look alike

Most wolves in the state today are in northeast Oregon but a few have dispersed further west and south. Wolves are protected by state and/or federal law and it is unlawful to shoot them. Coyote hunters need to take extra care to identify their target as wolves can look like coyotes, especially wolf pups in the mid-summer and fall. Please report any wolf sightings or wolf sign to ODFW using the online reporting system.

Use the Oregon Hunting Map to see where to hunt.

PRINEVILLE/OCHOCO WILDLIFE DISTRICT

Fall Black Bear season opened August 1, and runs through November 30 in Eastern Oregon.  Highest bear densities in the district are on timbered forest lands at higher elevations on the Ochoco National Forest.  Remember, check in of harvested bears is mandatory within 10 days of harvest, please check the regulations for required parts and make an appointment.

Archery Deer and Elk seasons are underway, and run through Sept. 24.  The season has been hot and dry to this point, with difficult hunting conditions leading to mixed success.  Forecasted cooler and wetter weather should help hunters with quieter conditions and more animal activity.  Reminder: The Ochoco and Maury units are controlled entry hunts, and hunters must possess the proper controlled archery tags.

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.

Mourning Dove season opens September 1. Hunters are reminded that Eurasian-collared doves are unprotected and can be taken year round.

Grouse Season opens September 1 and includes both Blue and Ruffed Grouse w/ a daily baq limit of 3 of each species. Blue Grouse are typically found on semi-forested ridge lines, while ruffed grouse can be found along creek drainages.

THE DALLES DISTRICT

Archery Elk:  Season dates run until Sept. 24.  The bag limit for the West Biggs, Maupin, White River, and Hood Units is one elk.  Hot and dry conditions have made hunting difficult for most of the season, but new rain in the forecast has potential to increase your odds of success for the final week of the season.  There is a large fire burning in the Hood unit right now. All public lands in the unit have been closed to access.  Make sure you check with The USFS before you make any plans of hunting there.  If planning to hunt private timberlands in the Unit, make sure you check with them to make sure the lands are open to access.

Archery Deer:  Season dates run until Sept. 24.  One buck with a visible antler is the bag limit in the White River.  One deer is the bag limit in the West Biggs, Maupin, and Hood units.  There is a large fire burning in the Hood unit right now. All public lands in the unit have been closed to access.  Make sure you check with The USFS before you make any plans of hunting there.  If planning to hunt private timberlands in the Unit, make sure you check with them to make sure the lands are open to access.

Coyotes: 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. Look for them in early morning or evening and pay close attention to wind direction.

Cougar: Cougars can be found in the same areas as deer and elk as they follow them through their migration routes.

Fall Black Bear: Bear season started August 1 and runs through November 30 in Eastern Oregon. Bear populations are healthy in the White River and Hood units, with populations more heavily concentrated in the Hood unit. Focus on fall berry patches and glassing open areas for your best shot at finding bears.

The bag limit is one 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.

Please refer to page 28 of the 2017 Big Game Hunting Regulations for information on specific season restrictions.

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 and bears. See pg. 42 of the regulations for details.

White River Wildlife Area

deer hunter

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

Archery Deer: General season runs from Aug. 26 thru Sept. 24. One buck with a visible antler may be harvested in the White River Unit. Most of the larger migratory bucks are summering at higher elevations but some resident bucks can still be found scattered throughout the wildlife area and bordering private lands. The cool wet spring produced and abundance of feed but the summer heat wave that we are experiencing has dried much of it up. The extremely dry conditions will make stalking bucks a little more challenging than normal.

Archery Elk: General season runs from Aug. 26 thru Sept. 24. The bag limit for elk is one elk. Elk can be found throughout the Wildlife Area. Look for areas with good food, cover, and water sources to help find tracks, scat, and other sign that elk are using the area.

BEARS can be found throughout WRWA but you may be more successful locating food sources in the higher elevations within Mt. Hood National Forest. Locate chokecherry, bittercherry, and elderberries, search for tracks and scat on roads and trails. Scan canyon slopes and open areas to try and spot them feeding in early morning and evenings.

Mourning Dove: September 1st – October 30; Daily bag limit – 15. Good numbers of doves can be found throughout the wildlife area. White River Wildlife Area has standing wheat, sunflowers, barley, and oats that will concentrate doves. Once you’ve located a good feeding, watering, or traveling route, sit and wait for the doves to come to you. Early season hunting has better odds of success as doves will begin migrating with a change in the weather.

Cougar: Cougar season is open Jan. 1- Dec. 31 or until Zone Mortality Quotas have been met. Calling with distress calls or cougar vocalizations can be effective. However, locating a fresh, naturally made kill has the best chance of success.

Coyotes: Populations are good throughout the wildlife area. Be aware that bobcats and cougars may respond to predator calls, and separate licensing and season limitations exist for these species.

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 Central Zone Wildlife Viewing

Golden Eagle
Golden Eagle
Photo by Nick Myatt, ODFW

CROOK COUNTY

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. Note: The exterior gates are now open, after being closed all winter to protect wintering mule deer. Vehicles must remain on open roads, designated by a green dot, and cross-country motorized travel is prohibited.

Deschutes County

At this time of year the hot weather conditions can make viewing wildlife challenging. Birds are more active in the early morning hours and many mammals will find a shady bush, hollow tree, burrow, or safe rocky area to escape the heat of the day. Even reptiles, that require the sun to bring their bodies up to “working temperature,” have to seek shade during the hottest hours, as they are unable to sweat or pant to shed heat. That said; 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 the thermometer rises and wildlife change their activity patterns to avoid temperature extremes. Like us, wildlife will look for a shady spot to gain refuge from the heat, and being flushed from their shelter to avoid contact with curious humans can cause them unnecessary stress; therefore, it is best to provide wildlife space and enjoy them from a distance with the aid of binoculars or a spotting scope.

Deschutes County is home to an impressive array of reptiles that includes 7 lizard and 8 snake species. Be careful if you come across a rattlesnake. Never try to pick one up and if you hear the warning rattle, but cannot see the snake, locate the sound and move in an opposite direction. At this time of year many reptiles are more active in the early morning and late evening hours.

Western fence lizards and sagebrush lizards can be seen through much of the day, but as previously mentioned, they will seek shade during the hottest hours. They can be found in many areas of Deschutes County, but good 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 enjoy a meal of their favorite six legged food.

Vegetated margins of ponds and lakes are great places to find treefrogs, western toads, and long-toed salamanders. Late summer is the time when most amphibian species change from tadpoles and larvae into mini frogs and salamanders. One site that usually has an abundance of 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 carpeting areas in the hundreds or thousands.

Excellent places to visit and increase your chance of seeing wildlife 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 Hatfield Lakes (just northeast of the Bend airport) where you can expect to see a variety of waterfowl, shorebirds and multiple gull species, along with deer, rabbits, and a diversity of other mammals, reptiles and amphibians.

Vauxs Swift

Vauxs Swift
-Photo by Greg Gillson-

Bird watching is not just limited to wild places. Residents and visitors to Bend can see a wide variety of birds along the trails that follow the Deschutes River in Bend or watch Vaux’s swifts flying over the former Bend library (at 507 NW Wall St.) and disappearing into the chimney at dusk.

Whether you’re interested in song birds, water birds, or raptors and prefer remote or urban birding experiences, directions to a list of great birding locations can be found at East Cascades Audubon Society web site. 8/1/2017

THE DALLES DISTRICT

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 Sherars Falls (along Hwy 216). Focus your efforts near large cliff complexes for best viewing. Sheep can also be viewed from The Lower Deschutes Wildlife Area access trail on the east side of the river by hiking up from the mouth of the river. Sheep can be seen about as low as river mile 7 or 8.

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, Golden Eagles, and Osprey.

Great wildlife viewing opportunities also exist on The Woosley Tract of Lower Deschutes Wildlife area. Many unique bird species can be found throughout the area. Bighorn sheep also can be found using the area. It can be accessed through BLM lands at the mouth of Oak, Ferry, or Ward canyons. You will need a boat to access the area, which provides a very remote experience, with usually very few other people around, if any. Please call The Dalles district office at 541 296 4628 with any questions about accessing the area.

Elk
Bull Elk
- Royalty Free Image-

White River Wildlife Area

Elk can be found throughout White River Wildlife Area, often seen traveling back and forth from bedding to feeding areas. Large herd bulls will soon be moving in to gather cows for the rut and can be heard bugling in the early morning and late evening. This year’s spring weather has produced healthy stands of grasses, forbs, and other browse making the elk more dispersed.

Bald and golden eagles and various other raptors, such as northern harriers, American kestrels, red-tailed and rough-legged hawks, are commonly observed. Other birds to keep an eye out for are Lewis’s Woodpeckers, pileated woodpeckers, western bluebirds, horned larks, western meadowlarks, Townsend’s solitaire, Flickers, and lots of robins.

Other animals that can be seen on the area are coyotes, badgers, bobcats, bears and cougars. These animals are very secretive and are hard to locate. You may get to see a coyote scavenging for mice in open pastures and fields but the other animals are much harder to find. Consider yourself lucky if you get to see one of these cautious animals.

With the warmer weather be mindful that wildlife are trying to escape the heat in the middle of the day, so if you see something hiding in the shade please observe from a distance. 9/5/2017

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