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ODFW WEEKLY RECREATION REPORT
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Northeast Zone Map

Weekly Recreation Report: Northeast Zone

October 21, 2014

 Northeast Zone Fishing

Chinook Salmon
Chinook Salmon
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Weekend fishing opportunities

  • Good numbers of both salmon and steelhead are in the Umatilla River; coho fishing in the lower river had been good.
  • Cavender, Holliday Park, Hunter, Luger Peach, Roulet and Taylor Green ponds and Bull Prairie Reservoir were recently stocked with trophy-size trout.
  • Grande Ronde River steelhead fishing has been HOT over the last week!

2014 trout stocking

The 2014 trout stocking schedule for the Northeast Zone is now posted on-line on along with other districts on the ODFW trout stocking page.

Send us your fishing report

We’d love to hear about your recent fishing experience. Send us your 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.

ALDRICH PONDS: rainbow trout

Anglers can make either a 2 mile hike to Roosevelt Lake (Lower Lake) or a 2.5 mile hike to Stewart Lake (Upper Lake). Fishing is good for carryover rainbow trout at both ponds.

BULL PRAIRIE RESERVOIR: rainbow and brook trout

Fishing for carryover rainbow and brook trout is fair. Trout are now concentrated in the deeper part of the reservoir near the dam. Vegetation growth is affecting fishing access for bank anglers. Approximately 200 trophy rainbow trout were stocked on Sept. 23. They should be fully acclimated and provide good fall fishing.

GRANDE RONDE RIVER: trout, bass

The Grande Ronde River is open for steelhead as of Sept. 1. Catch were great last week at 3.7 hours a fish. Flows are still currently low, but there is still the opportunity to fish a few holes using different techniques. The best fishing can be found when flows are decreasing following a peak in the hydrograph which usually occurs after a heavy rain. Current run forecasts show a high proportion of older fish. So, expect a few larger fish this year.

Remember, only adipose-fin clipped rainbow trout may be retained and all bull trout must be released unharmed. Trout fishing closes on Oct. 31.

Fall chinook are in the lower Grande Ronde and anglers a catching a few. There is no open Chinook season on the Grande Ronde. Please release these fish immediately and allow them to finish spawning.

HOLLIDAY PARK POND: trout

Trophy trout were stocked on Sept. 23 and should provide good fall fishing.

With cooler weather pond vegetation is beginning to die back and provide better fishing access.

HUNTER POND: trout

Hunter Pond is located about 3 miles south of Hwy 244 off of USFS Rd 5160. The pond is located on the 710 spur just west of 5160. The pond was recently stocked with trophy-sized rainbow trout.

The Imnaha River
The Imnaha River
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

IMNAHA RIVER: trout, bass, Chinook

The Imnaha River is open for steelhead as of Sept. 1. PIT-tag detections show a number of steelhead moving up the lower river and anglers are beginning to have success. Fall chinook are in the lower river to spawn. There is no open Chinook season on the Imnaha River. Please release these fish unharmed and allow them to complete the cycle.

Trout anglers may find some success as the water cools and trout become more active. Remember, below the mouth of Big Sheep Creek only adipose-fin clipped trout may be harvested. All bull trout must be released unharmed. The upper Imnaha has a healthy population of mountain whitefish (a member of the trout family) and can produce some large fish. Look for whitefish in deep pools and runs. Whitefish will take small bead-head nymphs and small spinners. Trout fishing closes Oct. 31. Trout fishing closes Oct. 31.

JOHN DAY RIVER: smallmouth bass, trout

Smallmouth bass fishing is good in the lower river but flows are near 100 cfs making boat travel very difficult. Trout fishing is fair on the South Fork and on the Middle Fork but flows will stay low until fall rains.

Check John Day River flows

JUBILEE LAKE: rainbow trout

The lake has been stocked and should provide good fishing for rainbow trout. Anglers should concentrate on the deeper areas near the dam or use a non-motorized boat to reach the deeper areas of the lake.

JUMP-OFF-JOE LAKE: brook trout

This high lake near Desolation Creek fishes well all summer and presently has large brook trout available. It requires a ½ mile hike. Fishing is poor from the bank and a float tube or raft will greatly improve your chances.

LONG CREEK POND, CAVENDER POND: trout

Trophy trout were stocked on Sept. 23 and should provide good fall fishing. Bass fishing is likely fair to poor with dropping fall temperatures.

LUGER POND: trout

The pond was recently stocked with trophy-sized rainbow trout.

MAGONE LAKE: rainbow and brook trout

The fishing has slowed for brook trout and rainbow as the lake temperature has warmed to over 65 degrees.

MORGAN LAKE: rainbow trout

Fishing for rainbow trout should improve with the recent cooler weather.

Kokanee Salmon
Lloyd Plum of Tillamook with a 23-inch, 4.5 pound kokanee
-Photo by William J. Knox-

OLIVE LAKE: rainbow, kokanee

This high lake stays cool all summer and is accessible by vehicle for bank or boat angling. There is a campground with boat launch. Kokanee fishing has slowed as water temperatures warmed but they can still be caught in deeper water. Carryover rainbows are available along with recently planted jumbo trout.

PEACH POND (Ladd Marsh): rainbow trout

The pond was recently stocked with trophy-sized rainbow trout.

PENDLAND LAKE: rainbow trout

As water temperatures cool with fall weather, angling pressure diminishes and catch rates improve. Bring a boat or float tube to reach the best fishing areas. Fly-fishing shines during the fall months.

ROULET POND: rainbow trout

The pond was recently stocked with trophy-sized rainbow trout.

ROWE CREEK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout

Fish activity is limited by high water temperatures. Low water and vegetation growth is affecting fishing access for bank anglers. Fishing is poor.

STRAWBERRY AND SLIDE LAKES: rainbow and brook trout

These high lakes in the Strawberry Mountain wilderness area provide good fishing all summer. Strawberry lake requires a 1.5 mile hike and Slide Lake is another mile further. Fish can be caught from the bank but packing in a float tube or raft will improve your chances.

TAYLOR GREEN POND: rainbow trout

This was a new stocking site in 2013. The pond is located in a gravel pit just off USFS Rd. 7740, approximately ½ mile south of the Jct. with USFS Rd. 7700. The pond was recently stocked with trophy-sized rainbow trout.

TROUT FARM POND: rainbow and brook trout

Fishing for rainbow and brook trout is fair. Carryover and legal sized rainbows are available. Vegetation growth is affecting fishing access for bank anglers.

UMATILLA FOREST PONDS: trout

The following ponds have been stocked to date: Ninemile, Shimmiehorn, skyline, Boundary, Key hole, Pearson Ridge Twin, Goldfish, 5412, Yellow Jacket, Granite Meadows, French Corral, Four Corners and Frog Heaven. The South Umatilla Ponds will be stocked this week (Ellis, Gopher springs, Divide well, Rock pit, Sugarbowl, 5320, Thompson and Stinkwater) All should provide good fishing.

UMATILLA RIVER: salmon, trout

Good numbers of both salmon and steelhead are available in the lower Umatilla. Catch rates continue to be good for coho in the lower river; effort is picking up for steelhead. Anglers should concentrate on the lower river downstream of Threemile Dam and the backwater area of the Columbia River. Anglers are find best success using eggs for salmon in the upstream areas of the Umatilla and spinners and plugs in the mouth of the Umatilla. Fish numbers and catch will improve as the flows increase and water temperatures decrease. The upper Umatilla is open to catch-and-release trout fishing and fishing for rainbow trout has been good. Anglers should consult the synopsis for detailed regulations.

Threemile Dam fish counts

Wallowa Lake
Wallowa Lake
- Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

WALLOWA LAKE: rainbow trout, kokanee, lake trout

Fishing for rainbow trout has slowed. However, some fish are still available and some tagged fish are still being reported. Trout have been caught with a variety of methods but a simple rig with PowerBait has been most effective.

The lake was stocked with tagged rainbow trout in an effort by ODFW to better understand the utilization of this fishery. Tagged fish have been caught at very high rates and over $2,700 in rewards have been paid.

WALLOWA RIVER: steelhead, mountain whitefish, chinook

The Wallowa River has been fishing well for larger trout. Catch rates on fin-clipped trout have also been good and anglers are encouraged to harvest these fish. For fly anglers, October caddis’ are on the river and trout are keying in on these large snacks. The best dry fly fishing is in the late evening. During mid-day nymph fishing will produce the most fish. Most spinner and bait fishing techniques also will be very effective.

Remember, below Rock Creek only adipose-fin clipped trout may be harvested. All bull trout must be released unharmed. Angling for whitefish (a member of the trout family) can be very good in the fall. Use small gear fished in the slow deep runs. Whitefish in the Wallowa are often large and can exceed 18 inches. Trout season closes on Oct. 31.

The Wallowa is also open to steelhead fishing as of Sept. 1. While a few fall fish are caught every year, the main run will not show in mass till late winter.

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  Northeast Zone Hunting

OPEN: COUGAR, BLACK BEAR, GROUSE, and MOURNING DOVE

See the bird and big game hunting forecasts.

Snake River wolf
Gray Wolf from the Snake River Pack
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Wolves in Northeast Oregon

Wolves are protected by state law and it is unlawful to shoot them. Coyote hunters in northeastern Oregon 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 needs hunters’ assistance to establish wolves’ presence in Oregon; please report any wolf sightings or wolf sign to La Grande office (541) 963-2138 or online with the Wolf Reporting Form.

Use the Oregon Hunting Map to see where to hunt.

BAKER COUNTY

Closure of Wallowa Mountain Loop Road (Forest Road 39)

Elk- First season bull starts October 29 and runs through November 2. Elk numbers are good in most units. Elk may be scattered and hard to locate. Look in areas of green up from late summer rains. It has been dry for the last several weeks and there has not been much green up in the lower elevations.

Chuckar, Hun, and California Quail - The season opens October 11 and ends January 31,2015. Hunters should exect another season very similar to last years. Chuckar numbers are still low for the county, however quail numbers showed a slight increase from last year.

Grouse - Blue grouse can be found in the higher elevations while ruffed grouse are more common in wetter areas. Hunters should expect an average year for grouse. Successful hunters are asked to place the tails and wings from harvested birds in the collection barrels.

Bear - Successful hunters, remember check-in of bear skull is mandatory; see the regulations for details. Biologists recommend propping the bear’s mouth open with a stick after harvest; it makes for easier tooth collection and measuring.

Cougars can be found throughout Baker County but hunters should target areas with high concentrations of deer and elk. Setting up on a fresh kill or using distress calls can all be productive techniques. Hunters are required to check in the hide of any cougar taken, with skull and proof of sex attached.

Coyote numbers are good throughout the district. Try calling in early morning and late afternoon. Remember to ask for permission before hunting on private properties.

GRANT COUNTY

The Phillip W. Schneider Wildlife Area (Murderers Creek Unit, Grant County) is open to public access.

Contact the Malheur Forest Service website for more information on any area closures related to South Fork Complex fire earlier in the year.

Travel Management Area (TMA) closures will be effective beginning Oct. 1 through Oct. 15 and Oct. 26. through Nov. 16 for the areas in Murderers Creek-Flagtail TMA (Murderers Creek Unit, Grant County) and Camp Creek TMA (Northside Unit, Grant County).

Grouse season started Sept. 1 and will remain open through December 31. Blue grouse can be found in the higher elevations while ruffed grouse are more common in wetter areas. Hunters have had great success so far this season. Successful hunters are asked to place the tails and wings from harvested birds in the collection barrels.

Cougar hunting remains open. Successful hunters should remember that check-in of the hide with skull and proof of sex attached is mandatory; see the regulations for details.

Coyote numbers are good in most of the district. Coyotes may respond to distress calls. Try calling in the early morning and late evening.

MORROW, GILLIAM AND WHEELER COUNTIES

There are some road closures on the Umatilla NF in the Heppner ranger district. The road closures are in the southwest portion of the forest in the Heppner unit mainly associated with the Sunflower Flats fire. Hunters can still access all areas of the forest; the route needed may make it a longer trip.

BUCK DEER season ends Oct. 15. Deer are widely distributed in the forest of the Heppner and Fossil units. Both units had buck ratios above management objective so hunters can expect another above average year for success. Fire restrictions have been lowered slightly but it is still very dry in the forest.

Cougar hunting is open. Cougar are well distributed in our forested areas. Calling with distress calls or cougar vocalizations can be effective. Locating a fresh, naturally made kill has the best chance of success

The Coyote population is healthy with good numbers of coyotes available for those who wish to pursue them. Watch wind direction to help prevent giving away your location. Calling with game distress calls can be very successful.

UMATILLA COUNTY

Public use restrictions on the Umatilla NF and Wallowa-Whitman NF have been eased; see their website for latest and always check for conditions and restrictions before heading out.

Cougar are well distributed in forested areas of the Walla Walla, Mt. Emily, and Ukiah units. Hunters will have best success by finding a fresh naturally made kill and sitting on it, or by using predator calls. Some success has come from following tracks until the cougar is located.

Coyote are numerous throughout the District and hunters should have good success calling. Remember to ask permission before hunting on private lands.

Black Bear
Black Bear
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

UNION COUNTY

Black Bears are plentiful throughout the county. Look for sign around fruit trees and in canyon bottoms. Bears can be concentrated along creeks and rivers in the late summer. This year’s bumper berry crop should make for good early season bear hunting in Union County. Huckle, Service and Hawthorn berries are all in full swing. Hunt in the early morning and evenings for the best chance of seeing bears. Bear skulls must be checked in within ten days of harvest, see regulations.

Cougars are common in Union County. Focus on game rich areas with long ridgelines or saddles that cats typically travel. Setting up downwind of a deer or elk killed by a cougar can be productive. Nonresident hunters can include a cougar tag with others tags for only $14.50. All cougars taken must be checked in within 10 days of harvest; call for an appointment before check in.

Coyote numbers are good throughout the district. Try calling in early morning and late afternoon. Remember to ask for permission before hunting on private properties.

Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area

Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area is open Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday and federal holidays during pheasant, quail, partridge and waterfowl seasons. Visitors are advised to carefully read posted signs and consult game bird regulations before entering the wildlife area. Early season waterfowl hunting has been fair to good. Spring nesting conditions were excellent and waterfowl production on Ladd Marsh and Oregon in general was up this year. As usual waterfowl hunting will depend largely on fall wetland conditions and weather. Continued drought in NE Oregon may limit early season hunting opportunities. At this time most areas along Peach road have good water. However, wetlands west of state highway 203 remain dry.. Hunters should watch local weather reports for high winds near Ladd and Pyles canyons. This generally means good waterfowl hunting at Ladd Marsh. Upland hunting has been good for pheasants and quail. Nesting conditions were good for both this year. Access for upland hunting is excellent due to low water. Hunt areas near water with dogs for the best success.

Ladd Marsh harvest statistics

Note: all visitors including hunters must have in their possession a free daily permit to access the wildlife area. Permits and area maps/regulation are are available at several self-check-in stations at entry points and parking lots. Wildlife hunters, viewers and anglers also need a parking permit to park on the wildlife area. Hunters receive a free parking permit with their hunting license. The $7 daily or $22 annual permit can be purchased online or at an ODFW office that sells licenses or at a license sales agent. Learn more about ODFW’s Wildlife Area Parking Permit Program. Parking permits are to be displayed on the vehicle dash.

More information

WALLOWA COUNTY

Closure of Wallowa Mountain Loop Road (Forest Road 39)

Black Bear - A good density of black bear exists throughout the district. Most bears are starting to move to denning areas. For those bears that are still active, hunters should focus efforts in berry patches and old fruit orchards.

Elk - Numbers of elk are strong throughout most of Wallowa County and most elk are still on their summer ranges. As the snow starts in the next few weeks, elk will start to move toward lower elevation winter ranges. When hunting or scouting look on timbered ridges where they can rest during the day. Elk this time of year usually move to the larger meadows at night to feed.

Deer - Mule deer numbers are below desired levels in all units, but hunters can still expect to have fair success by adding a little more effort in the field. White-tailed deer numbers are improving. They can be found in open grassland areas adjacent to brushy areas and in agricultural areas. The rifle season for deer ended Oct. 15th. The opening weekend was hot and dry with a full moon which made for difficult hunting conditions and lower success (14%). Hunters who kept at it until later in the season did pretty well. Antlerless seasons near agricultural lands began Oct. 18th with good hunting conditions.

Rocky Mountain Goat
Mountain Goat, Twin Lakes
-Photo by Brian Ratliff, ODFW-

Mountain Goat numbers are good in most units, but below desired levels in the Hurricane Creek areas. Hunters can expect to spend a lot of time in the field scouting as these animals are well dispersed in very rough country. The second mountain goat season is now complete with 100% success and all 1 hunters having checked in goats. One of these will probably rank in the top 15 on the Oregon records list.

Forest Grouse hunting has been poor – fair in recent years and this year is similar. The season started Sept. 1. Blue grouse numbers are below the long term average, but hunters can still find a few birds along open grassy ridges adjacent to timber. Ruffed grouse hunting opportunities will be best along riparian areas where abundant shrubs are found.

Chukar hunting has been poor to fair in recent years, but this year a good hatch should produce an improvement in chukar numbers. The season started October 5.

Coyote: Good numbers of coyotes can be found throughout Wallowa County. Calling coyotes with rabbit distress type calls has been effective for hunters. It is important to choose areas with abundant coyote sign and little human activity.

Cougar numbers are strong throughout Wallowa County. Most lions are taken incidental to other hunting; however, calling with fawn bleat, or locating a cougar kill and waiting for a cat to return are often successful techniques.

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 Northeast Zone Viewing

BAKER COUNTY

Bighorn sheep can be seen in the Burnt River Canyon west of Durkee or along the Snake River Road south of Richland. Ewes can be seen with their lambs this time of year. The best viewing is in the early morning and late in the evening.

Bald and golden eagles can be seen along the Snake River. Take the Snake River Road between Richland and Huntington. 10/7/11.

GRANT COUNTY

Sandhill cranes have started to migrate through the valley. They are best viewed early in the morning along the John Day River.

Mountain Goats can still be viewed along the rocky outcrops above Strawberry Lake. Small mammals such as black squirrels and chipmunks are readily seen while walking up the trail to the lake.

Watch for deer and elk crossing the highways. This is the time of year when deer begin to migrate. Dawn and dusk are the most active time for deer and elk and are not easily seen due to low light conditions by drivers alongside the road. 10/6/2014

MORROW, GILLIAM and WHEELER COUNTIES

The sandhill cranes can be heard flying above heading south for the winter. So fall is here with winter approaching. This can be an interesting time of year as fall migration can bring rarely seen birds to the area. Sharp-shinned hawks can be seen along the waterways of the District. Red-tails and northern harriers are around the area in their usual haunts. 

The weather is not cold enough to really bring in much for waterfowl but white-fronted can be seen around Willow Creek Reservoir and Canada geese can be seen in many areas. Juncos are showing up in yards, another sign that winter approaches. The occasional pine siskin has been seen in the yards of the area. 10/7/14.

UMATILLA COUNTY

Deer and elk are starting to orient to green-up areas of annual grass in the low and mid slope areas of the Blue Mountains. Large herds of elk will be intermingled in the trees at mid elevation areas. Deer will be more widespread with small groups present from near field edge to upper forest areas.

Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area

Sunset at Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area
-Photo by David Bronson-

UNION COUNTY

Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area

Note: New this year: All visitors must have in their possession a free daily permit to access the wildlife area. Permits are available at several self-check-in stations at entry points and parking lots. Wildlife viewers and anglers also need a parking permit to park on the wildlife area. The $7 daily or $22 annual permit can be purchased online or at an ODFW office that sells licenses or at a license sales agent. Learn more about ODFW’s Wildlife Area Parking Permit Program.

The Tule Lake autoroute is closed to vehicles, the Tule Lake unit and most of the wildlife area is open Sat., Sun., Wed. and holidays during the waterfowl and pheasant hunting seasons. The Glass Hill Unit is open to public entry 7 days a week for foot and horse traffic only. Be aware that hunting seasons are open. Please see the note above regarding daily permits. Visitors are advised to carefully read posted signs and consult the wildlife area administrative rules.

Rules that apply to all areas are at the top, and then scroll down to page 8, #635-008-120, for additional rules specific to Ladd Marsh. Dogs are not permitted within the Wildlife Area, on or off leash except during authorized hunting seasons. There are numerous quality viewing opportunities from county roads that pass through the area. Binoculars or a spotting scope will help as many animals are best viewed from a distance.

As is typical for late summer and early fall, water levels are extremely low. Waterfowl are concentrated in the remaining ponds and wetlands including the Foothill Road refuge. A few greater white-fronted geese have been in the area along with Canada geese and a variety of ducks, coots and mergansers.

At least three Lesser Yellowlegs remain in the area. Warm, dry weather seems to have delayed their movement south. A few Great Egrets have been seen in the refuge with Great Blue Herons and waterfowl.

Large numbers of white-crowned sparrows have been found in shrubby areas along with song sparrows. Cedar Waxwings can be found foraging in fruit trees, mountain ash and hawthorn.

Please report any sandhill cranes wearing leg bands to the Ladd Marsh staff (541-963-4954). If possible, note the color and order of bands on each of the bird’s legs (e.g., pink above white on left leg; silver above black on right leg). The specific combination and order can identify individual birds.

For more information on access rules for Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area, please consult the Oregon Game Bird Regulations or call the wildlife area (541) 963-4954. 10/21/14.

WALLOWA COUNTY

The elk on the Zumwalt Prairie are on the open prairie now and the mid-elevation forests. Occasional large herds can be seen from the Zumwalt Road or on The Nature Conservancy’s Zumwalt Prairie Preserve. Once you find a herd, use binoculars or a spotting scope to observe the animals. Another good area to spot elk is from the Troy Road as it passes through the Shilo Ranch on the north end of Powwatka Ridge. This is a county road, but is bordered on both sides by private land. Please watch from the road and don’t trespass on the ranch.

A good place to view mountain goats and bighorn sheep is near Hat Point above Hells Canyon. They often congregate just north of the USFS lookout tower to lick salt along the rim.

Resident waterfowl can be seen flying into Wallowa Lake in the evenings from the county park at the north end of the lake. Migrants are beginning to move into the area as well. Canada geese can be seen feeding in agricultural fields and along streams around the county. Some winter migrants have begun to move into the area with a western grebe observed on Wallowa Lake this week. 10/21/14

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