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Weekly Recreation Report: Northeast Zone

May 24, 2016

 Northeast Zone Fishing

Fishing the Grand Ronde
Fishing the Grand Ronde
-Photo by Azura Dee Gaige-

Weekend fishing opportunities:

  • Trout fishing opened in most rivers and streams on Sunday, May 22. The bag limit is two per day. Check the 2016 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations for details.
  • Spring Chinook fishing is in full swing on the Umatilla River and should get better each day as more fish arrive.
  • Many district water bodies are currently being stocked with legal-sized trout and that will provide good fishing opportunities.
  • A 50-mile stretch of the John Day River is open for Spring Chinook fishing now through June 5.
  • For the first year, the Wallowa River is open for trout all year. The Wallowa is currently producing trout to 18 inches with good catch rates. For fly fishermen, the Mother’s Day caddis hatch is strong and has been thick in the evenings.

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 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.

GRANDE RONDE RIVER: trout, whitefish, bass

The Grande Ronde is now open for trout all year. Currently fishing will be difficult because of water conditions. As the season progresses smallmouth bass will move into the river and provide good catch rates.


The Hat Rock State Park provides a trail system with easy angler access to the pond for the entire family. Fishing for rainbow trout should be good.

HOLLIDAY PARK POND: rainbow trout

Pond has been stocked with legal-sized and trophy trout. Fishing has been good. An ADA fishing dock for anglers with disabilities is available.

HUNTER POND: hatchery rainbow trout

This pond will be stocked with legal-sized rainbow trout the week of May 16. From I-84 take Hwy 244 towards Ukiah. At the Blue Mtns summit, turn left onto USFS Rd 5160. Proceed for approximately 3 miles to the Jct. of roads 5160 and 5155. Stay on 5160. Just past this Jct. on the right will be spur 710. Take this spur. The pond is just off 5160.

IMNAHA RIVER: trout, bass

For the first year, the Imnaha River is open for trout all year, although no reports have been received. Currently the river is very high and fishing will be difficult. Trout should be active this spring and the Imnaha can put on a nice show with salmon flies. Smallmouth bass will move into the lower river as summer progresses and can provide some great catch rates.

Steelhead season ended on the Imnaha on April 30 though some may still be encountered and should be released unharmed. Bull trout are available for catch and release and should not be harmed. Biologists will be monitoring the salmon run and a decision on a season will be made in June. A public meeting on the salmon season process will be held on May 17 at the ODFW office in Enterprise and May 18 at the Imnaha Store and Tavern. Both meetings will be held at 6 p.m.

JOHN DAY RIVER: spring Chinook

Nearly 50 miles of the Upper John Day River will open for spring Chinook salmon fishing on May 10 and close on June 5.

Anglers can keep two adult Chinook salmon and five jack salmon per day, but have to stop fishing once they’ve caught two adult Chinook salmon. A Columbia River Endorsement and a combined angling tag is required for this fishery which starts at Hwy 207 bridge (located .5 miles downstream of Service Creek, OR) and ends upstream at the mouth of Rattlesnake Creek near the south end of Picture Gorge.

River conditions are currently good and should provide for a good opener.

John Day River flows


Long Creek and Cavender Pond have both been stocked with legal-sized and trophy trout. Fish has been good.

LUGER POND: hatchery rainbow trout

Luger Pond was treated with the chemical fish toxicant rotenone in the fall of 2015 and all fish were removed. The pond with be restocked with legal-sized rainbow trout the week of May 16, 2016.

MAGONE LAKE: rainbow and brook trout

Lake is accessible and fishing has been fair for carry over trout. Stocking is scheduled to take place the second week of June.

McHALEY POND: rainbow trout

Pond has been stocked with legal-sized trout and fishing is good. A kids fishing derby is scheduled for June 4. Age class prizes and a BBQ lunch will be provided.

Yellow Perch
Yellow Perch


Opened for angling March 1, early season trout fishing is fair, the water is still cold and turbid. Yellow perch, are the first warm water fish to be active and bite in the spring, and McKay has good numbers of perch but they are small.


The ponds have been stocked and fishing should be good for rainbow trout. A trail system provides access to both pond and stream fishing and the area also has several handicap accessible fishing platforms.

MORGAN LAKE: rainbow trout

Opened to Fishing Friday, April 22.

OLIVE LAKE: rainbow trout, brook trout, and kokanee

Unsure of lake access at current time. Trout stocking is scheduled for second week of June.

PEACH POND (Ladd Marsh): rainbow trout

The pond was stocked with rainbow trout the first week of April.

ROULET POND: rainbow trout

The pond was stocked with rai nbow trout the first week of April.


Remains open all year. Fishing is fair for carryover and stocked trout. Stocking is scheduled for third week of May.


The pond has been stocked and fishing should be good for rainbow trout.

TAYLOR GREEN POND: hatchery rainbow trout

Will be stocked with legal-sized rainbow trout the week of May 23. From Hwy 203 at Union, turn left staying on Hwy 203 towards Medical Springs. At the summit between Union and Medical Springs, turn left onto USFS Road 7700 (opposite snowpark area). Proceed East on 7700 road for about 9 miles to USFS Road 7740 on the right. Proceed on the 7740 road for about 1/4 mile. The rock pit pond are on the right.

UMATILLA RIVER: spring Chinook

Spring Chinook season is open, to date anglers have experienced slow catch rates as few fish have entered the system to date. River flows are extremely low and will warm quickly as air temperatures rise, anglers should plan to fish early and late in the day.

Anglers can access fish counts at Threemile Dam fish counts. Flow data


The Wallowa County ponds were stocked last week and fishing should be good.

ODFW is currently assessing the management of these ponds and wants to know what is important to the people who fish these ponds. Future plans may involve changes in the number of trout stocked, fish species available, or facility improvements. A survey is available at the ponds and on the ODFW website.

New to Kinney Lake this year, non-motorized watercraft will be allowed at Kinney Lake. Remember, to be respectful of the private land access that the Triple Creek Ranch and WVID#1 have provided and pack out any trash you bring or find.

Wallowa Lake
Wallowa Lake
- Photo by Martyne Reesman-

WALLOWA LAKE: rainbow trout, kokanee, lake trout

Holdover trout are being caught with a few fish to 18 inches. During the spring the fish have keyed in on more natural baits so shy away from the brightly colored baits. Wallowa Lake will be stocked with trout next week with frequent stocking throughout the next few months.

WALLOWA RIVER: steelhead, mountain whitefish

Steelhead season ended on April 30 though a few may still be present and have to be released. For the first year, the Wallowa River is open for trout all year. However the river is currently very high and will be difficult to fish until flows subside.

Remember, the Wallowa is a whitefish factory and can produce some large fish. Whitefish are native to Oregon and are a respected sportfish across the west. Whitefish can be great in the smoker and are a great way to keep kids interested while steelhead fishing. To catch them, use beadhead nymphs a size #12-16 hook and fish for them in quick runs that are knee to waist deep.


The lake has been stocked with trophy trout and should provide good angling.

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  Northeast Zone Hunting


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. 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.

Black Bear
Black Bear
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-


Black Bear – Season closes May 31. Green up has begun to appear in the lower elevation areas. The mild weather of the past couple of weeks will have bears out and active in the early part of the season. Look for bears close to timber stringers feeding on open ridges. Successful hunters need to remember to check in their bear within ten days of harvest. It cannot be frozen and propping open mouth of bear will help in aiding tooth collection later.

Turkey – Season closes May 31. Look for spring turkeys to be moving from wintering grounds to their nesting areas. Listen for males to be calling early and late in the evenings to help locate gobblers. Over winter survival was good this past year so expect good numbers of birds this season.

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.


Turkey hunters are having fairly good success as they usually do in this area. Access is good as the stretch of hot weather in mid-April opened most areas up. Turkey hunting pressure always dies down significantly after the first week. There are still a fair amount of hunters going out but they scale it back and just go out for a morning here or there. Most of the turkeys leave private land this time of year and head for public forest lands. Season closes May 31.

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.

- Royalty Free Image-


Cougar hunting is open. Cougar are well distributed in our forested areas. Calling with distress calls or cougar vocalizations can be effective. However, 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.


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 County and hunters should have good success calling. Remember to ask permission before hunting on private lands.


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

Spring Bear hunters can expect better than anticipated access to mid-elevations for April, due to the warmer weather early in the month. Expect timbered north aspects to have snow above 5000 feet elevation. Bears will be out feeding in early mornings and evenings. Spot and stock techniques remain the most productive for spring hunters with a few bears being taken with fawn distress calls in late May. Season closes May 31.

Turkey hunters can expect better numbers of birds than in previous years. An excellent hatch in 2015 put plenty of chicks on the ground for this season. Look for birds anywhere in the county with the largest numbers still found in the Wenaha and Mount Emily units. Season closes May 31.

Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area

The portion of Ladd Marsh East of Foot Hill road is now closed to all hunting.

Glass Hill Unit is again open to wildlife recreation activities beginning April 1, 2016. This portion will be open and available to both spring bear and turkey hunting. Bears have been seen at the higher elevations of the property in the past but sightings have been very sporadic. The habitat is dense making visibility very limited. Hunters should try to scout for recent activity before spending much effort in bear hunting the property.

Turkeys can be found at the lower elevations but hunting pressure is high.

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 (at the link), 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, including the Glass Hill Unit, on or off leash except during authorized game bird hunting seasons.

Vehicles, camping and fires are prohibited on the wildlife area at all times.

For more information please call 541 963 4954


BLACK BEAR: Spring bear season closes May 31. A good density of black bears exists throughout the district. Most of our snow is gone from mid and low elevation areas of the district and bears are searching for early season foods, such as green grass, ground squirrels, and roots and tubers. In spring, black bears are fair weather fellows and really only venture out of their dens on warm, sunny days. The best strategy for finding them this time of year is to sit on a spot with a good view of open canyon sides and use binoculars or a spotting scope to locate them. The animals feed off and on during all daylight hours and patience is the order of the day when spotting spring bears.

Wild Turkey
-National Wild Turkey Federation-

TURKEY: Spring turkey season closes May 31. Turkey numbers have increased this year in the district and they over-wintered very well with the warm winter that we had this year. Most of our snow is gone from mid and low elevation areas of the district. Turkeys are spread into nesting areas. The best strategy for finding them this time of year is to travel the forest roads or hike into areas where turkeys might be and call for them or just listen for their calls early in the morning.

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 moderate 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 Wildlife Viewing

Bighorn sheep
Bighorn Sheep, Deschutes River
- Photo by Brad Robins -


Bighorn sheep can be seen in the Burnt River Canyon west of Durkee or along the Snake River Road south of Richland. 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.

Deer can be seen throughout the valley. Early in the morning and late in the afternoon are good times to view wildlife. Driving through the foothills of the Baker valley and through the Keating valley can turn up good numbers of deer. 2/23/16

Grant County

For the adventurous person, there is a great opportunity to snowshoe or cross country ski up the trail to Strawberry Lake in the Strawberry Wilderness area to view groups of nanny and kid mountain goats. Or try snowshoeing up Onion Creek trail to view the billies.

Bighorn sheep may be viewed from the South Fork near the Murderers Creek road. Early mornings are your best chances for catching them out on the rocky outcrops.

Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area

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


Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area

Note: 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 $10 daily or $30 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 Unit, including the auto route, is now open for the season. The Glass Hill unit is open to foot traffic only. 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 (at the link), 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, including the Glass Hill Unit, on or off leash except during authorized game bird 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.

It is baby season on Ladd Marsh. Please use care not to approach or disturb wildlife, especially those with young as this may make them more vulnerable to predators. Many Canada goose broods have hatched. Goslings may be seen in ponds and wetlands throughout the area. Thousands of ducks of many different species are in ponds and flooded fields. Mallards have begun nesting. American White Pelicans have been using Schoolhouse Pond sporadically. Also watch for pelicans in flight above the wildlife area.

Great Horned Owls have hatched and Red-tailed Hawks are sitting on eggs. Northern Harriers and Swainson’s Hawks are beginning to nest

Tree, cliff, northern rough-winged and violet-green swallows are back and may be seen on bridges and power lines throughout the area. Black-necked Stilts, American Avocets and other shorebirds are using shorelines and mud flats, especially in Schoolhouse Pond.

A few Sandhill Cranes have hatched their young. Pairs with young may be seen in meadows from a distance. 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. 4/26/16


Common raptors in the open areas of the county in winter are red-tailed hawks and rough-legged hawks. Look for bald eagles perched in the larger trees along Wallowa Lake shore or on power poles near water in the valley. Migrating bald eagles can also be seen in the Prairie Creek and Elk Mt. Road areas east of Enterprise.

A good place to observe mule deer is along the Wallowa Lake highway between Joseph and the south end of Wallowa Lake. Drive slowly and watch along the moraine on the east side of the lake around dawn and dusk. Be careful to use the turnouts when stopping to watch these animals, as there will be other traffic on the road. White-tailed deer can be found throughout the Wallowa Valley on or near agricultural lands.

Elk are back on the Zumwalt Prairie and can be seen from the Zumwalt Road. These are county roads that run through private property, so please respect the landowner’s privacy and remain on the county road but park out of the traffic lanes while watching the elk. Once you find a herd, use binoculars or a spotting scope to observe the animals.

While most of our migrant waterfowl have already headed north with the advent of warmer weather, some can still be seen flying into Wallowa Lake in the evenings from the county park at the north end of the lake. Canada geese and several species of ducks can also be seen feeding in agricultural fields and along streams around the county.

Other migrants have begun to move into the area including, Say’s phoebes, horned larks, and robins. Mountain bluebirds have also arrived back from their southern haunts and can be seen in the lower areas of the Imnaha Canyon. 5/10/16

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