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Weekly Recreation Report: Northwest Zone

June 23, 2015

 Northwest Zone Fishing

Benson Bowers
Benson Bowers with a bright Clackamas summer steelhead.
-Photo by Jon Bowers-

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.

Warm temperatures increase stress on fish

However, anglers reduce the stress from catch-and-release fishing by following a few precautions:

  • Fish early in the mornings when water temperatures are lower.
  • Fish in lakes and reservoirs with deep waters that provide a cooler refuge for fish.
  • Use barbless hooks, land fish quickly and keep them in the water as much as possible in order to minimize stress.
  • Shift fishing efforts to higher elevation mountain lakes and streams where water temperatures often remain cooler.

Warmwater fish like bass, crappie and bluegill also feel the effects of the heat, so please follow these precautions in all your summer fishing.

Very low water levels in coastal streams will present some challenging fishing conditions. Scale down your gear, using smaller weights and baits, and lighter leaders. Look for fish, especially steelhead, to hold in different parts of the river than they normally would. Due to warm water temperatures, fishing may be best early in the morning.


Lost Lake received some surplus trout last week. Most other district lakes were stocked the first week of June. Trout fishing should be fair to good. Due to warm conditions, concentrate on early morning hours when fish are likely to be the most active.

Warm water fishing is fair to good. Coffenbury, Cullaby, Sunset, Lytle, Cape Meares, and Town lakes, and Vernonia Pond all offer opportunity for largemouth bass. Weed growth and water quality may be a problem in some areas.

The latest trout stocking schedule.


Fishing for the various warm water fish species can be productive during the spring as lake temperatures start to rise and fish begin spawning. Anglers will start finding more fish up in the shallows this time of year.

ALSEA RIVER: cutthroat trout

The cutthroat trout season is now open for the season and anglers should have fair to good results in most of the larger tributaries and mainstem. Small spinners are typically productive as wells as small spoons or fly fishing with nymphs or streamers.

KILCHIS RIVER: cutthroat

Cutthroat fishing should be fair. Sea-run cutthroat should be entering tidal areas in better numbers over the next few weeks.

NESTUCCA RIVER AND THREE RIVERS: steelhead, Chinook, cutthroat

Fishing is slow to fair for spring Chinook. Fish are available through tidewater and into the lower river, including Three Rivers. Water levels are low, and temperatures warmer than normal.

The best bite will likely be first thing in the morning. Special gear restrictions are in effect in Three Rivers. Steelhead fishing is slow. Fishing for cutthroat trout should be fair to good, with increasing numbers of sea-runs in tidewater.

SALMON RIVER: cutthroat trout

Cutthroat trout are now open to harvest. Typically good fishing can be had during the early part of the season. Using small lures like spinners, spoons or various flies can be productive.

Williams Family

Steve Williams with his daughter and son, Kathyrn and Kyle after a day of steelhead fishing on the Siletz River.
-ODFW Photo-

SILETZ RIVER: steelhead, cutthroat trout

Summer steelhead fishing is slowly starting to pick up. New fish will continually be moving into the river over the next few months with the peak numbers typically in July. River flows are much lower than normal for this time of year so think small and subtle presentations.

Typical steelhead tactics apply such as bobber and jig / bait, or casting spoons or spinners. Cutthroat trout are now also open to harvest and can be found throughout the main stem river and many large tributaries.

SIUSLAW RIVER: cutthroat trout

The cutthroat trout season is now open for the season. The main stem of the Siuslaw and Lake Creek can be good fishing as well as the larger tributaries entering these systems. Bait is not allowed above the head of tide but small spinners, spoons and fly fishing can be very productive.

TILLAMOOK BAY: sturgeon, Chinook

Spring Chinook fishing is slow. Water temperature is warm in the upper bay, and weed growth is hampering fishing. The number of fish is dwindling as the run begins to wind down and fish have moved upstream. Trolling herring or large bladed spinners are the two most popular techniques. Catch-and-release fishing for sturgeon is slow.

TRASK RIVER: steelhead, Chinook, cutthroat

Spring Chinook fishing is fair. Fish are being caught from tidewater up to the hatchery area. Gear restrictions are in effect from the Cedar Creek boat slide down to the Lorens Drift wooden boat slide. An occasional summer steelhead is being caught. Fishing for cutthroat trout is fair to good. The north, south, and east forks closed to fishing June 15.

Anglers who catch a steelhead or salmon with numbered tag(s) are encouraged to report catch information via the internet or by calling ODFW at 503-842-2741 and asking for Derek Wiley. All live tagged fish that are not legal to retain or are voluntarily not kept should be released quickly and unharmed with tags intact.

WILSON RIVER: steelhead, Chinook, cutthroat

Spring Chinook fishing is slow in the low clear water. Summer steelhead fishing is slow also. Fishing for cutthroat trout should be fair. Use lighter gear for best results as the water is extremely low and clear.

YAQUINA RIVER: cutthroat trout

The cutthroat trout season opened on May 23 and anglers can expect to have fair to good fishing. The mainstem Yaquina and Big Elk Creek are good places to try casting small spinners or spoons as well as bait fishing near the head of tide.

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  Northwest Zone Hunting

-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-


Use the Oregon Hunting Map to see where to hunt.

Cougar are most effectively taken by using predator calls. However, cougar densities are relatively low on the north coast.

Successful hunters, remember you must check in cougar (hide and skull) at an ODFW office within 10 days of harvest and bring them in unfrozen. It’s also a good idea to prop their mouths open with a stick after harvest for easier tissue sampling, teeth collection and tagging. See regulations for details.

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 Northwest Zone Wildlife Viewing

Nesting season for songbirds is in full-swing now that summer is here. Year-round residents, such as the winter wren and white-crowned sparrow, along with neo-tropical migrants like the Swainson’s thrush and yellow warbler are filling the forest with the songs of male birds declaring and defending their nesting territories.

Brown pelicans are arriving to the north coast in increasing numbers as summer is here. These large, near-shore ocean-dwelling birds are entertaining to watch whether they are gliding just over the waves or stooping to dive for fish. Some good areas to observe them include Cape Meares State Park and the South Jetty at the Columbia River, accessed through Ft. Stevens State Park.


Steller sea lions are common on the smaller nearshore rocks on the eastern edge of the Three Arch Rocks NWR, located just west of Oceanside. Both adults and pups are present and can be distinguished by size and coloration. The refuge is home to these marine mammals nearly year-round except in the fall when they take a brief hiatus. Bring binoculars or a spotting scope for best viewing.

Common murres are seabirds that have historically nested on nearshore rocks, such as Three Arch Rocks NWR. They have recently been seen staging there and other rocks such as Pyramid Rock near Cape Meares NWR. Only time will tell if the murres are allowed to nest there, or if they will be impacted by bald eagles which have plagued them in recent years.


Ospreys nest along the lower Columbia River, choosing dead trees, utility poles and occasionally navigation markers on the river to support their nests. This is in stark contrast to bald eagles who build their nests only on live trees, which makes osprey nests much easier to find. The two species compete for the same food resources – fish – which can lead to conflicts where eagles attempt to steal fish from ospreys.

American white pelicans have been nesting on islands (mainly Miller Sands) on the lower Columbia River now for several years. As their name implies, they are large white birds – the only ones like that you’ll see there during the summer months. In Oregon, they typically nest inland in eastern portion, so seeing them in western Oregon is a rarity. One place you may be able to see them from land is the viewing platform at the Twilight Eagle Sanctuary, located just off of Hwy 30, east of Astoria. Bring a spotting scope for best viewing.

Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area

Roosevelt Elk
Roosevelt Elk
-Photo by Jim Yuskavitch, ODFW-

Elk viewing continues to be good. With the warm weather, viewing has been restricted to early mornings and late evenings. A few elk calves have been seen on the area, and as calving continues through June, more should become visible. Watch for vegetation movement behind adults as calves follow their mothers through the tall grass.

Bull elk have shed their antlers and new growth is already visible. Band-tailed pigeons have been seen near area bird feeders and along gravel roadways. Swallows have arrived and are visible gliding over meadow areas and checking out nest boxes along view area fences. Other wildlife to watch for include: coyotes in the fields, bald eagles perched in tall trees near creeks or soaring overhead, and songbirds near the viewing areas.

Visitors are reminded to use caution around the main viewing area as construction activities are occurring. The parking lot paving project has been completed. Public restrooms will be closed mid-June through August for remodeling. Portable restrooms will be available.

Visitors are reminded that areas posted as Wildlife Refuge are closed to public access. Posted portions of the Beneke Tract are open to the public starting March 16 and will remain open until August 1.

Wildlife Area Parking Permits are required on the wildlife area.

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