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Weekly Recreation Report: Northwest Zone

January 27, 2015

 Northwest Zone Fishing

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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.

Most rivers and streams will re-open to trout on May 23, 2015.

Coffenbury Lake

Fishing on Coffenbury Lake


Trout stocking is scheduled to resume in March. Some surplus hatchery steelhead have been released in Town Lake, Lorens Pond, Coffenbury Lake, and Vernonia Pond this winter.


The rainbow trout stocking program will begin in many mid coast lakes in early February. Be sure to check out the 2015 stocking schedule for the most up to date information. Fishing for the various warm water fish species can still be productive during the winter months but anglers may need to target different areas of a lake (typically deeper) versus when fishing in the spring or summer.

ALSEA RIVER: steelhead

The winter steelhead fishery is fair to good throughout most of the river. This week should see flows continue to drop and clear. Fishing from the lower north fork down to around the Mike Bauer plunking shack should be productive. Casting lures, bobber and jig / bait or drifting beads along the bottom can be effective techniques this time of year.


Fishing for winter steelhead has been good. Dropping flows will make fishing tougher. Use light lines and small baits for best success. Good numbers of fish are still available, but more dark hatchery fish are showing in the catch.

KILCHIS RIVER: steelhead

Winter steelhead fishing has slowed due to low, clear water conditions. The best opportunity will be in the lower river where fresh fish are likely to hold up until more rain comes. Scale your gear to the water conditions.


Winter steelhead fishing should be fair. Fish are spread through the system, but dropping flows will create tougher fishing conditions. Adjust your gear to the conditions. Boaters should use caution as woody debris can impede passage.

North Coast Steelhead
- Oregon Fish and Wildlife-


Winter steelhead are being caught in the north fork up to and above the hatchery. Fishing has generally been good, but low clear water this week may slow the action. Drift fishing, bobber and jig, or spinners have all produced some fish. Fishing is improving in the mainstem Nehalem River basin also. This river will have the best fishing conditions this week due to its size.


Winter steelhead fishing has been good. Fishing conditions were good early in the week, but dropping flows will lead to clearer water by the weekend. Fish are being caught on a variety of techniques depending on the conditions. Angling pressure has been heavy.

SALMON RIVER: steelhead

Winter steelhead fishing is fair to good in many coastal basins and the Salmon River typically follows this trend. As river flows continue to drop and clear this week, the mid to lower river should produce the best results. The river is open to harvest of wild winter steelhead (Jan 1 – March 31). Anglers are advised to read the new regulations as there are harvest restrictions and new deadlines in effect. The deadline for steelhead fishing is at the confluence with Prairie Creek which enters the Salmon River west of the Van Duzer rest area at the same point as where Sulpher Creek enters the Salmon River.

SILETZ RIVER: steelhead

Steelhead fishing is fair with a high proportion of wild fish mixed into the catch this season. As river levels continue to drop and clear this week, anglers should focus on the mid to lower river when fishing from a boat and above Moonshine Park from the bank. Typical steelhead tactics apply such as side drifting, bobber and jig / bait, or casting spoons or spinners. River conditions should be good through the weekend.

SIUSLAW RIVER: steelhead

The winter steelhead fishery is producing fair to good results in both the Siuslaw and Lake Creek for boat and bank anglers. Peak season typically starts in the coming weeks and as river levels continue to drop and clear; anglers should focus on the mid to lower reaches. River conditions should remain good through the weekend. Typical steelhead angling tactics apply.


Catch-and-release fishing for sturgeon should be fair to good. Fish the channel edges on the outgoing tides and move often until you find fish. Sand shrimp on the bottom is a good bet.

TRASK RIVER: steelhead

Winter steelhead fishing has been good, but dropping flows may create more challenging conditions this week. The catch is a mixture of hatchery and wild fish. Fish are spread out, with some fish available in the north and south forks. Drift fishing and bobber and jig or pink worm are good bets, with boaters also scoring fish side drifting.

WILSON RIVER: steelhead

Winter steelhead fishing has been good. Low, clear flows this week will likely reduce success. Look for fish to be spread out throughout the river, with fresh fish concentrated in the lower river. Bobber and jig or spinners/spoons are good options in the upper river. Drift fishing, side drifting, bobber doggin’, or plugs have been producing fish for anglers in the lower river.

YAQUINA RIVER: steelhead

The winter steelhead fishery is fair in the Big Elk. River conditions are low and clear this week and anglers should focus on the deeper holes and runs in the mid to lower reaches. Anglers are advised to watch for private property. Typical steelhead fishing tactics apply but the Big Elk is bed rock dominated and does have a lot of snags.

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  Northwest Zone Hunting

OPEN: COUGAR, GROUSE, QUAIL (Upland bird closes Jan. 31)

Duck Hunting
Toby the yellow lab shows off his work
-Photo by Troy Rodakowski-

Use the Oregon Hunting Map to see where to hunt.

Forest grouse and mountain quail closes Jan. 31.

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. Remember to pick up a 2015 tag if hunting as of Jan. 1.

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 Northwest Zone Wildlife Viewing

Whale watching
Whale watching
- Photo by Bob Swingle, ODFW-

Beach walkers are reminded that seabirds such as Cassin’s auklets and common murres have been washing up dead on north coast beaches in higher-than-normal numbers this fall and winter. All birds sent in for necropsy work have shown them to be extremely emaciated. Colored zip ties on these birds indicate that the University of Washington research staff has already marked them, making reporting to ODFW or USFWS unnecessary.

Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge is located east of Pacific City and is situated along Hwy 101. It is host to a wide variety of wintering Canada geese, many of which are the relatively rare Dusky variety. For best viewing, go to the refuge’s viewing area off Christensen Rd. and bring your optics.


Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area

elk at Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area

Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area
-Photo by Rick Swart, ODFW-

Elk viewing has been excellent at Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area. Elk have been visible throughout the day on the Fishhawk Tract. Best viewing times are from about 9:00 AM to Noon. There have also been elk visible on the Beneke Tract. Brochures with maps of the area are available at the main viewing area along Hwy 202. Elk are currently being fed a supplemental diet of alfalfa hay. Staff try to feed close to the viewing areas especially on weekends to enhance viewing opportunities.

Reservations for the winter elk feeding tours have been completely filled for the three month season. Please remember that areas posted as wildlife refuge are closed to public access and areas along Beneke Creek posted closed to entry during any Saddle Mountain elk season are also closed during those hunting seasons.

Wildlife Area Parking Permits are now required on the wildlife area (as of Jan. 1, 2014) including during the elk feeding tours.

The Twilight Eagle Sanctuary located just off of Hwy 30, east of Astoria, is a great place to view waterfowl and other water birds that frequent the lower Columbia River in the winter months. An ADA accessible viewing platform allows for sweeping views of Wolf Bay and surrounding areas, especially if you have a spotting scope. Often times, tundra swans can be seen from the platform out on the Columbia River.

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