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

Weekly Recreation Report: Southwest Zone

December 6, 2016

 Southwest Zone Fishing

rogue river
Fishing Rogue River
-ODFW Photo-

Weekend fishing opportunities:

  • Several streams and lakes remain open for year-round fishing. Check the sport fishing regulations or the reports below to see what’s open.
  • Coho have moved in the upper Umpqua; only hatchery coho may be retained.
  • The upper Rogue has been fishing very well for summer steelhead with little pressure from anglers.
  • Five hundred large-size rainbow trout were stocked at Reinhardt Pond recently and fishing should still be good.

Please check online regulations for the most up-to-date information.

If your favorite fishing spot is no longer listed

It could be the area is closed, inaccessible due or currently offers limited fishing opportunities. These water bodies will return to the recreation report when conditions change. If you believe something is missing, contact us and we’ll find out why.

2016 trout stocking schedules

For detailed information about when and where hatchery trout are going to be released, please refer to the 2016 ODFW Trout Stocking Schedules page.

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

AGATE LAKE: largemouth bass, black crappie, bluegill, bullheads

The lake is 27 percent full and the boat ramp is open from dawn until dusk. The boat ramp is useable. Fishing for warmwater species will slow with cooler weather.

APPLEGATE RESERVOIR: largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, trout

Fishing for trout should start picking back up with the decreasing reservoir temperatures. Trout anglers will want to try trolling, and a good bet will be a wedding ring/bait combination. One angler reported a flasher tipped with a worm produced good results during mid-day hours. Fishing with bait from shore in the upper reservoir should also produce. The lake is 12 percent full. French Gulch is the only boat ramp that is currently useable.

APPLEGATE RIVER: trout

The Applegate River is open for trout angling but closed to Chinook and steelhead angling. Wild trout must be released unharmed. Rainbow trout over 16 inches are considered steelhead and must be released through Dec. 31.

ARIZONA POND: rainbow trout

The pond has been lowered to help control aquatic vegetation. This pond is managed by Oregon State Parks for youth-only fishing. It is located at Arizona Beach State Recreation Area, approximately half way between Gold Beach and Port Orford.

BEN IRVING RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, bass, bluegill, yellow perch, crappie

Ben Irving has been stocked with 5,000 trout this year, and there are still opportunities to catch rainbows from previous year stockings. Warmwater fishing for bass, crappie and bluegill will slow with dropping temperatures. Try using soft-plastics and swimbaits around structure for positive results.

CHETCO RIVER: Chinook, winter steelhead

Chinook fishing has slowed with some fish moving into the tributaries and the upper river to spawn. Anglers may want to start side drifting eggs as a few steelhead have moved into the system.

COOPER CREEK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, bass, bluegill

Cooper Creek has been stocked with over 10,000 rainbow trout in 2016. Fishing for bass and bluegill will slow with dropping temperatures. Dropping soft plastics in clear areas among weeds should yield positive results.

Upper Empire Lake, Coos Bay
Upper Empire Lake, Coos Bay
-Photo by Kathy Munsel-

COOS COUNTY LAKES/PONDS: trout

Rainbow trout were stocked in Upper Empire, Bradley, Saunders, Powers and Butterfield lakes in October. There are still a few trout in these lakes and anglers have been catching them on Powerbait, flies, or by trolling spinners. This was the last stocking of these lakes until the spring. Trout anglers are also catching trout in Eel and Tenmile lakes. Trolling wedding ring spinners tipped with nightcrawlers have been really effective.

COOS RIVER BASIN: Dungeness crab, bay clams, rockfish, steelhead

Trout fishing in streams is now closed until May 22, 2017.

A few steelhead have been caught in the West Fork and East Fork Millicoma rivers this past week. Anglers are drifting eggs or corkies along the stream bottom or using a jig suspended under a bobber.

Anglers have been catching a few rockfish along the jetties and submerged rock piles. Fishing for rockfish in the bay has been spotty. The marine fish daily bag limit for bottom fish (rockfish) is seven fish and a separate daily limit for lingcod (two). Anglers can only keep 3 blue rockfish and 1 canary rockfish as part of their daily limit and there will be no harvest of China, quillback, or copper rockfish. Retention of one cabezon per day is allowed as of July 1.

Recreational crabbing has been closed from Tillamook Head to Floras Creek due to elevated levels of domoic acid. This includes Dungeness and red rock crabs harvested in bays, estuaries and the ocean.

Recreational harvest of bay clams remains open along the entire Oregon coast. Clamming is excellent during low tides near Charleston, off Cape Arago Highway, and Clam Island. There are also good places to dig clams even on positive low tides in Coos Bay.

Recreational harvest of razor clams and mussels is closed from the entire Oregon coast due to elevated levels of domoic acid. This includes all beaches and all bays. Before any shellfish harvest trip, make sure to check the Oregon Department of Agriculture website for any updates.

COQUILLE RIVER BASIN: crab, steelhead, salmon

Trout fishing in streams is now closed until May 22, 2017.

Steelhead anglers have been fishing the North Fork Coquille at LaVerne Park. Anglers have had success drifting eggs or corkies. Anglers fishing the mainstem Coquille have been plunking with a spin-n-glo and bait like salmon eggs or sand shrimp.

Recreational crabbing has been closed from Tillamook Head to Floras Creek due to elevated levels of domoic acid. This includes Dungeness and red rock crabs harvested in bays, estuaries, and the ocean.

DIAMOND LAKE: trout

As part of the new regulation simplification process, Diamond Lake is now back to the Southwest Zone regulation of 5 trout/day.

Anglers that are planning on taking a trip to Diamond Lake should check with the Umpqua National Forest (541-498-2531) or Diamond Lake Resort for information on seasonal camp and ramp closures.

Fishing has been good. Most anglers have had success using Powerbait or trolling small lures. Diamond Lake was stocked with around 300,000 fingerling rainbow trout in early June, and there are plenty of legal-sized holdover trout currently in the lake. Diamond Lake was stocked with Tiger Trout in early June. These fish are intended to assist in controlling illegally introduced Tui Chub. Tiger Trout are catch-and-release only and need to be released immediately unharmed.

Anglers can check fishing and water conditions at Diamond Lake on the Diamond Lake Resort website, or call their toll free number at 1-800-733-7593, ext. 5 for updates.

ELK RIVER: Chinook

Slow. Anglers can expect fishing to improve with rain this week. Anglers can call 541-332-0405 to get the daily river conditions.

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

Emigrant Reservoir is currently at 24 percent of capacity. The Jackson County boat ramp is now useable. Fishing for warmwater species will slow with cooler weather. Trout are still available.

rainbow trout
So excited to fish.
-Photo by Donny Loudermilk-

EXPO POND: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, bluegill, black crappie

The amphitheatre pond at the Expo was stocked with 1,500 legal-sized rainbow trout last week and fishing should be good.

Access from Gate 1.5 will get you to the southernmost pond, which was stocked earlier this year with rainbow trout. Gate 5, which leads to the RV park is open as well. A day use fee to park here is now $4. An annual parking permit can be purchased from Jackson County Parks Department for $30.

FISH LAKE: rainbow trout, brook trout, spring Chinook

Nine hundred trophy trout were released the week of Sept. 19-23. The reservoir is now 40 percent full. The USFS ramp at Fish Lake is mostly useable by trailered boats but the marina is closed until mid-November.

FLORAS LAKE: rainbow, cutthroat trout

As waters cool this fall, anglers can expect trout fishing to improve. Look for trout to move from deeper waters and start feeding along weed lines. This lake is best fished by boat. Anglers can launch at an improved boat ramp at Boice Cope County Park. Boat anglers are reminded to clean all aquatic vegetation off their boats and trailers before heading home to help control the spread non-native plants and animals.

GALESVILLE RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, bass, coho smolts

In addition to trout, the reservoir has also been stocked with coho smolts for the last few years and there have been reports of them being caught in good numbers on the lake. Many people mistakenly think these fish are kokanee. The coho smolts should be adipose fin-clipped, and please remember to release the ones less than 8-inches long.

In Galesville Reservoir, all landlocked salmon are considered trout and are part of the five-per-day trout limit, with only one trout over 20-inches long allowed for harvest. Galesville has been stocked with about 8,000 legal-size trout and 50 five-pound trophy trout this year.

Fishing for bass and other panfish with the use of bait and artificial lures such as swimbaits around structure should give positive results but will slow with dropping temperatures. Call 541-837-3302 for information on camping and boat launching conditions.

GARRISON LAKE: rainbow, cutthroat trout

Slow. Anglers should check the weather before heading out as it can be very windy.

HEMLOCK LAKE & LAKE IN THE WOODS: trout

Anglers fishing the high lakes in the Umpqua District are encouraged to e-mail fishing reports. Contact the Forest Service at 541-496-3532 for road conditions.

Hemlock Lake was stocked with approximately 6,000 legal size plus rainbow trout in 2016, and Lake in the Woods was stocked with approximately 1,000 legal size plus rainbow trout as well. In addition, there are opportunities to catch holdover rainbow trout that were stocked in previous years. Remember only trout over 8-inches may be harvested, and only one trout over 20-inches may be kept per day.

HOWARD PRAIRIE RESERVOIR:

The lake is now 48 percent full. Visibility in the lake is improving and shouldn’t significantly affect fishing. With dropping lake elevation, boaters should be aware of submerged stumps and islands posing a hazard particularly around Buck Island. Not all water hazards can be marked with dropping reservoir levels.

Fishing has been slow with few big fish showing up in the catch. Try using a threaded nightcrawler under a bobber or Powerbait fished off the bottom. When water clarity is good, trolling with a wedding ring/bait combination and sliding sinker is a tried and true method on this lake. Legal-sized trout have been stocked to complement trout stocked last year.

Boat ramps at Howard are closed for the season.

HYATT LAKE: rainbow trout

Stocked legals and some trophy trout are still being caught. Anglers fishing from shore will want to concentrate on the deeper water near the dam if they are targeting trout. Some fly anglers have been having good success stripping leeches on mid-range sink tips.

The reservoir is 46 percent full. Boat ramps are closed for the season.

Cutthroat Trout
Cutthroat Trout
-Photo by Charlotte Ganskopp-

ILLINOIS RIVER: trout, steelhead

The Illinois River is open for trout angling. Since only hatchery trout may be retained, and hatchery trout are not likely to be to be found in the Illinois River at this time of year, fishing will be primarily catch-and-release for the native cutthroat trout.

LAKE MARIE: rainbow trout, yellow perch

Lake Marie was stocked with 5,000 legal trout this year. Most anglers use PowerBait or worms. Perch fishing has been somewhat slow, but should continue to be productive for those using worms on the bottom.

LAKE SELMAC: trout, largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie

Trout fishing should be improving with decreasing water temperatures however there is a lot of aquatic weeds. The lake was stocked with 600 pounders this fall and fishing should be good.

LEMOLO RESERVOIR: brown trout, rainbow trout, kokanee

This reservoir is stocked several times a year with rainbow trout of various sizes, and the lake was stocked with 4,500 rainbow trout in 2016. There are also excellent opportunities to catch large brown trout in Lemolo with many anglers having luck trolling in deeper areas of the reservoir or casting spinners from shore.

Kokanee in Lemolo are considered trout and therefore fall under the daily limit for trout of 5 per day and 1 over 20 inches. Contact Lemolo Lake Resort at 541-957-8354 for weather/road conditions and additional information.

LOON LAKE: rainbow trout, bass, bluegill

Loon Lake was stocked with 7,500 legal size rainbow trout this year. The lake should offer decent fishing for crappie, bluegill and bass. Anglers should use slow presentations with lures or bait for best results. Visit the BLM and Loon Lake Resort websites for information on opening dates and camping.

LOST CREEK: rainbow trout, bass

Trout fishing is still good at Lost Creek. Lost Creek reservoir was recently stocked with legal and trophy-sized fish and fishing should be good. Recent reports have been encouraging. One angler caught seven trout in about 6 hours fishing a green wedding ring/worm behind an oval egg sinker and dodger. Best success was up at the red rock area upstream of the Hwy 62 bridge. Surface water temperatures have dropped to 47 degrees and the fall months are shaping up to continue the good trout fishing here. Bank anglers are catching fish near the Takelma ramp and near the marina and spillway using Powerbait or threading a nightcrawler below a bobber.

MEDCO POND: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, bluegill

400 trout pounders were recently stocked in Medco and fishing should be good. Boat anglers are reminded that gas engines are not allowed on Medco Pond.

PACIFIC OCEAN AND BEACHES: bottomfish, surf perch

The ocean is closed for recreational harvest of crabs from Tillamook Head to Floras Creek.

Recreational harvest of razor clams is closed on the entire Oregon coast due to elevated levels of domoic acid. Harvest of mussels is open on the entire Oregon Coast. Before any shellfish harvest trip, make sure to check the Oregon Department of Agriculture website for any updates.

Both the All Depth and the Nearshore Halibut seasons are now closed.

As of Oct. 1, fishing for bottom fish opened back up to all-depths.

Fishing for black rockfish has been good from Coos Bay south to Bandon. Fishing for ling cod has been decent. The marine fish daily bag limit is seven fish and a separate daily limit for lingcod (two). Anglers can only keep 3 blue rockfish and 1 canary rockfish as part of their daily limit and there will be no harvest of China, quillback, or copper rockfish. Anglers may harvest one cabezon per day.

To help anglers identify common species and comply with the regulations, ODFW has produced several sheets of ID Tips for blue vs. black rockfish and for China, copper and quillback rockfish, as well as a handout titled “What Can I Keep, and How Many?”

Bass
Bass fishing fun!
-Photo by Amy Michelle Johnson-

PLAT I RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, bass

Plat I was stocked with 4,500 legal-size trout this year. In addition to trout fishing, the lake also has good bass fishing. Anglers may have success catching trout and bass with bait such as PowerBait and nightcrawlers where access is available.

Some of the trout may have copepods which are tiny parasites on their bodies and gills. These are not harmful to humans, but the lesions can be removed and the meat should be thoroughly cooked.
 
REINHART POND: trout, largemouth bass, bluegill

Reinhardt was stocked with 500 “pounder” rainbow trout last week and fishing should continue to be good. Fishing for warmwater species will slow with cooler weather.

ROGUE RIVER

Rogue River, lower: winter steelhead

Slow.

Rogue River, middle: coho, steelhead, trout

Beginning Oct. 1, fishing for Chinook is closed upstream of Hog Creek boat ramp to Cole Rivers Hatchery Dam. Try fishing with nightcrawlers, spinners, and side drifted roe. Nymphing flies is also very effective. Fishing for summer steelhead in the middle Rogue can be good about this time of year.

The Rogue River is open to trout fishing. Only hatchery trout can be retained and wild trout must be released unharmed. Rainbow trout over 16-inches are considered steelhead and must be tagged as part of the daily salmon/steelhead catch as per zone regulations.

For those interested in checking conditions before getting on the river, the City of Grants Pass Water Division’s website offers information on river conditions at Grants Pass as well as a link to a river camera.

Up-to-date flow and temp info

Rogue River, upper: coho, steelhead, trout

As per zone regulations: Anglers are reminded that beginning Sept. 1 through Dec. 31, all Chinook fishing is closed from Fishers Ferry Boat Ramp upstream to Cole Rivers Hatchery Dam.

Note that beginning Nov. 1, the Rogue from Shady Cove to the deadline at Cole Rivers Hatchery opens to bait, lures and flies. Additionally, from Fishers Ferry boat ramp to the boat ramp at Shady Cove is open to flies and lures, but no bait. However, only fin-clipped fish may be retained and all un-marked fish must be released unharmed throughout the upper river. Consult the 2016 Oregon Sport fishing Regulations for more information.

Fishing pressure has been moderate in the upper Rogue and fishing has been very good. Anglers can keep five hatchery rainbow trout per day. Non-adipose fin-clipped rainbow trout and all cutthroat trout must be immediately released unharmed.

Track the fish returns to Cole Rivers Fish Hatchery by the collection pond tally.

As of Nov. 30, a total of 2,670 summer steelhead have entered the hatchery, with 116 new fish entering for the week. Also, 1,307 coho have made their way back to the hatchery. Coho fishing can be decent between the hatchery and Casey. Only hatchery coho may be harvested. The outflow from Lost Creek reservoir as of Dec. 5 is 1,551 cfs. For more flow and temp information, see link below.

Up to date flow and temp information

Rogue River, above Lost Creek Reservoir: trout

This area offers good trout fishing, easy access, beautiful scenery, numerous Forest Service campgrounds, and cooler temperatures making this a great destination throughout the week and weekends. Spinners tipped with nightcrawler, or fished by themselves work great up here. It is also a good place for the novice fly angler to try their luck at nymph fishing under an indicator.

sturgeon
White Sturgeon
- Photo by Kathy Munsel, ODFW-

SMITH RIVER, Umpqua: striped bass, Chinook salmon, steelhead

Retention of adipose fin-clipped steelhead is allowed in tidewater. Sturgeon fishing is catch-and-release only. The daily limit for striped bass is two per 24-hour period. Trout is closed. Chinook opened Aug. 1 in the North Fork up to Johnson Creek and in the mainstem up to Spencer Creek.

Winter steelhead fishing opens on Dec. 1 upstream to bridge 10 on the North Fork Smith and upstream to Sisters Creek. Retention is only allowed on adipose fin-clipped steelhead.

SODA SPRINGS RESERVOIR: closed

TENMILE BASIN: trout, bass, yellow perch, coho

Trout fishing in the streams of the Tenmile Basin are now closed until May 22, 2017. Trout fishing in Tenmile Lakes is open all year.

There is no wild coho fishery in Tenmile Lakes this fall.

Largemouth bass fishing has been decent over the past couple weeks. Anglers are catching bass near structure or on the deep end of the weed lines using spinner baits, jigs, or rubber worms.

Fishing for yellow perch has picked up in Tenmile Lakes. Anglers have been catching a few yellow perch measuring 14 to 15-inches long. Worms fished near the lake bottom work very well for catching yellow perch. Anglers should fish in water depths of 15 feet or deeper to consistently find the bigger yellow perch.

TOKETEE LAKE: brown trout, rainbow trout

Fishing is open in Toketee year-round. For more information call the U.S. Forest Service at 541-498-2531.

UMPQUA HIGH LAKES AND FOREBAYS: trout

Lakes accessible from hiking trails and that were recently stocked were: Calamut, Connie, Bullpup, Fuller, Cliff, Buckeye, Maidu, Twin “b”, Pitt lake and Skookum.

Contact the Forest Service at 541-957-3200 for road and trail conditions. Red Top Pond, which offers excellent bank fishing opportunities, was stocked with 1,500 legal size plus rainbow trout in 2016. In addition, there should be plenty of holdover legal-sized trout from previous stockings in these waterbodies. Anglers fishing the high lakes in the Umpqua District are encouraged to e-mail fishing reports.

UMPQUA RIVER, MAINSTEM: steelhead

The mainstem Umpqua is closed to wild steelhead harvest but remains open year-round for adipose fin-clipped steelhead. Please note the changes in regulations this year on page 33 of the 2016 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations booklet. On the Main, anglers can harvest 2 wild spring Chinook per day and up to 5 wild springers from Feb. 1 – June 30. From July 1– Dec. 31, you can harvest 2 wild Chinook per day, and in combination with the other salmon/ steelhead recorded on your salmon tag, up to 20 fish total. Fin-clipped hatchery fish can be recorded on a separate hatchery harvest tag that is available. There is no limit on the number of hatchery tags that can be purchased. Daily limits still apply.

There have been reports of some coho being caught in the upper Umpqua. Please remember that only hatchery coho may be harvested.

UMPQUA RIVER, NORTH: steelhead

Steelhead

Winter Steelhead Hen on the North Umpqua
-Photo by Kirk Hasketth-

Winter steelhead will begin migrating into the North Umpqua and fishing will improve as winter progresses.

Note that from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 through June 30, fishing in the fly water area is restricted to fly fishing only with a single barbless fly. Per the new regulation on page 31, 32 of the 2016 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations booklet, from Feb. 1 – June 30, two wild Chinook per day can be harvested. Ten wild Chinook may be harvested in the North during this time frame in aggregate with wild Chinook harvested in the Main.

North Umpqua River water levels at Winchester Dam

UMPQUA RIVER, SOUTH: steelhead

The South Umpqua opens to winter steelhead fishing on Dec. 1 upstream to Jackson Creek. Only adipose fin-clipped steelhead may be retained.

WILLOW LAKE: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, black crappie, brown bullhead

Fishing for warmwater species will slow with cooler weather. Trout fishing should be picking back up with the cooling temperatures. The lake was stocked this fall with 450 rainbow trout pounders. Fishing with a nightcrawler under a bobber should produce throughout the day, and is a great and easy way to get youngsters in on the action. The paved ramp is closed due to low water, but a temporary ramp is available for small boats.

WINCHESTER BAY: bottomfish, perch

Fishing for bottom fish in the Triangle and South jetty has been successful.

WINCHUCK RIVER: Chinook

Slow. Salmon are spread through the system, but clear water is making for some tough fishing.

  Southwest Zone Hunting

OPEN: COUGAR, BEAR, UPLAND BIRD, WATERFOWL (South Coast goose closed until Dec. 17), TURKEY

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.

Elk Hunt
Corey Heath checking an elk

COOS COUNTY

Elk seasons are still underway in Coos County. Most of the bull seasons are done but antlerless elk hunts are just getting going. Most elk will be found where feeding opportunities are best. This time of year that means clear cuts or meadows on south slopes and agricultural lands. Hunters may be successful in getting access permission to private lands if the landowner is suffering damage from elk. Scouting in early mornings and late evenings to determine where this damage may be occurring would be helpful to the hunter. Ask for permission to access lands where elk frequently enter private fields.

Hunters need to be aware that ownership of several timber land parcels in Coos County has recently changed. In some cases the new owners have different access policies than their predecessors. Make sure you know what the policy is before accessing private land and don’t assume the policy is the same as prior years.

Deer general bow seasons closed Dec. 4.

Waterfowl - The South Coast Goose Zone is closed until Dec. 17. Southwest zones is currently open for hunting. Western Canada goose numbers are good in both zones. Most birds will be found feeding on green grass on private lands. Some landowners may be willing to allow access to their lands for hunting geese to reduce the loss of green feed normally reserved for livestock. Ask before you hunt. Other geese like lesser and cackling Canada geese are moving through the county. Scouting for these birds using agricultural fields may result in good hunting on private land, as well.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service reports that most populations of ducks did well nesting this summer so it is expected that hunting will be good this fall and winter. Duck numbers locally begin to increase in the fall when the first significant storms begin to make landfall. Recent rain on the coast has caused agricultural fields to have puddles that are very attractive to ducks and geese. As a result the ducks that are here seem to be scattered widely.

Wilson’s Snipe season is open. Snipe move into Coos County in late fall and winter. At times they can be found in good numbers. They generally like flooded grass fields and tidal flats with standing vegetation. Also, they can be found in clear cuts and other forest openings where standing water exists. Their primary foods are invertebrates like earth worms and insects. While they are considered shorebirds (the only shorebird we hunt in Oregon) they are best hunted like upland birds. They hold like quail, even better often times. A bird dog with a keen nose is very valuable for hunting snipe especially when it comes to finding downed birds. The call they make upon flushing and the habitat they inhabit make them easy to distinguish from other shorebirds. If you want information to help you recognize these birds please contact your local ODFW office.

Grouse & Quail – All upland bird seasons are now open. Both ruffed and “blue” grouse can be found on the coast but in low densities. Hunters chasing blue grouse should concentrate their efforts at higher elevations, along ridgelines, with open understories; hunting tends to be more productive in older growth forested land. Ruffed grouse can be found at lower elevations, along creek and valley bottoms. These birds can also be seen foraging along forest roads in the early morning and evening. Quail production has been down but above our 10-year average. Both California and mountain quail can be found on the coast. Hunters should target older clear-cuts, young forest stands, closed forest roads, and areas with open thickets and mixed timber.

Black Bear – The fall hunting season will run through Dec. 31. Early mornings and late evenings will see the majority of bear activity but individual animals can be found throughout the day. Bear activity will begin to slow significantly as we head into November; this decrease in opportunity coincides with bears entering their dens for the winter. Many bears have moved down into residential orchards to fatten up on apples but should be returning to the forests once those resources are gone. A word of caution to hunters, with large changes in private timber ownership throughout the county users need to be aware that access to many areas may have changed. Please contact the appropriate landowners for more information.

Coyote - Numbers are strong throughout Coos County. Using predator calls to lure them in can be an effective method for harvesting coyotes. Try calling in early morning and late afternoon. Be sure to ask permission before hunting on private land.

Cougar - Hunters can expect an average year. Cougars are abundant throughout with indicators pointing to stable or increasing numbers. Hunting cougar is a challenge because these animals are very secretive, but harvest success is greatest adjacent to private land with high deer populations using a predator call.

DOUGLAS COUNTY

Elk - A few controlled elk hunts are currently open. Elk populations are similar to last year so this hunting year will be average. Elk numbers are highest in the Tioga with lower levels in the Dixon, S. Indigo and Melrose units.

Deer - The late bow season closed Dec. 4.

Cougar – The cougar season is currently open. Hunters can expect an average year. Cougars are abundant throughout with indicators pointing to stable or increasing numbers. With lower snow levels, hunters can find higher success by finding fresh tracks and then calling in these big cats. Hunting cougar is a challenge because these animals are very secretive, but harvest success is greatest adjacent to private land with high deer populations using a predator call.

Hunting Coyote
Coyote in the Trask unit
-Photo by Erin Caspers-Holmes -

Coyote - Numbers are strong throughout Douglas County. Using predator calls to lure them in can be an effective method for harvesting coyotes. Try calling in early morning and late afternoon. Be sure to ask permission before hunting on private land.

Black Bear – General bear season is open. Hunters can expect an average year. Glass clear cuts and meadows early mornings and late evenings to find bears taking advantage of food sources. Bears are trying to fatten up before heading towards their dens, so they are taking advantage of any remaining food sources available. At higher elevations, bears are eating manzanita berries and madrone berries where available. At lower elevations, bears are cleaning up remaining apple crops and other easier to find food sources around agricultural areas. Bear numbers are good with the highest numbers in the coast range with smaller populations in the Cascades.

Grouse & Quail - Upland Gamebird season is currently open. Hunters are finding good numbers of grouse and quail this fall. Blue grouse success is best in mid to high elevations of the Cascades in partly open conifer stands. Ruffed grouse can be found near creeks mostly at mid elevations of both the Cascades and Coast Range. For quail, success is best in the lower elevation agricultural lands for California quail and mid-elevations of the Cascades and Coast Range near brushy clear cuts on secondary forest roads for Mountain quail. Hunters that kill grouse and Mountain quail are asked to drop off, in a paper bag, the frozen wing and tail of each grouse at the local ODFW office. Please use one bird per bag with each frozen bag of grouse parts including the species, sex, age, unit and general area of harvest for proper analysis.

Fall Turkey - The season is open and runs thru Dec. 31. Hunters can expect a good year. The 2016 summer chick counts showed good production with excellent carryover from the last year. Most turkeys are on or adjacent to low-mid elevation private lands associated with oak savannah habitat. Good turkey numbers can be found on National Forest lands around Toketee in the Diamond Lake Ranger District and around Tiller in the Tiller Ranger District. These birds are enjoying great higher elevation oak savannah habitat and are producing well. These populations are supplemented yearly through releases of turkeys removed from private lands, where they were causing property damage and general nuisance.

Waterfowl - Duck and goose seasons are open through Jan. 29, 2017. Check with landowners of flooded/puddled fields before hunting.

Furbearers – Red fox harvest season opened Oct. 15. Pursuit season is currently open for bobcat, fox and raccoon. Marten harvest season opened Nov. 1. Mink, muskrat, river otter, gray fox and beaver harvest seasons started Nov. 15.

JACKSON, JOSEPHINE, CURRY COUNTIES

Deer: The controlled youth deer seasons in our area open Dec. 15 and continues through Jan. 5. These hunts are open across the entire unit. Remember that these youth tags require an adult 21 years or older to accompany the youth hunter while hunting. See page 63 of the 2016 Oregon Big Game Hunting Regulations.

Bear: Fall black bear season continues until Dec. 31.This fall bear season is starting to slow down as more bears are becoming inactive for the winter; however you still have a chance to harvest a bear if you put in your time. The Applegate unit has historically had some of the highest harvest in the state so focus your efforts there, however the Rogue and Evans Creek can also be very productive. Bears are eating huge amounts of food right now before they go to sleep in a few weeks for the winter. This is a good opportunity to hunt in oak patches where there are lots of acorns on the ground for them to eat. Remember that there is a mandatory check in of your bear skull at an ODFW office or designated collection site within 10 days of harvest, the skull must be unfrozen. See page 29 in the 2016 Oregon Big Game hunting regulations for more information.

Youth Elk season is currently open for units in our area and most continue through Dec. 31. This is a great opportunity for the youth to harvest an elk. These hunts are designed to provide young hunters with a safe, well supervised, low-stress setting where they can enjoy the hunt while building fundamental skills. A reminder that youth are required to wear hunter orange. For more information see page 86 of the 2016 Oregon Big Game Hunting Regulations

Denman Wildlife Area: Remember to get your parking permit. Hunters get the permit free with their purchase of an annual hunting license. Reminder, starting April 1 bird dog training will be restricted to within the “dog training area” along Touvelle road except for organized permitted events. Remember to place your parking permit on the dash of your vehicle.

Seasonal ponds on the wildlife area are filled with water bringing in the ducks and geese. There are several fields that flood on the Hall Tract behind Whetstone pond, these fields were planted with a variety of grains and grasses for waterfowl to feed on once they fill with water. As of Nov. 1 hunting on the Hall Tract is restricted to Wednesdays, Saturdays, Sundays, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. In addition on the Military Slough unit at the end of Touvelle Rd there are some fields that have started to flood of which were also planted this past summer. On this section of Denman hunting is open seven days a week. For more information consult the 2016 Oregon Game Bird Regulations.

Upland Game Birds: Grouse season is open, the daily bag limit is 3 of each of the two species. Both California Quail and Mountain Quail season opened Sept. 1, the daily bag limit is 10 Quail total. General pheasant season started Oct. 8 with a daily bag limit of 2 birds and continues through Dec. 31. Refer to the 2016 Oregon Game Bird Regulations for more information.

Waterfowl: This season has been an above average harvest year up to this point, as we progress into winter the season should become even more productive. Ponds on the Denman Wildlife Area are full, and the planted fields are being eaten by the waterfowl as soon as they are submerged. In order to improve your harvest success try to find landowners willing to let you hunt their private ponds this season. Consult page 20 of the Oregon Game Bird Regulations for more information.

Turkey Hunters

Father/Son team up on Norm's Longbeard
-Photo by Tod Nau-

Fall Turkey: Fall turkey season continues through Dec 31. There are a maximum of 4,000 tags issued on a first-come, first-served basis. If you were successful harvesting your first turkey you may purchase a second tag and continue to try and harvest a second. This fall turkey season has been very productive here in the Southwest Oregon, this is most likely due to the abundant turkey population we have in our area. Consult page 18 of the Oregon Game Bird Regulations for more information. The season continues to be productive with many birds being harvested by hunters.

Cougar season is open statewide year-round or until zone quotas are met. Almost all cougars are harvested when hunters are in pursuit of other species so be prepared and purchase a cougar tag this hunting season. Cougars travel many miles a day and often use major ridge lines to find prey, these ridge lines are location for predator calls. Unlike other predators, cougars will usually take longer to come in to predators calls so be prepared to sit for 1 hour or more.

Western Gray Squirrel is currently open for the part of the Rogue Unit south of Rogue River and S. Fork Rogue River and North of Hwy 140 where the season remains open year round with no bag limit. Squirrels can be found in oak or mixed conifer stands. This is a great animal to hunt for first time hunters.

Coyotes are abundant in our area. Remember to ask for permission to hunt on private lands. Hunter can find coyotes around meadows and brush piles where mice and rabbits are found. Predator calls are very useful when used in conjunction to known prey base.

Furbearers: November marks the beginning of trapping season throughout Oregon, and many of these seasons will continue until March 31 of next year. All furbearer populations in our area remain at healthy levels. Hunters should be aware that there are traps in the area and remember that it is against the law to disturb a legally set trap.

 Southwest Zone Wildlife Viewing

COOS COUNTY

Mute Swan Male
Mute Swan Male
- Photo by Simon Wray-

Viewing Note: Mute Swan

“There have been unconfirmed reports of a mute swan in Coos County outside of Coquille near Johnson Mill Pond (log pond).” If you see this bird, please take pictures and call your local ODFW office. Mute swans are considered invasive species in Oregon.

Fish Viewing

Fall Chinook salmon spawn through mid-December with peak viewing in mid-November. Best viewing areas include Millicoma Interpretive Center, LaVerne Park on the North Fork Coquille (look for them in the swimming hole and jumping at the falls), Frona Park on the East Fork Coquille River, and Baker Creek Boat Ramp on the South Fork Coquille River.

Marine Mammals

Seal and sea lion abundance in coastal waters around Coos County is high at this time of year, especially south of Coos Bay. At Simpson Reef, a heavily used haul out exists. From the lookout, viewers can see California sea lions, Steller sea lions, harbor seals and elephant seals. Do not approach seals and sea lions you may find on Oregon beaches. If you think an animal you find is in trouble, contact your local ODFW office to report the animal or contact the Marine Mammal Stranding Network an (800) 452-7888.

Waterfowl

Waterfowl numbers are increasing on the south coast presently. Very large numbers of scoters and and other birds like western/Clark’s grebes can be found in Coos Bay near Charleston. An observer with a spotting scope or binoculars should be able to pick out surf scoters, black scoters and white-winged scoters. There also may be ruddy ducks and greater scaup. A good vantage point can be found at the end of Point Adams, located on Boat Basin Drive, just past the ODFW office.

Seabirds

A variety of seabirds are easily seen along the coast when storms begin to come onshore. Many are only seen close to shore when they congregate in the lee of headlands, rocks and points. Large numbers of Western grebes, common murres and others less common birds like rhinoceros auklets and marbled murrelets are easily seen during these weather events. Those interested in seeing these birds need to know what the surf conditions are and they need to never turn their back to the ocean if they venture close to the shore. Unexpected waves are possible. Also beware of slippery rocks and soil on cliffs.11/15/2016

DOUGLAS COUNTY

Acorn Woodpecker –Look for this loud and vocal woodpecker in Roseburg at River Forks Park, N. Bank Mgt. area and Whistlers Park. Since this woodpecker is a hoarder, look for signs of a granary in the bark of large pine trees that are used to store insects and acorns in cracks and crevices.

Hummingbirds –Most hummingbirds will be looking to migrate south to warmer climates this time of year. If food is reliable, some species, such as the Anna’s Hummingbird, will hang around locally. Avoid the commercial hummingbird mixture you can buy in the store since the red dye can produce digestive problems for these small birds. Remember that you can make your own hummingbird food utilizing 4 parts water to 1 part sugar ratio but always make sure the sugar goes completely into solution before hanging up for use.

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing
-Photo by Martyne Reesman-

Migrating Birds - Many species of birds have migrated or are starting their southward migration so look for species congregating at roosts and feeders or in the air just before or during migration. Some migratory species to watch are: ospreys, turkey vultures, swifts, swallows, cedar waxwings, and some species of flycatchers, warblers, finches and shorebirds.

Winter Raptors – Many different raptors are starting to move into the Umpqua Valley for the season. These birds of prey will winter in the valley and can be viewed by traveling rural roads and watching trees, perches and fence lines. Watch for Bald Eagles, golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, harriers, kites, peregrine falcons, kestrels and more as they hunt and hunker down in our valley’s moderate winter climate.

Gamebirds –Coveys of California quail are common on the Umpqua Valley floor usually associated with blackberry cover and water. Many blue and ruffed grouse and their young are found in mid to high elevation forested areas in our local mountains. Wild turkeys are very common throughout the Umpqua Valley, usually on private lands in oak savannah habitat. Most pheasants are found in central Douglas County associated with pastures and ranches.

Deer – Columbian White-tailed deer and black-tailed deer can be seen throughout much of the Umpqua Valley’s agricultural lands in strong numbers. Watch for bucks chasing does as the rutting season approaches. Be careful driving roads through deer habitat during the rut, since deer can be more focused on breeding than on their safe crossing of roads.

Elk – Roosevelt elk can be viewed taking advantage of the Umpqua Valley’s agricultural lands. Many local grass producers are visited nightly by large herds of elk that can be viewed during early morning and evening hours as they move between food and cover.

Waterfowl – Ducks and geese are concentrating around ponds, lakes, wetlands and flooded fields throughout Douglas County. Trying to identify which of the 11 different varieties of Canadian Geese present can be challenging to both seasoned goose hunters and bird watchers.

Wading Shore Birds and Pelicans – Plat I Reservoir, Ford’s Pond, Cooper Creek Reservoir and other bodies of water in Douglas County are great places to watch for wading shore birds. White Pelicans have become yearly visitors to Plat I Reservoir and have been spotted in recent weeks.

JACKSON and JOSEPHINE COUNTIES

Rogue Valley Audubon Society

The Rogue Valley Audubon Society will be having their annual Medford Christmas bird count on Saturday, Dec. 17. In addition the Ashland Christmas bird count will be held on Thursday, Dec. 29. More information

Denman Wildlife Area

Take one of two trails off Touvelle Road and enjoy birdwatching and sightseeing. This is the time of year when the wildlife area greens up with variety of flowers and wildlife. Below the fourth pond and to the north, you will find the newly built horse trail (2.5 mile) that provides great views of the Upper Table Rock and opportunities to see birds that live in oak trees, wedge leaf ceanothus and areas of riparian vegetation along the Little Butte Creek. The trail to the south that runs along the forth pond dike is our interpretive trail, come in to the office and pick up and interpretive trail guide. You will learn of some of the history of the wildlife area and the different environment unique to our area. A wide variety of wildlife can be found along this 1 ½ mile trail.

A covered viewing station on the Denman Wildlife Area provides a good opportunity to view waterfowl, egrets, raptors and songbirds. The structure was built by the Oregon Hunters Association and is accessed by a paved, ADA-accessible pathway. Two additional fishing dikes have been created on Whetstone pond to provide more fishing access, it is possible to catch bass, bluegill, bullhead catfish, and carp. The pond is located just north of the ODFW Rogue Watershed Field Office in Central Point.

A prescribed burn was conducted on the Denman Wildlife Area near Little Butte Creek last month for habitat restoration and enhancement. This newly opened area could potentially be a good spot to view wildlife frequenting the area and benefiting from the habitat improvement.

American Wigeon
American Wigeon Pair
- Photo by Kathy Munsel-

Seasonal ponds on the wildlife area almost full with water bringing in the ducks, geese, and other birds. There are several fields that flood on the Hall Tract behind Whetstone pond, these fields were planted with a variety of grains and grasses for waterfowl to feed on once they fill with water. In addition on the Military Slough unit at the end of Touvelle Rd there are some fields that have started to flood of which were also planted this past summer. 11/15/2016

Waterfowl

This is the time of year that many different species of waterfowl are migrating through our area. Look for them near rivers and other bodies of water. Wetlands and marsh areas can also be a great place to seen geese feeding. There is a wide variety of duck species to observe as well as a few species of geese. Recent stormy weather in our area has brought in many migrating ducks, because of this the next few weeks will be a great time to view many different species of waterfowl as they pass through our area.

On the Coast

Shorebirds are currently migrating south and can be observed on area beaches and the Rogue Bay. Ospreys are actively fishing in the Rogue estuary and also nesting on the Lower Rogue. Several nests are observable from the Jerry Flat Road along the Rogue River.

For a great birding trail along the southern coast, visit Oregon Birding Trails. (11/15/2016)


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