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

Weekly Recreation Report: Southwest Zone

February 14, 2016

 Southwest Zone Fishing

steelhead
Winter Steelhead caught on N. Umpqua on fly tied by Travis Walter.
-Photo by Gavin Weaver-

Weekend fishing opportunities:

  • Several area rivers are in shape and producing good numbers of winter steelhead. They include the North and South Umpqua, Coos and Coquille basin rivers, Illinois and the lower Rogue. River levels are expected to rise later this week through the weekend, so now is the time to get out on the water!
  • Perch fishing has been good around the Umpqua estuary.
  • Garrison Lake usually holds good numbers of holdover trout in the 14 to 18-inch range and ODFW recently planted recycled adult hatchery steelhead into the lake.
  • Some anglers are enjoying ice fishing at Diamond and Fish lakes.
  • REMINDER: The use of two rods is not currently authorized in rivers and streams, but is restricted to standing water bodies like lakes, ponds and reservoirs.

Ice-fishing safety

With several water bodies beginning to ice over, it’s a good time to be reminded that anglers should always use caution during first-ice conditions. Take the following precautions: use the “buddy system,” wear a PFD in case of thin ice, carry a throw-rope, and use a heavy metal staff to check for thin-ice. REMINDER: The state of Oregon does not allow human-made ice holes larger than 12-inches in diameter or length.

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.

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 92 percent full and the boat ramp is open from dawn until dusk. Fishing for warmwater species is slow with cooler weather.

APPLEGATE RESERVOIR: largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, trout

Trout fishing has been fair to good. Anglers have been catching trout up to 16-inches. 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 currently much higher than normal for this date and all boat ramp should be accessible but the lake elevation will lower as the Corps of Engineers adjusts back to rule curve.

APPLEGATE RIVER: winter steelhead, trout

The Applegate River is open for trout and steelhead fishing but the river is currently very high and off color. Only hatchery steelhead may be retained and anglers must take care in releasing wild fish. Steelhead fishing in the Applegate is usually slow in February, however, with the high flows we have had this year, fishing could be good once outflow out of the dam decreases and the river clears. Wild trout must be released unharmed.

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 Site, approximately half way between Gold Beach and Port Orford.

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

Ben Irving was stocked with 5,000 trout in 2016, and there are still opportunities to catch carry-over rainbows from last year’s stockings. Warmwater fishing for bass, crappie and bluegill is likely slow with the cooler temperatures. Ben Irving is scheduled to be stocked in early March.

Steelhead
Steelhead
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

CHETCO RIVER: winter steelhead

High flows are expected through the week. Bank anglers will have the best chance to start picking up steelhead as flows drop below 10,000 cfs. Steelhead fishing was good prior to the recent high water and should fish well once flows drop.

The angler-caught winter steelhead broodstock program has been very successful this year, with both boat and bank anglers donating steelhead to the Chetco River hatchery program. The program will run until the end of February.

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. Cooper Creek was recently stocked with several hundred trophy size trout and about 1,000 legal-size trout.

COOS COUNTY LAKES/PONDS: trout

A few hatchery male steelhead were stocked into Middle Empire Lake this week to allow anglers for more opportunity. Fishing regulations for these stocked steelhead in Empire Lakes are just like the trout regulations. Anglers can keep 1 fish over 20 inches per day and only need their fishing license.

Fishing for trout in other area lakes has been slow. Trout stocking in area lakes will start at the end of February/early March.

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

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

Currently all steelhead rivers in the Coos Basin are high and muddy. The West Fork Millicoma River will be the first river to clear. When water conditions are good, anglers are still catching fish throughout the Coos Basin. Anglers are drifting eggs or corkies along the stream bottom or using a jig suspended under a bobber. Anglers fishing the South Fork Coos River above Dellwood will need a permit from Weyerhaeuser, which they can pick up at the Dellwood office. In the Coos Basin 1 additional hatchery steelhead may be retained per day for a total aggregate of 3 adult fish harvested daily.

Anglers have been catching a few rockfish and surfperch 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). The 7 fish marine bag limit will remain in place, with these adjustments for 2017: Create a sub-bag limit of 6 black rockfish, Remove the sub-bag limit for canary rockfish, Add China/quillback/ copper rockfishes to the sub-bag limit with blue/Deacon rockfish and change the limit from 3 to 4. Finally remove the 10-inch minimum size for kelp greenling. Retention of cabezon is not allowed until July 1.

Recreational crabbing is still open inside the Coos Bay estuary. Crabbing has been decent in Coos Bay but crabbers will need to sort through several short crab to find keepers. Crabbing from a boat has been better than crabbing from the dock but dock crabbers are picking up a few legal crabs.

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.

All of the Coquille Basin steelhead rivers were high and muddy this past weekend. Anglers have been catching hatchery steelhead at LaVerne Park on the North Fork Coquille River and on the South Fork Coquille River from Powers downstream to Broadbent. Bank anglers have been plunking with Spin-n-Glos and bait near the town of Coquille. Anglers have had success drifting eggs or corkies. In the Coquille Basin 1 additional hatchery steelhead may be retained per day for a total aggregate of 3 adult fish harvested daily.

Recreational crabbing is open in the Coquille estuary but crabbing is very slow due to the large amounts of freshwater coming downstream.

DIAMOND LAKE: trout

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

Diamond Lake
Diamond Lake
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Anglers that are planning on taking a trip to Diamond Lake should check with the Umpqua National Forest (541-498-2531) for information on seasonal camp and ramp closures. 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. Diamond Lake is open year-round and ice fishing can be a fun pastime during this season.

There are plenty of legal-sized holdover trout currently in the lake from previous year’s stockings, and there have been reports of anglers catching trout through the ice. Standard ice fishing jigs, bait such as worms, and Powerbait should provide anglers excellent opportunities for catching trout at Diamond. Make sure to contact Diamond Lake Lodge for the most up-to-date report on ice conditions. 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 and unharmed if caught.

ELK RIVER: steelhead

High. Anglers were picking up good numbers of steelhead prior to the high flows. Anglers can call 541-332-0405 to get the daily river conditions. Best river height is 5.3 feet and dropping.

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

Emigrant Reservoir is currently at 69 percent of capacity. The Jackson County boat ramp is now useable. Fishing for warmwater species is slow with the cooler weather. Trout are still available.

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

The amphitheater pond at the Expo was stocked with 1,500 legal-sized rainbow trout in late fall 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

The lake is frozen and anglers have reported catching tiger trout fishing through the ice using a small ice fly and meal worm. Additionally, 900 trophy trout were released the week of Sept. 19-23. The reservoir is now 49 percent full.

Anglers must remember that Sno-Park permits are needed between Nov. 1 and April 30. Rainbow trout, brook trout, landlocked spring Chinook salmon and tiger trout are available. Anglers are encouraged to report catches of larger spring Chinook or tiger trout to the local ODFW district office at 541-826-8774. Tiger trout must be released unharmed.

FLORAS LAKE: rainbow, cutthroat trout

Higher water conditions in Floras Creek will probably back water in the lake. Anglers may want to wait until flows recede before fishing the lake. The 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 been stocked with coho smolts 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 was stocked with about 8,000 legal-size trout and 50 five-pound trophy trout in 2016, and a good number of those fish should still be available as holdovers for harvest. Galesville is scheduled to be stocking in early March.

Fishing for bass and other panfish is likely slow with cooler temperatures. Call 541-837-3302 for information on camping and boat launching conditions.

Lake of the Woods
Lake of the Woods
-ODFW Photo-

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. The lakes are likely inaccessible due to snow.

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 mostly frozen at this time but anglers should use caution until it is completely frozen. The lake is now 56 percent full. 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. 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

Hyatt is frozen but anglers should test the ice before venturing out. Various techniques including bait fishing and ice flies should provide some action while enjoying some high mountain ice fishing. The reservoir is 54 percent full. Boat ramps are closed for the season.

ILLINOIS RIVER: trout, steelhead

Wild steelhead over 24-inches long may be harvested in the Illinois between Klondike Creek and Pomeroy Dam (located near Cave Junction); 1 per day and 5 per year. Fishing is restricted to artificial flies and lures. The Illinois River is open for trout fishing. The Illinois is currently in great shape for fishing. Rain later this week could dirty things briefly but expect great fishing conditions for the weekend.

LAKE MARIE: rainbow trout, yellow perch

Lake Marie was stocked with 5,000 legal trout in 2016. Most anglers use PowerBait or worms to catch trout and yellow perch.

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

The reservoir may be difficult to access due to snow conditions. Contact Lemolo Lake Resort at 541-957-8354 for weather/road conditions and additional information.

The reservoir was stocked with 4,500 rainbow trout in 2016. There are also excellent opportunities to catch large brown trout in Lemolo. Lemolo is scheduled to be stocked with rainbow trout in early March.

Kokanee in Lemolo are considered trout and therefore fall under the daily limit for trout of five per day with only one of those measuring over 20-inches.

LOON LAKE: rainbow trout, bass, bluegill

Loon Lake was stocked with 7,500 legal-size rainbow trout in 2016. Loon is scheduled to be stocked in early March. Fishing for crappie, bluegill and bass is likely slow with the cooler temperatures, but there are still opportunities to catch these fish with slower presentations such as jigging. 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. 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. Anglers were successful trolling around the dam and throughout the lake below Peyton Bridge. Storm runoff has increased turbidity in the upper part of the lake but fish are biting closer to the dam.

Surface water temperatures have dropped to 43 degrees and the winter 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.
Rainbow Trout

Rainbow Trout
-Photo by Jim Yuskavitch, ODFW-

MEDCO POND: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, bluegill

Four hundred trout pounders were stocked in Medco in the fall 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, crab

Recreational crab harvesting is OPEN along the entire coast from the Columbia River to the California border.

Bottom fishing has been good when the ocean conditions allow.

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.

Surf perch fishing has been good when ocean swells are small. Surf perch anglers will do the best fishing with sand shrimp or Berkely Gulp sand worms.

PLAT I RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, bass

Plat I was stocked with 4,500 legal-size trout in 2016. 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. Plat I is scheduled to be stocked in early March.

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 late last fall and fishing should continue to be good. Fishing for warmwater species will slow with cooler weather.

ROGUE RIVER

Rogue River, lower: steelhead

High and muddy.

Rogue River, middle: steelhead, trout

The Rogue is currently dropping into shape with plunking being the preferred method right now. If the forecast rain doesn’t muddy it up again expect all fishing techniques to produce fish this weekend. Try fishing with nightcrawlers, spinners, and side drifted roe. Nymphing flies is also very effective. Pressure has been light and fishing has been slow to fair. Consult the 2017 fishing regulations for winter steelhead harvest information.

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: steelhead, trout

The upper Rogue is currently fishable. Remember that the river is much clearer from Big Butte Creek to Cole Rivers Hatchery providing an opportunity to fish for steelhead and trout when the rest of the river is not fishable. Anglers can keep 5 hatchery rainbow trout per day. Non-adipose fin-clipped rainbow trout and all cutthroat trout must be immediately released unharmed.

Note that beginning Jan. 1, the upper Rogue is open to bait, lures and flies from Fishers ferry boat ramp to the deadline at Cole Rivers hatchery. Consult the 2017 Oregon Sport fishing Regulations for more information.

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

rogue river
Rogue River above Lost Creek
-Photo by Rick Swart, ODFW-

As of Feb. 7, a total of 3,795 summer steelhead have entered the hatchery, with 52 new fish entering for the week. The hatchery also collected 29 winter steelhead bringing the total to 51. The average outflow from Lost Creek reservoir as of Feb. 7 is 3,100 cfs. For more flow and temp information, see link below.

Up to date flow and temp information

Rogue River, above Lost Creek Reservoir: trout

The upper Rogue is currently covered in snow; however, there are fish and if you find a safe place to do some fishing try using bait as the trout are slow to move due to very cold water temperatures.

SMITH RIVER, Umpqua: striped bass, steelhead

The Smith often clears before others in the Umpqua Basin after high flows.

Winter steelhead fishing opened on Dec. 1 upstream to Bridge 10 (approx. 14.5 miles up the N.F. Smith R. rd.) on the North Fork Smith and upstream to Sisters Creek on the mainstem, and there have been recent reports of anglers catching steelhead on the mainstem. Retention is only allowed on adipose fin-clipped steelhead. Fishing should currently be solid with lower water levels but river levels are expected to rise this weekend.

Sturgeon fishing is catch-and-release only. The daily limit for striped bass is two per 24-hour period. Trout and Chinook are closed.

SODA SPRINGS RESERVOIR: closed

TENMILE BASIN: trout, bass, steelhead

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.

A few steelhead have been reported in Tenmile Creek. Anglers will have success plunking near the acclimation sites or fishing a jig under a bobber. Eel Creek is now open to steelhead fishing. In the Tenmile Basin 1 additional hatchery steelhead may be retained per day for a total aggregate of 3 adult fish harvested daily.

Largemouth bass fishing has been slow. Anglers are catching bass near structure or on the deep end of the weed lines using jigs or rubber worms.

TOKETEE LAKE: brown trout, rainbow trout

Fishing is open in Toketee year-round, but weather conditions may prevent access. 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 are: Calamut, Connie, Bullpup, Fuller, Cliff, Buckeye, Maidu, Twin “b”, Pitt lake and Skookum. 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 as many lakes are likely difficult to access do to snow.

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. The mainstem has slowly been dropping into shape, and there have been reports of decent numbers of steelhead being caught throughout the mainstem. Steelhead fishing should continue to be solid, but river levels are expected to rise this weekend.

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.

UMPQUA RIVER, NORTH: steelhead

Winter steelhead are being caught throughout the North Umpqua, and there were a number of reports of steelhead being caught this past weekend. Watch the river gauges (North Umpqua River water levels at Winchester Dam) as water levels are expected to rise this weekend.

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, 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.

steelhead
It's a keeper!
South Umpqua River Steelhead
-Photo by Uriah Kuehl-

UMPQUA RIVER, SOUTH: steelhead

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

Good numbers of steelhead are being caught up to and above Canyonville and anglers are hooking into a few hatchery fish. The river just recently dropped into shape, and water levels are expected to rise this weekend into.

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

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 currently open as water levels have rebounded nicely.

WINCHESTER BAY: bottomfish, perch

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

WINCHUCK RIVER: winter steelhead

High and muddy. The river clears pretty quickly and may be fishable by the end of the weekend or early next week.

  Southwest Zone Hunting

OPEN: COUGAR

SW Oregon 1st come, 1st serve spring bear tags sold out Jan. 30.

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.

COOS COUNTY

Wilson's Snipe
Wilson's Snipe
- Photo by Charlotte Ganskopp-

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.

Wilson’s Snipe season closes Feb. 19. 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.

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. Remember a 2017 cougar tag and license is needed to hunt as of Jan. 1.

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.

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.

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 closed. If you purchased one of the Southwest Limited Spring Bear tags, start to scout for the earliest green up areas for the hunt that starts April 1st. Look towards south facing grassy slopes and ridgelines and lush meadow/creek bottom areas where the skunk cabbage grows the thickest.

Grouse & Quail - Upland Gamebird season is currently closed.

Waterfowl - Duck and goose seasons are closed.

Furbearers – Gray fox, mink, muskrat, river otter, bobcat, and beaver harvest seasons are currently open. Bobcat and river otter pelts can be checked in at the Roseburg Field Office on Mondays from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. An appointment is necessary to insure we can provide the best customer service. Call 541-440-3353 to set up an appointment.

JACKSON, JOSEPHINE, CURRY COUNTIES

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.

Wilson’s Snipe season closes Feb. 19. Snipe is another challenging bird to hunt for they are small, fast and erratic low-flying birds that can be hard to identify. Be sure to know how to differentiate it from killdeer and other shorebirds before you hunt. Snipe may be spooked in areas where there are high numbers of hunters but other times a person can walk up on them. Snipe almost always emit a call when they take off in flight. The best time to hunt snipe will be late fall and winter months. Denman Wildlife Area has decent numbers of snipe.

Cougar
Cougar
- Royalty Free Image-

Cougar season is open statewide year-round or until zone quotas are met (see zone quota page). 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. It is a good idea to use specific cougar sounds in conjunction with a general prey distress sound, cougar whistles can be one of these very useful sound while calling. Unlike other species cougars will come in slowly and spend lots of time looking for the source of the sound. So be sure to remain very still and keep your eyes open for the cougars head only, as they will often peer around an obstacle to get a better view while remaining hidden. This time of year can be productive by driving roads after a fresh snow and looking for cougar tracks. By doing this you can narrow down the area worth setting up and calling. There is a mandatory check in of all cougars harvested within 10 days of the after harvest; the unfrozen skull, hide, and proof of sex must be taken to an ODFW office during normal business hours. If a female cougar is harvested it is also mandatory to bring in the reproductive tract in order to gain valuable population data. For more information refer to page 34 of the 2017 Oregon Big Game Hunting Regulations.

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

Viewing Note: Mute Swan

Stellar Sealion
Steller Sea Lions - Rogue Reef
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

“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.

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 high presently in the Coos and Coquille drainage systems, but that may be hard to believe due to the fact that these birds are widely scattered presently. Large amounts of precipitation lately has resulted is extensively inundated agricultural lands throughout Coos County and other parts of the coast. Those who are interested in seeing these birds should spend their time searching the upper extents of tributaries of the Coos and Coquille drainages where agricultural lands exist. Birds will, generally not move into the forested extend of these drainages in large numbers.

Seabirds

Seabird abundance seem to have declined recently in the coastal portions of Coos County. This may be due to the large amount of precipitation this fall. However, there are still birds here to view. The Charleston Marina and the lower Coquille River at Bullards Beach Park are good places to spend time looking. 12/20/2016

DOUGLAS COUNTY

Golden Eagle
Golden Eagle
Photo by Nick Myatt, ODFW

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.

Deer – Columbian White-tailed deer and black-tailed deer can be seen throughout much of the Umpqua Valley’s agricultural lands in strong numbers.

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– 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.

Turkeys – Turkeys are abundant on the Umpqua Valley floor. With the colder weather, their numbers will be concentrated around limited food sources. Look for these birds within the oak savannah habitat and surrounding oak woodlands where food and roosting resources are available. ODFW does not recommend feeding turkeys as these concentrated birds do a significant amount of damage to properties and buildings when concentrated around baited sites within residential and agricultural areas.

Amphibians - As temperatures start to warm up on the valley floor, pacific (chorus) tree frogs will start to vocalize around ponds, puddles and ditches as they prepare for breeding. Listen for them on warmer days and evenings.

Owls - Start to listen for Great Horned Owls and smaller owls calling in the evenings and early morning near local wooded habitats.

JACKSON and JOSEPHINE COUNTIES

Project Feeder Watch is a continent-wide citizen science program that uses citizen to count and identify birds visiting backyard bird feeders and other location. This program continues through March. If interested visit web page for more info.

Rogue Valley Audubon Society

First Wednesday of the month bird counts at Agate Lake. On the first Wednesday of every month the Rogue Valley Audubon Society gathers at Agate Lake outside of White City to conduct a bird count. The event is open to the public and starts at 8:30am.

Denman Wildlife Area

Denman Wildlife Area

Denman Wildlife Area
-Photo by Bob Swingle-

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 fall for habitat restoration and enhancement. This newly opened area could potentially be a sgood spot to view wildlife frequenting the area and benefiting from the habitat improvement

Thanks to a couple of high school seniors from a Medford school, several sections of trail have been improved upon by putting a thick layer of bark down to prevent excess water and mud. The students completed their project last week and now a large section of the Denman Interpretive trail should be much more enjoyable to hike. The Denman Interpretive trail provides a great opportunity to view many different species of wildlife. Deer, beavers, river otters, and a large variety of bird species are just some of the many species you have the chance of running into.

Red-naped Sapsucker

The Red-naped Sapsucker is a member of the woodpecker family; it is characterized by the red on its nape as well as its throat. They are short distance migrants that winter in woodlands and aspen groves. Common in the Rocky Mountains and low lying state lands it is seldom seen as far west as the Rogue Valley, however during the past few weeks there have been sightings near Emigrant Lake in Ashland. It gets its name from its coloration as well as its feeding behavior. The Red-naped Sapsucker will drill tiny holes in tree bark in neat rows, then return to feed on the sap that leaks out.

Wilson's Snipe
Wilson's Snipe
- Photo by Maxine Wyatt-

Bohemian Waxwing

There have been recent sightings of Bohemian Waxwings along the Pacific Crest Trail and in the Soda Mountain National Monument outside of Ashland. This is a very interesting looking bird that is not commonly seen in our area.

Snipe

Snipe are small, fast and erratic low-flying birds that can be hard to identify. They can be easily confused with killdeer and other shorebirds. Snipe are found in muddy or shallow water areas feeding on insects. Snipe almost always emit a call when they take off in flight. Denman Wildlife Area has decent numbers of snipe.

Crows

Crows and Raven are similar to each other. Crows are smaller in size (17.5 inches) with smaller beaks with fan shape tail in flight and they make a caw sound. Whereas ravens are larger (24 inches) with long heavy bills, wedge shaped tail, with a low, drawn-out croak call and are protected.

For a great birding trail along the southern coast, visit Oregon Birding Trails. (1/17/2017)


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