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

Weekly Recreation Report: Southwest Zone

May 3, 2016

 Southwest Zone Fishing

steelhead
My first steelhead 34" 13.6lbs
-Photo by Uriah Kuehl-

Weekend fishing opportunities:

  • Spring Chinook fishing has been improving around Rock Creek on the North Umpqua.
  • Diamond Lake is clear of ice and should provide excellent fishing opportunities.
  • The South Umpqua River is closed to all angling through May 21.
  • Surplus hatchery steelhead were recently released in Garrison Lake, which also has a fair number of trout and offers viable alternative to streams.
  • Bottom-fishing has been good at Winchester Bay.
  • This time of year, winter steelhead anglers should keep an eye on river conditions and be ready to hit the rivers as waters start to drop and clear.
  • Bass fishing in Tenmile Lakes and on the Coquille River have been heating up the past couple of weeks.

If your favorite fishing spot is no longer listed

It’s probably because that river, lake or reservoir is closed for the season, inaccessible due to snow and bad roads, or offers limited fishing opportunities during the winter months. These water bodies will re-appear in the Recreation Report when they re-open next spring, or when access and/or opportunity improves.

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.

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. Vexilar’s Ice Fishing Today website has a quick 2-minute video describing how to be safe during early ice.

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

Fishing for warmwater gamefish has been good. Largemouth bass, crappie, and other warmwater species can be found around structure along the shore. The lake is full and the boat ramp is open from 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. daily.

APPLEGATE RESERVOIR: largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, trout

Applegate Reservoir has been stocked with legal-sized rainbow trout. Anglers have reported good success on larger, older trout as well. Still fishing with bait or trolling a fly, lure, or wedding ring/bait combination should produce trout. Fishing for largemouth bass and smallmouth bass should be improving as the bass move into shallow water. The lake is 97 percent full. The Hart-Tish, Copper, and French Gulch boat ramps are available.

APPLEGATE RIVER: steelhead, trout

The Applegate River is closed to angling until May 22.

ARIZONA POND: rainbow trout

This is a small pond and provides for some great fishing. Some of the best techniques for catching these trout are bobber and worm, spinners, or flies. The pond is managed by Oregon State Parks for youth-only fishing and is located at Arizona Beach State Recreation Area; approximately halfway between Gold Beach and Port Orford.

Ben Irving Reservoir
Ben Irving Reservoir
-Photo by Rick Swart, ODFW-

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

Ben Iriving has been stocked with 4,000 legal trout so far this year, and there are still opportunities to catch rainbow trout from previous year’s stockings. Warmwater fishing for bass, crappie and bluegill should begin to pick up as water temperatures increase and fish move into shallower areas to spawn. The use of soft-plastics and swimbaits around structure should warrant positive results.

BURMA POND: rainbow trout

Burma Pond, located on BLM land east of the town of Wolf Creek, has been stocked with legal-sized rainbow trout. Largemouth bass are also available.

CHETCO RIVER:

Closed to angling until May 22.

COOPER CREEK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, bass, bluegill

Cooper Creek has been stocked with approximately 6,400 legal and 400 pounder size rainbow trout in 2016. Fishing for bass and bluegill should improve as water temperatures increase and fish move into shallower areas.

COOS COUNTY LAKES/PONDS: trout, warmwater fish

Bluebill Lake is scheduled to be stocked with legal size trout this week. Trophy and legal size trout were recently stocked into Empire Lakes and Powers Pond. Bradley Lake, Butterfield Lake, Saunders Lake, Sru Lake, Tenmile Lakes, and Empire Lakes are all scheduled to be stocked this week with legal size trout.

Anglers that catch a tagged trout in Empire Lakes can report the tag number to ODFW by stopping by the Charleston Office, calling 541-888-5515, or report tags online. A few of these tags are worth a $50 gift card. Fishing in the area lakes for trout has been ok with anglers having the best success using small spinners, spoons, or garlic flavored Powerbait. The daily trout bag limit in these lakes is five trout per day with only one trout over 20 inches.

Bradley Lake will be stocked from the boat ramp this week. Late last week an aquatic vegetation harvester cut and removed most of the aquatic vegetation at the boat ramp. There should be plenty of water for bank anglers to fish off the dock at the boat ramp.

There are trout available for kids in the Millicoma Pond at the Millicoma Interpretive Center and fishing is excellent. Millicoma Pond is set aside for kids fishing only and is a great chance for them to hook into fish. Please call before traveling to Millicoma Pond to make sure the gates are open. The phone number is (541)267-2557.

Largemouth bass fishing is picking up with the warmer days. This time of the year bass will be found in shallow water typically near a weedline or structure. Plastic worms, shallow crankbaits, and spinner baits are good to use for bass. Bluegills will also be found in shallow water along weed lines this time of the year.

COOS RIVER BASIN: Dungeness crab, bay clams, rockfish

Trout season opens in rivers and streams on May 22.

Anglers have been catching rockfish along the jetties, submerged rock piles, and also along the railroad trestle. 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 cabezon is prohibited from January 1 through June 30.

Crabbing has been decent to slow with the best crabbing near high tide. It is still recommended you discard the crab viscera (guts/butter) before cooking.

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. Due to low tide exchanges this week, the next good opportunity to dig bay clams will be in a week. Recreational harvest of razor clams is closed for Tillamook Head south to the California border 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, smallmouth bass

Trout season opens in rivers and streams on May 22.

Fishing for smallmouth bass is starting to pick up in the South Fork Coquille and mainstem. Jigs, crawdad crankbaits, and nightcrawlers will all work to catch smallmouth bass. This is a good time of the year to catch bigger smallmouth bass.

A few striped bass have been caught fishing crankbaits on the mainstem Coquille River from the town of Coquille and Arago Boat Ramp.

Crabbing has been slow in the lower Coquille. It is still recommended you discard the crab viscera (guts/butter) before cooking.

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.

The ice has melted off of Diamond Lake and fishing should be excellent in the open-water. Diamond Lake is expected to be stocked with over 300,000 fingerling rainbow trout around early June, and there are plenty of legal-sized holdover trout currently in the lake.

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.

DUTCH HERMAN POND: rainbow trout, largemouth bass

Dutch Herman Pond, located on BLM land east of the town of Wolf Creek, was stocked last week with legal-sized rainbow trout.

ELK RIVER:

Closed to angling until May 22.
Emigrant Lake
Fishing on Emigrant Lake
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

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

Emigrant was stocked last week with legal-sized rainbow trout. Still fishing with bait or using lures that will put off vibrations in the water will be most effective. Warmwater fishing should be good. Look for these species around the flooded willows and other structure along the shore. Emigrant Reservoir is currently at 98 percent of capacity.

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

Due to construction, trout stocking has been switched to the southern-most pond at the Jackson County Expo, which was stocked last week with another 1,500 legal-sized rainbow trout. Access to this pond is available at gate 1.5. Fishing for largemouth bass, bluegill, and crappie has been good.

FISH LAKE: rainbow trout, brook trout, spring Chinook

Fish Lake has been stocked with legal-sized rainbow trout. Brook trout, landlocked spring Chinook salmon, and tiger trout are also available. The lake is 67 percent full. The Forest Service boat ramp is open. The Fish lake Resort restaurant, boat launch, and campground are also open. 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

The best method for catching trout is slow trolling flies or wedding ring spinners from a boat. Bank access is limited. This time of year anglers will want to keep an eye on the weather before heading out.

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 6,000 legal size trout and 50 trophy trout over five pounds each this year.

Bass fishing should improve as we move towards warmer spring temperatures. Fishing for bass and other panfish with the use of bait and artificial lures such as swimbaits around structure should give positive results. Call 541-837-3302 for information on camping and boat launching conditions.

GARRISON LAKE: rainbow, cutthroat trout

This is the first year of increased trophy trout stockings. Anglers can do quite well just fishing from the docks at the 12th Street boat ramp, but a boat is the most effective way to fish the lake. This is the time of year to keep an eye on the weather and fish when weather conditions are good.

HEMLOCK LAKE & LAKE IN THE WOODS & Umpqua High Lakes: 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.

Stocking for 2016 should begin in May as road/lake conditions allow, and there are still 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:

Howard Prairie will be stocked this week with 5,725 legal-sized and 400 trophy rainbow trout. Fishing for trout has been fair for anglers still-fishing with Powerbait or trolling lures. Many of the trout caught have been in the 15 to 20-inch range. The boat ramp and marina at the Howard Prairie Resort are open. The boat ramp at Willow Point is open as well. The lake is now 70 percent full.

HYATT LAKE:

Hyatt Lake will be stocked this week with 6,000 legal-sized and 400 trophy-sized rainbow trout, so trout fishing should be good. The reservoir is now 74 percent full. The campgrounds and boat ramps are still closed. Anglers can find bank access and places to launch small boats along the west shore.

steelhead
Winter steelhead
-Photo by Derek Wilson-

ILLINOIS RIVER: trout, steelhead

The Illinois River is closed to angling until May 22.

LAKE MARIE: rainbow trout, yellow perch

Lake Marie has been stocked with 3,000 legal trout this year. Most anglers use PowerBait or worms. Perch fishing should continue to be productive for those using worms on the bottom.

LAKE SELMAC: trout, largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie

Selmac has been stocked with legal-sized rainbow trout. The bass bite has reportedly picked up with the warmer weather. Fishing for bluegill, crappie, and other warmwater species should be good on the warmer days.

LEMOLO RESERVOIR: brown trout, rainbow trout

This reservoir is stocked several times a year with rainbow trout of various sizes, and the lake has been stocked with 2,000 rainbow trout so far 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. Contact Lemolo Lake Resort at 541-957-8354 for weather/road conditions and additional information.

LOON LAKE: rainbow trout, bass, bluegill

Loon Lake has been stocked with 5,500 legal size rainbow trout this year. The lake should offer decent fishing for crappie, bluegill and bass,and anglers should use slow presentations with lures or bait for best results as water temperatures increase. Visit the BLM and Loon Lake Resort websites for information on opening dates and camping this summer.

LOST CREEK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, spring Chinook, bass

Lost Creek Reservoir was stocked last week with 10,000 legal-sized and 800 trophy-sized rainbow trout. Anglers fishing powerbait near the dam have caught good numbers of planters, while boat anglers trolling shallow in the lower areas of the reservoir have caught more big trout. A wedding ring/bait combination can be very effective at Lost Creek, along with small-sized Little Cleos and other lures. The lake is 96 percent full, and the surface temperature is currently 57 o F.

MEDCO POND: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, bluegill

Medco Pond will be stocked this week with 2,000 legal-sized rainbow trout, which should make for excellent trout fishing over the weekend.

PACIFIC OCEAN AND BEACHES: bottomfish, Dungeness crab, surf perch, salmon, halibut

Recreational harvest of crab is open along the entire Oregon Coast. It is still recommended you discard the crab viscera (guts/butter) before cooking.

Anglers fishing the beaches from Coos Bay to Bandon have been catching redtail surf perch. Sand shrimp or Berkley Gulp sand worms have been working the best for bait. Surf perch fishing is usually best on the incoming tide.

Recreational ocean salmon fishing from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt. is open for all salmon except coho salmon. Anglers are allowed two salmon per day with a minimum size for Chinook at 24 inches or larger. The selective coho (fin-clipped) season will open on June 25 with a quota of 26,000 coho.

The first All-Depth Halibut fishing days from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt. will be May 12-14. The Nearshore Halibut season will not open until June 1.
Fishing for bottom fish is now closed outside of a line approximating the 30-fathom curve. Fishing for black rockfish continues to be very good from Charleston to Bandon when the ocean is calm enough for anglers to get out on the water. Fishing for ling cod has been slow recently.

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. Retention of cabezon is prohibited from January 1 through June 30.

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?”

Reinhart Pond
Plat 1 Reservoir
-Photo by Rick Swart, ODFW-

PLAT I RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, bass

Plat I has been stocked with 3,000 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

Reinhart Pond was stocked last week with legal and pounder-sized rainbow trout, so trout fishing should be good. Angling for bass and other warmwater gamefish should be good as well.

ROGUE RIVER

Rogue River, lower: steelhead, spring Chinook, surf perch

Spring Chinook fishing continues to be hit and miss depending on river and weather conditions. Most fish are being caught by boat anglers as the river clears and drops.

Perch have been starting to show in good numbers at the mouth of the Rogue. One of the best spots to try is the sand spit extending from the south jetty into the mouth of the river. Anglers should check the marine forecast before heading out and fish when ocean swells are small and light winds are forecasted.

Rogue River, middle: steelhead, trout

The Rogue is closed to fishing for trout until May 22 to protect salmon and steelhead smolts migrating out to sea.

Fishing for winter steelhead is slowing down now that many of the fish have spawned and are headed downstream. The last day that anglers could harvest wild steelhead was April 30, so anglers must now release wild steelhead unharmed. The first few spring Chinook salmon of the season have been landed. Anglers are reminded that only hatchery Chinook with clipped adipose fins may be retained.

The flow at Grants Pass as of Monday morning was 3,490 cfs and the water temperature averaged 56o F. Turbidity was 3 NTUs. 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.
rogue river
Rogue River above Lost Creek
-Photo by Rick Swart, ODFW-

Rogue River, upper: steelhead, trout

The Rogue is closed to fishing for trout until May 22 to protect salmon and steelhead smolts migrating out to sea.

Fishing for winter steelhead is slowing down now that many of the fish have spawned and are headed downstream. The last day that anglers could harvest wild steelhead was April 30, so wild steelhead must now be released unharmed. Fishing for spring Chinook is picking up. Anglers are reminded that only hatchery Chinook with clipped adipose fins may be retained. As of April 27, 1,377 winter steelhead and 89 spring Chinook had been collected at Cole Rivers. The flow at Gold Ray was 3,260 cfs and the water temperature was 51o F on Monday morning. The release from Lost Creek Reservoir was 2,554 cfs with a temperature of 49o F.

Rogue River, above Lost Creek Reservoir: trout

Rainbow and brook trout are available.

SMITH RIVER, Umpqua: sturgeon, striped bass, steelhead

The Smith River mainstem is closed to angling above Spencer Creek through May 21, but angling for steelhead and striped bass is still open in tidewater below Spencer Creek. The North Fork Smith River is also closed above Johnson Creek through May 21. Retention of adipose fin-clipped steelhead is allowed in tidewater. Sturgeon fishing is catch-and-release only, and striped bass fishing should improve in May.

SODA SPRINGS RESERVOIR:

Closed to fishing.

SPALDING POND: rainbow trout

Spalding Pond has been stocked with legal-sized rainbow trout.

TENMILE BASIN: trout, steelhead, bass

Streams in the Tenmile Basin are closed for trout fishing until May 22. Tenmile Lakes is open all year for trout but trout fishing has been slow. Trout fishing in Tenmile Lakes has been slow but the lake was recently stocked with legal size rainbows.

Largemouth bass fishing has been good over the past week. Anglers are catching bass in shallow water on spinner baits, jigs, and rubber worms.

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

Contact the Forest Service at 541-957-3200 for road and trail conditions. The first rainbow trout stockings of 2016 for Clearwater Forebay 2 will be in May. Red Top Pond, which offers excellent bank fishing opportunities, will be stocked with an additional 500 rainbow trout this week for a total of 1,000 so far in 2016.In addition, there should be plenty of holdover legal-sized trout from previous stockings in those waterbodies.

Anglers fishing the high lakes in the Umpqua District are encouraged to e-mail fishing reports.

UMPQUA RIVER, MAINSTEM: steelhead, spring Chinook

The mainstem Umpqua is closed to wild steelhead harvest, but remains open year-round for adipose fin-clipped steelhead. The mainstem Umpqua is closed for trout fishing until May 22.

Spring Chinook are now being caught in the Scottsburg to Elkton area on a regular basis and as water temperatures approach the mid 50’s fishing should improve. 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.

The 50 Places to go fishing within 60 minutes of Roseburg,” handout which is available online or at the office, identifies several good places for salmon and steelhead fishing.

UMPQUA RIVER, NORTH: steelhead

Winter steelhead angling is slowing down, but summer steelhead angling will be picking up as we move towards the summer months. Remember all wild steelhead must be released unharmed. Spring Chinook fishing has been improving and should continue to do so as water temperatures warm. There have been reports of Spring Chinook being caught below Winchester Dam and around Rock Creek.

Note that from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 through June 30, fishing in the fly water area is restricted to fly angling only with a single barbless fly. Per the new regulation on page 31, 32 of the 2015 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations booklet, from Feb. 1 – July 31, 2 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.

Remember that from March 1 through July 31 the anti-snagging gear restrictions apply on the North from the Lone Rock boat ramp upstream to the fly area boundary above Rock Creek. The Mainstem from Soda Springs Dam, including Soda Springs Reservoir, up to Slide Creek Dam is closed year-round to fishing.

North Umpqua River water levels at Winchester Dam

UMPQUA RIVER, SOUTH: steelhead

The South Umpqua is currently closed to all angling through May 21.

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

Willow Lake will be stocked again this week with 3,000 legal-sized rainbow trout. The lake is full, and trout fishing should be good. Still fishing with bait or trolling a fly, lure, or wedding ring/bait combination should produce trout. Fishing for bass and panfish should be improving.

WINCHESTER BAY: bottomfish, perch

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

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  Southwest Zone Hunting

OPEN: COUGAR, SPRING BEAR, SPRING TURKEY

SW Oregon Spring Bear tags are sold out.

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

Wild Turkeys

Wild Turkeys
-Photo by Rick Swart-

Spring Turkey – Numbers across the county are strong. We have received many reports of harvested birds throughout the area. Hunters should focus their efforts on the agricultural lands and valleys where males are beginning to strut. Recently opened, lower elevation clear-cuts adjacent to private lowlands can also be productive. The vast majority of hunting opportunities will be concentrated on private lands so hunters should expect to have to knock on doors to obtain permission and access. If permission is granted, likelihood of success is high.

Bear - Prospects for spring bear hunters remain good. While early May is expected to bring more activity here on the coast, ODFW biologists have already checked in several bears during the first few weeks of hunting. Hunters should focus themselves on south facing hillsides in the early mornings and evenings and work to identify grassing openings where bears may be attracted. An understanding of what bears are eating will help hunters focus their efforts.

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

Spring turkey - There are still a lot of birds out there to be found. Weather has been very cool and wet lately. Hunting pressure has subsided somewhat and landowners may be more receptive to permitting hunters on their land as friends and family have mainly hunted the first couple of weeks. Birds have been educated by hunters driving down roads and calling from their vehicles. Therefore, to be successful, it’s best to slip in the woods quietly and call quietly and less frequently. Don’t hammer birds with loud yelps, they’ve been hearing that since before season opened. As the season progresses, you’ll find birds likely to walk in quietly to investigate your calls. It takes a lot of patience to sit still and have faith a bird may be coming to you. Many hunters get busted by giving up too soon as they hear a loud putt and see a bird running off. You may want to try something different altogether like a wing bone yelper. That’s something they don’t get to hear very often and may do the trick for wary late season birds.

Spring Bear – Opened on April 1st and continues through May 31st. Bears are beginning to become active again! Scout and hunt south sloped early green-up areas to find the bear you want to tag. Bear numbers are good with the highest numbers at lower elevations in the coast range with lower numbers elsewhere in the coast range and Cascades. Hunters can focus on open meadows early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Hunters have been seeing active bears from day one of this hunt season this year. Successful bear hunters are required to check in the skull within 10 days of the kill.

ELK HUNTERS are reminded that for elk seasons extending into this year, they will be required to purchase a 2016 hunting license. Hunters also need to report on big game tags that are valid January 1st through March 31, 2016 by April 15, 2016 to avoid the $25 fee.

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. 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. Check with landowners about access before going hunting.

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.

JACKSON, JOSEPHINE, CURRY COUNTIES

The Jackson Cooperative Travel Management Area is in effect. This agreement between government agencies and private partners provides hunters with access to a variety of lower elevation areas to hunt. Now that hunting seasons are over the roads continue to remain closed within designated areas unless posted to provide very little disturbance to wildlife especially deer and Elk. Maps can be obtained online through ODFW’s website; click on the Oregon Hunting Access Map

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.

TURKEY season opened April 15. After last year’s successful nesting season we have an increase in turkey numbers allowing this season to be better than those of the past few years. Turkey flocks continue to be found in a wide variety of places in our counties. Plenty of public lands have turkey, often found in grassy/oak savannas on BLM lands and lower elevation timber\meadow lands of the Rogue National Forest, although most will be found on private land where permission will need to be acquired before hunting. Turkeys will be feeding on green grasses and insects. Use locator calls before light or after dark to locate roosting trees; then set up in an area of their travel and begin calling as light approaches.

Black Bear
Black Bear
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

BEAR season is here. All spring bear tags are sold out. Typically spring bear hunting improves as the season goes along. Boars are usually first to show and sows show later. This is what usually occurs when we have a normal winter season. Season is expected to be average for the spring. When bears are out they will be feeding in grassy openings. Focus on south facing hill sides in the early mornings and evenings. Good spots to check are skid roads and side roads that are untraveled with lots of grassy margins and bear sign. Remember successful bear hunters need to checking-in an unfrozen skull; otherwise tooth collection, measurement and tagging is difficult. Biologists recommend propping the bear’s mouth open with a stick after harvest; it makes for easier tooth collection and measuring.

Cougar season is open statewide year-round or until zone quotas are met. Most cougar hunters’ success comes from predator calls. Cougars travel many miles a day and often use major ridge lines to find prey, these ridge lines are location for predator calls.

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.

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 Southwest Zone Wildlife Viewing

COOS COUNTY

Northern Elephant Seal
Northern Elephant Seal
-Wikipedia-

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

One of the best places on the Oregon coast to see large congregations of waterfowl is the Coquille Valley. The Audubon Society estimates as many as 50 percent of the migratory dabbling ducks that migrate along the coast winter in the Coquille Valley.

Inundation here has created a situation that is very attractive to waterfowl. Those interested in seeing large concentrations of birds are encouraged to visit Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge and Coquille Valley Wildlife Area. Bandon Marsh is located near where Hwy 101 crosses the Coquille River, just upstream from the city of Bandon. Coquille Valley Wildlife Area is located near the junction of North Bank Road and Hwy. 42. There are also large congregations of birds in other places along North Bank Road, Hwy. 42S and Hwy. 42 between Myrtle Point and Coquille.

Also, for those interested in seeing a Eurasian widgeon up close, there has been one frequently visiting Mingus Park in Coos Bay with American widgeons. Over the winter several bird enthusiasts have reported seeing this bird at the park. While Eurasian Widgeons are not particularly rare in Oregon they are far less common than American widgeons. While they are closely related, Eurasian widgeons in North America are birds that migrated down the wrong side of the globe. They normally winter in Eurasia, thus their name.

Shorebirds

The number of shorebirds seen along the Oregon coast is increasing. These birds are the earliest of their kind migrating north for the nesting season. As the spring progresses the number of shorebirds in our area will increase. May is the month where we see the greatest number of shorebirds in Coos County. Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge often reports the highest concentrations of shorebirds on the west coast at times. Bandon Marsh Unit of the refuge is the place where these high concentrations are visible. Those interested in seeing these birds should visit the viewing platform located along Riverside Dr. on the outskirts on the city of Bandon.

Seabirds

A black-footed albatross was spotted off of the Charleston docks this past weekend by the western-most jetty. They are the most common albatross off the Oregon Coast, foraging off the coast year-round, but are only occasionally seen so close to shore. Their primary breeding grounds are in the along the Hawaiian island chain. The black-footed albatross can have a wingspan up to 7 ft and are known for their ability to soar long distances across the ocean. The oldest known bird was over 40 years old.

CURRY COUNTY

Whale watching is good along the coast through the end of May. The northern migration occurs March through May and whales will be cruising closer to shore than they do on the southern migration. Viewing points within Curry County from north to south are Battle Rock, Cape Sebastian, Cape Ferrelo and Harris Beach State Park.

Shorebirds are currently migrating north 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.

Migrant waterfowl are showing up in all the bays. Elegant terns are now seen in the Rogue bay. They are a mid-sized tern with long reddish bill that has a turned down appearance. The tail is forked and short. Their head has a black band along the top and wings are tipped with black other than that they are white.

Try waterfowl viewing at Storm Ranch near Langlois. You could find coots, bufflehead, wigeon, mallards, pintail and ringneck ducks. (3/21/2016)

DOUGLAS COUNTY

Osprey
Osprey with fish
-Photo by Rick Swart-

Osprey - Ospreys are also known as fish hawks and can be seen flying above rivers or lakes looking for fish in the water. This time of the year look for male ospreys diving into the water capturing fish, and taking the captured fish back to the female on the nest.

Turkey Vultures - Vultures can be seen soaring high in the sky looking for food or on the ground utilizing expired animals. Also, look for them early mornings perched in a tree sunning themselves with their wings spread warming up.

Purple Martin – Purple Martins have arrived so look for them around Plat I Reservoir, Cooper Creek Reservoir and Ten Mile Lake. Purple Martin is our largest swallow in North America and is uncommon & mainly found in Western Oregon communally nesting usually near a large water body.

Waterfowl – Watch local water bodies for all of the new ducklings and goslings following their mothers around as they learn to feed and avoid predators.

Young Wildlife – As spring births occur, the occasion to notice and watch young wildlife makes for a great learning experience for children and families. Be careful not to get too close however, and don’t take any wildlife from their habitat. If orphans are noticed, if safe or unharmed, leave animal where it is found and contact ODFW or Umpqua Wildlife Rescue (541-440-1196) in Douglas County. Most baby wildlife that is found, believed to be abandoned or orphaned, are simply waiting for mothers to return from foraging. If baby birds are found outside of nests, either return to nest if possible or leave on ground or limb below nest. Mother birds will likely be watching and waiting from a distance for people or predators to leave the area.

Hummingbirds – It time to hang up your feeders for our summer hummers. 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.

Deer – Don’t feed the deer in your area. This is the time of year when we start receiving reports from the public of sick looking deer with little to no hair or patches of hair missing. This condition referred to as “Deer Hair Loss Syndrome” or DHLS has been affecting local deer populations for the last 19 years. Many of the affected deer are does or fawns. This condition is believed to be caused by exotic biting lice in high numbers on affected deer, and can result in death for some while others overcome this condition. An infected deer can pass lice easily to other deer when they congregate in areas where fed so ODFW recommends to not feed the deer to minimize lice transfer and increasing the DHLS in our area.

Shed Antlers – Now is a good time to get out in the woods and look for shed deer and elk antlers. Be careful not to harass deer and elk out of critical winter range habitat.

JACKSON and JOSEPHINE COUNTIES

Shed Antlers

Now is a good time to get out in the woods and look for shed deer and elk antlers. Upper and Lower Table Rocks rise 800 feet above the valley floor. Habitat types range from oak savanna and chaparral to woodland. On the summit a diversity of wildflowers and wildlife can be found along the trails. Spring can provide some of the best viewing times.

Raven
Common Raven
-Photo by Charlotte Ganskopp -

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.

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.

Song Birds

Several types of swallows are beginning to nest in our bird boxes around the Denman Wildlife area office. Also the ospreys are back and are currently building their nest.

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. It is on Whetstone Pond, just north of the ODFW Rogue Watershed Field Office in Central Point. For more information about the wildlife area, visit ODFW’s Web site.

Many people are visiting the area for fishing opportunities where bass, blue gills and bull head cat fish are caught. School and scout groups are scheduling appointments where Area staff has provided presentations and tours of the area.

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