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

Weekly Recreation Report: Southwest Zone

Februarty 2, 2016

 Southwest Zone Fishing

Steelhead
Steelhead
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Weekend fishing opportunities:

  • Winter steelhead fishing on the Rogue River should be good for the next week as the river drops back into shape.
  • The Illinois River is seeing some winter steelhead returns and is currently in good fishing shape.
  • Surplus hatchery steelhead were recently released in Garrison Lake, which also has a fair number of trout and offers viable alternative to streams.
  • Bank anglers have been doing well for trout and landlocked Chinook salmon recently at Lost Creek Reservoir.
  • The middle and upper Rogue are looking good for steelhead fishing this week now that flows are dropping into shape following high water.
  • Bottom-fishing has been good at Winchester Bay.
  • Winter steelhead fishing is now open on the South Umpqua River and anglers have had success when conditions allow.
  • 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.

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

2016 trout stocking schedule for the South Coast (pdf) North Coast Watershed (pdf) District and the South Willamette Watershed (pdf) District are posted on the ODFW Trout Stocking Page. Take a look to find out when and where Oregon’s hatchery trout are being released around the state.

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.

APPLEGATE RESERVOIR: largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, trout

Freezing weather can create traction problems at French Gulch, so traction tires or four wheel drive vehicles are helpful. Boat angling is the preferred method at Applegate during winter due to steep banks along the shoreline. Trout are available. Trout anglers will probably do best still fishing with bait or trolling a flasher/lure or flasher/bait combination. Reports indicate fishing has been good over the last few weeks. Applegate Reservoir is 14 percent full.

APPLEGATE RIVER: steelhead, trout

Beginning Jan. 1, the Applegate is open to harvest of hatchery steelhead. Wild steelhead must be released unharmed. The Applegate is dropping and clearing and fish should be distributed throughout the river. Fish have been caught over the last few days on Cleos, and pink rubber worms as well as fly angling.

ARIZONA POND: rainbow trout

Water level in the pond has been lowered to help control aquatic vegetation. 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: rainbow trout, bass, bluegill, yellow perch, crappie

The first stocking of 2016 is slated for late February/early March. Warmwater fishing for bass, crappie and bluegill can be slow during winter months.

CHETCO RIVER: steelhead

Steelhead fishing should be excellent as flows drop and clear. Steelhead are scattered throughout the river, with the majority of hatchery fish in the lower river. February is a good month to fish the river as angling pressure starts to drop off.

Butterfield Pond
Butterfield Lake
-Photo by Kathy Munselt, ODFW-

COOS COUNTY LAKES/PONDS: trout

Lakes in Coos County are open all year for trout fishing. Last week 30 hatchery steelhead, that returned to Eel Lake trap, were stocked into Butterfield Lake to provide additional fishing opportunity for trout anglers. These steelhead stocked into Butterfield Lake are no considered trout and may be harvest. The daily trout bag limit in Butterfield is 5 trout per day with only 1 trout over 20 inches per day.

COOS RIVER BASIN: Dungeness crab, steelhead, bay clams

Steelhead anglers are catching lots of steelhead when conditions are right. With the recent rain the river might be fishable today but too high and muddy tomorrow. Anglers are catching steelhead drift fishing corkies or eggs. Jigs fished under a bobber area also catching several steelhead. The West Fork Millicoma River is the first river to clear after a rain followed by the East Fork Millicoma and South Fork Coos rivers. 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.

Recreational harvest of crab re-opened from the Columbia River to the California border. It is still recommended you discard the crab viscera (guts/butter) before cooking. Crabbing is best on the incoming tide in Coos Bay due to the amount of freshwater in the bay from the recent rain.

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: salmon, crab

Steelhead fishing has been good on the North Fork Coquille River at LaVerne Park. Currently the water level is too high to effectively fish the South Fork Coquille. The mainstem Coquille is currently running at or near flood stage so fishing will be difficult. In the Coquille Basin 1 additional hatchery steelhead may be retained per day for a total aggregate of 3 adult fish harvested daily.

Recreational harvest of crab re-opened from the Columbia River to the California border. It is still recommended you discard the crab viscera (guts/butter) before cooking. Crabbing will be slow in the Coquille due to the amount of freshwater in the bay from the recent rain.

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.

Diamond Lake was stocked with over 300,000 trout in 2015. There have been some reports of successful ice fishing trips, but unsafe ice conditions have limited access recently. Ensure safe conditions before venturing onto the ice and review the 2016 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations on ice fishing.

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: steelhead

Steelhead are spread throughout the river. Most Chinook have spawned and/or moved into the tributaries. Anglers are focusing on steelhead; side drifting eggs, running plugs, or fly fishing. Anglers can call Elk River Hatchery (541-332-0405) for river conditions.

Emigrant Lake
Fishing Emigrant Reservoir
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

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

The park is open during daylight hours in winter, and sources indicate that the boat ramps now appear useable. Bass, panfish and trout are available, though warmwater fishing is slow with the colder weather. The water level in the reservoir is at 40 percent of capacity.

EXPO POND: trout

The southern-most pond at Expo is stocked with rainbow trout. Access to this pond is at gate 1.5.

FISH LAKE: rainbow trout, brook trout, spring Chinook

Fish Lake is ice covered but provides a chance for some winter trout ice fishing. Ice is reportedly solid except for the middle of the lake where it is still a bit mushy. Anglers reportedly caught a few nice trout ice fishing over the last weekend. Water levels have rebounded nicely at Fish Lake and the lake is now 34 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

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. Many people mistakenly think these fish are kokanee. All of the coho smolts are 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 approximately 8,000 rainbow trout in 2015, and the first trout stocking of 2016 should occur late February/early March.

Bass fishing is typically slow in winter months, but there are still opportunities to catch bass and other panfish with the use of bait and artificial lures such as swimbaits. Call 541-837-3302 for information on camping and boat launching conditions.

GARRISON LAKE: rainbow and cutthroat trout

With local rivers high and muddy or low and clear, anglers may want to fish Garrison. The lake has good numbers of carry over trout. In addition, ODFW recently stocked some surplus hatchery adult steelhead in the lake. Anglers can catch and keep these fish under the trout regulations. Slow trolling wedding ring spinners can be very effective. This is the time of year to keep an eye on the weather and fish when weather conditions are good.
Lake of the Woods
Lake in the Woods
-ODFW Photo-

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.

Hemlock Lake was stocked with approximately 6,000 legal rainbow trout in 2015, and another 1,400 trophy size rainbow trout were stocked the first week of September.

Lake in the Woods was stocked with approximately 1,000 legal rainbow trout in 2015, and an additional 100 trophy size rainbow trout were stocked the first week of September. Stocking for 2016 should begin in April as road/lake conditions allow. 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 opens on January 1 and will be open year round in 2016. Currently the lake is frozen and snow covered. Anglers wishing to ice fish should exercise extreme caution.

HYATT LAKE:

Hyatt opens on January 1 and will be open year round in 2016. Currently the lake is frozen and snow covered. Anglers wishing to ice fish should exercise extreme caution.

ILLINOIS RIVER: trout, steelhead

Beginning January 1, from Klondike Creek upstream to Pomeroy Dam the Illinois is open for wild steelhead at least 24" in length, 1 per day and 5 per year, as part of daily or annual salmon/steelhead bag limit. The Illinois should be in great shape and fish are around. Reportedly fishing was fair over the weekend but should get better. Please remember the Illinois is artificial flies and lures only.

Consult the 2016 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations for more regulation information. Nonadipose fin-clipped rainbow trout and all cutthroat trout must be immediately released unharmed.

LAKE MARIE: rainbow trout, yellow perch

The lake was stocked with roughly 5,000 legal rainbow trout in 2015, and an additional 500 legal and 1,300 trophy size rainbow trout were stocked the first week of September. Most anglers use PowerBait or worms. Trout stocking for 2016 should begin in March. Perch fishing should continue to be productive for those using worms on the bottom.

LAKE SELMAC: trout, largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie

Selmac is stocked with rainbow trout.

LEMOLO RESERVOIR: brown trout, rainbow trout

This reservoir is stocked several times a year with rainbow trout of various sizes 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 was stocked with 7,500 trout in 2015, and trout stocking for 2016 should begin late February/early March. The lake should offer decent fishing for crappie, bluegill and bass even in the cooler winter months. 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 this summer.

LOST CREEK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, spring Chinook, bass

Lost Creek offers the best opportunity for winter trout fishing in the Rogue watershed currently. Stewart and Takelma boat ramps are both open at this time.

Bank anglers have done well around Takelma and the marina and landlocked spring Chinook anglers did well at 40-50 feet depth recently. Additional reports indicate good success was had trolling a green wedding ring behind a chrome and green dodger. The wedding ring was spiked with a piece of Gulp nightcrawler. An oval egg sinker was used for weight. Fish were also caught on a small lures — a gold Blue fox spinner, and a chrome and blue kastmaster.

The reservoir is 43 percent full.

PACIFIC OCEAN AND BEACHES: bottomfish, Dungeness crab,

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

Fishing for bottom fish is open to fishing at all-depths. Fishing for black rockfish and lingcod continues to be very good from Charleston to Bandon when the ocean is calm enough for anglers to get out on the water. 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?”

PLAT I RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, bass

In addition to trout fishing, the lake also has good bass fishing. Bank fishing access is available, though the lake is now drawn down and access for fishing may be very muddy.

Waterfowl hunting is allowed through Janurary 31 each each year on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

Anglers may have success catching trout and bass with bait such as PowerBait and nightcrawlers where access is available. The reservoir received about 4,500 rainbow trout last year.

Some of the trout have had 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 is stocked with rainbow trout.

Warmwater fishing is slow with the colder weather.

rogue river
Fishing the Rogue River
-ODFW Photo-

ROGUE RIVER

Rogue River, lower: steelhead

The river is slowly getting into shape and starting to kick out some steelhead. River conditions should improve all week.

Rogue River, middle: steelhead, trout

Beginning Jan. 1, from the mouth to Hog Creek boat ramp, the river is open for wild steelhead at least 24" in length, 1 per day and 5 per year, as part of daily or annual salmon/steelhead bag limit. Consult the synopsis for more regulation information.

The river is dropping into shape and fishing should be good this week. Side drifting soaked yarn balls and bait have reportedly landed fish over the last few days. The flow at Grants Pass as of Tuesday morning was around 7,730 cfs and the water temperature was around 43°.

Rogue River, upper: steelhead, trout

The upper river between the mouth of Big Butte Creek and the hatchery deadline is fishable and can be good when the rest of the river is blown out.

The upper river is currently in decent shape and fish are being caught. Fishing should continue to improve in this section as we progress into February. As of Jan. 27, a total of 3,699 summer steelhead and 17 winter steelhead have been collected at Cole Rivers.

Beginning February 1, the river is open for wild steelhead at least 24" in length from Hog Creek boat ramp upstream to Cole Rivers Hatchery 1 per day and 5 per year, as part of daily or annual salmon/steelhead bag limit. Consult the synopsis for more regulation information.

Rogue River, above Lost Creek Reservoir: trout

Stocked rainbow trout are available near sites stocked this past summer. Naturally produced rainbow and brook trout are available in the tributaries.

SMITH RIVER, Umpqua: sturgeon, striped bass, steelhead

Winter steelhead angling should be productive with the increasing number of steelhead moving into the river. Retention of adipose fin-clipped steelhead is allowed in the Smith River mainstem from the mouth upstream to Sisters Creek and in the North Fork of the Smith River from the mouth upstream to Bridge 10 near the Middle Fork of the North Fork. Sturgeon fishing is catch-and-release only.

SODA SPRINGS RESERVOIR: Closed to fishing.

TENMILE BASIN: trout, steelhead

Streams in the Tenmile Basin are now closed for trout fishing until May 22, 2016. Tenmile Lakes is open all year for trout but trout fishing has been slow.

Steelhead fishing has been slow in Tenmile Creek and Eel Creek. Thirty five hatchery steelhead from the Eel Lake Fish Trap were recycled back into the fishery at Spinreel Park. In the Tenmile Basin 1 additional hatchery steelhead may be retained per day for a total aggregate of 3 adult fish harvested daily.

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. Clearwater Forebay 2 was stocked with approximately 3,000 legal rainbow trout in 2015, and an additional 500 trophy size rainbow trout were stocked in this forebay the first week of September. Red Top Pond was also stocked with 2,000 rainbow trout in 2015, and the pond offers excellent bank angling opportunities. 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. Winter steelhead fishing should begin to pick-up as river levels recede, and there are opportunities to harvest hatchery steelhead on the mainstem Umpqua. There have been reports of good numbers of hatchery steelhead being harvested on the mainstem, particularly around Cleveland Rapids. The mainstem Umpqua is closed for trout fishing until May 22.

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 picking up, and the river has remained fishable even at higher water levels. Bank anglers targeting winter steelhead have been having luck around Rock Creek. Remember all wild steelhead must be released unharmed.

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

Yellow Perch
Yellow Perch
-Wikipedia-

UMPQUA RIVER, SOUTH: steelhead

The South Umpqua is currently open to adipose fin-clipped steelhead harvest, and winter steelhead fishing will improve as water levels recede. There will be excellent hatchery steelhead harvest opportunities on the South Umpqua as the season progresses, especially around Stanton Park in Canyonville.

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

Willow Lake offers an opportunity for some winter trout angling. The county park is open during daylight hours.

WINCHESTER BAY: bottomfish, perch

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

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  Southwest Zone Hunting

Cougar
Cougar
- Royalty Free Image-

SOUTHWEST ZONE HUNTING

OPEN: COUGAR

SW Oregon Spring Bear tags are first come first serve and usually sell out by the controlled hunt draw, so purchase yours today if you want to hunt SW Oregon. About 300 are left as of Feb. 2.

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

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 you need 2016 tag to hunt as of Jan. 1.

DOUGLAS COUNTY

Black Bear – Purchase your 2016 SW Oregon Spring Bear Controlled Tag. These 4400 tags are sold over the counter on a first-come, first-serve basis. These popular tags usually sell out early in February. As of Feb. 2, there are approximately 300 tags still available.

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.

Elk Hunt

My fate with chance had come to an end that day. Words can’t explain that hunters moment.
-Photo by Trever Niestrath-

Elk - Elk populations are similar to last year so this hunting year will be average. A few controlled elk hunts are currently open. Elk populations are similar to last year so this hunting year will be average. Check with landowners about access before going hunting.

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. Winter weather offers an additional technique to harvest cougar. Many hunters enjoy looking for and following fresh tracks in the newly fallen snow at higher elevations. Hunters will locate fresh tracks and then call animals in using a predator call for best success. 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.

Black Bear – Purchase your 2016 SW Oregon Spring Bear Controlled Tag. These 4400 tags are sold over the counter on a first-come, first-serve basis. These popular tags usually sell out early in February.

Furbearers

A reminder to trappers and hunters that specific licenses and tags are required to hunt many furbearer species. Hunters should refer to the Oregon Furbearer Trapping and Hunting Regulations for details. Bobcat and River Otter pelt check in is available on Mondays, 8am until 5pm at the Roseburg office.

Bobcat - Healthy populations throughout Western Oregon. Harvest season is currently open and runs through February 28th, 2016. Pursuit season is currently open for bobcat.

River Otter, Beaver, Mink/Muskrat, Gray Fox & Raccoon – Healthy populations throughout Western Oregon. The harvest season is open for gray fox, mink/muskrat, river otter, beaver and raccoon. Pursuit season is currently open for fox and raccoon.

JACKSON, JOSEPHINE, CURRY COUNTIES

Elk – A few controlled elk season are still going on. These hunts are primarily to deal with damage issues on private lands.

Wilson’s Snipe season continues thru Feb. 21. 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.

Denman Wildlife Area: Remember to get your parking permit. Hunters get the permit free with their purchase of an annual hunting license. Display on car dash. Wildlife Area fields are finally starting to fill and ducks are starting to show up.

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
Western Gray Squirrel
-Photo by Kathy Munsel-

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 – Pursuit season is currently open for bobcat, fox and raccoon. A reminder to trappers and hunters that specific licenses and tags are required to hunt many furbearer species, and hunters should refer to the 2014-16 Oregon Furbearer Trapping and Hunting Regulations for details.

Marten, Gray Fox, Muskrat, Mink, Raccoon, River Otter and Beaver is currently open. Population for these animals remains healthy.

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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

Coos County is a good place to see large numbers of migratory waterfowl in the fall. October and November are the months when many of these birds move from northern nesting areas through the Pacific Flyway. A large number of these move along the coast and stop in local bays and estuaries.

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

Due to low water conditions places where tidal inundation occurs in the Coquille estuary are the best places to see waterfowl presently. The Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, located north of the city of Bandon, may be the best place to see these birds presently. Once the rainy season starts in earnest waterfowl will move into inland valleys in search of flooded agricultural lands.

Seabirds

Recently fishers are reporting seeing large congregations of baitfish in Coos Bay. Seabirds like pelicans, grebes and cormorants can be seen chasing these fish from above and below. At times the water in the bay has been clear enough to actually see the action going on underwater from Point Adams in Charleston. Similar opportunities should exist in Winchester Bay and Bandon, from the docks in those bays.

CURRY COUNTY

Elegant Tern

Elegant Tern
- Wikipedia-

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.

DOUGLAS COUNTY

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

Winter Raptors - Wintering raptors, especially red-tail hawks, are commonly seen along highways throughout the county. Biologists recently drove through Douglas County surveying for raptors. The 110 mile survey turned up 51 Red-tailed Hawks, 13 American Kestrels, 7 Northern Harriers, 13 Red-Shouldered Hawks, 4 Cooper’s Hawks, 1 Sharp-shinned Hawk, 1 Peregrine Falcon, 3 Golden Eagles, and 5 Bald Eagles.

Bald Eagles – Bald Eagles are now commonly seen along the mainstem portion of the Umpqua River from Roseburg to Reedsport.

Birds – With all of the rain, most of the water bodies are filled and fields are full of puddles and ponds. This brings a greater opportunity to observe different varieties of waterfowl and wading birds more closely. Local turkeys are also gathering in larger flocks as food sources become more limited throughout the winter months.

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. In the past, these small native frogs have made enough noise, that wetland neighbors have actually called ODFW to complain.

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.

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.

Denman Wildlife Area

Hunting season is underway on the Denman Wildlife Area. Other recreational users are encouraged to wear bright orange or other bright colored clothing and to stick to the trail systems.

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