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

Weekly Recreation Report: Southwest Zone

September 1, 2015

 Southwest Zone Fishing

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

Weekend fishing opportunities

  • The 2 p.m. fishing closure for trout, steelhead, salmon and sturgeon in streams has been lifted as of Sept. 1.
  • Just in time for the holiday weekend, several water bodies are scheduled to be stocked with trout (including lots of trophy-size fish) this week: Ben Irving, Cooper Creek and Lemolo reservoirs, Hemlock Lake, Lake in the Woods, Lake Marie, Clearwater Forebay 2 and the Rogue River above Lost Creek Reservoir.
  • Fall Chinook fishing is starting to improve on the lower Umpqua and Winchester Bay.
  • The Rogue Bay continues to turn out good numbers of Chinook. Cooler weather and a bit of rain are moving Chinook, steelhead and half-pounders into the lower river.
  • Fall Chinook and summer steelhead are being caught in the Grants Pass area as fresh fish have arrived over the past week.
  • Salmon fishing has been getting more consistent in Coos Bay, where the fall Chinook run usually peaks in mid-September.
  • Fishing for smallmouth bass, which remains open under normal rules, should continue to be productive in the mainstem Umpqua (except within 200 feet of tributaries) and South Umpqua Rivers, and trout fishing in the cooler high mountain lakes should offer excellent harvest opportunities.
  • Water temperatures are beginning to cool off in Rogue watershed lakes and reservoirs due to recent weather. It’s a good time to think about some late season fishing. Both Howard Prairie and Hyatt Lake have produced some good looking trout recently. Lower water may mean more difficult access or a bit of a hike, but it’s still fun to catch trout in the heat of summer at these lakes despite low water and hot weather. Hyatt and Howard Prairie offer good opportunities for anglers wanting to take some bass home to eat as well, but anglers are encouraged to release bass over 14 inches at Hyatt.
  • As late summer turns to fall, it’s a good time to learn how to identify harmful algae blooms. Few lakes are tested, so the public should know what water looks like when blooms become excessive and potentially pose a health risk to pets and those recreating on the water. Check out the Oregon Health Authority website for more information.

Low water levels can put stress on fish

While water temperature have returned to near normal in many areas, water levels continue to be very low. Anglers should continue to exercise care when catching and releasing fish by following a few precautions:

  • Fish early in the day when water temperatures are cooler.
  • Check water temperatures frequently and stop fishing when they exceed 70 degrees.
  • Use barbless hooks so you can release fish quickly.
  • Use appropriate gear to land fish quickly.
  • Keep the fish in the water while you unhook it, and cradle the fish upright until it revives enough to swim away.
  • Use your judgement. If conditions seem especially severe (low, hot water) stop fishing, or move to another location where waters may be cooler.

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, bluegill, black crappie

A boy with a String of Bass
A boy with a String of Bass
-Photo by Matt Frank-

Largemouth bass are being caught on rubber worms fished near the dam. Bass will hit a variety of lures. Bluegill and crappie can be caught with small jigs or bait. Agate Lake is 15 percent full. The boat ramp was still usable as of last week.

APPLEGATE RESERVOIR: largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, trout

Trout are available, fishing for bass should be good, but access is a bit of a challenge at Applegate right now. Small boats can launch at the French Gulch ramp. Smallmouth bass anglers will want to cast lures and artificial baits around rocky structure. Trout anglers will probably do best still fishing with bait or trolling a flasher/lure or flasher/bait combination. Applegate Reservoir is 20 percent full.

ARIZONA POND: rainbow trout

Slow. Water levels in the pond are being lowered to help control aquatic vegetation.

The pond is managed by Oregon State Parks as 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 reservoir has been stocked according to schedule (pdf) with 4,000 rainbow trout. An additional 1,000 legal and 1,000 trophy sized rainbow trout are expected to be stocked the first week of September. Warmwater fishing for bass and crappie has been slow, but bluegill fishing has been good.

CHETCO RIVER: Chinook, cutthroat

Anglers are reminded to check regulations before heading out. Starting Sept. 1 and running through Nov. 3, there are gear restrictions upstream of river mile 2.2. 

COOPER CREEK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, bass, bluegill, yellow perch, bullhead

Cooper Creek has been stocked with 8,000 rainbow trout since March. An additional 2,000 legal and 1,500 trophy sized rainbow trout are expected to be stocked the first week of September. Fishing for largemouth bass, bluegill, and yellow perch should be productive especially in the morning and late afternoon/early evening.

We have been getting reports that some of the trout 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.

COOS COUNTY LAKES/PONDS: largemouth bass, bluegills

Fishing for largemouth bass and bluegills has been good in many of the Coos County lakes. Fishing for bass will be best in the mornings and late evenings. Fish for bluegills around structure like submerged logs and weed lines.

COOS RIVER BASIN: Dungeness crab, salmon, bay clams, trout

Streams in the Coos Basin are open for trout and the use of bait is now allowed in streams above tidewater. Also the 2 p.m. fishing closure for trout, salmon, and steelhead in streams above tidewater has been lifted as of Sept. 1.

Chinook salmon fishing has been good in Coos Bay this past week from the chip pile near the airport all the way up to Marshfield Channel. The best bite has been right around high slack tide but anglers have been picking up fish throughout the day. Trolling a cut-plug herring is working well for catching salmon. The peak of the chinook fishery in Coos Bay is typically mid-September.

Crabbing continues to be very good in the lower bay with crabbers catching mostly hard shell crab with a couple soft shell crabs in the mix. Crabbing has been good all the way up to the BLM Boat Ramp but the best crabbing will be near the jetties and close to slack tides. A few legal crabs have been caught off the Charleston docks.

Butter Clam
Butter Clam
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

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?”

Crabbing continues to be very good in the lower bay with crabbers catching mostly hard shell crab with a couple soft shell crabs in the mix. Crabbing has been good all the way up to the BLM Boat Ramp but the best crabbing will be near the jetties and close to slack tides. A few legal crabs have been caught off the Charleston docks.

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 is closed for the entire Oregon coastline from the Columbia River 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: trout, smallmouth bass, salmon, crab

Streams in the Coquille Basin are open for trout and the use of bait is now allowed in streams above tidewater. Also the 2 p.m. fishing closure for trout, salmon, and steelhead in streams above tidewater has been lifted as of Sept. 1.

Chinook salmon fishing has been good on the lower Coquille River near the Highway 101 Bridge up to Rocky Point Boat Ramp. Anglers have been trolling cut plug herring behind flashers to catch salmon.

Smallmouth bass fishing has been good in the Coquille Basin. The best fishing is in the South Fork and upper mainstem Coquille rivers. Anglers are reporting catching 20-40 smallmouth bass per day on jigs, crankbaits, spinner, and worms (bait is legal in tidewater). There is no size limit or bag limit on smallmouth bass in the rivers of the Coquille Basin.

Crabbing has been decent from a boat in the Coquille River near Bandon. Crabbing should continue to pick up throughout the summer. If you don’t have a boat Weber’s Pier is a great place to throw out you crab pots.

DIAMOND LAKE: trout

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 possible fire related closures.

Anglers have been catching fish predominately in the 12 to 17-inch range mostly by trolling lures and using a combination of PowerBait and lures on anchor around the south-end creek inlets and springs as well as near the Marina.

Fly fishing has also been productive, particularly around the south end of the lake. Diamond Lake was stocked with approximately 300,000 rainbow trout fingerlings during Memorial Day week. An additional 3,500 legal-size and 3,500 trophy trout have been stocked.

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. The Marina is open and has boats and charter trips available.

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

Bass, panfish and trout are available. Most of the fish will be found in deeper water at this time of year.

The water level in the reservoir is at 25 percent of capacity.

EXPO POND: trout

Bass and panfish are available. Expo Pond is located directly adjacent to the access road at gate 5.

Fish Lake
Fish Lake
-Photo by Daniel Vandyke-

FISH LAKE: rainbow trout, brook trout, spring Chinook

Bank anglers and anglers using float tubes, kayaks, and inflatables have Fish Lake to themselves for what should be good fishing in late summer and fall. The lake is nearing low pool for the year and the boat ramps are no longer usable.
 
One benefit of lower water levels at Fish Lake is that the springs at the bottom of the lake have a more noticeable impact and help cool the water more quickly than other lakes of the same elevation. Fishing with PowerBait will produce at Fish Lake, and casting flies and lures can be successful, especially now that the water is beginning to clear. Fish Lake continues to produce some good-sized landlocked salmon.

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

Warmer water and increased weed growth has slowed fishing. Anglers fishing early or late evening are faring the best. Always check the weather before heading out, as it can be windy. The best method for catching trout is slow trolling flies or wedding ring spinners from a boat. Bank access is limited.

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 RESERVIOR: rainbow trout, bass

In addition to trout, the reservoir has also been stocked with coho smolts for the last couple of 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 has been stocked with approximately 8,000 rainbow trout since March.

Bass fishing should be productive particularly in the morning and late afternoon/early evening. Anglers are reminded all bass between 12 and 15-inches must be released, and only one bass over 15-inches may be taken per day. Call 541-837-3302 for information on camping and boat launching conditions.

GARRISON LAKE: rainbow trout, cutthroat trout

Slow. This time of year boat anglers tend to do best fishing the deeper weed lines.

Garrison Lake is located in the middle of Port Orford. 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.

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 has been stocked with approximately 6,000 rainbow trout in 2015, and another 1,400 trophy size rainbow trout are expected to be stocked the first week of September. Lake in the Woods has been stocked with approximately 1,000 rainbow trout in 2015, and an additional 100 trophy size rainbow trout will be stocked the first week of September. Remember only trout over 8-inches may be harvested, and only one trout over 20-inches may be kept per day.

HOWARD PRAIRIE RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass

A 19-inch trout was caught over the weekend, as reports continue to trickle in about trout being caught at Howard Prairie in late summer. Many of the fish are being caught in the old creek channel between Fawn Island and the eastern shoreline. The water depth is about 6-9 feet in this area currently and water temperatures are a bit cooler compared to the rest of the reservoir. Green or chartreuse PowerBait has been producing the most fish, with anglers reporting luck on a 2-foot leader.

Bass fishing has generally been good, especially near the dam. One angler has had luck fishing yellow Rooster Tails, while others have fished artificial baits.

Most of Howard is around 10-15 feet deep right now, with the deepest holes (one to about 30 feet) found from the northern edge of the dam up to Hoxie Cove. The water level is expected to drop another 3-4 feet by fall. The water temperature near the bottom of the reservoir averaged 70F on Monday.
Hyatt Lake
Hyatt Lake at the Dam, Aug. 19, 2014
-Photo by Dan VanDyke, ODFW-

HYATT LAKE: rainbow trout, largemouth bass

Water temperatures have cooled dramatically at Hyatt in the last week, and that should increase fishing success. The water temperature near the bottom of the reservoir was 63F on Monday. Some trout are being caught and bass fishing is good. Anglers are encouraged to harvest largemouth under 14-inches long while releasing larger bass. The larger bass may help reduce the chance of stunted populations when the drought ends. Hyatt is 11 percent full. The water is turbid at this time, so fishing with bait will probably produce the best results.

ILLINOIS RIVER: trout, steelhead

The Illinois River is open for trout fishing. Anglers can keep five adipose fin-clipped rainbow trout per day. Nonadipose fin-clipped rainbow trout and all cutthroat trout must be immediately released unharmed.

The river is not stocked, so it will primarily offer anglers the opportunity to catch and release cutthroat trout.

LAKE MARIE: rainbow trout

The lake has been stocked with roughly 5,000 rainbow trout in 2015, and an additional 500 legal and 1,300 trophy size rainbow trout are expected to be stocked the first week of September. Most anglers use PowerBait or worms. Perch fishing has been fair for those using worms on the bottom.

LAKE SELMAC: trout, largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie

Bass and panfish are available. Largemouth bass can be caught on a variety of lures. Rubber worms fished in and around the weedbeds work well. Many of the other species of warmwater fish can be caught by fishing with a worm under a bobber or by casting and retrieving small jigs.

LEMOLO RESERVOIR: brown trout, rainbow trout

Brown trout may be harvested as of April 25. So far in 2015 the reservoir has been stocked with 5,000 rainbow trout and brown trout fishing has been productive. An additional 1,500 trophy size rainbow trout will be stocked the first week of September. The Forest Service has opened Poole Creek Campground. Contact Lemolo Lake Resort at 541-957-8354 for conditions and additional information. There have been reports of wildfires in the vicinity of Lemolo Reservoir, and anglers should check fire information at 541-787-4332 before making fishing and camping plans.

LOON LAKE: rainbow trout, bass, bluegill

Loon Lake has been stocked with 7,500 trout in 2015. The lake also has good fishing for crappie, bluegill and bass during warmer months. 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

The lake surface temperature has dropped dramatically over the last week, down to 63F on Monday according to the Corps of Engineers, and fishing should improve as a result. Trout anglers will still probably do best fishing upstream of the Hwy. 62 Bridge. Many of the trout have external parasites called copepods. ODFW encourages the public to harvest fish with the copepods. These fish did not pose a human health risk, but like all fish must be handled and cooked properly. Bank anglers will likely do best early or late in the day.

Fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass has been good for anglers casting lures around cover. The reservoir is 28 percent full. Due to lower than normal water levels, boat anglers must launch at the Takelma ramp.

MEDCO POND: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, bluegill

Bass and panfish are available.

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

The ocean is open for harvest of Dungeness crab and crabbing has been good outside of Coos Bay and Winchester Bay.

Anglers area catching surf perch on the area beaches like Horsefall Beach. Fishing the incoming tides with sand shrimp usually works the best to catch surf perch.

Huge Halibut
Matt Blume with his “monster” 106-pound halibut
- Oregon Fish and Wildlife -

Recreational ocean salmon season from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt. is open for Chinook salmon. The non-selective coho season opens on Sept. 4. The bag limit is two salmon per day, and a minimum size for Chinook salmon at 24-inches or larger. Fishing for Chinook from Bandon to Winchester Bay has been slow.

The nearshore halibut season opened on July 1. The fishery is open 7 days per week inside the 40-fathom line. Anglers were catching a few halibut near Bandon inside 40-fathoms this past weekend. As of Aug. 23, 21 percent of the nearshore halibut quota remains. The Summer All-Depth halibut season was open this past weekend and will be open again on Sept. 4-5 if any of the quota remains. There was 40 percent of the quota remaining as of Aug. 22.

Fishing for bottom fish is restricted to inside the 30 fathom curve through September 30. Fishing for black rockfish continues to be very good from Charleston to Bandon. Fishing for lingcod has slowed down inside 30-fathoms. 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 now allowed at 1 fish per day and at least 16-inches long.

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, warmwater fish

In addition to trout fishing, the lake also has good bass fishing. Bass can be harvested from March 1 to Oct. 31 and are catch-and-release only from Nov. 1-Feb. 29. The reservoir has received about 4,500 rainbow trout since the beginning of March.

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

Bass and panfish are available.

ROGUE RIVER

Rogue River, lower: Chinook, summer steelhead, half-pounders

Chinook catches continue to be very good in the bay. Anglers may see some fish move up river this weekend and early next week with rain in the forecast and cooler water temperatures. A few coho have been picked up in the bay, but better numbers will start showing in mid-September.

Steelhead fishing has been fair, but cooler water conditions should bring some new fish into the river.

Rogue River, middle: Chinook salmon, steelhead, trout

Fall Chinook fishing is fair to good in the middle Rogue on backbounced roe or sardine wrapped Kwikfish, and summer steelhead are being caught on plugs, spoons and spinners.

As of Monday, the flow at Grants Pass was 1,850 cfs and the water temperature averaged 62oF. For those interested in checking conditions before getting on the river, the City of Grants Pass Water Division’s website offers information on NTU’s at Grants Pass as well as a link to a river camera.

Rogue River, upper: Chinook salmon, steelhead, trout

The artificial fly season is now underway in the Rogue upstream of Fishers Ferry Boat Ramp. This section of the river is also now closed to fishing for Chinook salmon. Anglers can still fish for steelhead and trout with the gear restrictions described in the special regulations. ishing should be fair to good for steelhead. As of Aug. 26, a total of 1,251 summer steelhead (87 new for the week) have been collected at Cole Rivers Hatchery. Just over 600 hatchery steelhead were recycled back into the fishery at the Gold Hill boat recently.

River flows are up with releases of 1,750 cfs from Lost Creek Reservoir. The flow at Gold Ray was 1900 cfs on Monday and the average river temperature was 60 F.

Rogue River, above Lost Creek Reservoir: trout

This is the last week that fish are stocked in the river above Lost Creek for the year, but fishing should remain very productive well into the fall months. Due to road closures associated with fires in the areas we were unable to stock the Crater Creek and Minnehaha Creek sites last week.

Steelhead
Steelhead
-Photo by Charlotte Ganskopp-

SMITH RIVER, Umpqua: sturgeon, striped bass, steelhead, trout

As of May 23, retention of adipose fin-clipped steelhead is allowed in the Smith River mainstem from the mouth upstream to Spencer Creek and in the North Fork of the Smith River from the mouth upstream to Johnson Creek. The use of bait is allowed in tidewaters. Trout fishing on the Smith River and tributaries also opened on May 23, and anglers should pay close attention to catch and release, harvest, and artificial fly use deadlines outlined in the regulation manual. Sturgeon fishing is catch-and-release only.

SODA SPRINGS RESERVOIR: Closed to fishing.

TENMILE BASIN: trout, largemouth bass, yellow perch

Streams in the Tenmile Basin are open for trout and the use of bait is now allowed in streams above tidewater. Also the 2 p.m. fishing closure for trout, salmon, and steelhead in streams above tidewater has been lifted as of Sept. 1.

The water level in Tenmile Lakes is extremely low and boat anglers should use caution when boating in the lakes. Tenmile Lakes is open all year for trout but trout fishing has been slow.

Bass anglers have been catching several largemouth bass in Tenmile Lakes. Bass can be found this time of the year in shallow water near structure like logs or weed lines.

A few anglers have been catching yellow perch from the fishing dock at the County Boat Ramp and near the edge of the weedlines. A worm or piece of cut bait fished near the bottom works well for catching yellow perch.

TOKETEE LAKE: brown trout, rainbow trout

Fishing is open in Toketee year-round. The boat ramp is currently open but water levels remain low making it difficult to launch boats. For more information call the U.S. Forest Service at 541-498-2531.

UMPQUA HIGH LAKES AND FOREBAYS: trout

Access is good with the limited snow received over the winter. Contact the Forest Service at 541-957-3200 for road and trail conditions. Clearwater Forebay 2 has been stocked with approximately 3,000 rainbow trout in 2015, and an additional 500 trophy size rainbow trout will be stocked in this forebay the first week of September. Anglers fishing the high lakes in the Umpqua District are encouraged to e-mail fishing reports.

UMPQUA BASIN

Fishing for trout, steelhead, salmon and sturgeon in all waterbodies defined as streams in the 2015 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations is restricted to an hour before sunrise to 2 p.m. throughout the entire Umpqua Basin except in tidewaters.

Additionally in the mainstem Umpqua River from the Scottsburg Bridge on Highway 38 to the River Forks Park boat ramp, fishing is prohibited within 200 feet of all mainstem Umpqua tributaries including the tributaries themselves from the mouth to 200 feet upstream.

UMPQUA RIVER, MAINSTEM: steelhead, spring Chinook

Beginning June 23 through Oct. 1, 2015, fishing is also prohibited within 200 feet of all tributaries including no angling in the tributaries themselves from the mouth to 200 feet upstream.

The mainstem Umpqua is closed to wild steelhead harvest, but remains open year-round for adipose fin-clipped steelhead. Fall Chinook fishing should continue to pick-up particularly in the lower river. Catch-and-release trout fishing on the mainstem Umpqua opened May 23. Trout fishing in Umpqua tributaries also opened on May 23, with fishing restricted to the use of artificial flies and lures except for in tidewater areas where bait is allowed.

Please note the changes in regulations this year on page 40 of the 2015 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.

Fishing for smallmouth bass, which remains open under normal rules except in regards to the 200ft tributary regulation, should continue to be productive especially in the morning and late afternoon/early evening. Smallmouth bass fishing using a variety of lures such as twister-tails and worms should be good throughout the summer months.

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, spring Chinook

North Umpqua River
North Umpqua River
-ODFW Photo-

Good numbers of summer steelhead are in the North Umpqua. Remember all wild steelhead must be released unharmed. Trout fishing on portions of the mainstem North Umpqua and tributaries opened on May 23, and anglers should pay close attention to which sections and streams are open to catch-and-release, harvest, and artificial fly use outlined in the regulation manual. Please note that the spring Chinook season ended on July 31.

Note that from July 1 through Sept. 30, fishing in the fly water area is restricted to a single barbless unweighted artificial fly which can be dressed with conventional fly tying material. Per the new regulation on page 40 of the 2015 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations booklet, from Feb. 1 – July 31, 2 wild Chinook per day can be harvested and up to 10 wild Chinook during this time frame in combination 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 mainstem South Umpqua upstream to Jackson Creek Bridge opened to fishing on May 23, with trout fishing being strictly catch and release. Catch and release trout fishing in South Umpqua tributaries below Jackson Creek Bridge also opened on May 23, with fishing restricted to the use of artificial flies and lures.

Smallmouth bass fishing, which remains open under normal rules, should be productive especially in the morning and late afternoon/early evening.

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

Willow Lake remains the Rogue reservoir with the highest water levels at 65 percent full. Fishing for bass and panfish should be good. Legal and larger-sized trout also are available.

WINCHESTER BAY: bottomfish, perch

Fishing for bottomfish in the Triangle and South jetty has been successful. Perch fishing has been productive in the bay, and it was reported that good size striped perch were being caught along the jetty.

Crabbing has been improving, and there have been reports of Chinook being caught in the ocean off of Winchester Bay and in the lower Umpqua River.

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  Southwest Zone Hunting

OPEN: COUGAR, BLACK BEAR, ARCHERY DEER AND ELK, FOREST GROUSE, MOUTAIN QUAIL, MOURNING DOVE

Mariah Tehama
First Elk, Hunt of a lifetime!
-Photo by Mariah Tehama-

Archery seasons open Aug. 29 – Know before you go!

Archery season opens Aug. 29. Know fire restrictions and closures before you go. See ODF’s webpage for restrictions and the Landowner / Corporate Closure Chart for information on private land closures – or check the national forest webpage where you plan to hunt. Also see ODF map of fire restrictions to learn what the rules are in the woods.

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

Bow Deer and Elk- seasons opened August 29. Warm dry conditions this year have resulted in many private lands being closed to public access. Most public lands are open for access, however. It is imperative that hunters know landownership where they hunt. The willingness of landowners to allow public access may depend on hunter behavior during years with extreme fire danger. If private land is closed, respect that and hunt elsewhere.

Elk numbers in Coos County are good, overall. Bull ratios in most units are above management objective, as well. Hunters will find elk are most likely to be on north facing slopes where green forage is more likely to be available and where conditions are cooler. Some hunters question whether the rut occurs in years where conditions are warm and dry. The fact it does occur. It is more driven by daylight hours, or photoperiod, than by weather. The situation is that much of the activity will happen during the cooler times of day and at night. That being said, rainy days will cause elk to be more active than other days.

Deer numbers are still improving in the county, as they have for the past few years. While there is some concern that fawn survival may not have been good this year because of the prevalence of deer hair loss syndrome last fall and winter, we have seen several years of good survival. Hunters should find deer in reasonable numbers throughout the county but the population density still appears to be best in southern Coos County. Buck ratios are fairly good, as well. As with elk, deer will be most active in late afternoon and early morning. Rainy days, if they occur, will be the best days to be out hunting.

Bear – Black Bear season is now open. The population in Coos County is healthy and it is well distributed. Generally the population is denser closer to the coast. The berry crop has been very strong this year and bears are using them as their primary food source. A good tactic for hunting bears now is to find isolated blackberry patches where human disturbance will be low and hunt those areas early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Hunting from a treestand or ground blind in the vicinity of these patches or along trails used by the bears to access them is a good method to hunt bears under the present conditions.

Hunters need to be aware that due to fire concerns most private timber land are closed to public access. It is very important that hunters contact landowners and managers to ensure that access to their land is allowed if the hunter plans to hunt private land. For the most part, public lands are open for access but hunters are responsible for knowing if there are any local closures where they intend to hunt.

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 hunting is 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.

UPLAND GAMEBIRDS

Blue Grouse
Blue Grouse
-Photo by Pat Matthews-

Upland bird- Seasons are opening in the county. September 1 is the opener for grouse and quail here. Hunters should find that numbers of grouse and quail are increasing to the point that it is worthwhile to hunt them again. The past few years of dry weather in the spring has resulted in better survival of chicks. Because of high annual mortality for upland birds, survival of chicks is what makes the population strong from one year to the next.

Hunters will find California quail most abundant near agricultural lands and mountain quall near ridges in forested parts of the county. Both species like edge habitat found in these areas.

Ruffed grouse will be easiest to locate along closed forest roads and near creek bottoms. However, ruffed grouse can be found anywhere in western Oregon forests. Blue grouse, or sooty grouse, as they are now called, will be in higher elevations in the Coast Range where habitats are less brushy. Sooty grouse can be hard to find in most of the Coast Range, but persistent hunters will be successful.

Hunters are asked to turn in a wing and the tail fan from grouse they harvest, unless they want to use those parts for other purposes. Wings and tail fans from hunter harvested birds are used by biologists to get information on grouse populations that we use for management. Contact your local ODFW office for information on where to turn in those parts, your cooperation is greatly appreciated.

DOUGLAS COUNTY

Deer - Bow season is open. Deer populations are similar to last year, with low levels at upper elevations and high population levels on the Umpqua Valley floor. Most low elevation lands are privately owned so hunters are reminded to obtain permission before hunting on those lands. During the early part of the archery season, hunters should find deer on the northerly slopes and near water and green up areas. Areas within the Indigo, Dixon, and Evans Creek Units are closed due to active fire suppression. Check local fire restrictions for current fire danger before going hunting.

Elk - Bow season is open. Elk populations are similar to last year so this hunting year will be average. This prediction is a result of ratio increases, good escapement from last hunting season and another mild winter. During the early part of the archery season, hunters should find elk on the northerly slopes and in dense conifer stands. Elk numbers are highest in the Tioga with lower levels in the Dixon, S. Indigo and Melrose units. Areas within the Indigo, Dixon, and Evans Creek Units are closed due to active fire suppression. Check local fire restrictions for current fire danger 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. Areas within the Indigo, Dixon, and Evans Creek Units are closed due to active fire suppression. Check local fire restrictions for current fire danger before going hunting.

Black Bear – General bear season is currently open. Hunters can expect an average year. The dry weather conditions will concentrate bears near streams where foraging will be better. Glass clear cuts and meadows early mornings and late evenings to find bears taking advantage of berries. Bear numbers are good with the highest numbers in the coast range, and with smaller populations in the Cascades. Successful bear hunters are reminded there is a mandatory check-in for all harvested bear within 10 days of harvest (see regulations for details). Areas within the Indigo, Dixon, and Evans Creek Units are closed due to active fire suppression. Check local fire restrictions for current fire danger before going hunting.

Western Gray Squirrel – Squirrel season is open. Hunters can expect an average year. Squirrels are widely distributed throughout the county with good numbers in areas of oaks and conifers. Many areas of high squirrel populations are on private lands so hunters are reminded to ask for permission on these lands before hunting. Areas within the Indigo, Dixon, and Evans Creek Units are closed due to active fire suppression. Check local fire restrictions for current fire danger before going hunting.

UPLAND GAMEBIRDS

Grouse & Quail – Season is open. Hunting availability and success for forest grouse should be good this year. Blue grouse success is best in mid to high elevations of the Cascades in partly open conifer stands. Ruffed grouse can be found near creeks mostly at mid elevations of both the Cascades and Coast Range. Hunters that kill grouse are asked to drop off in a paper bag the frozen wing and tail of each grouse at the local ODFW office or at one of the many blue wing collection barrels found throughout the county. Please use one bird per bag with each frozen bag of grouse parts including the species, sex, age, unit and general area of harvest for proper analysis.

Nesting season production was average for California quail and Mountain quail, so hunting opportunity should be good. Success is best in the lower elevation agricultural lands for California quail and mid-elevations of the Cascades and Coast Range near brushy clear cuts on secondary forest roads for Mountain quail. Hunters are also asked if they kill a mountain quail to drop off in a paper bag the frozen wing and tail of each mountain quail at the local ODFW office or at one of the many blue wing collection barrels found throughout the county. Please use one bird per bag with each frozen bag of mountain quail parts including the species, sex, age, unit and general area of harvest for proper analysis. Areas within the Indigo, Dixon, and Evans Creek Units are closed due to active fire suppression. Check local fire restrictions for current fire danger before going hunting.

MIGRATORY GAMEBIRDS

Mourning Doves - Hunters can expect an average year. The dove season is open. Most mourning doves have not migrated south since few weeks so their numbers are currently high. In addition, keep in mind the non-migratory Eurasian collared doves numbers are on the increase throughout the state and our county, and they are NOT part of the mourning dove bag limit. Check the 2015 game bird regulations for details. Also, don’t forget to ask for permission from local landowners before hunting doves on private land. Areas within the Indigo, Dixon, and Evans Creek Units are closed due to active fire suppression. Check local fire restrictions for current fire danger before going hunting.

WATERFOWL: Early goose season east of Hwy. 101 in Douglas County is open from Sep. 12th – Sep. 15th. Goose hunters can expect an average to above-average year. Hunting for resident geese in Douglas County should be very good because of an excellent production again this year. Nearly all goose hunting in the Umpqua Valley is on private property and hunters should obtain landowner permission before hunting. The regular goose season opens Oct. 17th.

JACKSON, JOSEPHINE, CURRY COUNTIES

DEER - Bow season opened August 29. Deer surveys show a slight decrease in our trend numbers with buck ratios remaining high. Black-tailed deer in Jackson County mostly migrate from high elevation to lower elevations of the valley floor. Most deer will be in high elevations through September. Although there is a growing population of deer that remain in the valley floor, hunters need to be aware of private property. In Josephine and Curry Counties deer migrate very little and hunters can find deer at all elevations. This year acorn crops vary throughout the counties, deer will take advantage of the acorns in our late fall season. Fire levels are set at high, which imposes restrictions on camp fires and vehicle activities. Check local Forest Service and State Forest web sites for updated fire restrictions. Currently all private timber company property is closed in Jackson, Josephine, and Douglas counties until fire season (pdf) ends.

ELK - Bow season opened August 29. Season should be average for the hunters. Due to the typical hot weather for our area elk are likely to be found in higher elevation or areas of cooler draws where they can retreat to in the heat of the day. Known water sources or wallow can be good location to start your hunting activities. With the high temperatures it is very important to take quick care of your downed animal and get it cooled off as soon as possible. Fire levels are set at high, which imposes restrictions on camp fires and vehicle activities. Check local Forest Service and State Forest web sites for updated fire restrictions. Currently all private timber company property is closed in Jackson, Josephine, and Douglas counties until fire season (pdf) ends.

Black Bear
Black Bear
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Bear season has opened. Once again bears are abundant in Jackson, Josephine and Curry Counties. Over the past few years Applegate unit has produced the most bears during the fall season. Blackberries are beginning to ripen and bears are feeding on them. With the hot dry year all berry crops may be smaller, ripen earlier and patchy. Also with the heat bears will be frequenting water hole this is a great location for tree stands. Successful bear hunters are reminded there is a mandatory check-in for all harvested bear within 10 days of harvest (see regulations for details).

Youth Elk season is currently open for units in our area. This is a great opportunity for the youth to harvest an elk. These hunts are designed to provide young hunters with a safe, well supervised, low-stress setting where they can enjoy the hunt while building fundamental skills. A reminder that youth are required to wear hunter orange.

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.

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. As other big game seasons are starting for the fall be sure to have a cougar tag with you while in the field to avoid missed opportunities.

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

Black-tail Fawn
Black-tail Fawn
-Photo by Kathy Munsel-

COOS COUNTY

Elk

Bull elk shed and grow a new set of antlers each year. They start by shedding antlers in March and by July have grown a new set. The new antlers are under skin and hair called velvet. By mid-August bulls shed this velvet and their new antlers are what is left. At this point in time bulls are starting to gather harems of cows and will soon be aggressively guarding these harems from other bulls. This is part of the annual breeding ritual called the rut.

The next month is a really good time to go to Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area, located just west of Reedsport, to see elk and their rutting behavior. You may get to see some really exciting interactions between bulls.

Black bear

Bears are using berries as their primary food source right now due to the strong berry crop this year. Those interested in seeing bears may have success in doing so if they watch isolated blackberry patches from a distance using binoculars or spotting scopes. Do not approach closely to bears. Give them their due respect and watch from a distance. While black bears are generally not as aggressive as grizzly bears (grizzly bears do not live in Oregon) they will defend themselves from what they perceive as a threat.

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.

Quail broods

Oregon has two species of native quail; mountain and California quail. Mountain quail generally live at higher elevation in the Coast Range, as their name might imply. They are most often found along exposed ridges and around clear cuts. California quail, sometimes referred to as valley quail, are often found around agricultural areas. In both cases their broods hatch in June and they are not much larger than bumble bees at the time they hatch. Soon these birds will be seen along road ways, under bird feeders and in other places.

The warm sunny weather that Coos County has experienced lately is good for chicks as they are very susceptible to becoming hypothermic when it rains, even if the weather is relatively warm. Once the chicks grow feathers they are more able to deal with precipitation.

Shorebirds

Fall migration has begun for numerous shorebird species. Coos Bay and the Coquille Valley are major stopping points along the Pacific flyway. Good locations to spot migrating shorebirds include ocean beaches, mudflats in Coos Bay, and tidal areas in and adjacent to Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge just north of Bandon. During the summer and early fall, north winds can pick up as the day progresses. Under these conditions, best viewing may be early and late in the day.

Songbirds

Wildlife viewers should stay vigilant to spot nesting songbirds. Young birds, which hatched this spring/summer will be fledging soon. In order to leave birds undisturbed, please view from a distance and don’t disturb natural behaviors. Oftentimes young birds will attempt to fly and land (unhurt) on the ground. Adult birds will continue feeding their offspring until they are able to fly.

CURRY COUNTY

Watch harbor seals in the Port of Gold Beach during low tide, along with blue herons, common egrets, and waterfowl. See osprey feeding near the mouth of the river on baitfish and lamprey. You can also frequently catch sight of brown pelicans at ports of Brookings, Gold Beach and Port Orford.

JACKSON and JOSEPHINE COUNTIES

Trail hikes at this time of year and with the high heat can be unpleasant walks. Try areas of higher elevation and early morning short walks when temperatures are lower and wildlife are more active. Traveling trails in early morning of the Sky lakes Wilderness and Crater Lake national parks provide slightly cooler temps and various wildlife. Animals that can be seen are ground squirrels, chipmunks, humming birds, stellar Jays, deer and perhaps a bear.
Killdeer
Killdeer feigning broken wing
- Photo by Patti Abbot-

Killdeer

A bird known by its shape and behavior as plover. They have a distinct double black band on their breast and a loud piercing call: kill-dee or dee-dee-dee. They are found in low to no vegetation areas such as lawns, golf courses, driveways, parking lots, and gravel-covered roofs, as well as pastures, fields, sandbars and mudflats. They protect their nest by leading predators away by acting like they have a broken wing. Be aware of their nest which are often found in gravel driveways. Found throughout Oregon.

Mourning Doves

Mourning doves are found throughout the valley where ever there are open grain fields, neighbor hoods with roosting trees and plenty of water. They are currently found nesting in trees or other shaded structures. They can have multiple nests throughout the spring time. They are a fast flying, graceful, wing whistling birds. They feed on small seeds of weeds and various grains. A species that is similar but larger and is not a native of our area is the Eurasian collared dove. They are seen around residential areas and have known to visit bird feeders. They have similar behavior habits. Unlike the pointed tail of the Mourning dove their tail will be square shaped.

Turtles

Turtles during harsh summer conditions when it is hot and dry are known to go through an aestivation period. Aestivation is equivalent of hibernation or a form of torpor, dormancy or “sleep”. Western pond turtles are known to aestivate on land during periods of hot dry weather. This aestivation is triggered by drying up of aquatic habitat. This period of aestivation can last from a couple of days to several weeks.

Turkeys and grouse

Young turkeys and grouse are now being seen throughout the area. Hens are often seen near roadways in low elevation for turkeys and higher timber areas for grouse. Look carefully when around the adults for movement or grass moving which indicates young.

Denman Wildlife Area

Whetstone pond on the Wildlife Area will go through some access and habitat changes starting around mid-August and into September. Portion of the pond will be closed during this time. 8/11/15

DOUGLAS COUNTY

Bats – With the current hot weather, gather around the air conditioner during the day. When it starts to cool down in the evening, get outside and enjoy the acrobatic flying of bats as they hunt the night skies for insects. Look for bats at dawn and dusk. Watch street lights and water bodies, where insects concentrate, bats may show up to eat up to 1000 insects per hour.

Acorn Woodpecker – A colorful medium-sized black and white clown faced woodpecker with a red crown sought after by birders for their lifetime bird list. This highly social woodpecker is commonly seen with young this time of the year in the lower elevations of Douglas County in pine-oak woodlands where oak trees are abundant. Look for this loud and vocal woodpecker in Roseburg at River Forks Park, N. Bank Mgt. area and Whistlers Park. Since this woodpecker is a hoarder look for signs of a granary in the bark of large pine trees that are used to store insects and acorns in cracks and crevices.

Vaux Swifts – can be observed at Fir Grove Park, downtown Roseburg and other areas at dusk. Look for the awesome aerial displays the last hour of daylight with congregating swifts flying in concentrations forming large vortex's before dropping into the top of their night roosting site.

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

Western Pond Turtles - can be seen basking in the late summer sun in local ponds (Stewart Park) and reservoirs (Cooper Creek, Galesville, Berry Creek. Plat I, etc.). 9/1/15

American Bald Eagle
American Bald Eagle
-Photo by Cathy Nowak-

JACKSON AND JOSEPHINE COUNTIES

Check out Roxy Ann Peak trail as an area to view the Rogue Valley and the various wildlife found along the way. Roxy Ann Peak

LAKE SELMAC is a great place to see waterfowl, eagles, osprey and other lake shore birds. Directions from Grants Pass, take Hwy 199 west about 12 miles to lake turn off sign at Lakeshore Drive. Turn left, follow to lake.

Lost Creek Lake provides 30 miles of trails which includes portions of the Rogue River National Recreation Trail. Along the lake and riverbanks, a wide variety of wildlife and wild flowers can be observed. Deer may be seen early in the morning and late evenings along waterways. A brochure of the trail system can be picked up at federal land agency and visitor centers in the area.

Killdeer

A bird known by its shape and behavior as plover. They have a distinct double black band on their breast and a loud piercing call: kill-dee or dee-dee-dee. They are found in low to no vegetation areas such as lawns, golf courses, driveways, parking lots, and gravel-covered roofs, as well as pastures, fields, sandbars and mudflats. They protect their nest by leading predators away by acting like they have a broken wing. Be aware of their nest which are often found in gravel driveways. Found throughout Oregon.

Mourning Doves

Mourning doves are found throughout the valley where ever there are open grain fields, neighbor hoods with roosting trees and plenty of water. They are currently found nesting in trees or other shaded structures. They can have multiple nests throughout the spring time. They are a fast flying, graceful, wing whistling birds. They feed on small seeds of weeds and various grains. A species that is similar but larger and is not a native of our area is the Eurasian collared dove. They are seen around residential areas and have known to visit bird feeders. They have similar behavior habits. Unlike the pointed tail of the Mourning dove their tail will be square shaped.

Denman Wildlife Area

Swallows have returned to Denman Wildlife Area to inhabit our song bird boxes, come watch them soar around the Wildlife Area. They are a very beneficial bird to have around because of their food diet of eating fly insects such as mosquitoes.

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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