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

Weekly Recreation Report: Central Zone

April 21, 2015

 Central Zone Fishing

Steelhead
Steelhead
-Photo by Charlotte Ganskopp-

Weekend fishing opportunities

  • Several popular destinations open to fishing April 25, including Crane Prairie and Wickiup reservoirs, and Laurance, Big Lava, Odell, and South Twin lakes.
  • The following are scheduled to be stocked with trout this week: Laurance Lake, Pine Hollow and Rock Creek reservoirs, Simtustus lake, Shevlin and Prineville Youth ponds.
  • Kokanee fishing has been good on Lake Billy Chinook.
  • In Prineville and Ochoco reservoirs, warmwater fish are in prespawn mode and can be aggressive biters.

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.

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.

ANTELOPE FLAT RESERVOIR: rainbow trout

Access to the reservoir is good. The reservoir isn’t completely full but there is enough water to launch a boat from the ramp. The water is very dirty and fishing has been slow.

BEND PINE NURSERY: rainbow trout

Limit is 2 fish per day, 8-inch minimum length.

BIKINI POND: rainbow trout

The pond has been stocked and fishing for trout should be good.

CRANE PRAIRIE RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, brook trout, largemouth bass, kokanee

Crane Prairie Reservoir opens to angling on April 25. Anglers may only harvest one non fin-clipped (unmarked) rainbow trout and one rainbow trout over 16-inches. 

CRESCENT LAKE: rainbow trout, brown trout, lake trout and kokanee

Open to fishing all year.

CROOKED RIVER BELOW BOWMAN DAM: redband trout, mountain whitefish

The flows have been increased to irrigation level. Fishing for trout and whitefish was good before the increase in flow. Trout are actively spawning, so please be mindful of where you are wading so as to not trample any redds. Anglers are reminded that trout over 20-inches are considered steelhead and must be released unharmed.

Flows below Bowman Dam

CULTUS LAKE: rainbow trout, lake trout

Open to fishing all year.

DAVIS LAKE: largemouth bass, redband trout

Open to fishing all year. Restricted to fly-fishing only with barbless hooks.

Redband Trout
Redband Trout
-Washington Fish & Wildlife-

DESCHUTES RIVER, Mouth to the Pelton Regulating Dam: summer steelhead, redband trout, whitefish

Anglers are reminded that steelhead fishing from the northern boundary of the Warms Springs Reservation upstream to Pelton Dam closed Dec. 31. Trout season will re-open on this stretch on April 25.

Steelhead and trout angling is permitted year round from the Reservation boundary downstream to the Columbia River. No recent reports lately on trout fishing, but the lower Deschutes around Maupin should be good.

Anglers, who catch a tagged hatchery steelhead with an orange anchor tag, are encouraged to report catch information to ODFW at 541-296-4628. Anglers catching a tagged wild fish should release it immediately without recording any information.

Check the trap the seasons catch at Sherars Falls as an indicator of fish movement in the Lower Deschutes at river mile 43. The trap is only in operation from July to the end of October.

Lake Billy Chinook to Benham Falls: rainbow trout, brown trout

Fishing restricted to artificial flies and lures.

EAST LAKE: rainbow trout, brown trout, kokanee

East Lake opens to fishing on April 25 but the gate at 10 mile snow park is currently closed. Find updated information on access here.

ELK LAKE: brook trout, kokanee, cutthroat trout

The southern portion of Cascade Lakes Highway is open up to Elk Lake. More information

FALL RIVER: rainbow trout

Downstream of the falls is closed to fishing. Fishing upstream of the falls is open all year. Restricted to fly-fishing only with barbless hooks.

HAYSTACK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, brown trout, kokanee, largemouth bass, black crappie, bluegill

Scheduled to be stocked with 7,700 legal-sized rainbow trout this week.

HOOD RIVER: summer steelhead, trout

Bright winter steelhead are entering the lower Hood and fishing has been good. Anglers should watch for good flows after high water events. Good numbers of winter steelhead should continue into late April.

The 2015 spring Chinook season on the Hood River opened on April 15 and will close on June 30.

HOSMER LAKE: brook, rainbow and cutthroat trout, Atlantic salmon

Hosmer Lake will be stocked with cutthroat trout this week. Anglers report good fishing with large fish being caught. The southern portion of Cascade Lakes Highway is open up to Elk Lake. Lake may be frozen during colder weather patterns.

LAKE BILLY CHINOOK: bull, brown and rainbow trout, kokanee, smallmouth bass

Fishing has been good lately, especially for kokanee. Opportunities for bull trout are expected to be good this year. Anglers are reminded there are small numbers of spring Chinook and summer steelhead in Lake Billy Chinook as part of the reintroduction effort. Please release these fish unharmed.

LAKE SIMTUSTUS: bull trout, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass

No recent reports. As a reminder, the lake is now open all year.

LAURANCE LAKE: Rainbow trout, cutthroat trout

Opens to fishing April 25, 2015.

LAVA LAKE (BIG): rainbow trout

Big Lava Lake opens to fishing on April 25.

LAVA LAVE (SMALL): rainbow trout, brook trout

The southern portion of Cascade Lakes Highway is open up to Elk Lake.

LOST LAKE: rainbow trout, brown trout

No recent report. The lake may be accessible due to lack of snow; however, the lake won’t be stocked until the week of May 11. For anglers who can make their way to the lake, there is opportunity to catch holdover fish from last year’s stocking.

METOLIUS RIVER: redband trout, bull trout

Metolius River upstream of Allingham Bridge closed to fishing until May 23, 2015. Metolius River downstream of Allingham Bridge open all year. Special regulations in effect for this section.

NORTH TWIN: rainbow trout

Open to fishing all year.

OCHOCO CREEK UPSTREAM TO OCHOCO DAM: rainbow trout

Angling is restricted to artificial flies and lures only; two trout per day with an 8-inch minimum length. Trout over 20-inches are considered steelhead and must be released unharmed.

OCHOCO RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, black crappie, smallmouth bass

Fishing has been good for trout that average 14 to 16 inches. The warmwater fish should be in pre-spawn mode right now.

ODELL LAKE: kokanee, lake trout

Odell Lake opens to fishing on April 25. Closed fishing for bull trout and any incidental caught bull trout must be released unharmed. All tributaries to Odell Lake are closed to fishing.

PAULINA LAKE: brown trout, rainbow trout, kokanee

Paulina Lake opens to angling on April 25 but the gate at 10 mile snow park is currently closed. Find updated information on access here.

PINE HOLLOW RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, largemouth bass

The reservoir has been stocked and good fishing has been reported.

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

Fishing for trout has been slow. The warmwater fish should be in pre-spawn mode right now.

PRINEVILLE YOUTH FISHING POND: rainbow trout and largemouth bass

No recent reports.

ROCK CREEK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout

The reservoir has been stocked and should offer good fishing this spring.

SHEVLIN YOUTH FISHING POND: rainbow trout

Shevlin Pond will be stocked with rainbow trout this week. Open to fishing all year. Limit is 2 trout per day, 8-inch minimum length. Fishing restricted to juvenile anglers 17-years-old and younger.

SOUTH TWIN LAKE: rainbow trout

South Twin Lake opens to fishing on April 25.

SUTTLE LAKE: brown trout, kokanee

Open to fishing all year.

TAYLOR LAKE (Wasco County): rainbow trout, largemouth bass

The lake has been stocked and there should be a good opportunity to catch a limit of trout.

WICKIUP RESERVOIR: kokanee, brown trout, rainbow trout, largemouth bass

Wickiup reservoir opens to fishing on April 25.

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  Central Zone Hunting

Coyote
Coyote hunting
-Photo by Charlotte Ganskopp-

OPEN: COUGAR, SPRING BEAR (see regs), SPRING TURKEY

See the turkey hunting forecast.

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.

PRINEVILLE/OCHOCO WILDLIFE DISTRICT

Spring turkey season is open and the birds are gobbling!  Winter conditions were mild and turkey survival appears to have been good. Public hunting opportunities abound on the Ochoco National Forest in the Maury, Ochoco, and Grizzly WMUs.  Consult with local land management agencies on travel management rules. Resource damage can occur this time of year with offroad travel due to moist soils.

Cougar are present throughout the Maury, Ochoco, and Grizzly units. The Maury and Ochoco units are recommended because of their greater amounts of public lands and better accessibility. Remember cougars must be checked in at an ODFW office within 10 days of harvest. Please consult the synopsis for all required parts and be sure to call first to make an appointment.

Coyotes can offer an exciting challenge and will be closely associated with deer and antelope during the fawning time of year. Both the Maury and Ochoco have sizeable areas of public lands that provide hunting opportunities. Hunters should use caution, be properly equipped and prepared for whatever the weather might bring.

THE DALLES DISTRICT

Spring Bear – Controlled Spring Bear Open April 1st – May 31st Spring weather arrived early this year, allowing bears to come out of hibernation early and in good shape. Hunters should focus on clear-cuts, meadows and grassy slopes where bears are feeding on fresh tender shoots of grasses and forbs. Good optics and patience glassing these areas are key to a successful hunt.

White River Unit- Bear numbers are good in the White River unit. Despite healthy bear numbers, success rates have been fairly low in the spring and hunters tend to have a tough time finding bears for this hunt. The edges of the major drainages, such as the White River, Badger and Tygh Creeks, should be good places to find bears in the eastern edge of the unit. Areas south of Mosier provide plenty of open areas in the northwestern portion of the unit.

Hood Unit- Bear densities are good in the Hood Unit. Focus on higher elevation areas with grassy slopes and good vantage points.

Turkey- General Spring Turkey Open April 15th- May 31st. Turkeys can be found throughout the White River Unit with many public land hunting opportunities. The dispersed turkeys can be difficult to locate during the season especially after pressured by other hunters. The key to a successful turkey hunt is good pre-season scouting. Identify where they roost, travel and feed and you will be more likely to bag one of these wary birds. The White River unit came in third overall in terms of turkey harvest last year, but remains a heavily-hunted unit with lower success rates per hunter. Be aware of other hunters in the area and take necessary safety precautions.

There are high numbers of Coyotes in Hood River, Wasco and Sherman Counties. Those wishing to pursue will find the best success near agricultural lands. Be sure to ask permission to hunt private lands. Limited opportunities may also be found at White River Wildlife area, and on lower elevation forest service lands.

Hunters wishing to pursue cougar will find best success near areas of deer and elk concentrations, or in canyons near bighorn sheep. Using predator calls throughout the year can be highly effective. Hunters are required to check-in the unfrozen hide and skull, with proof of sex attached to an ODFW office within 10 days. Hunters are also required to provide the reproductive tract of harvested female cougars. See pg. 42 of the regulations for details. Don’t forget to pick up a 2015 tag.

Furbearers: Harvest seasons for furbearing mammals have opened. Refer to the Oregon Furbearer Trapping and Hunting Regulations 2014- 2016.

WHITE RIVER WILDLIFE AREA

Turkey Hunter
Theron Hale with his gobbler.
-Photo by Travis Hale-

SPRING TURKEY opened April 15.

A parking permit is now required to use/park on the White River Wildlife Area along with other ODFW wildlife areas. Camping is allowed only in designated areas.

Eurasian Collared Doves are UNPROTECTED with no season or bag limit restrictions. Hunters only need a hunting license to harvest these birds. Often found in urban areas, make sure you are outside city limits when discharging a weapon.

Vehicle Access: New rules took affect that prohibit all recreational ATV use on the Wildlife Area, also camping is only allowed in designated camping areas. A parking permit is now required to use/park on the White River Wildlife Area along with other ODFW wildlife areas.

Cougar is all year or until zone mortality quotas have been met. Cougar can be found on White River Wildlife Area but are seldom seen. The annual migration of deer from higher in the Cascades will entice cougars to follow. Use weather to your advantage; look for tracks in snow, mud, and dirt. Remember to pick up a 2015 tag.

There are many coyotes prowling about this year. Try calling for them from open fields, meadows, and pastures. The best areas to find them will be near farm grounds on the eastern boundary.

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 Central Zone Wildlife Viewing

Ferruginous Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk
-Photo by Greg Gillson-

CROOK COUNTY

The Ochoco National Forest in wintertime is a great place for fresh air, scenery and deciphering animal tracks. Bring your snowshoes and be prepared to encounter tracks of many shapes and sizes. Also, be prepared for severe winter weather and driving conditions. Red-tailed, rough-legged and ferruginous hawks, northern harriers, American kestrels, prairie falcons and golden eagles can be found throughout Crook County and are usually associated more closely with open/agricultural areas. Bald eagles and osprey can be found associated with water bodies. Northern goshawks can be located throughout the Ochoco National Forest.

Prineville Reservoir Wildlife Area

The Prineville Reservoir Wildlife Area offers walk-in access to view a wide variety of wildlife, including deer, coyotes, otter, beaver, raptors, shorebirds and waterfowl. The area is closed to motor vehicle access each winter until April 15. Maps of the wildlife area are available at the Prineville ODFW office, at Prineville Reservoir State Park office and the ODFW website. 12/29/14.

Deschutes County

Snowpack in the Upper Deschutes basin is way below normal for this time of year. This does not bode well for late summer stream flows or the fish and wildlife that rely on them, but on the plus side, many of the Cascade Mountain lakes that would normally be unattainable by road at this time of year are currently accessible. However, late season snow events can change conditions rapidly, so it is always best to check with the Oregon Department of Transportation’s trip check web site before venturing into the mountains.

Stellar's Jay
Steller's Jay
-Photo by Kathy Munsel-

Steller’s jays, white-headed woodpeckers, junco’s, several sparrow species, ravens, spotted towhee, hairy woodpecker, cedar waxwings and red-cross bills are just a few of the species that can be found in the Deschutes National Forest and BLM managed lands. Good sites to look for birds include forest edges surrounding meadows and wetland areas. Those with patience and stealth may be rewarded by the call and possible sighting of a Virginia rail moving through thickets of cattails.

Specific birding destinations to consider include Tumalo Reservoir (west of Highway 20 between Sister and Bend), Pelton Dam wildlife overlook and Lake Simstustus (Deschutes River northwest of Madras), and Hatfield Lakes (just north of the Bend airport), where you can expect to see Canada geese, American widgeon, green-winged teal, bufflehead, ring-necked ducks, northern shovelers, lesser scaup, common and Barrow’s goldeneye, multiple gull species, and various grebes including horned, eared, western, and Clark’s.

With snow absent from mid and lower level elevations, small mammal activity is abundant. Tree squirrels and chipmunks are common in forested habitats and forest edges that transition into open areas. One such area on the Deschutes National Forest is located at Lava Butte, a few miles south of Bend and west of Highway 97. Cottontail rabbits and black-tailed jackrabbit can be found in areas where sagebrush abounds. A good area to look for all of the mammals mentioned here is on BLM land either side of Highway 20, east of Bend where hiking trails can take you miles into a mixture of sagebrush and juniper/pine woodlands.

The warmer weather has started to bring reptiles out from their winter slumber. Western fence lizards can be commonly found in the mornings on rocky outcroppings soaking up the sun’s rays, and several snake species are now active in a variety of habitats usually associated with water. Amphibians, such as the ubiquitous tree frog are busily breeding and the eggs of some early breeders, such as Long-toed salamanders, have already begun to hatch. Soon many of the area ponds and wetlands will be alive with small tadpoles and salamander larva. 3/30/15

big horned sheep
California Bighorn Sheep
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Wasco and Sherman counties

The Lower Deschutes River provides ample wildlife viewing opportunities. California bighorn sheep are frequently observed in the canyon and can provide fantastic viewing all times of the year. The best spot to view sheep is from the BLM access road just downstream and across the river from Sherar’s Falls (along Hwy 216). California bighorn sheep can begin lambing in early April. Look near large cliff complexes for a single female, called a ewe, below rimrocks. Bighorns ewes will isolate themselves in these cliff complexes before and after they lamb to provide protection from predators. A single ewe with her lamb can be the hardest time of year to see, so bring good optics and have patience scanning these areas and you may witness a lamb nurse from its mother.

Many different raptor species can be seen in the Deschutes River Canyon this time of year including Red-tailed Hawks, Northern Harriers, American Kestrels, Prairie Falcons, Peregrine Falcons and Golden Eagles. Bald eagles have returned and can be seen congregating at The Dalles Dam.

One of the earliest species to begin nesting, the great horned owl can begin breeding as early as January. Pay close attention to nests made of large twigs, often made by other birds, as you may start to see young owlet heads peering over the edge.

A large variety of songbird species can be viewed in riparian areas along the river. It is best to go birding in the early morning hours before it gets too hot for birds to be very active. Some common species seen include Bullock’s Oriole, Lazuli Bunting, Mourning Dove, Violet-green Swallow, and Cliff Swallow. 4/6/2015.

White River Wildlife Area

The deer are starting their move back up to the summer ground most of the bucks have lost their horns by now and you may see a few that are starting grow their new antlers. They are starting to lose their winter coat and may look shaggy with patches of hair missing. This doesn’t always mean they are sick.

Elk are being seen around the Wildlife Area in groups of 50 to 60 animals and sometimes more than 100 animals. When the weather is cold or snowy they can occasionally be seen from the viewing site off Rock Creek Rd./Hwy 48. You will have to get up early in the morning just before daylight or later in the evening to see them. These elk are wild and do not normally stand around very long after they have been spotted.

Golden Eagle
Golden Eagle
Photo by Kathy Munsel, ODFW

It is also possible to see bald and golden eagles on the Wildlife Area. Other raptors such as red-tailed hawks and rough-legged hawks are common sights. American kestrels and northern harriers are also easily seen hunting for food.

Lewis’s woodpeckers, pileated woodpeckers, flickers, western meadowlarks, Steller’s jays, scrub jays, gray jays, Townsend’s solitaire, horned larks, and robins are all at home on the Wildlife Area. There have also been lots of magpies spotted flying around this year.

Look on ponds, lakes and streams to see a variety of ducks and geese. 3/09/15.

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