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

Weekly Recreation Report: Central Zone

February 2, 2016

 Central Zone Fishing

Lake Billy Chinook
Lake Billy Chinook

Weekend fishing opportunities

  • Kokanee fishing has been good lately in Lake Billy Chinook
  • Trout fishing on the Fall River has been fair. Sleep in cause the best fishing will be during the warmest part of the day, usually mid-afternoon.
  • Anglers have been catching a good number of lake trout on Crescent Lake.
  • Nymphs and streamer have been taking trout on the Metolius, where fishing has been fair.
  • Some lakes are now frozen over with thin ice and roads blocked by snow. Check on access before heading out.
  • Quite a few winter steelhead are entering the Hood River, and fishing should be good once high water levels begin to recede.
  • Pine Hollow has been stocked for some winter fishing.
  • Winter can be a good time to find the larger trout hanging out in Ochoco Reservoir.

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.

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.

ANTELOPE FLAT RESERVOIR: rainbow trout

Be prepared for hazardous road conditions as snow and ice may limit accessibility. The reservoir is covered in ice of unknown thickness.

BEND PINE NURSERY: rainbow trout

Open to fishing all year. Pond may be frozen during extended cold weather. Limit 2 fish per day.

BIKINI POND: rainbow trout

Ice will hinder angler access, and is not likely safe for angling. The pond has been stocked, and should provide good fishing when the ice melts.

CRANE PRAIRIE RESERVOIR: Closed to fishing until April 22, 2016.

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

Open to fishing all year.

CROOKED RIVER BELOW BOWMAN DAM: redband trout, mountain whitefish

Fishing has been fair. The flows are very low, which can be very stressful to the fish. Anglers are encouraged to take measures to reduce stress by quickly landing a fish, minimize handling and to not remove the fish from the water.

As a reminder, all trout over 20-inches are considered steelhead and must be immediately released unharmed. Please report any tagged fish to the Prineville Office (541) 447-5111.

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. Catch and release for trout.

The Deschutes River
Fishing the Deschutes River
-Photo by Charlotte Ganskopp-

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

New 2016 regulations open the river the entire year from the I84 bridge upstream to Pelton Regulating Dam.

Steelhead are dispersed throughout the river from the mouth upstream to Warm Springs. Winter steelhead fishing can still be good on the Deschutes, but freezing temperatures may limit success. Angers will likely find best success upstream from Maupin.

Trout fishing also continues to be productive during the winter months throughout the entire reach

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.

Counts at the Sherars Falls salmon and steelhead trap.Trap operation has ended for the season, but will resume again next summer.

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

Open for trout all year. Fishing restricted to artificial flies and lures. No size or limits on brown trout and no harvest of bull trout.

Benham Falls upstream to Wickiup Reservoir:

Closed to fishing until May 22, 2016

EAST LAKE:

Open to fishing all year. Lake may be frozen during extended cold weather. Check road closure information prior to driving to lake.

ELK LAKE: brook trout, kokanee, cutthroat trout

Open to fishing all year. Winter road closure information.

FALL RIVER: rainbow trout

Open to fishing all year. Anglers report fair fishing during the warmer parts of the day. Restricted to fly-fishing only with barbless hooks.

Forest Service Road 4060 is not maintained during winter months.

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

The reservoir is ice free. The westside campground/boat ramp has been closed until April 1. Parking is allowed near the handicap fishing pier and walk-in access around the reservoir is permitted. Parking in front of the gate or along the road is not permitted. For more information call the Bureau of Reclamation at (541) 389-6541.

HOOD RIVER: winter steelhead

Fishing for bright winter steelhead has been improving with good numbers of fresh fish entering the river. Anglers will want to pay close attention to river levels, as fishing should be excellent when flows recede.

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

Open to fishing all year. Lake may be frozen during extended cold weather. Winter road closure information. New fishing regulations beginning on Jan. 1, 2016 call for catch-and-release for all species.

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

Metolius River Arm is closed until March 1 but the Deschutes and Crooked River Arms are open year round. Trout limit may include one bull trout with a 24 inch minimum length limit. Rainbow trout over 20 inches and kokanee over 16 inches must be released unharmed. There are no limits on bass or brown trout.

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.

Smallmouth bass
Biggest catch ever!!! Smallmouth Bass,
-Photo by Kao Tzeo-

LAKE SIMTUSTUS: bull trout, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass

Open year-round.

LAURANCE LAKE: Rainbow trout, cutthroat trout

Closed to fishing until May 22, 2016.

LAVA LAKE (BIG):

Open to fishing all year. Winter road closure information.

LAVA LAVE (SMALL): rainbow trout, brook trout

Open to fishing all year. Winter road closure information.

LOST LAKE: rainbow trout, brown trout

Snow will likely block access to Lost Lake until next spring.

METOLIUS RIVER: redband trout, bull trout

Mainstem upstream of Allingham Bridge is closed to fishing until May 22. Allingham Bridge downstream to mouth open to fishing all year. Anglers report fair fishing using nymphs and egg patterns. Catch-and-release for all species, including bull trout. Special fishing regulations apply to the Metolius River.

NORTH TWIN LAKE: rainbow trout

Lake is currently fishless. North Twin Lake will be closed until ODFW can access the lake to assess recent treatment to remove illegally introduced catfish. Contact Erik Moberly (541) 388-6145 if you have any questions.

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 20 inches and greater must be released unharmed.

OCHOCO RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, black crappie, smallmouth bass

Fishing has been fair for trout averaging 16 inches in length. The reservoir is free of ice. The water level is to the bottom of the paved portion of the boat ramp and the gate to the ramp is open.

ODELL LAKE: Closed to fishing after Oct. 31.

Open to fishing all year. All tributaries to Odell Lake are closed to fishing.

PAULINA LAKE:

Open to fishing all year. Lake may be frozen during long stretches of cold weather. Check road closure information prior to driving to lake.

PINE HOLLOW RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, largemouth bass

Pine Hollow should offer excellent winter fishing, as the lake has received its winter stocking.

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

The upper portion of the reservoir is still covered in a thin layer of ice. There is open water near the dam.

PRINEVILLE YOUTH FISHING POND: rainbow trout and largemouth bass

The pond is closed when covered with ice.

ROCK CREEK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout

Recent rains should improve water levels and fishing in the lake. Ice will limit success, and anglers should use extreme caution on the ice.

SHEVLIN YOUTH FISHING POND: rainbow trout

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.

rainbow trout
Rainbow Trout
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

SOUTH TWIN LAKE: rainbow trout

Open to fishing all year. Lake may be frozen during long stretches of cold weather. Check road conditions prior to driving to lake.

SUTTLE LAKE: brown trout, kokanee

Open to fishing all year.

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

Taylor Lake should offer excellent winter trout fishing opportunity, as the lake has received its winter stocking allocation.

THREE CREEK LAKE: rainbow trout, brook trout

Open to fishing all year. Check road closure information before driving to lake.

WALTON LAKE: rainbow trout

The lake is covered in ice of unknown thickness.

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

Closed to fishing until April 22, 2016.

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  Central Zone Hunting

OPEN: COUGAR

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

Please be aware of fire restrictions and closures in the area. Consult appropriate land management agency for details.

cougar
Cougar
- Royalty Free Image-

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

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. 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

Coyotes: There are good 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.

Cougar: Cougars can be found in the same areas as deer and elk as they follow them through their migration routes. Calling with fawn in distress can be effective this time of year. Cougars have large home ranges so remember to be patient and persistent. Remember you need 2016 tag to hunt as of Jan. 1.

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.

WHITE RIVER WILDLIFE AREA

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.

Road Closures: Green-dot seasonal roads are now closed to all motorized vehicles for the winter. These closures help prevent road damage and protect wintering wildlife. Walk-in access is still permitted once the roads are closed. The green-dot seasonal roads will reopen April 1.

A parking permit is now required to use/park on the White River Wildlife Area along with other ODFW wildlife 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.

Cougar is open all year or until zone mortality quotas have been met. Winter is a great time to focus on cougar hunting. The annual migration of deer from higher in the Cascades will entice cougars to follow, concentrating the number of cougars at lower elevations. Use weather to your advantage; look for tracks in snow, mud, and dirt. Locating fresh tracks in the snow in conjunction with predator calling can be effective. Remember you need 2016 tag to hunt as of Jan. 1.

There are many coyotes prowling about this year. Try calling for them from open fields, meadows, and pastures. Using distress calls can be quite productive throughout the winter. The best areas to find them will be near farm grounds on the eastern boundary. Look for them in early morning or evening and pay attention to wind direction.

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 Central Zone Wildlife Viewing

Northern Harrier
Northern Harrier
-Photo by Cathy Nowak-

CROOK COUNTY

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. Maps of the wildlife area are available at the Prineville ODFW office, at Prineville Reservoir State Park office and the ODFW website.

Deschutes County

Higher than average snowfall is good news for fish and wildlife and the habitats they rely on, but wildlife watchers wishing to drive into the mountains should check conditions at ODOT’s Trip Check site (https://www.tripcheck.com/Pages/RCMap.asp ) before heading out. ODOT closed the Cascade Lakes Highway west of Mount Bachelor and highway 242 west of Sisters. Neither highway is ploughed and both will remain closed until the snow has melted.

Late January brought Deschutes County’s first turkey vulture sighting of the year. This is a few weeks earlier than usual, but more should soon be flying in our skies.

Winter is an excellent time to view raptors. Red-tailed hawks are one of the most numerous birds of prey and commonly seen on fence and power poles scanning meadows, sagebrush shrub steppe, and other open areas for a tasty rodent.

Stella’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 cat tails.

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. ¬†Whether you’re interested in song birds, waterfowl, or raptors and prefer remote birding locations, or those closer to urban areas, directions to a long list of great birding locations can be found at East Cascades Audubon Society. http://www.ecaudubon.org/#!birding-locations/clvb

This winter’s great snowfall provides a great opportunity to find and identify mammal tracks. You might run into a black-tailed jackrabbit in areas where sagebrush abounds and it’s not uncommon to see coyotes cross open spaces in a variety of habitats. Squirrels can be observed conducting their winter activities on national forest and BLM lands.

Some amphibian activity is occurring beneath the frozen surface of ponds, but for the most part, they will be absent from view for the next month or so. Likewise, reptiles are sequestered in their underground winter quarters and will remain there until warmer days return in March or April. We’ll know spring is back when the chirrups of tree frogs can be heard once again. ¬†02/02/16

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). Focus your efforts near large cliff complexes for best viewing.

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 and Bald Eagles. Migrating raptors have been showing up in large numbers, focus on high ridgelines where migrating birds travel.

Migrating Bald eagles have arrived and can often be observed along the Columbia River. The eagles can be observed throughout the Columbia Gorge with common places below The Dalles Dam and at the confluence of the Klickitat River. 12/22/15

Mule Deer Bucks
Mule Deer Bucks in the Snow
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

White River Wildlife Area

There are many different animals on White River Wildlife Area ranging from Deer and Elk to coyotes, bears, and the occasional cougar. Some of these animals are much harder to find than others. Deer that winter on the wildlife area are now showing up and can be spotted in open fields and meadows early in the morning or in the evenings. Remember when driving around the Wildlife Area or rural roads, watch carefully for deer along the edges ready to jump out in front of you. There are many deer mortalities every year from vehicle collisions. Not only is it bad for the deer but can cause serious injuries or be fatal to the driver and passengers.

The best time to view elk is also in the morning and evenings. They are very wary animals and don’t like hanging around when people are nearby.

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, golden-crowed kinglets, 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, as well as western grebes, coots, and mergansers. 12/15/2015

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