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ODFW WEEKLY RECREATION REPORT
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Northeast Zone Map

Weekly Recreation Report: Northeast Zone

September 30, 2014

 Northeast Zone Fishing

Chinook Salmon
Chinook Salmon
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Weekend fishing opportunities

  • Fall weather has arrived, cooling mountain lakes and ponds and triggering trout to feed heavily.
  • Salmon have arrived in good numbers at the mouth of the Umatilla and at Threemile Dam and effort is picking up.
  • Pendland Lake offers some fine fly-fishing in the fall.
  • Cavender, Holliday Park, Hunter, Luger Peach, Roulet and Taylor Green ponds and Bull Prairie Reservoir were recently stocked with trophy-size trout.

2014 trout stocking

The 2014 trout stocking schedule for the Northeast Zone is now posted on-line on along with other districts on the ODFW trout stocking page.

Send us your fishing report

We’d love to hear about your recent fishing experience. Send us your 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.

ALDRICH PONDS: rainbow trout

Anglers can make either a 2 mile hike to Roosevelt Lake (Lower Lake) or a 2.5 mile hike to Stewart Lake (Upper Lake). Fishing is good for carryover rainbow trout at both ponds.

BULL PRAIRIE RESERVOIR: rainbow and brook trout

Fishing for carryover rainbow and brook trout is fair. Trout are now concentrated in the deeper part of the reservoir near the dam. Vegetation growth is affecting fishing access for bank anglers. Approximately 200 trophy rainbow trout were stocked on Sept. 23. They should be fully acclimated and provide good fall fishing. 

GRANDE RONDE RIVER: trout, bass

The Grande Ronde River is open for steelhead as of Sept. 1. A few steelhead have been caught; however, the bulk of the run is still a few weeks away.

Flows are currently low, but there is still the opportunity to fish a few holes using different techniques. Bass fishing will still produce, however success rates will likely slow with falling tempertures.

Remember, only adipose-fin clipped trout may be retained and all bull trout must be released unharmed. Some fall chinook will start to move into the lower Grande Ronde in the coming months. Please release these fish immediately and allow them to finish spawning.

HOLLIDAY PARK POND: trout

Trophy trout were stocked on Sept. 23 and should provide good fall fishing.  With cooler weather pond vegetation is beginning to die back and provide better fishing access.

HUNTER POND: trout

Hunter Pond is located about 3 miles south of Hwy 244 off of USFS Rd 5160. The pond is located on the 710 spur just west of 5160. The pond was recently stocked with trophy-sized rainbow trout.

The Imnaha River
The Imnaha River
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

IMNAHA RIVER: trout, bass, Chinook

The Imnaha River is open for steelhead as of Sept. 1. Some steelhead may be available in the lower river yet the bulk of the run is still weeks away and is best in March. Trout anglers may find some success as the water cools and trout become more active. Remember, below the mouth of Big Sheep Creek only adipose-fin clipped trout may be harvested. All bull trout must be released unharmed.

Fall chinook will start entering the lower river to spawn in the next few months. Please release these fish unharmed and allow them to complete the cycle.

The upper Imnaha has a healthy population of mountain whitefish and can produce some large fish. Look for whitefish in deep pools and runs. Whitefish will take small bead-head nymphs and small spinners.

JOHN DAY RIVER: smallmouth bass, trout

Smallmouth bass fishing is good in the lower river but flows are near 100 cfs making boat travel very difficult. Trout fishing is fair on the South Fork and on the Middle Fork but flows will stay low until fall rains.

Check John Day River flows

JUBILEE LAKE: rainbow trout

The lake has been stocked and should provide good fishing for rainbow trout. Anglers should concentrate on the deeper areas near the dam or use a non-motorized boat to reach the deeper areas of the lake.

JUMP-OFF-JOE LAKE: brook trout

This high lake near Desolation Creek fishes well all summer and presently has large brook trout available. It requires a ½ mile hike. Fishing is poor from the bank and a float tube or raft will greatly improve your chances.

LONG CREEK POND, CAVENDER POND: trout

Trophy trout were stocked on Sept. 23 and should provide good fall fishing. Bass fishing is likely fair to poor with dropping fall temperatures.   

LUGER POND: trout

The pond was recently stocked with trophy-sized rainbow trout.

MAGONE LAKE: rainbow and brook trout

The fishing has slowed for brook trout and rainbow as the lake temperature has warmed to over 65 degrees.

MORGAN LAKE: rainbow trout

Fishing for rainbow trout should improve with the recent cooler weather.

Kokanee Salmon
Lloyd Plum of Tillamook with a 23-inch, 4.5 pound kokanee
-Photo by William J. Knox-

OLIVE LAKE: rainbow, kokanee

This high lake stays cool all summer and is accessible by vehicle for bank or boat angling. There is a campground with boat launch. Kokanee fishing has slowed as water temperatures warmed but they can still be caught in deeper water. Carryover rainbows are available along with recently planted jumbo trout.

PEACH POND (Ladd Marsh): rainbow trout

The pond was recently stocked with trophy-sized rainbow trout.

PENDLAND LAKE: rainbow trout

As water temperatures cool with fall weather, angling pressure diminishes and catch rates improve. Bring a boat or float tube to reach the best fishing areas. Fly-fishing shines during the fall months.

ROULET POND: rainbow trout

The pond was recently stocked with trophy-sized rainbow trout.

ROWE CREEK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout

Fish activity is limited by high water temperatures. Low water and vegetation growth is affecting fishing access for bank anglers. Fishing is poor.

STRAWBERRY AND SLIDE LAKES: rainbow and brook trout

These high lakes in the Strawberry Mountain wilderness area provide good fishing all summer. Strawberry lake requires a 1.5 mile hike and Slide Lake is another mile further. Fish can be caught from the bank but packing in a float tube or raft will improve your chances.

TAYLOR GREEN POND: rainbow trout

This was a new stocking site in 2013. The pond is located in a gravel pit just off USFS Rd. 7740, approximately ½ mile south of the Jct. with USFS Rd. 7700. The pond was recently stocked with trophy-sized rainbow trout.

TROUT FARM POND: rainbow and brook trout

Fishing for rainbow and brook trout is fair. Carryover and legal sized rainbows are available. Vegetation growth is affecting fishing access for bank anglers.

UMATILLA FOREST PONDS: trout

The following ponds have been stocked to date: Ninemile, Shimmiehorn, skyline, Boundary, Key hole, Pearson Ridge Twin, Goldfish, 5412, Yellow Jacket, Granite Meadows, French Corral, Four Corners and Frog Heaven. The South Umatilla Ponds will be stocked this week (Ellis, Gopher springs, Divide well, Rock pit, Sugarbowl, 5320, Thompson and Stinkwater) All should provide good fishing.

UMATILLA RIVER: salmon, trout

The Umatilla River opened for salmon and steelhead fishing on Sept. 1, and fish numbers picked up at Threemile Dam late last week. Anglers should concentrate on the lower river downstream of Threemile Dam and the backwater area of the Columbia River. Fish numbers and catch will improve as the flows increase and water temperatures decrease. The upper Umatilla is open to catch-and-release trout fishing and fishing for rainbow trout has been good. Anglers should consult the synopsis for detailed regulations.

Threemile Dam fish counts

Wallowa Lake
Wallowa Lake
- Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

WALLOWA LAKE: rainbow trout, kokanee, lake trout

Fishing for rainbow trout has slowed. Some fish are still available, though anglers will need to be more persistant. Trout have been caught with a variety of methods but a simple rig with Powerbait has been best.

The lake was stocked with tagged rainbow trout in an effort by ODFW to better understand the utilization of this fishery. Tagged fish have been caught at very high rates and over $2,500 in rewards have been paid.

WALLOWA RIVER: steelhead, mountain whitefish, chinook

The Wallowa river has been fishing good for trout. Catch rates on fin-clipped trout have also been good and anglers are encouraged to harvest these fish. For fly anglers, October caddis are on the river and trout are showing some interest. The best dry fly fishing is in the late evening. During mid-day nymph fishing will produce the most fish. Most spinner and bait fishing techniques also will be very effective. Look for trout where the water is well oxygenated and near structure. Remember, below Rock Creek only adipose-fin clipped trout may be harvested. All bull trout must be released unharmed.

The Wallowa is also open to steelhead fishing as of Sept. 1. While a few fall fish are caught every year, the main run will not show in mass till late winter.

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  Northeast Zone Hunting

OPEN: COUGAR, BLACK BEAR, RIFLE DEER (controlled season, opens Oct. 4), GROUSE, and MOURNING DOVE

Archery deer and elk seasons are now closed.

See the bird and big game hunting forecasts.

Snake River wolf
Gray Wolf from the Snake River Pack
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Wolves in Northeast Oregon

Wolves are protected by state law and it is unlawful to shoot them. Coyote hunters in northeastern Oregon need to take extra care to identify their target as wolves can look like coyotes, especially wolf pups in the mid-summer and fall. ODFW needs hunters’ assistance to establish wolves’ presence in Oregon; please report any wolf sightings or wolf sign to La Grande office (541) 963-2138 or online with the Wolf Reporting Form.

Use the Oregon Hunting Map to see where to hunt.

BAKER COUNTY

Closure of Wallowa Mountain Loop Road (Forest Road 39)

GROUSE: Grouse season starts September 1. Blue grouse can be found in the higher elevations while ruffed grouse are more common in wetter areas. Hunters should expect an average year for grouse. Successful hunters are asked to place the tails and wings from harvested birds in the collection barrels.

BEAR season opened August 1. Successful hunters, remember check-in of bear skull is mandatory; see the regulations for details. Biologists recommend propping the bear’s mouth open with a stick after harvest; it makes for easier tooth collection and measuring.

Cougars can be found throughout Baker County but hunters should target areas with high concentrations of deer and elk. Setting up on a fresh kill or using distress calls can all be productive techniques. Hunters are required to check in the hide of any cougar taken, with skull and proof of sex attached.

Coyote numbers are good throughout the district. Try calling in early morning and late afternoon. Remember to ask for permission before hunting on private properties.

GRANT COUNTY

ODFW’s Phillip W. Schneider Wildlife Area (Murderers Creek Unit, Grant County) is reopened to public as South Fork Complex wildlife is over.

The U.S. Forest Service still has area closures in effect for the South Fork Complex Fire (Murderers Creek Unit, Grant County). Please refer to the Malheur National Forest website for more information on area closures.

Travel Management Area (TMA) closures will be effective beginning October 1st through October 15th and October 26th through November 16th for the areas in Murderers Creek-Flagtail TMA (Murderers Creek Unit, Grant County) and Camp Creek TMA (Northside Unit, Grant County).

Grouse: Grouse season started September 1 and will remain open through December 31st. Blue grouse can be found in the higher elevations while ruffed grouse are more common in wetter areas. Hunters have had great success so far this season. Successful hunters are asked to place the tails and wings from harvested birds in the collection barrels.

Cougar hunting remains open. Successful hunters should remember that check-in of the hide with skull and proof of sex attached is mandatory; see the regulations for details.

Coyote numbers are good in most of the district. Coyotes may respond to distress calls. Try calling in the early morning and late evening.

MORROW, GILLIAM AND WHEELER COUNTIES

There are some road closures on the Umatilla NF in the Heppner ranger district. The road closures are in the southwest portion of the forest in the Heppner unit mainly associated with the Sunflower Flats fire.  Hunters can still access all areas of the forest; the route needed may make it a longer trip.

BUCK DEER season opens this Saturday October 4th.  Deer are widely distributed in the forest of the Heppner and Fossil units.  Both units had buck ratios above management objective so hunters can expect another above average year for success. Fire restrictions have been lowered slightly but it is still very dry in the forest. 

Cougar hunting is open. Cougar are well distributed in our forested areas. Calling with distress calls or cougar vocalizations can be effective. Locating a fresh, naturally made kill has the best chance of success

The Coyote population is healthy with good numbers of coyotes available for those who wish to pursue them. Watch wind direction to help prevent giving away your location. Calling with game distress calls can be very successful.

UMATILLA COUNTY

Public use restrictions on the Umatilla NF and Wallowa-Whitman NF have been eased; see their website for latest and always check for conditions and restrictions before heading out.

Cougar are well distributed in forested areas of the Walla Walla, Mt. Emily, and Ukiah units. Hunters will have best success by finding a fresh naturally made kill and sitting on it, or by using predator calls. Some success has come from following tracks until the cougar is located.

Coyote are numerous throughout the District and hunters should have good success calling. Remember to ask permission before hunting on private lands.

Black Bear
Black Bear
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

UNION COUNTY

BLACK BEARS are plentiful throughout the county. Look for sign around fruit trees and in canyon bottoms. Bears can be concentrated along creeks and rivers in the late summer. This year’s bumper berry crop should make for good early season bear hunting in Union County. Huckle, Service and Hawthorn berries are all in full swing. Hunt in the early morning and evenings for the best chance of seeing bears. Bear skulls must be checked in within ten days of harvest, see regulations.

COUGARS are common in Union County. Focus on game rich areas with long ridgelines or saddles that cats typically travel. Setting up downwind of a deer or elk killed by a cougar can be productive. Nonresident hunters can include a cougar tag with others tags for only $14.50. All cougars taken must be checked in within 10 days of harvest; call for an appointment before check in.

COYOTE numbers are good throughout the district. Try calling in early morning and late afternoon. Remember to ask for permission before hunting on private properties.

Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area

Hunting seasons now closed. Ladd Marsh harvest statistics Note: all visitors including hunters must have in their possession a free daily permit to access the wildlife area. Permits will be available at several self-check-in stations at entry points and parking lots beginning in late September. Wildlife hunters, viewers and anglers also need a parking permit to park on the wildlife area. Hunters receive a free parking permit with their hunting license. The $7 daily or $22 annual permit can be purchased online or at an ODFW office that sells licenses or at a license sales agent. Learn more about ODFW’s Wildlife Area Parking Permit Program. Parking permits are to be displayed on the vehicle dash. More information

WALLOWA COUNTY

Closure of Wallowa Mountain Loop Road (Forest Road 39)

BLACK BEAR: A good density of black bear exists throughout the district. Hunters should focus efforts in berry patches and old fruit orchards.

ELK: The archery season for elk ended September 28th. The youth hunts for antlerless elk are also underway in most hunt units. Numbers of elk are strong throughout most of Wallowa County and most elk are on their summer ranges. Hunters in early and late September encountered good hunting conditions, but during the middle of the month conditions were dry which made for difficult hunting.  Success rates were generally good with many medium-sized bulls taken.  When hunting or scouting look on timbered ridges where they can rest during the day. Elk this time of year usually move to the larger meadows at night to feed.

DEER: The rifle season for deer begins October 4th. Mule deer numbers are below desired levels in all units, but hunters can still expect to have fair success by adding a little more effort in the field. White-tailed deer numbers are improving. They can be found in open grassland areas adjacent to brushy areas and in agricultural areas.

BIGHORN SHEEP: Bighorn numbers are good in most units, but hunters can expect to spend a lot of time in the field scouting as these animals are well dispersed in very rough country. The first bighorn sheep seasons ended September 28th.  Success was good in most hunts. 

Rocky Mountain Goat
Mountain Goat, Twin Lakes
-Photo by Brian Ratliff, ODFW-

MOUNTAIN GOAT: Goat numbers are good in most units, but below desired levels in the Hurricane Creek areas. Hunters can expect to spend a lot of time in the field scouting as these animals are well dispersed in very rough country. The first mountain goat seasons ended September 28th.  Success was very high with with 8 of the 9 hunters having checked goats at this time.  One of these will probably rank in the top 15 on the Oregon records list.

FOREST GROUSE: Forest grouse hunting has been poor – fair in recent years and this year is similar. The season started September 1st. Blue grouse numbers are below the long term average, but hunters can still find a few birds along open grassy ridges adjacent to timber. Ruffed grouse hunting opportunities will be best along riparian areas where abundant shrubs are found.

COYOTE: Good numbers of coyotes can be found throughout Wallowa County. Calling coyotes with rabbit distress type calls has been effective for hunters. It is important to choose areas with abundant coyote sign and little human activity.

COUGAR: Cougar numbers are strong throughout Wallowa County. Most lions are taken incidental to other hunting; however, calling with fawn bleat, or locating a cougar kill and waiting for a cat to return are often successful techniques.

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 Northeast Zone Viewing

BAKER COUNTY

Upland game bird broods are beginning to be seen in the area. Along the Snake and Burnt River are good places to look.

Bighorn sheep can be seen in the Burnt River Canyon west of Durkee or along the Snake River Road south of Richland. Ewes can be seen with their lambs this time of year. The best viewing is in the early morning and late in the evening.

Bald and golden eagles can be seen along the Snake River. Take the Snake River Road between Richland and Huntington.

Elk and deer can be seen with their young. Give them extra space to avoid separating young from the group. Remember to leave any young wildlife where you found them. 7/29/14.

UMATILLA COUNTY

Deer and elk are starting to orient to green-up areas of annual grass in the low and mid slope areas of the Blue Mountains. Large herds of elk will be intermingled in the trees at mid elevation areas. Deer will be more widespread with small groups present from near field edge to upper forest areas.

Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area

Sunset at Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area
-Photo by David Bronson-

UNION COUNTY

Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area

Note: New this year: All visitors must have in their possession a free daily permit to access the wildlife area. Permits are available at several self-check-in stations at entry points and parking lots. Wildlife viewers and anglers also need a parking permit to park on the wildlife area. The $7 daily or $22 annual permit can be purchased online or at an ODFW office that sells licenses or at a license sales agent. Learn more about ODFW’s Wildlife Area Parking Permit Program.

The Tule Lake Public Access Area and autoroute are open to the public through Sept 30. The Glass Hill Unit is open to public entry for foot and horse traffic only. Please see the note above regarding daily permits. Visitors are advised to carefully read posted signs and consult game bird regulations before entering the wildlife area. Dogs are not permitted within the Wildlife Area, on or off leash except during authorized hunting seasons. There are numerous quality viewing opportunities from county roads that pass through the area. Binoculars or a spotting scope will help as many animals are best viewed from a distance.

As is typical for late summer and early fall, water levels are extremely low. Waterfowl are concentrated in the remaining ponds and wetlands including the Foothill Road refuge.

Shorebird migration has slowed as shallow flats have dried out but some shorebirds may still be seen.

Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets have been taking advantage of fish stranded in small pockets of water. As many as 50 great egrets were recently seen foraging in the remnants of one pond.

Sandhill Cranes have begun to gather in large groups in preparation for their migration south. Look for them in shallow flats, in the Foothill Rd refuge and in fields around the valley. Please report any sandhill cranes wearing leg bands to the Ladd Marsh staff (541-963-4954). If possible, note the color and order of bands on each of the bird’s legs (e.g., pink above white on left leg; silver above black on right leg). The specific combination and order can identify individual birds.

For more information on access rules for Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area, please consult the Oregon Game Bird Regulations or call the wildlife area (541) 963-4954. 9/16/14.

WALLOWA COUNTY

The elk on the Zumwalt Prairie are on the open prairie now and the mid-elevation forests. Occasional large herds can be seen from the Zumwalt Road or on The Nature Conservancy’s Zumwalt Prairie Preserve. Once you find a herd, use binoculars or a spotting scope to observe the animals. Another good area to spot elk is from the Troy Road as it passes through the Shilo Ranch on the north end of Powwatka Ridge. This is a county road, but is bordered on both sides by private land. Please watch from the road and don’t trespass on the ranch.

A good place to view mountain goats and bighorn sheep is near Hat Point above Hells Canyon.  They often congregate just north of the USFS lookout tower to lick salt along the rim.

Resident waterfowl can be seen flying into Wallowa Lake in the evenings from the county park at the north end of the lake. Canada geese can be seen feeding in agricultural fields and along streams around the county. Some winter migrants have begun to move into the area with a western grebe observed on Wallowa Lake this week. 10/1/14

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