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Weekly Recreation Report: Northeast Zone

July 28, 2015

 Northeast Zone Fishing

Jubilee Lake
Jubilee Lake
- Photo by Bob Swingle, ODFW -

Weekend fishing opportunities:

  • Smallmouth bass fishing has been good on the John Day River, and some catfish are being caught as well.
  • Jubilee Lake has been stocked and trout fishing continues to be good.
  • High water temperatures have prompted fish managers to suspend summer trout stocking in Wallowa County ponds over concerns for fish survival. Some of those fish have been diverted to Wallowa Lake.

Warm temperatures increase stress on fish

However, anglers reduce the stress from catch-and-release fishing by following a few precautions:

  • Fish early in the mornings when water temperatures are lower.
  • Fish in lakes and reservoirs with deep waters that provide a cooler refuge for fish.
  • Use barbless hooks, land fish quickly and keep them in the water as much as possible in order to minimize stress.
  • Shift fishing efforts to higher elevation mountain lakes and streams where water temperatures often remain cooler.

Warmwater fish like bass, crappie and bluegill also feel the effects of the heat, so please follow these precautions in all your summer fishing.

Statewide drought updates

For the latest statewide drought conditions, see the State of Oregon’s Drought Watch.

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.

GRANDE RONDE RIVER: trout, whitefish, bass

The Grande Ronde River is closed to spring Chinook angling as of July 5. The river remains open for trout whitefish and bass. Current low flows and high water temperatures will likely make trout fishing difficult. However, fishing for smallmouth bass will be good with an abundance of fish in the river. Anglers may still encounter Chinook salmon or bull trout and are reminded both species are to be released unharmed.

HOLLIDAY PARK POND: rainbow trout

Pond has been stocked with both legal and trophy-sized trout. Fishing has been fair. Pond does have an ADA fishing dock for anglers with disabilities.

HUNTER POND: hatchery rainbow trout

This pond has been stocked with 250 legal-sized rainbow trout. From I-84 take Hwy 244 towards Ukiah. At the Blue Mtns summit, turn left onto USFS Rd 5160. Proceed for approximately 3 miles to the Jct. of roads 5160 and 5155. Stay on 5160. Just past this Jct. on the right will be spur 710. Take this spur. The pond is just off 5160.

IMNAHA RIVER: trout, whitefish, bass

The Imnaha River is current low with some very warm temperatures. Fishing for trout and whitefish may be difficult for the remainder of the summer. However, the lower river can produce well for smallmouth bass and this can be good fishing during the hot summer months.

Spring Chinook season will close at the end of the day July 12.

Flow data for the Imnaha can be found on the Idaho Power website.

The John Day River
The John Day River
-Photo by Jessica Sall-

JOHN DAY RIVER: smallmouth bass

Smallmouth bass fishing is good with many being caught. There also has been a fair number of catfish being caught. Bass anglers may try their luck higher in the North Fork below the town of Dale. Bass are present up to Dale but in lower numbers.

John Day River flows

Please check the sport fishing regulation updates on the ODFW website for new regulations on the John Day River.


Beginning Saturday, July 18, 2015, fishing for trout, salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon is prohibited at all times, including hours between one hour before sunrise and one hour after sunset, in the following areas:

  • John Day River mainstem upstream of Indian Creek near Prairie City,
  • Middle Fork John Day River upstream of Mosquito Creek, near the town of Galena,
  • North Fork John Day River upstream of Desolation Creek, and
  • Desolation Creek.

Fishing for warmwater gamefish and other fish, as defined in the regulations, remains open under normal rules.

JUBILEE LAKE: rainbow trout

Fishing has been best in the early morning and late evenings, bank anglers should also look for the deep water areas near the dam or bring a non-motorized boat and fish deep in the middle of the lake. The lake has been stocked and should provide good fishing for rainbow trout.


Both ponds are fair fishing and are open all year. Cavender pond has had both legal and trophy-sized trout stocked.

LUGER POND: hatchery rainbow trout

Luger Pond has been stocked with 500 legal-sized rainbow trout. This pond is accessible to persons with disabilities, having compacted gravel trails and two fishing platforms. The pond is located within a beautiful forest setting in the Blue Mountains.

Take the Palmer Junction Road north out of Elgin about 10 miles to USFS 63. Follow USFS 63 for about 9 miles, then left on USFS 6306. Luger Pond is 2.5 miles on the right, near Luger Springs campground.

MAGONE LAKE: rainbow and brook trout

Lake has been stocked with both legal and trophy-sized rainbow trout. Fishing has been good. Magone is a great place to escape the summer heat with a decent swimming beach available.

McHALEY POND: rainbow trout

Pond has been stocked with legal and trophy-sized rainbow trout. Fishing is good.

McKAY RESERVOIR: crappie, bass

Crappie fishing has been fair to good this spring, the fish are scattered but should be moving offshore and suspending. The best fishing is early and late in the day. The reservoir is low but the boat ramp is still usable.


The ponds have been stocked and fishing should be good for rainbow trout. A trail system provides access to both pond and stream fishing and the area also has several handicap accessible fishing platforms.

OLIVE LAKE: rainbow trout, brook trout, and kokanee

Fishing is good and lake has been stocked with both legal and trophy-sized rainbow trout. Some kokanee are being caught at 30 to 40 feet depth.

PEACH POND (Ladd Marsh): rainbow trout

Stocked with rainbow trout in the spring.

PENDLAND LAKE: rainbow trout

Fishing is good in this is a weedy but very productive lake. Fly fishing is one of the best was to target trout in this lake, a small boat or float tube is recommended to get anglers to the open water.

ROULET POND: rainbow trout

Stocked with rainbow trout in the spring.


Remains open all year. Fishing is fair for carryover and stocked trout.

TAYLOR GREEN POND: hatchery rainbow trout

Taylor Green Pond has been stocked with 250 legal-sized rainbow trout. Some holdovers from last year are also available. From Hwy 203 at Union, turn left staying on Hwy 203 towards Medical Springs.

At the summit between Union and Medical Springs, turn left onto USFS Road 7700 (opposite snowpark area). Proceed East on 7700 road for about 9 miles to USFS Road 7740 on the right. Proceed on the 7740 road for about 1/4 mile. The rock pit pond are on the right.


The forest ponds have been stocked and should provide good fishing for rainbow trout.

rainbow trout
Rainbow Trout
-Photo by Roger Smith-


The Upper Umatilla should be good for catch-and-release fishing for rainbow trout.


Due to potentially lethal water temperatures, trout stocking in Wallowa County ponds will be suspended. Ponds affected by these changes are; Salt Creek, McGraw, Honeymoon, Teepee, Victor, Weaver, Marr, and Kinney Lake.

These ponds are traditionally stocked through July with Honeymoon, Teepee, Salt Creek and McGraw also receiving trout in late September to benefit deer hunters. Managers will monitor water temperature at these ponds do determine whether September trout stocking will occur.

Trout that would have been released in these ponds will now be stocked in Wallowa Lake in addition to scheduled trout stocking.

WALLOWA LAKE: rainbow trout, kokanee, lake trout

Trout fishing has been good at Wallowa Lake with one fisherman reporting catching his limit in five casts. The lake received a large stocking of legal and trophy-sized rainbow trout last week before the holiday weekend. Trout fishing may get even better with the additional release of trout reallocated from area ponds because of high water temperatures.

Kokanee anglers have found some recent success, however the fish are still running on the small side.

Biologists have received few reports on the kokanee fishery; however, late spring and early summer is usually best. Lend a hand to local biologist and report your kokanee fishing experience at ODFW Fishing Reports.

In 2014 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 $2,700 in rewards have been paid. Some of these fish have likely held over from last year and are available to anglers. If you catch one of these tagged fish, please report the number, location, date, where in the lake the fish was caught and the size to the ODFW office in Enterprise or online.

WALLOWA RIVER: spring Chinook, steelhead, mountain whitefish

The Wallowa River above Sunrise Road is not subject to the 2 p.m. fishing closure and remains open to fishing during the hours specified in the 2015 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations.

The Wallowa River flows are currently low and the water temperatures are high.

Trout can still be caught in the late evening and early morning with a variety of gear. Please be mindful of the well-being of the fish when practicing catch-and-release fishing.


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

WILLOW CREEK RESERVOIR: crappie, bass and trout

Angling for crappie and bass has been fair; look for schools of crappie suspended offshore. Trout fishing has slowed with the warm water temperatures, but will improve as fall approaches.

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  Northeast Zone Hunting


A 3-year-old male Gray Wolf from the Imnaha Unit
-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. 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.


Check the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest website or call them for the latest on Forest Service Rd 39 construction and detour route information. Remember it is a designated snowmobile route until April 15 and is not maintained for passenger travel until mid-June. The southern 18 miles may be closed due to construction, please call or check the website ahead of time.

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. Remember to pick up a 2015 tag.

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.


Closures related to the Corner Creek Fire that were affecting access at Phillip W. Schneider Wildlife Area have been lifted but there is still considerable fire-related traffic in area so exercise caution.

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. Remember to pick up a 2015 tag.

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


Cougar hunting is open. Cougar are well distributed in our forested areas. Calling with distress calls or cougar vocalizations can be effective. However, 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.

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 County and hunters should have good success calling. Remember to ask permission before hunting on private lands.


- Royalty Free Image-

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. Remember to pick up a tag for 2015.

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 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 and area maps/regulations are available at several self-check-in stations at entry points and parking lots. 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. Parking permits are to be displayed on the vehicle dash.


Check the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest website or call them for the latest on Forest Service Rd 39 construction and detour route information. The southern 18 miles may be closed due to construction, please call or check the website ahead of time.

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 numbers are moderate 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 Wildlife Viewing

Bighorn sheep
Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep Ram
- Photo by Pat Matthews, ODFW -


Bighorn sheep can be seen in the Burnt River Canyon west of Durkee or along the Snake River Road south of Richland. Young lambs can be seen this time of year with ewes across most of the bigborn sheep range. The best viewing is in the early morning and late in the evening. Please remember to leave wildlife alone. It is crucial for their survival to keep human interactions to a minimum.

Bald and golden eagles can be seen along the Snake River. Take the Snake River Road between Richland and Huntington. 6/2/15.



Bighorn Sheep: Bighorn ewes and lambs can be viewed early morning along the South Creek road near Black Canyon on the east side. Rams can be seen usually up Smokey Creek and Oliver Creek. Snakes are out and about this time of year in this area. Watch your steps in rocky areas and riparian areas as snakes tend to hang out in these areas. Snakes are best viewed from a distance; consider yourself a lucky person if you see one as not too many people get a chance to. Be careful not to run them over on the South Fork Road.

Bald and Golden eagles can be viewed along the John Day River. The best time to see them is early in the morning. Watch for other raptors including Redtail Hawks and Northern Harriers, roosting in large trees and on power line poles.

Watch for deer and elk crossing the highways. Doe and Elk Cows will be followed by their fawns and calves, please slow down and take an extra minute to allow for their young to cross the road. Dawn and dusk are the most active time for deer and elk and are not easily seen due to low light conditions by drivers alongside the road. 6/29/2015


The last of our winter migrants are still around but not many. Merlins and rough-legged hawks can be seen in the northern part of the district, but not for much longer. All the early migrants are here or passing by, Say’s phoebe, long-billed curlew, white-crowned sparrow, Rufus sided towhee have been seen in the yards of the District. Sandhill cranes have been seen passing overhead headed north for the summer.

Our year round raptors are easily found, American kestrels, northern harriers, red-tailed hawks, and barn, short-eared and great horned owls. Golden eagles and ferruginous hawks can be seen near their nests. Swainson’s hawks should be showing up fairly soon in the northern portion of the district.

In the grasslands grasshopper sparrows, horned larks can be seen flying. Snakes are starting to get more active with gopher/bull snakes being the most common. Canada geese should be hatched by now; one can see adults with their young on the major waterways of the district. Deer and elk can be seen in the forest, try meadows at daylight and dusk for the best chance for seeing an elk. 4/28/15.


Quality viewing opportunities can be obtained in the Columbia Basin during the early hours of daylight for fledglings of various species of passerines, raptors, waterfowl, shorebirds and upland game birds.

The Columbia Basin wildlife areas (Willow Creek, Coyote Springs, Irrigon, and Power City), State/County parks, Federal and Tribal areas/refuges along with public roads access throughout the county provide great public access to a multitude of habitats and associated mammalian and avian species. Numerous spring seeps, creeks, rivers and large reservoirs distributed throughout the county provide an abundance of habitat types composed of mixed agricultural lands, savanna and shrub steppe, upland grasslands, riparian and wooded corridors and complex wetlands.

Woodhouse’s Toad
Woodhouse’s Toad

Reptilian and amphibian species associated with these abundant habitats throughout the county can be seen amongst other species the Painted Turtle, Woodhouse and Western Toad in the wetland potholes of the Irrigon Wildlife Area.

The Umatilla National Forest, BLM and county roads provide good access to the Northern Front Range of the Blue Mountains. Heat has arrived and the perennial grass and forbs have begun to dry in the mid elevations.

Deer and Elk are moving to cooler microclimates distributed throughout the forest. Fawns and calves have been observed at heal and should be visible for viewing amongst these associated habitats.



Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area

Note: 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 unit, including the autoroute, is open for the season. The Glass Hill unit is open to foot traffic only. Visitors are advised to carefully read posted signs and consult the wildlife area administrative rules. Rules that apply to all areas are at the top (at the above link), and then scroll down to page 8, #635-008-120, for additional rules specific to Ladd Marsh.

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.

Canada goose goslings at a variety of stages of growth can be seen throughout the area. Duck broods are also being seen in several locations. It is the season for babies on the marsh!

Northern Harrier
Dark Morph Swainson’s hawk
-Photo by Kathy Munsel-

Nearly all great horned owl chicks have fledged but they may still be seen perched in trees hoping to be fed by a parent. Barn owls are having a good nesting season. New fledglings seem to be everywhere. Red-tailed Hawk chicks can be seen in several nests and Swainson’s hawks are very close to hatching. Other raptors in the area include Northern Harrier, Cooper’s and Sharp-shinned Hawks and American Kestrel. Watch for prairie falcons and golden eagles as well.

Both American avocet and black-necked stilt are nesting. American white pelicans have been seen both in the air and on ponds. All expected songbirds have returned from their wintering areas and many are in full song, especially early in the mornings. Common yellowthroats seem to be everywhere. A single yellow-breasted chat was a one day visitor at HQ.

Most crane nests have hatched; some of the chicks are just over a month old now and the pairs may be seen, from a distance, with their young in meadows. 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. 6/2/15.


During summer, many raptors will be feeding young at their nests. Common raptors in the open areas of the county are red-tailed hawks, with occasional ferruginous and Swainson’s hawks also present. A resident pair of bald eagles is again using the nest at the south end of Wallowa Lake. Look for them in a large cottonwood tree near where the Wallowa River runs into the lake. A pair of ospreys can be seen at or near their nest, which is located on a power pole about 1 mile northwest of the town of Lostine near Highway 82.

Many young hawks and owls are beginning to fledge from their nests and some may be found on the ground and appear to be injured. Usually, they are still being fed by their parents and should be left alone. If you find one in a dangerous location you can move it to the closest safe location or call your nearest ODFW office for help in moving it.

A good place to observe mule deer is along the Wallowa Lake highway between Joseph and the south end of Wallowa Lake. Drive slowly and watch along the moraine on the east side of the lake around dawn and dusk. Be careful to use the turnouts when stopping to watch these animals, as there will be other traffic on the road. White-tailed deer can be found throughout the Wallowa Valley on or near agricultural lands.

Many elk have returned to the Zumwalt Prairie now. Try driving the Zumwalt and Pine Creek Roads and looking carefully at ridge tops. Elk can also be observed regularly along the Lostine River Road 4-5 miles south of the town of Lostine, and along the Powwatka Ridge Road between 18 and 27 miles north of the town of Wallowa. All of these areas are county roads that run through private property, so please respect the landowners privacy and remain on the county road and park out of the traffic lanes while watching the elk. Once you find a herd, use binoculars or a spotting scope to observe the animals.

Waterfowl can still be seen flying into Wallowa Lake in the evenings from the county park at the north end of the lake. Canada geese and several species of ducks can also be seen feeding in agricultural fields and along streams around the county.

Other migrants and summer residents are moving into the area including, western tanagers, Say’s phoebes, horned larks, killdeers, and robins. Mountain bluebirds are also arrived back from their southern haunts and can be seen in open grassland areas near trees. 6/29/15.

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