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

Weekly Recreation Report: Northeast Zone

November 18, 2014

 Northeast Zone Fishing

Wallowa River

Winter steelhead fishing
-Photo by Bob Swingle, ODFW-

Weekend fishing opportunities

  • Bull Prairie Reservoir and Long Creek, Cavender and Holliday Park ponds were all stocked in late September and trout fishing should be good through the end of the year.

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 waterbodies 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 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.

BULL PRAIRIE RESERVOIR: rainbow and brook trout

Remains open all year. Approximately 200 trophy rainbow trout were stocked on Sept. 23. They will provide good fishing for the remainder of the year.

GRANDE RONDE RIVER: steelhead

Cold weather has caused the flows to drop on the Grande Ronde River and the river is likely icy. Weather reports indicate a slight warm up later this week that could free the river. Anger success has been steady leading up to the cold weather. Also, a healthy proportion of two salt fish has resulted in a large average size this year. So, expect a few larger fish and some screaming drags! Remember, only adipose-fin clipped rainbow trout may be retained and all bull trout must be released unharmed. Fall chinook are in the lower Grande Ronde and anglers a catching a few. There is no open Chinook season on the Grande Ronde. Please release these fish immediately and allow them to finish spawning.

HOLLIDAY PARK POND: trout

Remains open all year. Trophy trout were stocked on Sept. 23 and should provide good fishing for the remainder of the year.

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 stocked with trophy-sized rainbow trout in mid-September.

steelhead caught on the lower John Day
Justin Botefuhr with his steelhead
-Photo by Rick Hargrave-

IMNAHA RIVER: Steelhead

PIT-tag detections show a number of steelhead moving up the lower river and anglers have had success finding good numbers of early fish. A few steelhead can be found in the lower river all winter; however, the best times to catch steelhead in the Imnaha are in the early fall and spring. Fall chinook are in the lower river to spawn. There is no open Chinook season on the Imnaha River. Please release these fish unharmed and allow them to spawn.

JOHN DAY RIVER: smallmouth bass, trout

Flows are now over 300 cfs and summer steelhead have begun moving into the lower river. Cold temperatures have frozen the river in places. The mouth of Rock Creek and Cottonwood Canyon State Park provide the best bank access. Floating with drift boats will be difficult until the ice melts and flows increase to 450 cfs or over. Flies and lures will not do as well in the cold water but bait fishing should still produce steelhead. ODFW encourages all anglers to keep any ad-clipped steelhead taken in this fishery. All wild (adipose intact) steelhead must be released unharmed.

Check John Day River flows

LONG CREEK POND, CAVENDER POND: trout

Remains open all year. Trophy trout were stocked on Sept. 23 and should provide good fishing for the remainder of the year. Bass fishing is likely poor with the onset of freezing temperatures.

LUGER POND: trout

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

MAGONE LAKE: rainbow and brook trout

Remains open all year. Ice fishing is fair for brook trout and rainbow

MORGAN LAKE: rainbow trout

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

PEACH POND (Ladd Marsh): rainbow trout

The pond was stocked with trophy-sized rainbow trout in late September.

ROULET POND: rainbow trout

The pond was stocked with trophy-sized rainbow trout in late September.

ROWE CREEK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout

Remains open all year. Fishing is fair.

rainbow trout
Rainbow Trout
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

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.

UMATILLA FOREST PONDS: trout

The forest ponds remain open to angling year around and can provide a good opportunity for ice fishing during the winter months. 

UMATILLA RIVER: steelhead/salmon

The cold weather has put a stop to steelhead fishing for all but the hardiest angers this week but catch rates were very good again last week. Steelhead fishing was great last week with anglers averaging 1.8 hours per steelhead caught. Angling effort for salmon has dropped off as salmon are getting dark and are nearing spawning and should be handled with care prior to release.

Catch rates continue to be fair for salmon in the lower river (2.7 hours per salmon caught); Anglers are concentrating on the lower river downstream of Threemile Dam and the backwater area of the Columbia River.

Anglers are find best success using bobbers and jigs for steelhead and eggs for salmon. Anglers should consult the synopsis for detailed regulations.

Threemile Dam fish counts

WALLOWA LAKE: rainbow trout, kokanee, lake trout

Fishing for rainbow trout has slowed. However, some fish are still available and some tagged fish are occasionally being reported. Trout have been caught with a variety of methods but a simple rig with PowerBait has been most effective. If the cold weather continues and the lake freezes, ice fishing can be good for both kokanee and trout.

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.

WALLOWA RIVER: steelhead, mountain whitefish

The Wallowa is currently open for steelhead angling and a few fish may be available.  However, the best catch rates will be in the late winter and spring.

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  Northeast Zone Hunting

OPEN: COUGAR, BLACK BEAR (closes Nov. 30), GROUSE, WATERFOWL (see regs)

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)

Chuckar, Hun, and California Quail - The season opens Oct. 11 and ends Jan. 31, 2015. Hunters should expect another season very similar to last years. Chukar numbers are still low for the county, however quail numbers showed a slight increase from last year.

Grouse - 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 - 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

The Phillip W. Schneider Wildlife Area (Murderers Creek Unit, Grant County) is open to public access. Contact the Malheur Forest Service website for more information on any area closures related to South Fork Complex fire earlier in the year.

Rocky Mountain Cow Elk and Calf
Rocky Mountain Cow Elk and Calf
- Photo by Nick Myatt, ODFW-

Elk – Cow season begins Nov. 22 and runs until Nov. 30. Fresh snow may help hunters locating cows by looking for tracks and then following them.

Grouse season started Sept. 1 and will remain open through Dec. 31. 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.

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

Cougar hunting is open. Cougar are well distributed in our forested areas. Calling with distress calls or cougar vocalizations can be effective. With snow coming, tracking down a cougar is a possibility. 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.

UMATILLA COUNTY

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.

UNION COUNTY

Elk hunters can expect some moist weather for the season. Elk numbers are stable in the Starkey and Catherine Creek Units, both of which are close to management objective (M.O). Bulls should be in good condition with the abundance of forage this year. Hunters are reminded that weather changes rapidly this time of year and to be prepared for snow and ice.

Black Bears are plentiful throughout the county. Look for sign around fruit trees and in canyon bottoms. 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

Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area is open Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday and federal holidays during pheasant, quail, partridge and waterfowl seasons. Visitors are advised to carefully read posted signs and consult game bird regulations before entering the wildlife area. Early season waterfowl hunting has been fair to good. Spring nesting conditions were excellent and waterfowl production on Ladd Marsh and Oregon in general was up this year. As usual waterfowl hunting will depend largely on fall wetland conditions and weather. Continued drought in NE Oregon may limit early season hunting opportunities. At this time most areas along Peach road have good water. However, wetlands west of state highway 203 remain dry. Hunters should watch local weather reports for high winds near Ladd and Pyles canyons. This generally means good waterfowl hunting at Ladd Marsh. Upland hunting has been good for pheasants and quail. Nesting conditions were good for both this year. Access for upland hunting is excellent due to low water. Hunt areas near water with dogs for the best success.

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/regulation 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. 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
Black Bear
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Black Bear - A good density of black bear exists throughout the district. Most bears are in their winter dens now. For those few bears that are still active, hunters should focus efforts in berry patches and old fruit orchards.

Elk - Numbers of elk are strong throughout most of Wallowa County with good bull to cow ratios in all units. Recent snow storms began moving some animals to lower ranges, and second bull season hunters had 10% success during the opening weekend.

Forest Grouse hunting has been poor – fair in recent years and this year is similar. Blue grouse numbers are below the long term average, and most birds have moved to timber stands where they spend the winter eating conifer buds. Ruffed grouse hunting opportunities will be best along riparian areas where abundant shrubs are found.

Chukar hunting has been poor to fair in recent years, but this year a good hatch should produce an improvement in chukar numbers. The season started October 5.

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 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

Bighorn sheep
California Bighorn Sheep Ram
- Photo by Nick Myatt -

BAKER COUNTY

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. 10/7/11.

GRANT COUNTY

Sandhill cranes have started to migrate through the valley. They are best viewed early in the morning along the John Day River.

Mountain Goats can still be viewed along the rocky outcrops above Strawberry Lake. Small mammals such as black squirrels and chipmunks are readily seen while walking up the trail to the lake.

Watch for deer and elk crossing the highways. This is the time of year when deer begin to migrate. 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. 10/6/2014

MORROW, GILLIAM and WHEELER COUNTIES

The first of our winter migrants has been spotted, a rough-legged hawk. As winter’s bite increases so will the number of rough-legged hawks in the area. Try any of the areas in the northern portion of the District to see one in the grasslands. As raptors continue their migration into winter, take a longer look at any hawks you spot on power poles, occasionally it is a rare species.

Deer are grouped for the winter and anywhere in the foothills is a good place to watch deer, river bottoms are best.

Waterfowl are starting to show up on the waterways of the District. Canada and snow geese can be seen along the Columbia in moderate numbers. While on the Columbia you can see, mallards, buffle-heads, teal, northern shovelers, scaup, American wigeon, and gadwall. 11/12/14.

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.

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 autoroute is closed to vehicles, the Tule Lake unit and most of the wildlife area is open Sat., Sun., Wed. and holidays during the waterfowl and pheasant hunting seasons. The Glass Hill Unit is open to public entry 7 days a week for foot and horse traffic only. Be aware that hunting seasons are open. Please see the note above regarding daily permits. 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, 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.

White-crowned Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow
- Photo by Kathy Munsel, ODFW-

Water levels had begun to recover when the unseasonably cold temperatures struck.  Now the wildlife area is completely frozen.  Waterfowl are using grain fields and high numbers can be seen loafing on Hot Lake.

Large numbers of white-crowned sparrows have been found in shrubby areas along with song sparrows. Cedar Waxwings can be found foraging in fruit trees, mountain ash and hawthorn. Northern shirkes have been seen in several locations across the area.

Raptors are very busy trying to meet energy needs during the cold snap.  These include Red-tailed Hawk, Northern Harrier, Rough-legged Hawk, Great horned and Barn Owls, Cooper’s and Sharp-shinned Hawks and American Kestrel.

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. 11/17/14.

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