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Weekly Recreation Report: Northwest Zone

September 1, 2015

 Northwest Zone Fishing

Afternoon fishing ban lifted

Effective Tuesday, Sept. 1, the afternoon fishing ban in place on most rivers and streams in the state are lifted.

Send us your fishing report

-U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service-

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.

Low water levels can put stress on fish

While water temperature have returned to near normal in many areas, water levels continue to be very low. Anglers should continue to exercise care when catching and releasing fish by following a few precautions:

  • Fish early in the day when water temperatures are cooler.
  • Check water temperatures frequently and stop fishing when they exceed 70 degrees.
  • Use barbless hooks so you can release fish quickly.
  • Use appropriate gear to land fish quickly.
  • Keep the fish in the water while you unhook it, and cradle the fish upright until it revives enough to swim away.
  • Use your judgement. If conditions seem especially severe (low, hot water) stop fishing, or move to another location where waters may be cooler.


Trout fishing is likely to be slow. Due to warm conditions, concentrate on early morning hours when fish are likely to be the most active. Recent rains should help cool water temperatures a little.

Warm water fishing is slow to fair. Coffenbury, Cullaby, Sunset, Lytle, Cape Meares, and Town lakes, and Vernonia Pond all offer opportunity for largemouth bass. Weed growth and water quality may be a problem in some areas.

The latest trout stocking schedule.


Fishing for the various warm water fish species is fair to good during the summer months. There are numerous lakes in the Florence area that can provide good opportunity and have boat and bank access.

Cutthroat Trout
Cutthroat Trout
-Photo by Charlotte Ganskopp-

ALSEA RIVER: Chinook, coho, cutthroat trout

The fall Chinook fishery is producing fair results so far this season. Anglers are having the best action fishing from the lower bay up to Taylors Landing during the incoming tide. The wild coho fishery does not start until Sept. 15.

Cutthroat trout fishing is fair in the lower mainstem below the confluence with Five Rivers. With the low and warm river conditions the best opportunities will be in the early morning when water temperatures are the coolest. Small spinners are typically productive as wells as small spoons or fly fishing with nymphs or streamers.

KILCHIS RIVER: cutthroat

Cutthroat fishing should be fair. Sea-run cutthroat should be available in good numbers in tidewater areas and are moving to upstream areas. Water levels are low and clear so use very light gear. Paving at the entrance to Parks Landing boat launch is expected to occur soon. Access may be restricted temporarily.


Catch-and-release fishing for cutthroat trout is available. These are small streams, with very low flows and clear water at this time. Using light gear and stealthy tactics should produce fair fishing.

NEHALEM RIVER: Chinook, cutthroat, coho

Fishing for Chinook is fair to good. An occasional hatchery coho is caught also. Water temperatures are warm, so incoming tides may produce the best bites as cooler ocean water pushes in. Fish are available in the lower bay up to Nehalem, with increasing numbers of fish moving to upper tidewater areas. Troll herring or spinners near the bottom, or bobber fish in upper tidewater.

Sea-run cutthroat can be caught throughout the bay and tidewater areas, and further upstream. Troll or cast small lures or flies along the channel margins or in areas of cover, such as logs or woody debris.

The Nehalem Bay and River is closed to the retention of wild (non-finclipped) coho salmon this year.

NESTUCCA RIVER AND THREE RIVERS: steelhead, Chinook, cutthroat

Fall Chinook fishing is fair and improving in the bay. Trolling herring near the mouth is producing fish, with bobber/bait and spinners producing near Pacific City. Steelhead fishing is slow. Fishing for cutthroat trout should be fair to good. Three Rivers is closed to all fishing downstream of the hatchery. The bay and tidewater below Cloverdale will be open to the retention of wild coho on Sundays and Mondays only, from Sept. 20-Nov 2. One adult wild coho per season may be kept.

SALMON RIVER: Chinook, cutthroat trout

The fall Chinook fishery is off to a fair start by boat and bank anglers catching fish from the month of the bay through tide water. Trolling or casting lures or baits during the incoming tide can be effective.

Cutthroat trout fishing from upper tide water through the lower river can be effective during the early mornings with sea runs moving through this time of year.

SILETZ RIVER: Chinook, coho, steelhead, cutthroat trout

The fall Chinook fishery has been producing some fair results in the lower bay up to the Chinook Bend area. Trolling or bobber fish through the high slack seem to be the most productive. The wild coho fishery does not begin until Sept. 15.

Summer steelhead fishing is slow in the mid to lower river. The upper river above Moonshine Park is still closed to public entry because of high fire danger.

Cutthroat trout can be found in most sections with sea runs found in the mid to lower river this time of year.

Chinook Salmon
Fall Chinook Salmon
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

SIUSLAW RIVER: Chinook, coho, cutthroat trout

Fall Chinook fishing has been producing fair results so far this season with anglers trolling the lower bay up to Cushman having the best results through the high slack tide. The wild coho fishery does not open until Sept. 15.

The cutthroat trout fishery is fair in the lower reaches of the river and in upper tide water for sea runs. Fishing during the early mornings or near the larger tributaries is the most productive.

TILLAMOOK BAY: Chinook, coho

Fishing for Chinook and hatchery coho is fair to good. Trolling herring or spinners are the two most popular techniques. Casting spinners can be productive at times in some of the mid-bay channels. The bay will be open to wild coho retention (1 adult wild coho for the season) on Fridays and Saturdays only, Sept. 18 – Oct. 31.

TRASK RIVER: steelhead, Chinook, cutthroat

Fall Chinook should begin to show in tidewater areas over the next few weeks. An occasional summer steelhead is being caught. Fishing for cutthroat trout is fair to good. The hatchery hole area is closed to all fishing through Oct. 15.

Anglers who catch a steelhead or salmon with numbered tag(s) are encouraged to report catch information via the internet or by calling ODFW at 503-842-2741 and asking for Derek Wiley. All live tagged fish that are not legal to retain or are voluntarily not kept should be released quickly and unharmed with tags intact.

WILSON RIVER: steelhead, Chinook, cutthroat

Summer steelhead fishing is slow. Fishing for cutthroat trout should be fair. Use lighter gear for best results as the water is extremely low and clear. Fall Chinook angling in tidewater will be slow for a few weeks.

YAQUINA RIVER: Chinook, coho, cutthroat trout

Anglers are just starting to see some fall Chinook action from the lower bay up to the airport boat launch. Trolling herring or spinners during the incoming tide is a good option. The wild coho fishery does not open until Sept. 15.

Cutthroat trout fishing is slow to fair from upper tide water to the lower reaches on the mainstem. The mainstem Yaquina and Big Elk Creek are good places to try casting small spinners or spoons as well as bait fishing near the head of tide.

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  Northwest Zone Hunting


The 2015-16 Oregon Game Bird Regulations are now available online and hard copies should be available at POS license vendors.

Black Bear
Black Bear
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Use the Oregon Hunting Map to see where to hunt.

Archery seasons open Aug. 29 – Know before you go!

Hunters will face fire restrictions and some closures and they need to know what those are before they go. More info. Some good resources for fire information: InciWeb, National Forest webpages, Oregon Dept Forestry

ODFW is not closing archery season due to fires.

Deer and elk archery will likely be slow early in the season, but access to private industrial lands is improving with the recent wet weather. Hunting on public (state and federal) lands is predicted to remain open as the weather forecast looks favorable for more moisture. Hunting success typically improves for elk in September as they move more into the rut.

Black bear hunting will be improving now that we’ve had wetter weather, but bears will still be most active early in the morning and late in the evening in openings such as clear-cuts. Most wild berry crops are early this year but there are still patches of blackberries and the different types of huckleberries where bears may be foraging. Abandoned orchards in the forest will also be a good bet with the early growing season we’ve enjoyed. Like with cougar, predator calling during the mid-day hours can be very productive. Successful hunters must check in their bear at an ODFW office within 10 days of harvest, and bring them in unfrozen. It’s also a good idea to prop their mouths open with a stick after harvest for easier tissue sampling, teeth collection and tagging. See regulations for details.

Cougar are most effectively taken by using predator calls. However, cougar densities are relatively low on the north coast. Successful hunters, remember you must check in cougar (hide and skull) at an ODFW office within 10 days of harvest and bring them in unfrozen. It’s also a good idea to prop their mouths open with a stick after harvest for easier tissue sampling, teeth collection and tagging. See regulations for details.

Forest grouse and mountain quail season opened Sept. 1 in western Oregon with hunting predicted to be good as the birds had excellent nesting conditions this spring and summer. Look for sooty (blue) grouse in higher elevations, such as ridge tops. Ruffed grouse are more common on mid-slope and riparian areas. Mountain quail prefer brushy clear-cut areas on south or west-facing slopes.

Mourning dove season also opened Sept. 1, but there not many of these birds on the north coast as there is limited grain agriculture in the region. A larger and similar looking dove – the Eurasian collared dove – is an invasive species and can be hunted year-round with just a hunting license. It tends to occupy areas around people, so be careful when hunting them.

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 Northwest Zone Wildlife Viewing

Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican
-Photo by Patti Abbot-

Brown pelicans are arriving to the north coast in increasing numbers as summer is here. These large, near-shore ocean-dwelling birds are entertaining to watch whether they are gliding just over the waves or stooping to dive for fish. Some good areas to observe them include Cape Meares State Park and the South Jetty at the Columbia River, accessed through Ft. Stevens State Park.

Reports of dead seabirds have started coming in to ODFW offices in August. Many of the birds are young-of-the-year common murres that are showing symptoms of extreme emaciation. This is consistent with starvation, which is not surprising given the rather warm ocean surface temperatures for most of the summer. The prevailing warm and clear ocean waters indicate a relatively unproductive ecosystem associated with the current El Nino conditions.

Band-tailed pigeons have been residing on the north coast all summer, but are now more visible in the forest. This is because wild berry crops, such as red elderberry and cascara, are ripening, and the pigeons readily take advantage of this plentiful food source in the coast range.


Steller sea lions are common on the smaller nearshore rocks on the eastern edge of the Three Arch Rocks NWR, located just west of Oceanside. Both adults and pups are present and can be distinguished by size and coloration. The refuge is home to these marine mammals nearly year-round except in the fall when they take a brief hiatus. Bring binoculars or a spotting scope for best viewing.


American white pelicans have been nesting on islands (mainly Miller Sands) on the lower Columbia River now for several years. As their name implies, they are large white birds – the only ones like that you’ll see there during the summer months. In Oregon, they typically nest inland in eastern portion, so seeing them in western Oregon is a rarity. One place you may be able to see them from land is the viewing platform at the Twilight Eagle Sanctuary, located just off of Hwy 30, east of Astoria. Bring a spotting scope for best viewing.

Roosevelt Elk
Roosevelt Elk
-Photo by Jim Yuskavitch, ODFW-

Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area

Elk viewing has been fair at Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area. With the hot and dry weather conditions, viewing has been restricted to early mornings and late evenings. Most fields have been mowed so elk should be more visible when they are out. Check areas along Hwy. 202 and the first 1.5 miles on Beneke Creek Road.

Visitors are urged to use caution around the main viewing area as construction activities are occurring. The public restrooms are closed for remodeling, and will remain closed until September. Portable restrooms are available.

Visitors are reminded that areas posted as Wildlife Refuge are closed to public access. Posted portions of the Beneke Tract are closed to entry during any open Saddle Mt. Unit elk season, August 1, 2015 to March 15, 2016 including the general bow seasons (see big game regulations for exceptions during the Western general rifle deer season).

Wildlife Area Parking Permits are required on the wildlife area. 8/18/15

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