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

Weekly Recreation Report: Northwest Zone

Updated May 17, 2016

 Northwest Zone Fishing

Fishing the Nestucca
Fishing in the Nestucca River
-Photo by Kathy Munsel-

Weekend fishing opportunities:

  • Trout season opens Sunday, May 22 in many Oregon ponds, lakes and streams, including the Kilchis, Nestucca, Three Rivers, Salmon, Siletz, Siuslaw, Trask, and Wilson.
  • ODFW will host a family fishing event and carnival at Eckman Pond near Waldport from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 21. There is no charge for the event and pre-registration is not required. This activity is open to persons 17 and younger. Each participant will be able to catch two rainbow trout from a fish enclosure. ODFW will loan out fishing rods, reels, tackle and some bait on a first-come, first-serve basis. Anglers 11 years of age and under can fish for free while those 12-17 will need a youth license to participate.

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.

Trout season in coastal river systems will re-open May 22, 2016.

2016 trout stocking schedule

The 2016 trout stocking schedules for the North Coast Watershed (pdf) on the ODFW Trout Stocking Page. Take a look to find out when and where Oregon’s hatchery trout are being released around the state.

NORTH COAST LAKES

Town, Hebo, and Cape Meares lakes, and Vernonia Pond were stocked the week of May 2. This was the last scheduled stocking prior to free fishing weekend in June.
Warmwater fish are active with waters warming up. Look for some largemouth bass action in Lake Lytle, Coffenbury Lake, Cullaby Lake, Sunset Lake, and Cape Meares Lake, and Vernonia Pond.

Cape Meares Lake will be lowered this summer in order to repair the outlet structure. Water will be released from the lake beginning in early June.

MID COAST LAKES

Rainbow trout stocking is underway in many locations along the mid coast. Look at the stocking report to see the full stocking season.

Fishing for the various warm water fish species is good this time of year as fish move to the shallows for spawning. There are numerous lakes in the Florence area that can provide good opportunity and have both boat and bank access.

ALSEA RIVER:

The river is closed to all fishing above the head of tide effective May 1 and will reopen with the cutthroat trout fishery this Sunday, May 22. For the cutthroat trout opener, casting small spinners, spoons or fly fishing streamers or dry flies can be very effective. Bait is not allowed above the head of tide until Sept. 1.

KILCHIS RIVER: cutthroat

Opens for trout May 22. Fishing should be fair to good in the early season. Anglers are reminded that no bait is allowed above tidewater May 22 - Aug. 31.

NESTUCCA RIVER AND THREE RIVERS: steelhead, Chinook, cutthroat

Spring Chinook angling is showing some signs of improvement. The best opportunity is in the lower bay and tidewater, but a few fish should be moving into upstream areas also. A few summer steelhead are showing up too. Gear restrictions took effect in Three Rivers May 1. Check regulations. The river is closed upstream of Moon Creek until May 22. Trout season opens May 22.

SALMON RIVER:

The river basin is closed to all fishing above the head of tide and will reopen for cutthroat trout fishing this Sunday, May 22. For the cutthroat trout opener, casting small spinners, spoons or fly fishing streamers or dry flies can be very effective. Bait is not allowed above the head of tide until Sept. 1.

SILETZ RIVER: steelhead

Steelhead fishing is slow but the summer steelhead run is underway. This run typically peaks by early July but fish can be found throughout the mainstem at any time now. Casting spinners, drifting bait or using a bobber and jig can be effective. Cover water and fish small and simple as the river conditions are low and clear. Cutthroat trout season opens up this Sunday, May 22 and can offer anglers of all experience levels good opportunity. Casting small spinners, spoons or fly fishing streamers or dry flies can be very effective.

Ocean Fishing
Personal record breaking catch, Tillamook
-Photo by Jon Nichols-

SIUSLAW RIVER:

The river basin is closed to all fishing above the head of tide and will reopen for cutthroat trout fishing this Sunday, May 22. This fishery can offer anglers of all experience levels good opportunity. Casting small spinners, spoons or fly fishing streamers or dry flies can be very effective.

TILLAMOOK BAY: Chinook

Spring Chinook are available in decent numbers. Catches have been fair for the most part though. Trolling herring or large bladed spinners are the most productive techniques. Keep your gear near the bottom while trolling slowly.

TRASK RIVER: steelhead, Chinook, cutthroat

Spring Chinook angling is fair. More fish are moving in and fish are spread out from tidewater up to the hatchery area. Bobber and bait is the best bet. Steelhead fishing is slow. Anglers are reminded that gear restrictions took effect May 1 from the Cedar Creek Wooden boat slide to the marker at the Lorens Drift wooden boat slide site. Trout season opens May 22 in the main river and the north, south, and east forks.

WILSON RIVER: steelhead, Chinook, cutthroat

Fishing for steelhead and spring Chinook is slow. More fish should be moving into the river. The water is low and clear, so use lighter gear and target the deeper holding areas. Trout season opens May 22.

YAQUINA RIVER: steelhead

The river basin is closed to all fishing above the head of tide and will reopen for cutthroat trout fishing on May 22.

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  Northwest Zone Hunting

OPEN: COUGAR, CONTROLLED SPRING BEAR, SPRING TURKEY

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.

Spring bear hunting on the north coast is done by controlled hunting and ends on May 31. Numbers of bears should be fairly high, especially in western portions of the coast range, and the weather has been favorable in recent weeks for hunting. Glassing of open areas, such as clear cuts and open slopes, can be productive during the first and last hours of daylight. During the day, predator calling is a good bet, and consider a fawn or calf in distress call now that we are approaching the deer and elk birthing periods.

See regulations for details (pdf).

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 Northwest Zone Wildlife Viewing

May is the peak month for the spring migration of shorebirds on their way north to Arctic breeding grounds. Many of the birds use the beaches as their navigation route, and can often be seen resting and feeding on north coast beaches during the daylight hours. Binoculars, along with a good field guide, are great aids in viewing and distinguishing the various species that may be encountered.

Lately, whimbrels, large brown non-descript shorebirds have been seen on the north coast, as they often are during May. They can be seen on the beaches or foraging in pastures in Clatsop and Tillamook counties. By June, they are typically gone on their way to the northern nesting grounds.

The forests in the north coast area are starting to come alive with sounds of songbirds declaring their nesting territories. As of now, most of the birds are those species found here year-round, but soon the songs of many neo-tropical migrants will also fill the forest. For areas of highest songbird diversity, look for mixed stands of hardwoods and conifers.

Great Egret near Tillamook
Great Egret near Tillamook
-Photo by Kathy Munsel-

TILLAMOOK COUNTY

Three Arch Rocks NWR, located just west of Oceanside, has historically been home to thousands of nesting common murres and other colonial seabirds, and it is still possible to see large numbers of them staging below the rocks in the water. However, few birds nest there anymore due to the near constant presence of bald eagle that has severely disrupted nesting on the larger rocks in recent years. Instead, the Steller sea lions are a very reliable denizen on the lower rock in front, Seal Rock. They can be seen loafing on the rock, often with young pups in the mix. These are the larger and lighter-colored cousin to the more common California sea lion.

CLATSOP COUNTY

The Twilight Eagle Sanctuary, located east of Astoria, just off of Hwy 30 is a great place to observe not only bald eagles, but a host of wintering waterfowl. The viewing platform is complete with interpretive panels and provides a great overview of Wolf Bay on the lower Columbia River. Tundra swans are occasional seen there off in the distance near the main river channel. As always, optics are very helpful here.

Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area

Elk viewing has been good at Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area. With the recent warm weather elk have been visible in the mornings and evenings. Good places to look are the Fishhawk Tract along Hwy 202 and the Beneke Tract along the first 1.5 miles of Beneke Creek Road. Bull elk have shed their old antlers and new growth is already visible. Many returning visitors have arrived at the wildlife area. Tree and violate green swallows can be seen gliding over fields and checking out nest boxes along view area fence lines. Band-tailed pigeons have been observed near area bird feeders. Many other song bird species can be seen in and around viewing areas.

Visitors are reminded that areas posted as Wildlife Refuge are closed to public access and that Wildlife Area Parking Permits are required on the Wildlife Area.

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