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Weekly Recreation Report: Northwest Zone

July 22, 2014

 Northwest Zone Fishing

Fishing the Columbia
Fishing the Columbia
-Photo by Kathy Munsel, ODFW-

New salmon, steelhead, sturgeon endorsement

Beginning Jan. 1, 2014 anglers fishing for salmon, steelhead or sturgeon in the Columbia River and its tributaries will be required to have a Columbia River Basin endorsement.

See a map of the Basin and get more information.

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.

2014 trout stocking

The 2014 trout stocking schedule for the North Coast Watershed District is now posted on-line on along with other districts on the ODFW trout stocking page.


South Lake and Hebo Lake were recently stocked with about 250-300 larger trout each. Fishing should still be fair.

Planned construction work at Town Lake may affect fishing. Construction activities should begin in August. Preparations are underway, including lowering the lake level and setting up a temporary dam to de-water the work area. The angling dock has been moved and is not accessible until further notice. Fall stocking may not occur on schedule.

Fishing for warm water species should be good in some areas. Cape Meares, Lytle, Coffenbury, Cullaby, and Sunset lakes, and Vernonia Pond should provide reasonable opportunity, especially for largemouth bass. Water quality is an issue in some lakes, as weed growth and algal blooms make fishing difficult.


Trout fishing tends to be slow during the summer months as warm water temperatures can put trout off the bite. Look to fish early in the morning or near cool water zones until water temperatures start to cool off in the fall.

This time of year can offer anglers a variety of warm water species to go after. There are numerous lakes in the Florence area that have warm water fish species such as bass, blue gill, perch and brown bullhead. Areas to consider are Siltcoos, Tahkenitch, Sutton, Mercer, Munsel and Woahink lakes. Angling out of a boat is typically the most productive in these lakes but there is some bank / dock access to consider.

ALSEA RIVER: cutthroat trout, crayfish

Cutthroat trout fishing is fair to good in the mainstem. Sea run cutthroat trout typically start to show this time of year and can be most abundant in the lower river. The Alsea has many opportunities for bank fishing along Hwy 34 as well as some good river side camping options. Use of bait is not allowed above the head of tide until Sept. 1. However, using small lures such as spinners, spoons, jigs or crank baits can be very effective. Fly fishing dry flies, nymphs, or streamers can also produce well. Crayfish are also abundant in the Alsea and can provide added adventure and a tasty treat during the summer months.

KILCHIS RIVER: cutthroat

Fishing for cutthroat should be fair. Sea-run cutthroat are making there way through tidal areas and into the river. Use light gear in the clear water. Anglers are reminded that no bait is allowed above tidewater through August 31.

NEHALEM RIVER: Chinook, cutthroat

Chinook fishing is improving as the month progresses. Best fishing will be in the lower bay but there are some reports of fish up to the Barn Hole. Troll herring near the bottom in the lower bay. Trolling spinners further up the bay or bobber and bait in tidewater areas can be effective. Fishing for cutthroat is fair to good, with fresh sea-run cutthroat increasing in numbers this month. Anglers are reminded that no bait is allowed above tidewater through Aug. 31.

NESTUCCA RIVER AND THREE RIVERS: steelhead, Chinook, cutthroat

Spring Chinook fishing nearly over. Good numbers of fish are in the system, but low, warm water has created marginal fishing conditions and reduced the willingness fo the fish to bite. Best fishing will be early morning or late evening hours. Several hundred spring Chinook and a small number of summer steelhead have been recycled downstream from Cedar Creek Hatchery over the last couple of weeks.

The season for spring Chinook and summer steelhead in Three Rivers below the hatchery is closed after July 15. The Nestucca River above Cloverdale closes to spring Chinook after July 31.

More summer steelhead are in the river, and fishing has been improving. Spinners or small baits like crawdad tails are good options. Cutthroat trout fishing should be fair to good. Anglers are reminded that no bait is allowed above Blaine, and the angling deadline is Elk Creek.

SALMON RIVER: cutthroat trout, salmon, steelhead

The Salmon River is open for the cutthroat trout with anglers having fair to good success from tidewater through the mainstem. Use of bait is not allow above the head of tide but small spinners, spoons or fly fishing can be very productive. The river is also open to Chinook salmon and steelhead trout, although this time of year typically would only yield an occasional stray spring Chinook or summer steelhead from a nearby river basin.

Fishing the Siletz
Fishing on the Siletz River
-Photo by Andy Walgamott-

SILETZ RIVER: steelhead, cutthroat trout, crayfish

Steelhead fishing has picked up recently with best success in the mid to upper river. The month of July tends to be the peak of the migration. The best bank access is from Moonshine Park up to the deadline.

The cutthroat trout fishery is fair to good throughout the mainstem and in many of the large tributaries. Sea run cutthroat trout are starting to show up in the lower river. Using small presentations such as spinners, jigs under a bobber, or fly fishing can produce good results.

Crayfish are abundant in the Siletz River and can offer anglers, kids or the entire family a great added adventure on the river and a tasty treat.

SIUSLAW RIVER: cutthroat trout

Cutthroat trout fishing can be fair to good in many sections on the mainstem river. This is can be a productive fishery and a great chance to introduce a beginner to river fishing. Sea run cutthroat trout are now showing up in tidewater and likely up into the lower river reaches. Use of bait is restricted above the head of tide through August but small lures such as spinners, spoons, jigs, crank baits or fly fishing can all be very productive.


Angling for Chinook is slow. The fishery will improve later in August as fall Chinook and coho start entering the bay.

TRASK RIVER: steelhead, Chinook, cutthroat

Chinook fishing is mostly slow. Fish are concentrated in the deeper holes. Bobber and bait is the most popular technique. Anglers are reminded that gear restrictions are in effect from the Cedar Creek boat slide down to the wooden boat slide at Lorens Drift. The hatchery hole at Trask Hatchery is closed after July 15. And the remainder of the river above Hwy 101 closes after July 31. An occasional summer steelhead may be caught. Fishing for cutthroat trout should be fair to good.

WILSON RIVER: steelhead, Chinook, cutthroat

Summer steelhead are entering the river in better numbers. Fishing is improving as fish make their way to upriver holes. Spring Chinook angling is slow. Concentrate on the deeper holes where fish hold over the summer. Spring Chinook season closes after July 31. Cutthroat fishing should be fair.

YAQUINA RIVER: cutthroat trout

The Yaquina River Basin, including the Big Elk and many tributaries can produce good cutthroat trout fishing. Sea run cutthroat trout can be found in tidewater and up into the lower reached on the river. Using small lures or fly fishing can be very productive. Use of bait is not allowed above the head of tide until Sept. 1.

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  Northwest Zone Hunting


Use the Oregon Hunting Map to see where to hunt.

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.

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 Northwest Zone Viewing

The website for the Oregon Coast Birding Trail (pdf) for the north coast area offers over 40 different trails to find birds on the north coast. The trails include coastal, river and interior routes, so the variety of birds you can see on them is nearly endless. The website also has directions to the trails, tips on birding and lists facilities available along or near the trail.

Songbirds are vocal in forested habitats on the north coast as males are typically calling to advertise nesting territories. Both resident and neotropical songbirds are active now in the forests, especially where hardwood trees are common. Most sounds come from high up in the canopies of trees, so finding the birds generally requires good quality optics.

Stellar Sealion
Steller Sea Lions
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-


Steller sea lions are present in good numbers (as usual) at the Three Arch Rocks National Wildlife Refuge near Oceanside with some larger bulls being seen prominently displaying their bulk. This larger cousin to the common California sea lion has been recently delisted along the Pacific Coast, and is locally abundant in some areas of the Oregon coast. Although more numerous on the southern Oregon coast, this haul-out is the most easily viewed one for these sea lions on the north coast.

Black oystercatchers are a large, black shorebird with bright orange-red bills and feet that spend a lot of time foraging for mussels on nearshore rocks and rocky shorelines at lower tides. They do not forage on oysters as their name implies. Now, many are nesting, and their simple, open nests are generally located on rocky, coastal shores, just above the high tide line.


Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area

Elk viewing has been good at Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area. Elk have been visible along Hwy 202 and Beneke Road. With the warmer weather, best viewing times are early morning and late evening hours. Bull elk are growing new antlers and some are more than two feet long. Elk calves should be visible as the tall grass in most meadows has been cut for hay in most areas. Migrant song birds have started nesting in the wildlife area, and males should be vocal in declaring their nesting territories. Look for violate-green and tree swallows near view area fence lines and gliding over open meadows. Band-tailed pigeons have been seen near bird feeders. Please remember that areas posted as wildlife refuge are closed to public access. Wildlife Area Parking Permits are now required on the wildlife area (as of Jan. 1, 2014).


Both brown and white pelicans can be seen this time of year on the lower Columbia River. The more common brown pelican is seen most frequently at the mouth of the river, up to Astoria. A great place to view them is from the South Jetty viewing platform at Ft. Stevens State Park. The larger white pelicans are a relative newcomer, and spend most of their time above Tongue Point on Miller Sands Island and other nearby ones. The white pelicans have traditionally been associated with far inland areas, but drought, particularly southeastern Oregon, may have encouraged them to nest on the river in recent years.

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