Ice Fishing Today Video.
Click image to play.
- Dave Genz
Ice Safety Tips -
Weekend Fishing Opportunities:
Ice fishing is fair in Lake of the Woods for yellow perch with a few nice brown trout being caught as well.
Some lakes are frozen and access blocked by snow. Check for access before heading out.
Trout fishing on the Blitzen River near Page Springs has been good.
The best fall-winter fishing opportunity in the Klamath Basin is the Klamath River from Keno Dam downstream to the J. C. Boyle Powerhouse.
Ana reservoir and river is a great place to fish during the winter. Ana reservoir is spring fed and remains open all winter. It’s also the only place in Oregon to fish for Wipers (hybrid bass). For trout fisherman, the river was stocked with trophy-size rainbows in late October.
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 water bodies will re-appear in the Recreation Report when they re-open next spring, or when access and/or opportunity improves.
With several water bodies beginning to ice over, it’s a good time to be reminded that anglers should always use caution during first-ice conditions. Take the following precautions: use the “buddy system,” wear a PFD in case of thin ice, carry a throw-rope, and use a heavy metal staff to check for thin-ice. Vexilar’s Ice Fishing Today website has a quick 2-minute video describing how to be safe during early ice.
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.
ANA RESERVOIR: hatchery rainbow trout, hybrid bass
Hybrid bass are traditionally targeted using crank baits; however they can be caught in the reservoir using various methods including bait. Trout are averaging 12 to 14-inches and hybrid bass larger than 20-inches are not uncommon.
A new state record hybrid bass (white and striped bass cross) was caught in Ana Reservoir on Dec. 10, 2014. The fish was caught using a Rapala crankbait on 10 lb. test line and measured 31½ inches with a girth of 24 inches. The fish weighed 19 lbs. 12 oz. The potential new state record is 1 ½ inches longer and 1 lb. heavier than the previous record of 18 lbs. 9 oz. caught in 2009.
ANA RIVER: trout
Ana River was stocked with trophy rainbow trout in late October. The Ana River is spring fed and rainbow trout are active throughout the year. Anglers can access these trout by floating the river in a float tube or by walking the banks.
Caddis flies are the dominant invertebrate. Small blue winged olive (size 18) mayflies should be hatching. Ana River is a great match the hatch fly fishing river with good hatches throughout the winter. Hatches typically occur during the afternoon from 12-3 p.m. the best time. Small mayfly hatches are typically best on overcast days with light rain or snow. Tui chub and pit roach are abundant in the river therefore casting large flies or lures can be effective for catching larger fish. Ana River is a good TROUT 365 fishery – good trout fishing 365 days a year.
ANNIE CREEK: brook trout, brown trout and rainbow trout
Open to fishing but not recommended at this time Fishing will be very slow on opening day due to cold water temperatures, high flows and movement of ice. Access is difficult due to snow depth.
BALM CREEK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, crappie
Balm Creek Reservoir was treated this fall with the chemical fish toxicant, rotenone, killing all fish in the reservoir. The reservoir will be restocked with rainbow trout in May 2016.
BEULAH RESERVOIR: redband trout, hatchery rainbow trout, whitefish, bull trout
No recent fishing reports. The reservoir is currently at 26 percent of capacity and none of the boat ramps are useable based on the Bureau of Reclamation website.
USBR crews completed a tagging program in Beulah in 2011 and there may still be tagged fish in the reservoir. If you catch a tagged trout, please report it to the Hines office at 541-573-6582.
BLITZEN RIVER: redband trout
The Blitzen River has been flowing around 50-110 cfs with water temperatures fluctuating around 3oC. Recent weather has brought a lot of snow to the area so flows may fluctuate throughout the day with the predicted warmer weather for the week. Flows can be checked on the USGS website located here.
Recent reports indicate that fishing has been fair to good on the Blitzen River around Page Springs. Fishermen have reported success swinging weighted streamers or other nymphs. Large redband trout are being found in deeper water along the banks where cover is available.
The South Steens Loop Road is currently closed at the first gate and the North Loop Road is closed at Page Springs.
The Blitzen and Little Blitzen Rivers are open year round for catch and release only starting in 2016. Retention is still allowed in other tributaries. Please check the 2016 fishing regulations for changes in the Blitzen River system.
BLUE LAKE: hatchery rainbow trout
Access is limited due to snow. Blue Lake is a fantastic high elevation lake located in the Gearhart Wilderness between Bly and Lakeview. A three mile trail leads to the lake and it’s a 1-2 hour hike. Fish were sampled by net and hook and line sampling the summer of 2015. Rainbow trout ranged from 6 to 16-inches and were in healthy condition. The trout at this lake see little pressure and are easy to catch using flies, lures or bait. Fishing is excellent in June with rainbow trout targeting blue damselfly adults.
BULLY CREEK RESERVOIR: bass, crappie, yellow perch, catfish, trout
The reservoir is at 44 percent of capacity and the boat ramp is useable based on the Bureau of Reclamation website.
BURNS POND: trout, bass
Fishing has been good for legal-sized rainbow trout. The pond was stocked with legal-sized rainbow trout last spring and throughout the summer and anglers have been catching these fish in consistent numbers. Currently, the pond is frozen over and the ice is around 5-7 inches thick. Predicted warmer weather for the area may rapidly decrease the thickness and quality of the ice so use extreme caution when attempting to ice fish on the pond. Please note that it is illegal to angle through a man-made hole bigger than 12-inches in diameter. It is highly recommended that you carry safety equipment. Please see the top of this report for a link to ice fishing safety videos.
CALAHAN CREEK (LONG CREEK-SYCAN AREA): brook trout and redband trout
The reservoir is just outside of Bly on the road to Dairy Creek. Deming Creek irrigation ditch feeds the reservoir. Campbell Reservoir is likely covered in ice. Thickness of ice is unknown.
CHEWAUCAN RIVER: redband trout, largemouth bass, brown bullhead
The entire Chewaucan River is now open all year. Bait is allowed downstream of Hwy 31 at Paisley, however the use of bait is prohibited upstream of highway 31. Largemouth bass and brown bullhead are available to anglers at the first Hwy. 31 crossing just north of Valley Falls. Small boats can be launched at this site.
CHICKAHOMINY RESERVOIR: trout
No recent fishing reports but fishing is expected to be slow. The reservoir is frozen over but the ice thickness is unknown at this time. The water level is very low. Due to poor habitat conditions in Chickahominy Reservoir over the last year and projected poor conditions next year, ODFW will not be stocking the reservoir. If conditions improve, then the stocking program in this reservoir will be reinstated.
CORRAL CREEK (SF Sprague): brook trout and brown trout
Access blocked by snow. Open to fishing. COTTONWOOD MEADOWS: rainbow trout, brook trout
COW LAKES: largemouth bass, white crappie, brown bullheads, rainbow trout
No recent fishing reports. As of 2013, the lakes will no longer be stocked with rainbow trout due to poor habitat quality.
DEADHORSE LAKE: rainbow trout
Access to the lake blocked by snow.
DELINTMENT LAKE: trout
No recent fishing reports. With the recent cold weather, the road to Delintment is covered in snow and chains may be needed. Also, the lake should have some ice on it but it is unknown whether or not it is safe for fishing.
DEMING CREEK: redband trout and bull trout
Open to fishing. Access blocked by snow.
DEVILS LAKE (FISHHOLE CREEK): largemouth bass, black crappie, yellow perch, brown bullhead
No recent report.
DOG LAKE: largemouth bass, yellow perch, black crappie, brown bullhead
There have not been any current fishing reports but the lake is frozen over. Ice thickness is unknown but ice fishing is occurring. The road is currently plowed. Anglers will need to hike a short distance to the lake through deep snow.
DUNCANRESERVOIR: rainbow trout
Duncan Reservoir is low and there have not been any recent fishing reports. The reservoir is frozen. Access is available to the reservoir.
-Video by Bob Swingle, ODFW-
FISH LAKE (Steens Mountain): rainbow trout, brook trout
The North Loop Steens Road is closed for the winter making access to Fish Lake almost impossible.
FOURMILE CREEK (tributary to Agency Lake): brook, brown, and redband trout.
Open to fishing all year. Fourmile Creek off Westside road just north of Cherry Creek is open all year with bait allowed. A few large brown trout occur in the stream. Access is available off Westside Road at Fourmile Springs. A small car topper boat or canoe can improve fishing access at this area. Anglers should be aware of private property around this area and can check Klamath County Land Ownership for information.
FOURMILE LAKE: rainbow trout, lake trout, kokanee, brook trout
Access is blocked due to snow. The lake can be reached by snowmobile and ice fishing should be good.
GERBER RESERVOIR: crappie, yellow perch, brown bullhead and largemouth bass
No recent report. The lake is only 6 percent full. The reservoir is covered with ice. Ice thickness is unknown but anglers are ice fishing with limited success.
HAINES POND: rainbow
The pond is now ice covered.
HEART LAKE: rainbow trout, kokanee
Access is blocked by snow.
HOLBROOK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout
Access is blocked by snow. All fish likely died the summer of 2015 due to drought. Holbrook will be stocked again in 2016 with fingerling, legal and trophy rainbow trout.
HWY 203 POND: trout, bass, bluegill
The pond is now ice-covered.
JACKSON CREEK (UPPER WILLIAMSON RIVER):brook trout
Access is blocked by snow. Fishing is open and bait allowed.
Fishing is very slow for warmwater fish such as crappie, pumpkinseed sunfish and brown bullhead catfish with water temperatures increasing. Water temperature is currently peaking at 32 degrees.
Fishing for largemouth bass is slow. The reservoir is turbidtherefore anglers should try lures with high visibility and scent. Boats can be launched in several locations in the reservoir. Unimproved ramps occur just north and south of the Highway 66 bridge crossing. No fees are required to launch at these locations.
Try the bay just south of the BLM campground for crappie and pumpkinseed. Also try the rocky areas near and under the bridge. Goldfish dominate the fish assemblage in the reservoir. Anglers should mimic the goldfish with bronze or copper lures or plugs to catch largemouth bass in the reservoir.
Klamath Lake Sunset
-Photo by Bob Swingle, ODFW-
UPPER KLAMATH AND AGENCY LAKES: native redband trout and yellow perch
Most of Upper Klamath Lake is ice free. The lake is two feet from full pool. The outlet of Upper Klamath Lake is where most effort occurs at this time. Anglers are also fishing at areas where water is being pumped into lake. Angling should improve this week with warming weather. Please remember that angling is prohibited within 200 feet of Link River Dam.
KLAMATH RIVER: native rainbow-redband trout
Keno Dam to J.C Boyle Reservoir
The section from Keno Dam to J.C. Boyle Reservoir opened to fishing on Oct. 1. Flows of 803 cfs are ideal for successful fishing outing. Access is very challenging due to muddy road conditions. Redband are typically feeding on sculpins and minnows this time of year. Water temperature is currently peaking at 38 degrees.
J.C. Boyle Dam to J.C Boyle Powerhouse
Fishing on the Klamath River between JC Boyle Dam to JC Boyle Powerhouse is slow at this time but likely your best bet for catching trout in the Klamath Basin.
Most fish in this section are small and average 10-inches. Below the springs this section remains near a constant 360 cfs of flow and water temperatures are warmer in this section in the fall and winter. Fishing is best below the spring inputs. The springs start to discharge into the river approximately 1 mile below J.C. Boyle Dam.
This section of river requires a hike down steep grade to the river with the exception of the area just above the powerhouse.
J.C. Boyle Powerhouse to State Line with California
Below the JC Boyle powerhouse the fish get slightly larger than the aforementioned reach and average 12-inches but rarely exceed 16-inches. Most fish are in the 6 to 8-inch range. River flows in this section are typically quite high during the day. If flow levels are 900 cfs or lower the river is fishable. Dead drifting rubber legged stonefly patterns and/or bead head pheasant tails can be good.
Flows below the powerhouse will typically be high during all daylight hours. Flow release estimates are no longer available and will be posted again next May 2016. Check the USGS website for flow information. Klamath River is a good TROUT 365 fishery – good trout fishing 365 days a year.
KRUMBO RESERVOIR: trout, bass
No recent fishing reports. Recent cold weather may have resulted in Krumbo freezing over. The Malhuer National Wildlife Refuge does not allow ice fishing on Krumbo Reservoir so please respect the regulations and stay off the ice.
LAKEOF THE WOODS: hatchery rainbow trout,kokanee, hatchery brown trout, yellow perch, brown bullhead, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, crappie, tui chub
Lake of the Woods is frozen. Angling is fair for yellow perch using small, bright jigs with live bait such as meal worms. Most perch are running 8-10 inches. A few nice brown trout are also being captured. Yellow perch are being caught right next to the Lake of the Woods Lodge. A few brown trout were caught off the northwest shoreline heading towards Aspen Point Boat Ramp from the Lodge. Anglers should take all precautions when fishing from the ice as the top layer of ice is very slushy. Lake of the Woods Resort has everything you need for ice fishing. With the very warm weather expected this week anglers should exercise caution when ice fishing.
Take an active role in the management of Oregon fisheries! If you catch a tagged rainbow trout, please report it ODFW. Some tags include rewards of up to $50, and fish can be kept or released. If you release a fish, please write down the tag number and release the fish with the tag intact. If the tag includes a reward, the tag must be removed from the fish and returned to ODFW to receive the reward. Anglers should report and return tags to ODFW Klamath Falls Field Office at 1850 Miller Island Road West Klamath Falls, OR 97603. Phone number is (541) 883-5732. Anglers can also report tagged fish online. Reporting forms will also be available at Lake of the Woods Resort and Store. Fourteen anglers have returned tags worth $50 each.
LONG CREEK (Sycan River): brook trout, redband trout, bull trout
Access is blocked by snow
LOST RIVER: largemouth bass, brown bullhead, yellow perch
Lost River is open to fishing all year. Public access is available at Crystal Springs day use area.
Boats can be launched from an improved boat ramp at Crystal Springs.
Sacramento perch have been captured below Horseshoe Dam. This is one of the only locations in the state to capture this fish.
MALHEUR RESERVOIR: hatchery rainbow trout
No recent fishing reports. The reservoir dam was repaired and starting holding water again in November of 2015 but very few fish are expected to be in the reservoir. This is because the reservoir completely dried up this past summer.
MALHEUR RIVER(Warm Springs Reservoir downstream to South Fork Malheur River): redband trout and hatchery rainbow trout
Water releases from Warm Springs Reservoir have been less than 1 cfs according to the USGS stream data. Fishing is expected to be poor with the low flows but decreasing water temperatures might improve the trout fishery. Fisherman should look for deeper water and overhanging banks where fish can find cover. Ice is present on the river and may make fishing some sections problematic. Please use caution when fishing around ice.
MALHEUR RIVER(from the South Fork Malheur River near Riverside, downstream to Gold Creek): redband trout and hatchery rainbow trout.
No recent fishing reports.
MALHEUR RIVER, NORTH FORK: redband trout, whitefish, and bull trout
No recent fishing reports.
MALHEUR RIVER, MIDDLE FORK: redband trout, brook trout, and bull trout
No recent fishing reports.
MANN LAKE: cutthroat trout
Mann Lake is currently frozen but the ice is not safe for fishing. Recent warmer weather has cleared the snow from around the lake and it is very muddy and fishing is not possible at this time.
In mid-January, one group of anglers reported catching 2 cutthroat trout in the first 15 minutes of fishing and then nothing for the next 4 hours. Fishing is expected to continue to be slow but there are large cutthroat trout in the lake that exceed 20 inches.
MILLER LAKE: brown trout, kokanee, rainbow trout, brook trout
Access is blocked by snow. Access is available by snowmobile. MUD LAKE: hatchery rainbow trout
The reservoir is dry.
MURRAY RESERVOIR: trout
NORTH POWDER POND: rainbow trout
The pond is now ice-covered and the access road is drifted over with snow.
OVERTON RESERVOIR: rainbow trout
Access is blocked by snow.
OWYHEE RESERVOIR: largemouth and smallmouth bass, crappie, yellow perch, catfish
The reservoir is at 15 percent of capacity and no boat ramps are useable based on the Bureau of Reclamation information. The county boat ramp will be closed indefinitely due to low water levels creating unsafe conditions. The Indian Creek boat ramp is closed for construction beginning Nov. 1. Construction is expected to continue until April 1.
The Owyhee River
-Photo by Jessica Sall-
OWYHEE RIVER (Lower): brown trout and hatchery rainbow trout
Water releases below the dam have been around 12 cfs. Fishing has been fair to slow depending on the time of day and location. Brown and rainbow trout over 20-inches have been caught recently. Water clarity has been poor to fair depending on the day and fly fisherman have been having success on both dry flies and nymphs.
OWYHEE RIVER (Upper): smallmouth bass and channel catfish
No recent fishing reports, but fishing is expected to be slow.
Paiute Reservoir: hatchery rainbow trout and Lahontan cutthroat
The reservoir is nearly dry and likely frozen.
PHILLIPS RESERVOIR: trout, perch
Reservoir storage is at 6 percent of capacity, and is ice-covered. The access to the Mason Dam launch has been cleared of snow, but a 4-wheel drive vehicle is recommended as it is not plowed regularly. Fishing has been good for yellow perch averaging 8-8.5 inches long, a little better than in recent years. Anglers report that trout are in good condition with robust bodies, but few are being caught.
Due to a rule change for 2016, the reservoir is open to fishing, effective on Jan. 1 and is open to fishing year-round. Access to the reservoir is good as both the Tucker Flat R and access to the campground have been plowed of snow. However, there is still a 200-300 yard walk to the reservoir due to the low water level. The reservoir is ice-covered.
Pine Creek and tributaries (Snake River tributary): rainbow trout, brook trout
Beginning January 1, Pine Creek and tributaries will be open to trout fishing year-round, with a 5 rainbow trout bag limit. This is a new regulation for 2016.
POLE CREEK RESERVOIR: hatchery rainbow trout
Pole Creek is currently frozen over and the ice thickness was around 7 inches on February 5 but predicted warmer weather in the area may quickly diminish the ice thickness and quality. During a recent ice fishing clinic on Pole Creek, one angler caught a 17.5 inch rainbow trout that was in excellent condition and around 5 other rainbow trout were caught in the 10-15 inch range.
POWDER RIVER: rainbow trout
Effective January 1, the Powder River is open to trout fishing year-round, with a 5 trout bag limit. This is a new regulation for 2016.
PRIDAY RESERVOIR: hatchery rainbow trout
The reservoir is dry. This is great news as several illegally introduced species occurred in the reservoir and have now perished. This very productive reservoir will be stocked again with legals and trophy rainbow trout during the week of March 21.
SAND AND SCOTT CREEKS: brook trout and brown trout
Sand and Scott creeks are very small spring fed streams west of Hwy 97 near the Silver Lake highway junction. Fishing on these small streams is open year-round with bait allowed. Most fish are less than 8-inches long.
Redband Trout and Fly Rod
-Photo by Roger Smith-
SEVENMILE CREEK: brook trout, brown trout, redband trout
Fishing is open. Access will be challenging due to snow but anglers can access Sevenmile Creek at Nicholson Road and fish upstream of Nicholson Road. Bait is allowed upstream of Nicholson Road.
SKY LAKES AND MOUNTAIN LAKE WILDERNESS: brook trout and rainbow trout
Access to the wilderness lakes is blocked by snow.
ODFW District staff sampled Como, Harriette, Echo and South Pass Lakes in the Mountain Lakes Wilderness this summer. Como Lake is the first lake encountered from the Varney Creek Trail and is a 5.5 mile hike up a moderate incline. Best fishing appeared to be using spinners particularly size two panther martins in black with gold blades. Six to 10-inch brook trout seemed common along the shoreline and are easily accessible by fly fisherman. Fish in all lakes were feeding on water boatmen/ back swimmers. Brook trout in Echo Lake were very common and schools of four to five could be observed feeding. Some large rainbow trout mortalities were observed on the shoreline of Como and Harriette. Como Lake appeared to have had a minor fish die off during the summer.
District staff also sampled Badger, Woodpecker and Long lakes off the Fourmile Lake trailhead. No fish were observed in Long Lake. Numerous brook trout were observed in the spring fed pond feeding Badger Lake. Fishing was good in this pond. A large school of 14-inch brook trout were observed in Badger Lake under a large tree that had fallen in the lake. Fishing was very slow in Badger and Woodpecker lakes.
SHERLOCK GULCH RESERVOIR: hatchery rainbow trout
The reservoir is currently low. There have been no fishing reports.
Spaulding Reservoir: hatchery rainbow trout
The reservoir is dry.
SPRING CREEK: redband trout, brown trout, brook trout
Closed to fishing until May 22, 2016. Large redband trout can be observed spawning.
SPRAGUE RIVER: redband trout, brown trout, largemouth bass and yellow perch
Fishing is very slow. River flows have dropped to 462 cfs but water is turbid. ODFW encourages the release of spawning redband trout.
NORTH FORK SPRAGUE RIVER AND ALL TRIBUTARIES: brook trout, redband trout, brown trout, bull trout
The North Fork Sprague River is open to angling. Access on public property blocked by snow.
SOUTH FORK SPRAGUE RIVER AND ALL TRIBUTARIES: brook trout, redband trout, brown trout, bull trout
The South Fork Sprague River is open to angling. Access on public property blocked by snow.
SUN CREEK: brook trout, bull trout, brown trout
Sun Creek is closed to fishing for bull trout. Only bull trout occur in upper Sun Creek just above the Sun Pass Forest bridge crossing. The road into Sun Creek is closed.
SYCAN RIVER: brook trout, redband trout, brown trout (below marsh)
The Sycan River is open to angling. Access is very challenging. Access on public property blocked by snow.
THOMPSON VALLEY RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, largemouth bass
Access is blocked by snow.
-Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife-
THIEF VALLEY RESERVOIR: trout
The reservoir was drained over the summer of 2015 and has not been restocked with rainbow trout due to very little water in the reservoir at the fall stocking time. Plans are to stock legal-sized rainbows in April and May of 2016.
UNITY RESERVOIR: trout, bass, crappie
Unity Reservoir is ice-covered with good access. The road and parking area at Unity State park is being plowed and maintained well. Fish are running 10”-19”, but the catch rate is low. The reservoir is at 33 percent of capacity.
No recent fishing reports but fishing is expected to be slow. The reservoir is currently at 10 percent of capacity. The reservoir is expected to be frozen over but the thickness and condition of the ice is unknown. The roads to Warm Springs Reservoir can be treacherous during the winter months with snow and mud making it difficult to reach the reservoir.
UPPER WILLIAMSON RIVER:
Closed to fishing until May 22, 2016. When the Upper Williamson River opens catch and release will be required for redband trout the entire season. No bait is allowed.
LOWER WILLIAMSON RIVER:
Closed to fishing until May 22, 2016. When the Lower Williamson River opens catch and release will be required for redband trout the entire season. No bait is allowed.
The reservoir is ice covered and thickness of ice is unknown.
WOLF CREEK RESERVOIR: crappie, trout
The reservoir is now ice-covered. No recent fishing reports.
WOOD RIVER: redband, brown, brook and bull trout
Closed to fishing until April 22, 2016.
YELLOWJACKET LAKE: trout
Yellowjacket is frozen over but access may be blocked by snow and ice. Yellowjacket Lake is a great place to take the family for some trout fishing and is an excellent place to ice fish when accessible.
OPEN: COUGAR, CONTROLLED ELK, LATE SEASON GOOSE (see regs)
Wolves and coyotes can look alike
Most wolves in the state today are in northeast Oregon but a few have dispersed further west and south. Wolves are protected by state and/or federal law and it is unlawful to shoot them. Coyote hunters 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 ODFW using the online reporting system.
Elk – Only one cow ELK hunt remains open through the end of January 2016. Elk populations are stable, with good numbers of yearling bulls available due to good recruitment last spring. The mild winter experienced throughout southeast Oregon in 2015 has benefited most desert species.
Cougar hunting is open year around. Remember you need a 2016 tag to hunt as of Jan. 1. Populations are healthy and distributed throughout the district in any area with a big game prey base. Cougars at this time of year are generally concentrated along with their primary prey of deer and elk on big game winter ranges. Some hunters have reported limited success with calling at this time of year.
Don’t forget successful hunters must check-in cougars no more than 10 days after harvest; please bring cougar in thawed and with mouth propped open so that field staff can quickly process the animal and get you on your way.
Coyote populations are good throughout Harney County. Pups have dispersed from the den. Standard predator calls will be effective from now through December. Be aware that bobcats and cougars may respond to predator calls, and separate licensing and season limitations exist for these species.
Cougar -Photo by Jim Yuskavitch-
Cougar hunting is open year around. Remember you need 2016 tag to hunt as of Jan. 1. Populations are healthy and distributed throughout the district in any area with a big game prey base. Cougars at this time of year are generally concentrated along with their primary prey of deer and elk on big game winter ranges. With recent snowfall, hunters can find tracks much easier and do some calling when they find fresh sign. Don’t forget, successful hunters must check-in cougars no more than 10 days after harvest; please bring cougar in thawed and with mouth propped open so that field staff can quickly process the animal and get you on your way.
Coyote populations are average throughout Klamath County. At this time of year, mimicking prey distress sounds can be an effective tool to bring coyotes within range. Be aware that bobcats and cougars may respond to predator calls, and separate licensing and season limitations exist for these species.
KLAMATH WILDLIFE AREA
This section was updated on Feb. 02, 2016.
Miller Island Unit
All Hunting seasons are now closed on the Miller Island Unit of the Klamath Wildlife Area.
Hunting for White Geese and White-Fronted Geese is allowed during the Klamath, Lake, Harney & Malheur Cos. Zone White and White-Fronted Goose season (Jan. 24-Mar. 10, 2016), only in the Gorr Island, Shoalwater Bay and Sesti Tgawaals Units of the Klamath Wildlife Area.
Gorr Island Unit
Gorr Island is located four miles south of the Miller Island Unit in the Klamath River, accessible only by boat. Gorr Island is open daily with no permit required during authorized seasons.
The Gorr Island Unit is open for hunting during the Klamath, Lake, Harney & Malheur Cos. Zone White and White-Fronted Goose season (Jan. 24-Mar. 10, 2016).
Shoalwater Bay Unit and Sesti Tgawaals Unit
Shoalwater Bay and Sesti Tgawaals are both located on the west side of Upper Klamath Lake approximately 10 miles to the north and west of Klamath Falls. Shoalwater Bay and Sesti Tgawaals Unit are both open for hunting daily with no permit required during authorized seasons.
Shoalwater Bay and Sesti Tgawaals Units are open for hunting during the Klamath, Lake, Harney & Malheur Cos. Zone White and White-Fronted Goose season (Jan. 24-Mar. 10, 2016).
Federally approved non-toxic shot is required for all hunting.
Cougar hunting is open. Remember you need 2016 tag to hunt as of Jan. 1. Populations are healthy due to good habitat and prey base. If hunters can find a fresh cougar kill, calling within a ½ mile of that kill can be very effective.
Coyote hunting in the snow
-Photo by Charlotte Ganskopp-
Coyote are forming pair bonds and coyote vocalization calls will be effective through late winter and spring. Be aware that bobcats and cougars may respond to predator calls, and separate licensing and season limitations exist for these species.
Waterfowl Snow and White Fronted goose seasons re-opened January 24th and will run through March 10th. The bag limit for White-fronted geese in Lake County is 1 bird per day. The spring migration which usually starts in late January may be delayed due to more severe winter weather. SUMMER LAKE WILDLIFE AREA
This section was updated on February 2, 2016
The sixteenth and final week of game bird hunting season was fair for goose hunting (duck season closed 1 week prior) and upland game birds. Little effort was expended during this last week of game bird hunting. A total of 31 hunters checked-in. During the same week last year, only quail season was open. They reported (100% check-out) the total harvest of 22 birds, 21 geese (11 Canada, 9 snow, 1 white-fronted) and 1 California quail. This resulted in a bird per hunter average of 0.70.
ALL GENERAL HUNTING SEASONS ARE NOW OVER, AND DISCHARGING FIREARMS IS PROHIBITED, except by special access permit.
Bighorn sheep: There will be no tags for the Owyhee Unit in 2016 due to a disease outbreak. Learn more
Cougar hunting is open. Remember you need 2016 tag to hunt as of Jan. 1. Populations are healthy and distributed throughout the district in any area with a big game prey base. Successful hunters must check-in cougars no more than 10 days after harvest; please bring cougar in thawed and with mouth propped open for easier tissue sampling, teeth collection and tagging.
Coyote hunting is available throughout the district. Reproduction this year appears to be good which should enhance calling opportunities. Areas with livestock feeding and calving operations are always strong attractors for coyotes.
Wintering raptors have returned to the area. You should be able to view golden eagles, bald eagles and a variety of hawks perching on telephone poles and fence posts throughout the district. Resident raptors such as northern harriers and red-tailed hawks are very easily observed in open agricultural areas.
As the winter season progresses, look for deer, elk, and antelope to remain active for longer periods of the day. Many populations of deer and elk will begin to move into lower elevations as severe weather events increase in frequency and daylight hours dwindle. This annual transition into winter ranges often makes large animals more visible, and may provide opportunities for viewers and photographers.
California Bighorn Sheep Ram
- Photo by Nick Myatt -
Many of the bighorn sheep will be using lower elevation slopes and can often be seen from the highways. Bighorn sheep may be seen from highway 205 along Catlow Valley or along the East Steens Road. 1/25/16
A few open water areas including Ling River can provide great viewing opportunities for diving ducks such as common goldeneye, lesser scaup, common merganser, and bufflehead.
Good areas to view wintering bald eagles are along Eagle Ridge and Shoalwater Bay accessed from Eagle Ridge Road from Highway 140. The Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge provides great viewing opportunities as well.
Rough-legged and Ferruginous hawks are often found foraging around agricultural areas throughout the basin. Redtail hawks and Northern harriers are very common and can be observed in agricultural areas as well.
Please watch for game and use caution while traveling on area highways and county roads. Recent research indicates that highway collisions are a significant source of mortality for migrating deer. Traffic volumes on Highway 97 are increasing over time with corresponding effects on big game populations. PLEASE USE CAUTION WHILE TRAVELING. 1/5/16
KLAMATH WILDLIFE AREA
This section was updated on Feb. 2, 2016
From February 1-April 30 public use is restricted to public roads and parking areas to minimize disturbance to migrating waterfowl. The short birding trail next to check station will remain open.
Running or training of dogs is prohibited from February 1-July 31, except on the designated dog training area.
Most of the areas wetlands are still frozen over, but warming temperatures have thinned the ice and melted most of the snow.
A Wildlife Area Parking Permit is required to park on the Wildlife Area. Cost is $7 daily or $22 annually. Free with purchase of hunting license. Buy online or at an ODFW office that sells licenses or at a license sales agent.
Spring migration is just underway with significant numbers of tundra swan, ross’s, snow, and white-fronted geese starting to use the area. Their numbers should continue to increase over the following weeks. Canada geese are starting to pair up, they can be found scattered across the area. Many different diver species have been recently observed using the Klamath River along the Miller Island Unit stretch. Shorebirds, waders and other waterbirds
Great blue herons and American bitterns are also occasionally observed on the area.
Great horned and barn owls can be seen at dusk. Red-tailed hawks, rough-legged hawk, northern harriers, cooper hawks, sharp-shinned, American kestrels, prairie falcons can be seen foraging throughout the wildlife area.
The numbers of Bald eagles using the area has increased over the past few weeks. The red-shouldered hawk is another that has been recently seen.
Upland Game Birds
California quail and ring-necked pheasant can be found scattered around the old homesteads and the headquarters area.
- Photo by Greg Gillson-
Mourning and Eurasian collared dove can be found scattered over the area. American and lesser goldfinches, house finches, American robins, white crowned sparrows, golden-crowned sparrows, dark eyed juncos, western meadowlark, spotted towhee and Northern flickers continue to be a common site throughout the area. Marsh wrens and song sparrows can be found in dense stands of tall emergent hard stem bulrush and broad-leaf cattail and are very numerous. Black Phoebes can be common in the willows along the Klamath River.
Overnight camping is not allowed on the Miller Island Unit. If you have any questions, please contact Klamath Wildlife Area at (541) 883-5734.
Spring migration hasn’t started but snow geese and white-fronted geese usually start arriving in late January. Although the county has received above average snow fall most of the major lakes and wetlands were dry last fall. Until we get a prolonged warming trend these areas will remain dry. Through February there should be an increase in waterfowl and the larger water birds, and a subsequent increase in Bald Eagles which follow the waterfowl migration. The shorebird migration usually starts in mid to late March. Viewing opportunities at this time are restricted to winter raptors which are most abundant in the valleys; and winter passerines most commonly found along the riparian habitats. 1/26/2016
SUMMER LAKE WILDLIFE AREA
This section was updated on February 2, 2016.
Wildlife Area Parking permits are required for all users of Summer Lake Wildlife Area. Parking permits can be purchased at any ODFW license agent (pdf) or through the ODFW website. The cost is $10.00 daily or $30.00 annually and is valid on all ODFW Wildlife Areas. Locally, parking permits can be purchased at the Summer Lake Store, 1.3 miles north of Headquarters.
Motor vehicle access on major dike roads (Bullgate, Windbreak and Work Road) is now open. The Wildlife Viewing Loop is temporarily closed due to major maintenance activities along the southeast corner. Access is available along Upper Link Canal to about ½ mile east of Bullgate Campground and to Link Corner on the north end.
Wildlife viewing is somewhat limited at this time due to generally low numbers of wintering birds; however northward migrants are beginning to appear. The Area’s wetlands are moving back and forth from open and frozen-over conditions due to changing and unsettled weather patterns.
Waterfowl populations are starting to increase with the arrival of early spring migrants. Total duck numbers are approaching 12,000 with 13 species represented. Western Canada geese (about 600) are widely distributed across the area and many pairs are beginning to disperse to breeding territories. Lesser snow and greater white-fronted geese are increasing as these northward migrants disperse from wintering areas in California. About 2,400 and 50, respectively were present on the weekly count.
A few resident trumpeter swans remain widely scattered across the wildlife area. Most of these birds a part of restoration efforts and will be neck-banded with green collars and white alphanumeric symbols. Viewers are encouraged to “read” the collars and report them to wildlife area personnel. Collars will have the Greek letter Theta (Ѳ) or the symbol “@” and two numerals that are read from the body toward the head.
Migrant tundra and trumpeter swans continue to winter in good numbers and are being joined by northward migrants. About 675 were present during the weekly count.
Shorebirds, waders and other waterbirds
Only a few lingering and wintering individual shorebirds can sometimes be found. A small number of greater yellowlegs, killdeer and Wilson’s snipe are present throughout winter.
American coot numbers remain low, about 100 were found during the weekly survey. Virginia rails continue to be found occasionally seen and/or heard and are scattered in very low numbers across the entire wildlife area.
Very few grebes remain, but the occasional stragglers can be still be found. Ana Reservoir is a good location to view a variety of grebes and other waterbirds.
A small number of American bitterns and great blue herons continue to be observed during the weekly survey and past week.
-Photo by Cathy Nowak-
Raptors and others
Northern harriers and red-tailed hawks are common this time of the year. Bald and golden eagles, American kestrel, peregrine and prairie falcons as well as accipiters (Cooper’s and sharp-shinned hawk) can occasionally be found. Migrant and wintering rough-legged hawks are present in low numbers now.
Great horned owls were found scattered across the entire wildlife area, especially in the trees at campgrounds and remain very vocal at night. Upland game birds
Fair numbers of California quail can be found and pheasants can sometimes be observed, especially around old homesteads on the north end of the wildlife area.
Eurasian collared doves remain very numerous at Headquarters Complex.
American goldfinches and sometimes lesser goldfinches are observed at Headquarters. Song, golden-crowned and Lincoln’s sparrows have been observed recently. American robins remain fairly common and occasionally Townsend’s solitaire and cedar waxwings are observed around Headquarters. Steller’s jays can usually be found around Headquarters.
Marsh wrens and song sparrows can be found in dense stands of hardstem bulrush and broad-leaved cattail along dikes and levees throughout the wetlands and are fairly numerous.
Blackbirds (Brewer’s and red-winged) can still be found but are not very numerous. European starlings are present in low numbers as well.
Facilities and Access
Please remember: Calendar year 2016 parking permits will be required beginning on January 1, 2016! Summer Lake Wildlife Area requires a $10 daily parking permit or a $30 annual parking permit. Parking permits can be purchased at any Point of Sale Agent or through the ODFW website. Locally, parking permits can be purchased at the Summer Lake Store, 1.3 miles north of Headquarters.
Motor vehicle access to major dike roads (Bullgate, Windbreak and Work Road) is now open, but the Wildlife Viewing Loop remains temporarily closed due to major maintenance activities along Upper Link Canal. .
Camping is permitted at four sites on the Wildlife Area. Campgrounds are primitive but each has vault toilets, trash barrels and a few picnic tables.
The Area’s wetland units are beginning to open up due to generally mild temperatures, rain and sometimes strong winds. This is resulting in considerable shallowly flooded areas for the relatively small number of wintering birds to disperse to. However, cold night temperatures are causing many of the larger ponds and still water areas to freeze-over. Spring migrants are expected to continue to arrive as temperatures and conditions moderate. Emergent marsh vegetation is largely lodged-over due to wind and snow. Muskrat houses are very prevalent at this time.
Summer Lake is continues to slowly increase in size at this time. Upland habitat remains in fair condition, especially in locations sheltered from heavy snow and drifts. Planted tree and shrub plots are providing excellent sheltered sites and food resources for many wildlife species. There is no snow cover at this time.
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