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

Weekly Recreation Report: Southwest Zone

January 27, 2015

 Southwest Zone Fishing

Steelhead
Steelhead
-Photo by Charlotte Ganskopp-

Weekend fishing opportunities

  • Anglers are catching rockfish and lingcod along the jetties and submerged jetties in Coos Bay.
  • Even with lower flows, plunkers are still picking up steelhead in the lower Rogue River.
  • Continued reports of success hint at a good winter steelhead fishery on the Rogue in 2015.
  • Winter steelhead are arriving in the mainstem Umpqua River. While the bulk of the run is wild fish, a fair number of hatchery fish were reported caught last weekend.
  • A few anglers have been catching surf perch from the beaches near Bandon and Coos Bay.

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.

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.

APPLEGATE RESERVOIR: largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, trout

Applegate offers a winter trout fishing opportunity. Boat anglers can launch at the French Gulch low water ramp.

The Oregon Health Authority issued an advisory recommending that people limit their consumption of largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, yellow perch, bluegill, and crappie taken from Applegate Reservoir due to elevated levels of mercury. Trout are not included in the advisory and remain a healthy choice for those wanting to retain fish for the table.

 APPLEGATE RIVER: rainbow and cutthroat trout, winter steelhead

With the New Year, the Applegate River opens to fishing for steelhead. Only adipose fin-clipped hatchery steelhead may be kept, while all non-adipose finclipped steelhead must be immediately released unharmed. Fishing has reportedly been good on the Applegate over the weekend. Expect fish to find their way into the upper river over the next week providing good opportunities upstream of Ruch.

ARIZONA POND: rainbow trout

Pond levels have been lowered to help control aquatic vegetation.

BEN IRVING RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, bass, bluegill, yellow perch, crappie

Ben Irving Reservoir
Ben Irving Reservoir
-Photo by Rick Swart, ODFW-

The reservoir was stocked with about 4,000 trout in the spring. An additional 1,000 trout were stocked the first week of September. Warmwater fishing for bass and crappie is winding down with the cooler water temperatures.

CHETCO RIVER: steelhead

The reservoir was stocked with about 4,000 trout in the spring. An additional 1,000 trout were stocked the first week of September. Warmwater fishing for bass and crappie is winding down with the cooler water temperatures.

CHETCO RIVER: steelhead

Slow. Low and clear water is making for some tougher fishing conditions. This is a good time for bank anglers to fish the river as there are fewer boats and anglers can access more of the gravel bars wading.

The ODFW and local volunteers are collecting angler caught winter steelhead for the hatchery program on the Chetco River. Adult steelhead donated by anglers are placed in holding pens along the river each day before they are taken to the hatchery.   Anglers interested in participating in the program can contact the ODFW Gold Beach Office at 541-247-7605 for more information. 

Chetco River flows near Brookings

COOPER CREEK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, bass, bluegill, yellow perch, bullhead

Cooper Creek was stocked with about 9,000 trout and received an 2,000 additional trout for fall fishing. Some of the trout do have copepods which are tiny parasites on their bodies and gills. These are not harmful to humans, but the lesions can be removed and the meat should be thoroughly cooked. The main boat ramp will be congested with buses and boats on Thursday, Jan. 29, from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. Angers are advised to use the other end of the reservoir that day until after 1 p.m. Cooper Creek will be stocked with a few hundred trout at the end of the month.

COOS RIVER BASIN: Dungeness crab, bay clams, steelhead, rockfish

Steelhead rivers in the Coos Basin are running low. The best steelhead fishing will be on the lower sections of the rivers near the head of tidewater. 

There is bank access on the West Fork Millicoma at the Millicoma Interpretive Center and on the East Fork Millicoma at Nesika Park. Access to the South Fork Coos River is through Weyerhaeuser property and anglers must have the appropriate permit from Weyerhaeuser. In the Coos Basin starting on Dec. 1 one additional fin-clipped steelhead may be retained per day for a total aggregate of 3 adult fish harvested daily.

Anglers are catching rockfish and lingcod along the jetties and submerged jetties in Coos Bay. The marine fish daily bag limit (which includes fishing in estuaries) is seven fish and a separate daily limit for lingcod (two). Starting on Jan. 15 anglers will only be able to keep 3 blue rockfish as part of their daily limit and there will be no harvest of China, quillback or copper rockfish.

Crabbing was good over the weekend for with boats in Coos Bay. The best crabbing will be near the jetties and close to high tide. Clamming is excellent during low tides near Charleston, off Cape Arago Highway, and Clam Island. There are also good places to dig clams even on positive low tides in Coos Bay. Before any shellfish harvest trip, make sure to check the Oregon Department of Agriculture website for any updates.

COQUILLE RIVER BASIN: steelhead

The Coquille Basin steelhead rivers are running low and the best fishing will be in the lower sections of the rivers and in the upper sections of tidewater.  There is good bank access on the North Fork Coquille at LaVerne Park. Bank and boat access is spread out along the South Fork Coquille River from Broadbent to Powers. In the Coquille Basin starting on Dec. 1 one additional fin-clipped steelhead may be retained per day for a total aggregate of 3 adult fish harvested daily.

DIAMOND LAKE: trout

The warmer temperatures have caused much of the snow to melt and some openings in the ice. However, conditions can change. When conditions are good there is opportunity for a variety of winter sports. The Forest Service campgrounds are closed for the season. Anglers can check fishing conditions at Diamond Lake on their website, or call their toll free number at 1-800-733-7593, ext. 5 for updates.

ELK RIVER: Steelhead

Low and clear.  Anglers can call Elk River Hatchery information line (541) 332-0405 for river height and color. The river fishes best at 5 feet and dropping.

EMIGRANT RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, largemouth and smallmouth bass, crappie

The water level in the reservoir is at 45 percent, sufficient to allow boats to launch. Trout anglers may want to give Emigrant a try early in the New Year.

EXPO POND: trout

Fish Lake

Fish Lake from the dam, Jan. 12, 2015
-Photo by Dan VanDyke, ODFW-

Expo Pond was stocked with 100 one-pound and 500 legal-sized trout in October. Fishing should be good through winter. Still fishing with PowerBait or worms will likely provide the best success.

FISH LAKE: rainbow trout, brook trout, spring Chinook

The first layer of ice means that Fish Lake is not safely fishable at this time.

FLORAS LAKE: rainbow, cutthroat trout

Trout fishing is hit or miss depending on the wind. The best method for catching trout is slow trolling flies or wedding ring spinners from a boat. Bank access is limited. Anglers can launch at an improved boat ramp at Boice Cope County Park. The lake can be very windy, so anglers will want to check the weather prior to heading out. Boat anglers are reminded to clean all aquatic vegetation off their boats and trailers before heading home to help control the spread non-native plants and animals.

GALESVILLE RESERVIOR: rainbow trout, bass

In addition to trout, the reservoir has also been stocked with coho smolts for the last couple of years. Many people mistakenly think these fish are kokanee. All of the coho smolts are adipose fin-clipped, remember to release the ones less than 8-inches long. In Galesville Reservoir, all landlocked salmon are considered trout and are part of the five-per-day trout limit, with only one trout over 20-inches long allowed for harvest.

Galesville was stocked with about 8,000 trout this spring. Anglers are reminded all bass between 12 and 15-inches must be released, and only one bass over 15-inches may be taken per day. The reservoir is currently low. Call 541-837-3302 for information on camping and boat launching conditions.

GARRISON LAKE: rainbow trout, cutthroat

When rivers are blown out or low and clear, anglers may want to try fishing for some good sized carry over trout. This time of year trout are usually feeding along deeper weed lines. Boat anglers will want to keep an eye on the weather and fish the lake when there is no wind. Access for bank anglers is best at the 12th Street boat ramp, Arizona Street, or along the foredune accessed through Tseriadun State Park. Garrison Lake is located in the middle of Port Orford. Boat anglers are reminded to clean all aquatic vegetation off their boats and trailers before heading home to help control the spread non-native plants and animals.

HEMLOCK LAKE & LAKE IN THE WOODS & Umpqua High Lakes: trout

Hemlock has received over 6,000 trout this season, including some large fish just before the Labor Day holiday. Anglers fishing the high lakes in the Umpqua District are encouraged to e-mail fishing reports. Most of the Umpqua’s high lakes are off of roads that are not plowed during the winter. Contact the Forest Service at 541-496-3532 for road conditions.

ILLINOIS RIVER: trout, steelhead

The Illinois River is open to fishing for trout and steelhead below Pomeroy Dam. Anglers are restricted to artificial flies and lures only. Between Klondike Creek and Pomeroy, anglers have a limited opportunity to harvest a wild winter steelhead. Non adipose fin-clipped winter steelhead at least 24-inches long may be harvested, one per day and up to five per year. Winter steelhead fishing has been good on the Illinois around the Kerby area. For those of you wanting entire sections of a Scenic river to yourself, try the Illinois downstream of Eight Dollar Mountain. 

Illinois River flows at Kerby

LAKE MARIE: rainbow trout

The lake was stocked with over 5,000 trout this year. Most anglers use PowerBait or worms. The lake also received some Labor Day lunkers and was stocked again the first week of September.

LAKE SELMAC: trout, largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie

Releases last fall should mean that good numbers of rainbow trout are available for winter anglers at Lake Selmac. County park staff report that a good number of anglers have been fishing recently.

LEMOLO RESERVOIR: Closed for fishing until April 1

Leomolo is closed to fishing until April 1, but there is opportunity for other winter sports, contact Lemolo Lake Resort at 541-957-8354 for conditions and addition information. The Forest Service campgrounds are closed for the season.

LOON LAKE: rainbow trout, bass, bluegill

Loon Lake has been stocked with nearly 8,000 trout. The lake is also providing good fishing for crappie, bluegill and bass. The boat ramps are closed for the season.

LOST CREEK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, spring Chinook, bass

The Oregon Health Authority has issued a health advisory for Lost Creek Reservoir due to high levels of blue green algae. Visit the OHA website for more information.

Lost Creek offers very good winter trout fishing. Water clarity remains good near the dam and the main body of the reservoir. In the upper reservoir near the bridge, turbid water is present, along with quite a bit of woody debris in the water. This material comes from the pre-Christmas storm.

Medco Pond
Medco Pond, January 2014
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Bank anglers may want to try fishing the shoreline at the Takelma parking area. Trollers may want to try fishing the lower portion of the reservoir while keeping an eye out for floating debris from the storm. Limits have been reported from the middle of the reservoir down to the dam over the last few weeks.

MEDCO POND: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, bluegill

Medco is ice free and very fishable. Trout are available. Anglers are asked to check trout this year for adipose fin clips, and report Medco trout catches back to ODFW at 541-826-8774.

PACIFIC OCEAN AND BEACHES: bottomfish, Dungeness crab, surf perch

The ocean is open for harvest of Dungeness crab.

Anglers continue to catch surf perch from the beaches near Bandon and Coos Bay. The best fishing is usually on the incoming tide. Sand shrimp is one of the best baits to use when fishing for surf perch.

Fishing for bottom fish, including rockfish and lingcod is open to all depths. The marine fish daily bag limit is seven fish and a separate daily limit for lingcod (two). Starting on January 15 anglers will only be able to keep 3 blue rockfish as part of their daily limit and there will be no harvest of China, quillback, or copper rockfish. Sometime in March, once a parallel federal rule is adopted, ODFW will announce that anglers can retain one canary rockfish as part of the marine fish daily bag limit. Retention of cabezon is not allowed Jan. 1 – June 30.

PLAT I RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, warmwater fish

In addition to trout fishing, the lake also has good bullhead fishing. Bass can be harvested from March 1 to Oct. 31 and are catch-and-release only from Nov. 1-Feb. 29. The reservoir received about 4,500 trout this year. The water level in the reservoir is currently low.

Some of the trout do have copepods which are tiny parasites on their bodies and gills. These are not harmful to humans, but the lesions can be removed and the meat should be thoroughly cooked.

REINHARDT POND: trout

Reinhardt Pond was stocked with 100 one-pound and 250 legal-sized trout in October. Fishing should be good.

ROGUE RIVER

Rogue River, lower: winter steelhead

Lower flows, but bank anglers are still picking up steelhead plunking. Boat anglers are picking up a few steelhead running plugs.

Rogue River, middle: steelhead, trout

Anglers in the Grants Pass area reported continued success for early winter steelhead last week with a good number of hatchery fish in the mix. Anglers are catching fish with plugs or yarn balls. The water temperature was 45F, with a flow of 2,400 cfs on Tuesday. For those interested in checking conditions before getting on the river, the City of Grants Pass Water Division’s website offers information on NTU’s at Grants Pass as well as a link to a river camera.

Rogue River, upper: steelhead, trout

The release from Lost Creek Reservoir is holding steady at 1500 cfs. The good news for upper Rogue anglers is the water coming out Lost Creek is the cleanest it has been since the pre-Christmas rain event. Late summer steelhead and some early winter steelhead are available for anglers.

The flow at Gold Ray was 2,260 cfs on Tuesday morning. The peak temperature was 45F on Monday.

As of Jan. 21, a total of 3,352 summer steelhead have entered Cole Rivers Hatchery, with 39 new for the week. A total of 36 winter steelhead have been collected with 24 new for the week.

rogue river
Rogue River above Lost Creek
-Photo by Rick Swart, ODFW-

Rogue River, above Lost Creek Reservoir: trout

The river above Lost Creek is open for trout fishing year round.

SIXES RIVER: steelhead

Steelhead are spread throughout the river, but lower flows are making are making for tough fishing conditions.  

SMITH RIVER, Umpqua: steelhead, sturgeon, striped bass

Winter steelhead will start arriving in the Smith River basin. Most of the steelhead will be wild, therefore fishing will be primarily catch-and-release.

SODA SPRINGS RESERVOIR:

Closed to fishing.

TENMILE BASIN: steelhead, largemouth bass

Anglers picked up a few steelhead on Tenmile and Eel creeks over the past week. Anglers are picking up fish plunking or back-bouncing crankbaits from a boat. In the Tenmile Basin starting on Dec. 1 one additional fin-clipped steelhead may be retained per day for a total aggregate of 3 adult fish harvested daily. 

Bass anglers have been catching a few largemouth bass in Tenmile Lakes. Water temperatures in the shallow water is warmer than usual for this time of the year because of several unseasonably warm days. 

TOKETEE LAKE: brown trout, rainbow trout

Fishing is open in Toketee year-round. The boat ramp is currently closed and the reservoir is partially drawn down. For more information call the U.S. Forest Service at 541-498-2531.

UMPQUA HIGH LAKES AND FOREBAYS: trout

Most of these lakes are off Forest Service Roads that are not plowed during the winter. Contact the Forest Service at 541-957-3200 for road and trail conditions.

UMPQUA RIVER, MAINSTEM: steelhead

The mainstem Umpqua is closed to wild steelhead harvest, but remains open year-round for adipose fin-clipped steelhead. This fishery is primarily catch-and-release since the number of hatchery fish is relatively low compared to the number of wild fish. However, anglers have been catching some hatchery fish for the last couple of weeks. The number of steelhead will increase in the Main throughout the rest of the month. The recent rain has caused the river to rise, but it will be dropping steadily to below 6 feet by the weekend. Plunkers should have some success throughout the season following rain events that cause the steelhead to hug the shoreline.

The Umpqua Fishery Enhancement Derby will be taking place on Jan. 30 and 31. This event raises thousands of dollars for fisheries projects in the Umpqua Basin. There may be more boats than usual on the river.

Spring chinook will start arriving in February and March. Please note the changes in regulations this year on page 40 of the 2015 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations booklet. On the Main, anglers can harvest 2 wild spring chinook per day and up to 5 wild springers from Feb. 1 – July 31. From Aug. 1 – Dece. 31, you can harvest 2 wild chinook per day, and in combination with the other salmon/steelhead recorded on your salmon tag, up to 20 fish total. Fin-clipped hatchery fish can be recorded on a separate hatchery harvest tag that is available. There is no limit on the number of hatchery tags that can be purchased. Daily limits still apply.

The 50 Places to go fishing within 60 minutes of Roseburg,” handout which is available online or at the office, identifies several good places for salmon and steelhead fishing.

UMPQUA RIVER, NORTH: steelhead

Remember all wild steelhead must be released unharmed. Fishing for winter steelhead will continue to improve, peaking in February through March. Most of the fish returning to the North are wild so the fishing is mostly catch-and-release. The river should be steadily dropping back to about 4 feet this weekend. The Umpqua Fishery Enhancement Derby will be taking place on Jan. 30 and 31. This event raises thousands of dollars for fisheries projects in the Umpqua Basin. There may be more boats than usual on the river.

Note that from Oct. 1 through June 30, fishing in the fly water area is restricted to a single barbless artificial fly which can be dressed with conventional fly tying material. Spring chinook will start arriving in March. Per the new regulation on page 40 of the 2015 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations booklet, from Feb. 1 – July 31, 2 wild chinook per day can be harvested and up to 10 wild chinook during this time frame in combination with wild chinook harvested in the Main. Remember that from March 1 through July 31 the anti-snag gear restrictions apply on the North from the Lone Rock boat ramp upstream to the fly area boundary above Rock Creek. The Mainstem from Soda Springs Dam, including Soda Springs Reservoir, up to Slide Creek Dam is closed year-round to fishing.

The new RockEd facility is lacking displays, but can be opened on request by calling the hatchery at 541-496-3484.

North Umpqua River water levels at Winchester Dam

UMPQUA RIVER, SOUTH: steelhead

Willow Lake
Willow Lake Boat Ramp, Jan. 13, 2015
-Photo by Dan Van Dyke, ODFW-

Although the peak numbers of fish normally show up from February to late March, the recent rains have moved fish into the Canyonville area and hatchery fish have been reported. The South Umpqua offers the best chance for catching an adipose-fin clipped steelhead for harvest. The hatchery program for winter steelhead is centered in the South Umpqua.

Most hatchery fish are caught from Canyonville downstream. All wild fish must be released unharmed. Plunking should be good at places such as Lawson Bar, Myrtle Creek and behind Seven Feathers. The Umpqua Fishery Enhancement Derby will be taking place on Jan. 30 and 31. This event raises thousands of dollars for fisheries projects in the Umpqua Basin. There may be more boats than usual on the river.

WILLOW LAKE: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, black crappie, brown bullhead

Willow Lake is 95 percent full and offers access for some winter trout fishing.

WINCHESTER BAY: bottomfish

Fishing for bottomfish in the Triangle and South jetty has been successful. Crabbing has been slow recently.

WINCHUCK RIVER: steelhead

Slow. Most of the lower river is private, but the upper river is Forest Service and foot access is pretty good.

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  Southwest Zone Hunting

OPEN: GROUSE & QUAIL (closes Jan. 31), COUGAR

Coyote
Coyote
-Photo by Charlotte Ganskopp-

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.

Use the Oregon Hunting Map to see where to hunt.

COOS COUNTY

Wilson’s snipe abundance is increasing with the coming of winter. Wilson’s snipe could be considered the woodcock of the west because they are very similar to woodcock in appearance. Presently snipe can be found in huntable numbers around wetlands, flooded agricultural fields and in some clear cuts. Any place where water ponds there will be habitat for these birds and the potential to find them. Snipe feed on worms and other invertebrates that are found just under the soil’s surface. When soil is moistened by precipitation these birds are able to poke their flexible bill in to the soil to catch their food. While they like open fields and wetlands they can be found in reforested clear cuts where water ponds, as well.

Elk controlled hunts are the only ones open at this time. Populations and bull ratios are at or above management objectives in many units in the local area. Hunters will find that as hunting pressure occurs elk will move away from roads and into more secluded locations such as un-roaded creek drainages. Still hunting places with low road densities or behind gated roads where access is allowed is the best method to score on a bull. While elk use clearcuts extensively for feeding, hunting pressure will cause them to become more secretive and less likely to be found during daylight hours there. Elk hunters who will be hunting units in Coos County and the western portion of Douglas County need to be aware that access may have changed for some private lands. Hunters need to contact landowners to ensure lands are open even if the hunter has hunted there in past years. Don’t assume private land is open, check to make sure that it is.

Cougar hunting is open. Hunters can expect an average year. Cougars are abundant throughout with indicators pointing to stable or increasing numbers. Hunting cougar is a challenge because these animals are very secretive, but harvest success is greatest adjacent to private land with high deer populations using a predator call.

DOUGLAS COUNTY

A few elk controlled hunts are open at this time. Elk populations are similar to last year so this hunting year will be average.

Cougar season is open. Hunting cougar is most successful adjacent to private land with high deer populations.

Coyote - Numbers are strong throughout Douglas County. Using predator calls to lure them in can be an effective method for harvesting coyotes. Try calling in early morning and late afternoon. Be sure to ask permission before hunting on private land.
Ruffed Grouse
Ruffed Grouse
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

UPLAND GAMEBIRDS:

Grouse & Quail

The season ends on January 31, 2015.

MIGRATORY GAMEBIRDS:

Crow- The season ends on January 31, 2015.

TRAPPING:

Bobcat & Gray Fox are open. Healthy populations throughout Western Oregon. The last day of the season for these species is February 28, 2015.

River Otter, Beaver, & Raccoon are open. Healthy populations throughout Western Oregon. The last day of the season for these species is March 15, 2015 except red fox which is January 15, 2015.

Mink & Muskrat are open. Healthy populations throughout Western Oregon. The last day of the season for mink and muskrat is March 31, 2015.

Marten are open. Good populations at higher elevations of the Cascades. The last day of the season is January 31, 2015.

JACKSON, JOSEPHINE, CURRY COUNTIES

Denman Wildlife Area: Remember to get your parking permit. Hunters get the permit free with their purchase of an annual hunting license. Display on car dash.

Elk West Rogue Bow controlled hunt is open until February 28. This season is mostly on private land intended for elk causing landowner damage.

Crow season is open until January 31. No limit on harvest.

Grouse and Quail season will end January 31, 2015.

Wilson’s Snipe season is open until February 15. Snipe is another challenging bird to hunt for they are small, fast and erratic low-flying birds that can be hard to identify. Be sure to know how to differentiate it from killdeer and other shorebirds before you hunt. Snipe may be spooked in areas where there are high numbers of hunters but other times a person can walk up on them. Snipe almost always emit a call when they take off in flight. The best time to hunt snipe will be late fall and winter months. Denman Wildlife Area has decent numbers of snipe.

Cougar season is open statewide year-round or until zone quotas are met. Most cougar hunters’ success comes from predator calls. Remember 2015 tag and hunting license needed as of Jan. 1.

Western Gray Squirrel
Western Gray Squirrel
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Western Gray Squirrel is currently open for the part of the Rogue Unit south of Rogue River and S. Fork Rogue River and North of Hwy 140 where the season remains open year round with no bag limit. Squirrels can be found in oak or mixed conifer stands. This is a great animal to hunt for first time hunters.

Coyotes are abundant in our area. Remember to ask for permission to hunt on private lands. Hunter can find coyotes around meadows and brush piles where mice and rabbits are found. Predator calls are very useful when used in conjunction to known prey base.

Furbearers pursuit season is currently open for bobcat, fox and raccoon. Season will close for bobcat and fox February 28. Raccoon pursuit will go to March 15. A reminder to trappers and hunters that specific licenses and tags are required to hunt many furbearer species, and hunters should refer to the 2014-16 Oregon Furbearer Trapping and Hunting Regulations for details.

Bobcat & Gray Fox- Healthy populations for bobcats throughout Western Oregon. Gray fox numbers are down due to distemper for the past two years. Last day of the season is Feb. 28, 2015.

River Otter, Beaver, & Raccoon – Healthy populations throughout Western Oregon. Last day of the season is Mar. 15, 2015.

Mink/Muskrat- Healthy populations throughout Western Oregon. Last day of the season is March 31, 2015.

Marten – Good populations at higher elevations of the Cascades. Last day of the season is Jan. 31, 2015.

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 Southwest Zone Wildlife Viewing

COOS COUNTY

Marine Mammals

Seal and sea lion abundance in coastal waters around Coos County is high at this time of year, especially south of Coos Bay. At Simpson Reef, a heavily used haul out exists. From the lookout, viewers can see California sea lions, Steller sea lions, harbor seals and elephant seals. Do not approach seals and sea lions you may find on Oregon beaches. If you think an animal you find is in trouble, contact your local ODFW office to report the animal or contact the Marine Mammal Stranding Network an (800) 452-7888.

Cormorant
Pelagic Cormorant
- Photo by Greg Gillson-

Shorebirds

Shore birds found along the coast now are here for winter. In places fairly large numbers can be seen. Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge is probably the best place in Coos County to see these birds. The Bandon Marsh Unit is located immediately north of Bandon and is probably the best part of the refuge to visit for shore bird observation. Otherwise mud flats in Coos Bay, Winchester Bay (Douglas County) and the Coquille Bay are great places to check. Recently large flocks of shore birds have been seen on the Coos Bay North Spit beaches and other beaches in the area.

Waterfowl

Waterfowl abundance is high presently in Coos County. The birds in Coos County now are primarily here to spend the winter. The Coquille Valley is a great place to see dabbling ducks in large numbers. As many as 95% of the pacific coast dabblers stopover in the Coquille Valley during the migration. A large number of them spend the winter there.

For those interested in seeing large numbers of diving ducks Coos Bay in the vicinity of Cape Arago Hwy. and Clam Island, on the Coos Bay North Spit, are good places to look. Also, sea ducks like surf scoters are easy to find right now in all the coastal bays.

Black Brant are in Coos Bay in large numbers, as well. These marine geese have recently been spending time in the same general areas as the diving ducks in Coos Bay. Observant viewers may see neck collars on brant. If you can see the color of the collar and read the numbers on it report this information to your local ODFW office. This type of information is useful to waterfowl managers. 1/20/15.

CURRY, JACKSON, JOSEPHINE COUNTIES

Curry County

For a great birding trail along the southern coast, visit Oregon Birding Trails

Whale watching is occurring along the coast through end of May with one migration heading south until February. This migration is occurring two mile off shore. March through May is their northern migration when they will be cruising closer to shore. Viewing points within Curry County from north to south are Battle Rock, Cape Sebastian, Cape Ferrelo, and Harris Beach State Park.

Jackson and Josephine Counties

Jackson and Josephine counties are full of flocks of blackbirds, meadowlarks and a variety of sparrows, so take the opportunity to do some bird watching.

Cackling Canada Geese

Rogue Valley has had an increase in cackling Canada geese (Cacklers). They are the smallest subspecies of Canada geese, weighing around 3-5 pounds with a distinctive high pitched call. Other identifying features would be the darker brown breast and shorter bill. They nest in western Alaska and typically spend the winters in California Central Valley. Now more and more are wintering in western Oregon.

Northern Harrier
Northern Harrier
-Photo by Cathy Nowak-

Denman Wildlife Area

Bird watchers are welcome to visit the area to see variety of local waterfowl and hawks. A bald eagle has been sighted regularly around Wheatstone Pond. Many Northern Harriers, Red-tailed hawks, and Rough-legged hawks have been seen hunting throughout the valley.

For information on the Wildlife Area, visit ODFW’s Web site.

Time to clean out birdhouses and wood duck boxes out for spring.

Denman Wildlife Area

Bird watchers are welcome to visit the area to see variety of local waterfowl and hawks. A bald eagle has been sighted regularly around Wheatstone Pond. Many Northern Harriers, Red-tailed hawks, and Rough-legged hawks have been seen hunting throughout the valley.

For information on the Wildlife Area, visit ODFW’s Web site.

DOUGLAS COUNTY

Peregrine Falcons

Peregrine Falcons are now commonly seen on the Umpqua Valley floor especially near Melrose, Lookinglass, Umpqua and other open areas close to the Umpqua River.

Songbirds

Winter songbirds including Western Bluebirds can be seen at Stewart Park and Stewart Park trail in Roseburg. Viewing is best in the late morning to early afternoon.

Tax Time

When completing your taxes for calendar year 2014 don’t forget to make your donation for the nongame tax check-off on your Oregon return. 12/29/14.

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