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

Weekly Recreation Report: Southwest Zone

February 24, 2015

 Southwest Zone Fishing

Black Rockfish
Black Rockfish
-Photo by Bob Swingle-

Weekend fishing opportunities

  • Bradley and Saunders lakes, and Powers and Johnson Mill ponds will be stocked this week. Tenmile, Eel and Butterfield are good bets for holdover trout from last year’s stocking.
  • Anglers are catching rockfish and lingcod along the jetties and submerged jetties in Coos Bay.
  • With the unseasonably warm weather, anglers have been catching largemouth bass and yellow perch in Tenmile Lakes.
  • Reports from the Rogue River around Grants Pass indicate fishing has been very good for a mix of wild and hatchery fish. Anglers on the upper Rogue will benefit from the clear water being released from Lost Creek Reservoir.

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

The Applegate River is currently open for winter steelhead fishing. Only adipose fin-clipped hatchery steelhead may be kept, while all non-adipose finclipped steelhead must be immediately released unharmed. The river is a little high and off color but anglers continue to report good fishing for hatchery and wild steelhead. Fish are spread throughout the river in good numbers.

ARIZONA POND: rainbow trout

Pond levels have been lowered to help control aquatic vegetation.

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

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 may improve with the recent water temperatures.

CHETCO RIVER: steelhead

Steelhead is fishing has slowed as river drops and clears. This is a good time of year to start fishing plugs and spinners as fish become more active. Anglers will start to see some spawned out steelhead in their catch as these fish are dropping out of tributaries and heading back to the ocean.

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

Rainbow Trout

Rainbow Trout
-Photo by Jim Yuskavitch, ODFW-

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. Cooper Creek was recently stocked with 400 legals and about 100 one-pound trout. Last year, 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.

COOS COUNTY LAKES/PONDS: trout,

Trout will be stocked this week in Bradley Lake, Saunders Lake, Powers Pond, and Johnson Mill Pond. This is the first trout stocking of the year. There are several lakes like Tenmile, Eel, and Butterfield with holdover rainbow trout from last year’s stocking.

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

Steelhead rivers in the Coos Basin are very low and clear. Anglers should concentrate fishing deeper water using light lines and smaller lures/baits. 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.

Fishing for lingcod and rockfish inside lower Coos Bay around the jetties has been good. Lingcod have been biting on larger jigs or on herring drifted under a bobber. The marine fish daily bag limit (which includes fishing in estuaries) is 7 fish and a separate daily limit for lingcod (two). Starting on Jan. 15 anglers will be able to keep only 3 blue rockfish as part of their daily limit and there will be no harvest of China, quillback or copper rockfish.

To help anglers identify common species and comply with the regulations, ODFW has produced several sheets of ID Tips for blue vs. black rockfish and for China, copper and quillback rockfish, as well as a handout titled “What Can I Keep, and How Many?” All are available on ODFW’s website.

Crabbing has been decent in the lower 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 have been low and clear. The best steelhead fishing will be in upper portions 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 melted all of the snow and ice, and the entire lake is now open. Since the North boat ramp is not currently snowed in, there is an opportunity for boat fishing until the cold weather (and ice) returns. Last Saturday there were twenty boats on the water, with anglers bringing home fish in the 12-15 inch range.

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 Lake
Rainbow Trout at Emigrant Lake
-Photo by Daniel Vandyke-

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

The water level in the reservoir is at 65 percent, sufficient to allow boats to launch. Trout anglers may want to give Emigrant a try early in the New Year.

EXPO POND: trout

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. Expo Pond is located directly adjacent to the access road at gate 5.

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

Warmer water and calm winds have made for some good trout fishing. Anglers can expect good numbers of cutthroat and a few rainbow trout are cruising the shorelines in 5 to 8 feet of water. 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 in 2014, 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, but the lack of snowfall may allow access earlier than normal. Contact the Forest Service at 541-496-3532 for road conditions.

Steelhead
Showing off a Nice Steelhead
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

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. The Illinois fished well over the last weekend and anglers reported good success around Kerby.

Illinois River flows at Kerby

LAKE MARIE: rainbow trout

The lake was stocked with over 5,000 trout in 2014. 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

Selmac was stocked with 5,000 legal-sized fish last week. Those fish coupled with releases last fall 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

Even though the reservoir is ice-free, 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 was stocked with nearly 8,000 trout in 2014. The lake also has good fishing for crappie, bluegill and bass during warmer months.

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.

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

Dungeness Crab
Dungeness Crab
-Photo by Kathy Munsel, ODFW-

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.

To help anglers identify common species and comply with the regulations, ODFW has produced several sheets of ID Tips for blue vs. black rockfish and for China, copper and quillback rockfish, as well as a handout titled “What Can I Keep, and How Many?” All are available on ODFW’s website.

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 300 legal-sized trout two weeks ago and was stocked with 100 one-pound and 250 legal-sized trout in October. Fishing should be good.

ROGUE RIVER

Rogue River, lower: winter steelhead

Anglers are continuing to pick up steelhead either from boats or the bank. No reports of spring chinook, but anglers are starting to target chinook in the hopes of getting the first of the year.

Rogue River, middle: steelhead, trout

Reports are the Rogue around Grants Pass fished very well over the weekend with plenty of fresh wild and hatchery steelhead caught. The water temperature was 45.5°F, with a flow of 1,890 cfs, on Monday. 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 has decreased to 1,050 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 winter steelhead are available for anglers. The flow at Gold Ray was 1,840 cfs on Tuesday. The temperature was 44°F on Monday. As of Feb. 17, a total of 3,484 summer steelhead have entered Cole Rivers Hatchery, with 33 new for the week. A total of 247 winter steelhead have been collected with 94 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

Fishing is slow.

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, yellow perch

Steelhead fishing in Tenmile and Eel creeks over the past week has been slow. Anglers are picking up a few 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. Anglers fishing off the County fish dock have been catching yellow perch fishing a worm near the bottom. Some of these yellow perch have measured 12-inches or bigger.

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, spring chinook

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. About 9 percent of the steelhead caught in the Main are hatchery fish. The number of steelhead will increase in the Main throughout the rest of the month. Plunkers should have some success throughout the season following rain events that cause the steelhead to hug the shoreline. The river should drop down to about 6 feet by the weekend. The recent warm conditions should have steelhead on the move.

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 – Dec. 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

North Umpqua River
North Umpqua River
-ODFW Photo-

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. Conditions should be good this weekend and with the warm conditions, the steelhead should be on the move.

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

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

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.

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

Willow Lake is 100 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

Low and clear.

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  Southwest Zone Hunting

OPEN: COUGAR

SW Oregon spring bear tags sold out Feb. 9, 2015.

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.

Elk
Bull Elk
- Royalty Free Image-

COOS COUNTY

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

HUNTING:

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

Cougar - 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.

TRAPPING:

Bobcat & Gray Fox – Currently open. Healthy populations throughout Western Oregon. The last day of the season for these species is February 28, 2015. Fox and bobcat pursuit season ends February 28, 2015.

River Otter, Beaver & Raccoon– Currently 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 – Currently open. Healthy populations throughout Western Oregon. The last day of the season for mink and muskrat is March 31, 2015.

JACKSON, JOSEPHINE, CURRY COUNTIES

Shed Antlers

The season is approaching to find antler sheds. Few of the deer have already lost their antlers, within the next month most will lose their antler. Most deer sheds will be found in deer winter range which is usually below 3500 feet, often around oak trees and buck brush. Most deer winter range in Jackson county have road closures found in the Jackson Cooperative Travel Management Areas Maps refer to ODFW Maps. Elk will begin losing their antlers next month. Elk can have a higher elevation winter range up to 5000 feet and sheds are often found around meadow and clearing.

White-fronted Goose

White-fronted Goose
- Photo by Dave Budeau-

Goose – South Coast Zone goose season will be Feb.21 – March 10, 2015. This season is only allowed on private lands by permission. The populations for white-fronted geese are good; season success for Aleutian geese will depend on migration and California hunting pressure. Any questions call ODFW offices in Gold Beach or Central Point.

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.

Cougar season is open statewide year-round or until zone quotas are met. Most cougar hunters’ success comes from predator calls.

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.

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 Southwest Zone Wildlife Viewing

Stellar Sealion
Steller Sea Lions - Rogue Reef
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

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.

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

Bufflehead
Bufflehead male in breeding plumage
- Photo by Cathy Nowalk, ODFW-

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 miles 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.

Red-winged Black Bird
Red-winged Black Bird Male
- Photo by Dave Budeau -

Jackson and Josephine Counties

Check out Roxy Ann Peak trail as an area to view the Rogue Valley and the various wildlife found along the way. Roxy Ann Peak

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.

Turkey Vultures

A few turkey vultures are starting to appear in the Rogue River Valley from their wintering grounds.

Shed Antlers

The season is approaching to find antler sheds. Few of the deer have already lost their antlers, within the next month most will lose their antler. Most deer sheds will be found in deer winter range which is usually below 3500 feet, often around oak trees and buck brush. Most deer winter range in Jackson county have road closures found in the Jackson Cooperative Travel Management Areas Maps refer to ODFW Maps. Elk will begin losing their antlers next month. Elk can have a higher elevation winter range up to 5000 feet and sheds are often found around meadow and clearing.

Denman Wildlife Area

Tree Swallows
A family of tree swallows in a nest box.
- Photo by Ram Papish-

Swallows have returned to Denman Wildlife Area to inhabit our song bird boxes, come watch them soar around and begin staking out their new home.

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.

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

DOUGLAS COUNTY

Turkey Vultures

A few turkey vultures have arrived in the Umpqua Valley. Look for more turkey vultures returning from their wintering grounds in Mexico and points south.

Fish Passage

Winter Steelhead are migrating upstream and passing through Winchester dam fish ladder on the N. Umpqua River. The fish ladder is free and open to the public with the best viewing in the late afternoon hours when the water is not muddy. To view the migrating fish go to exit 129 on I-5, proceed southeast on 99 to the fish ladder on the north side of the river.

Amphibians

The Pacific (chorus) tree frog is starting to vocalize around ponds, puddles and other watered areas getting ready for spring breeding season. They can be heard vocalizing on warmer days and afternoons.

Owls

Great horned owls and other smaller owls are calling in the evenings or early mornings in areas of wooded habitat.

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