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Weekly Recreation Report: Willamette Zone

March 24, 2015

 Willamette Zone Fishing

Sturgeon Fishing
Sturgeon fishing on the Willamette.
-Photo by Rick Swart-

Weekend fishing opportunities:

  • Anglers are starting to pick up spring Chinook in the Multnomah Channel.
  • The following Willamette Valley ponds and lakes are scheduled to receive rainbow trout this week:Benson Lake, Bethany Pond, Blue Lake, Canby Pond, Commonwealth Lake, Dorman Pond, Henry Hagg Lake, Progress Lake, St. Louis Pond, Trojan Ponds, Alton Baker Canoe Canal, Cottage Grove Pond, Dexter Reservoir, EE Wilson Pond, Foster Reservoir, Freeway Lake/East, Timber Linn Pond, Walling Pond, Walter Wirth Lake, Waverly Lake.
  • Winter steelhead fishing continues on the North Fork Santiam, Sandy and Clackamas rivers.
  • Catch-and-release sturgeon fishery continues to provide some steady action in the Willamette River, with the St. Johns area and Milwaukie offering the best chance for success.

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.

2015 trout stocking

The 2015 trout stocking schedules for the North Willamette Watershed (pdf) District and the South Willamette Watershed (pdf) District are now posted on the ODFW trout stocking page.

Check out the new trout stocking map

Find the location and details about the many lakes ponds and streams that receive hatchery trout from ODFW’s fish hatcheries on the new Google-based stocking map.


The Alton Baker Canoe Canal will be stocked this week with a total of 965 rainbow trout, including 150 larger fish. Fish are released at multiple locations along the length of the Canal, which will be stocked approximately every other week through May, at which time it will be stocked more frequently.

The canal is located within Alton Baker Park and can be accessed off of Club Road in Eugene. A 4-acre pond at the midpoint of the canal is a good spot but it can be fished all along its 2-mile length from Day Island Road in Eugene to Aspen Street in Springfield.

The Canal is open to angling all year.

BENSON LAKE: rainbow trout, white crappie, largemouth bass, brown bullhead

Stocked the week of March 23 with 2,000 legal-sized rainbow trout.

This is a 40-acre lake located in Benson State Park in the Columbia River Gorge. From Portland, head east on I-84, park is located on the south side of the freeway approx. 1/2 mile west of Multnomah Falls.

BETHANY POND: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, bullhead

Stocked the week of March 23 with 1,000 legal-sized rainbow trout.

This is a 10-acre pond located at Bethany west of Portland. The pond is maintained by Tualatin Hills Park and Rec. Amenities include picnic tables, restrooms, and a paved, ADA accessible trail.

rainbow trout
Rainbow Trout
- Photo by Kevin Clawson-

BLUE RIVER: trout, steelhead

Stocked the week of March 23 with 1,500 legal-sized rainbow trout. This is a 64-acre lake located in Blue Lake Park 3 miles west of Troutdale. This family-friendly park as picnic areas, restrooms, walking trail, and ramp for small boats. Park is maintained by Multnomah County.

BLUE RIVER: trout, steelhead

Blue River is located east of Eugene near the town of Blue River, north of Highway 126 and is open to year-round fishing. Only the river above the reservoir is stocked with trout.

BLUE RIVER RESERVOIR: trout, warmwater species

Blue River Reservoir is located east of Eugene near the town of Blue River, north of Highway 126 and is open to year-round fishing. The reservoir will not be stocked this month as scheduled due to low water levels.


This fishery is now closed for the year and will re-open on April 25, 2015

CANBY POND: rainbow trout

Stocked the week of March 23 with 375 legal- and larger-sized rainbow trout. It was also stocked with 100 3-pound trout on March 6, and some of those fish should still be available.


Carmen Reservoir is accessed via FS Road 750 off Hwy 126, about 2 miles south of Clear Lake, and is open to fishing all year.

Motor boats are prohibited on Carmen Reservoir.

CLACKAMAS RIVER: winter steelhead

Clackamas River flows are actually holding up well despite the recent rainfall. Although the slightly higher flows have improved boat access, it hasn’t translated into greatly improved winter steelhead catch with reports indicating fishing at poor to fair. It’s still early to begin chasing after spring Chinook.

Good bank access for winters can be found in many locations along the river from Gladstone, Cross Park, Riverside Park, along Clackamas River Road, Carver, Barton, and McIver parks. If you’ve got a boat you can put in at Riverside Park, Carver Park, Barton Park, Feldheimer’s off Springwater Road, and at both lower and upper McIver Park ramps.

Tuesday, March 24 hydrological data shows river flows at 2,950 cfs, a gauge reading of 12.67 ft., and the water temperature steady near 47°. All of the readings come from the Estacada gauge near McIver Park.


Clear Lake is open to fishing all year. In addition to seasonally stocked hatchery rainbow trout, naturally reproducing brook trout are also available. The lake is accessed from Highway 126 approximately 70 miles east of Springfield.

Cabins and row boats are available for rent from Clear Lake Resort.

COMMONWEALTH LAKE: trout, bass, bluegill, crappie

Stocked the week of March 23 with 1,500 legal-sized rainbow trout.

This is a three-acre lake within the Commonwelah Lake Park in Beaverton, the park is maintained by Tualatin Hills Park and Rec. Amenities include ADA accessible trail, picnic tables, playground and restrooms.


Cottage Grove Pond in the Row River Nature Park will be stocked this week with 1,550 rainbow trout.

To access this family-friendly fishery, travel east from Cottage Grove on Row River Road. The pond is located behind the truck scales and may be accessed via an asphalt pathway.

Only the pond with the dock is stocked with hatchery trout. This pond also offers wildlife viewing opportunities and is open to fishing all year.

COTTAGE GROVE RESERVOIR: trout, warmwater species

Rainbow Trout
Rainbow Trout
-Washington Fish & Wildlife -

Cottage Grove Reservoir was stocked earlier in March with 4,500 rainbow trout.  The reservoir is south of Cottage Grove and is open to fishing all year.

NOTICE: The Oregon Health Authority has issued a health advisory updating information about eating fish caught in Cottage Grove Reservoir. Under the advisory issued June 5, 2012 people can safely consume up to nine meals per month of hatchery-grown rainbow trout month that are 12 inches in length or less. People can distinguish hatchery-grown rainbow trout by the absence of the adipose fin, which is clipped before hatchery fish are released into streams and reservoirs. Despite the new exception for rainbow trout, mercury contamination for resident warm-water fish, including bass, bluegill, crappie and bullhead continues to be a concern. Women of childbearing age, particularly pregnant or breastfeeding women, children under six years of age and persons having liver or kidney ailments should avoid eating any fish from this reservoir other than rainbow trout. Healthy women beyond childbearing age, other healthy adults and healthy children six years of age and older should eat no more than one 8-ounce meal of fish other than rainbow trout per month.

CRESWELL POND (GARDEN LAKE): trout, warmwater species

Garden Lake (Creswell Pond) was stocked in early March with 1,750 rainbow trout, a week earlier than previously scheduled. This family-friendly fishing pond is located in Garden Lake Park on the east side of I-5 in Creswell and is open to fishing all year. The pond and park offer additional wildlife viewing opportunities.

DETROIT RESERVOIR: trout, kokanee

This reservoir receives over 100,000 trout throughout the year. Its first stocking is scheduled for April. In the meantime, there are plenty of holdover trout from last year as well as kokanee, mostly in the 10-13 inch range. Currently the reservoir is about 78 feet below full pool. Only Mongold State Park boat ramp is available. Check with local outfitters in the town of Detroit for fishing conditions.


Dexter Reservoir will be stocked this week with 2,900 rainbow trout. Boat and bank access is available from state and county parks. Parking and bank access are also available from the causeway near Lowell. The reservoir near Lowell is visible from Highway 58

DORENA RESERVOIR: trout, warmwater

Dorena Reservoir was stocked in early March with 6,000 rainbow trout. This stocking was a week earlier than first planned. The reservoir is east of Cottage Grove on Row River Road and is open to angling all year. Trout and warmwater fish are available.


Stocked the week of March 23 with 1,500 legal-sized rainbow trout. This is an eight-acre pond west of Forest Grove at the junction of Hwy. 8 and Hwy. 6.

EAGLE CREEK: winter steelhead

Eagle Creek looks to be in great fishing shape but the winter steelhead run is about over on the creek. The effort has been very light and catch has been slow. The hatchery completed spawning of returning adult winters several weeks ago. Anglers should keep in mind that reduced smolt releases in recent years have had an impact on numbers of adult steelhead returning.

Long stretches of Eagle Creek run through private property, particularly up near the hatchery and from an area below the lower ladder on down past Bonnie Lure to the mouth. Anglers are advised to pay close attention to where you fish and we encourage you to ask permission prior to accessing or crossing private lands on your way to your favorite fishing hole. See Page 15 of the Oregon Sport Fishing Regulation pamphlet for more information on “Your Rights to Use the Surface, Bed, and Banks of Oregon’s Rivers and Lakes.”

Fishing in Oregon
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

EE WILSON POND: warmwater, trout

The scheduled stocking for this week will be postponed because of problems with dissolved oxygen. There was a small die-off last week and dissolved oxygen levels were low. It appears to be rebounding however, as the fish that survived appear to be fine. This pond is located at EE Wilson Wildlife Area, about a ¼ mile hike from the main parking lot. A Wildlife Area parking permit is required. A valid wildlife area parking permit is required.


Closed to trout fishing until May 23, 2015. Estacada Lake is a 150-acre reservoir on the Clackamas River behind River Mill Dam. There is a boat ramp in Milo McIver State Park at the lower end of the reservoir. A fishing dock next to the boat ramp provides non-boating access to the lake.

FERN RIDGE RESERVOIR: largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, brown bullhead

This 9,000 acre lake just 12 miles west of Eugene is the Willamette Basin’s largest water body. This reservoir is 7 feet below full pool at this time. Orchard Point and Richardson’s Park boat ramps are available at the moment. For local information regarding the lake and available boat ramps, contact the Lane County Parks Department at 541-682-2000. This lake is mostly shallow with a band of deep water from the original channel of the Long Tom River.

The reservoir produces crappie over 12 inches and bass angling has been very good in recent years. Best time of year for crappie is in spring after the water temperature reaches the mid-50s, but fish can still be found in deeper water year round. July and August are peak months for largemouth bass. Fish the shoreline along the southern part of the reservoir, especially the sloughs and inlets where there is underwater structure.

FOSTER RESERVOIR: trout, bass, perch, catfish

This scenic 1,200-acre reservoir on the South Santiam River is located just 30 minutes from Interstate 5. There is good bank access at several rest stops and campgrounds, and three seasonal boat ramps. It will be stocked for the first time this week with 4,000 legal size rainbow trout. Water level is still 27 feet below full pool so only Sunnyside Park boat ramp is available at this time.

Please remember that only kokanee and adipose fin-clipped trout may be kept and there are no limits on size or number of bass. From I-5 take US 20 east from Albany to the town of Sweet Home. The reservoir is 3 miles past the town on the left.


It will be stocked again this week with 800 legal and 100 larger-sized rainbow trout. This water-body actually consists of three interconnected ponds and features some good size bass and crappie. A boat ramp is available at East Freeway Lake, and there is good bank access around Middle Freeway Lake. To get there, take the State Police exit in Albany and follow the frontage road south (3 Lakes Road) for several miles.

GREEN PETER RESERVOIR: kokanee, trout, bass

This large reservoir east of Sweet Home is a premier kokanee fishery with a bag limit of 25 fish per day. It also supports stocked rainbow trout and a good population of smallmouth bass.

Kokanee fishing has returned and with the warming temperatures the fish are becoming active. Most fish including holdover trout are being caught between 20-40 feet below the surface.

Smallmouth bass can be found near underwater structure and at drop-offs. The reservoir level is currently about 55 ft. below full pool – only Thistle Creek low-water boat ramp is currently available. Water releases below the reservoir are being reduced to fill the reservoir more quickly. The lack of rain and snow pack, however, might not bring the reservoir to full pool by the beginning of summer.

Hagg Lake
Hagg Lake
- Photo by Rick Swart-

HENRY HAGG LAKE: rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, yellow perch, largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, brown bullhead, yellow bullhead, native cutthroat trout

Stocked the week of March 23 with 6,000 legal-sized rainbow trout.

This is a 1,110-acre lake and premier fishery located seven miles southwest of Forest Grove. Maintained and operated by Washington County, the park features numerous picnic areas, two boat launching facilities, more than 15 miles of hiking trails, and observation decks for wildlife and bird watching.

HILLS CREEK RESERVOIR: trout, warmwater fish

This reservoir was stocked on Monday, Dec. 29 with 2,000 one-pound rainbow trout during an unplanned release prompted by unusually low water levels at Leaburg Hatchery. This reservoir is located about 4 miles southeast of Oakridge. Trout and salmon must be adipose-fin clipped. Warmwater fish are also available for harvest.


Hills Creek above Hills Creek Reservoir is closed to all fishing and will re-open April 25, 2015.

HUDDLESTON POND: trout, bluegill

Stocked the week of March 9 with 500 legal- and larger-sized rainbow trout. Huddleston is a 5-acre pond located within Huddleston Pond Park in the city of Willamina, Ore. A former mill pond, it contains woody debris that provides habitat for bass and bluegill. It reaches a maximum depth of about 10 feet, with shallow "kid-friendly" edges. It is ADA accessible in places, with a restroom and picnic areas nearby. There is paved parking lot and small ramp for people who want to launch small, non-motorized boats.

JUNCTION CITY POND: trout, crappie

Stocked this week with 2,100 legal- and larger-sized rainbow trout. Junction City is a popular stocked trout fishing pond located about 2 miles south of Junction City on 99W on the west side of the highway. There is excellent access around the entire 8-acre pond. It was stocked on March 10 with 800 legal and 400 larger size rainbow trout. A few large brood trout may still be available as well. As a reminder, zone regulations apply: five trout daily may be kept and only one over 20-inches.


Leaburg Lake is closed to all fishing until April 25, 2015.

MCKENZIE RIVER below Leaburg Lake: trout, salmon, steelhead

The McKenzie River below Leaburg Lake is open to catch and release trout fishing. This river reach is open to retention of adipose fin-clipped steelhead and non-adipose fin-clipped steelhead greater than 24 inches in length. A Columbia River Basin Endorsement is required for anglers targeting salmon and steelhead in the McKenzie. Gear use is restricted to flies and lures.

Fly Fishing
-Royalty Free Image-

MOLALLA RIVER: winter steelhead

The Molalla River is in great shape for fishing and with over 3,000 winter steelhead passing Willamette Falls there could be a few in the Molalla to be hooked. Once we begin to see decent numbers of springers passing at the falls there should be Chinook in the Molalla also.

Hydrological data for Tuesday, March 24 shows flows at 1,800 cfs and a gauge reading of 13.19 ft. These measurements come from a station near Canby.

MT HOOD POND: trout, crappie, bluegill

Stocked the week of March 9 with 1,000 rainbow trout.

This is a 5-acre pond on the campus of Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham. Angling is restricted to youths age 17 and under and holders of ODFW's Disabled Anglers permits from April 1 - Aug. 31.

PROGRESS LAKE: trout, brown bullhead

Stocked the week of March 23 with 1,000 legal-sized rainbow trout.

This is a 4-acre pond next to the Progress Ridge Town Center in Beaverton, Oregon. The pond is an old rock pit and has a maximum depth of 54 feet. There is a sidewalk, fishing platform and viewing platform on one side of the lake. Boating and swimming are not allowed.


This is a small one acre pond in Roaring River County Park near ODFW’s Roaring River fish hatchery. To get there, drive highway 226 east out of Albany and turn right onto Fish Hatchery Road and continue for about 7 miles. Park is on the right. It was stocked March 10 with 160 legal and 20 larger size rainbow trout.


Salmon Creek is a tributary to the Middle Fork Willamette River east of Oakridge and is currently open to catch-and-release angling only while using flies or lures.


Salt Creek is a tributary to the Middle Fork Willamette River east of Oakridge and is currently open to catch-and-release angling only while using flies or lures.

SANDY RIVER: winter steelhead

The catch for winter steelhead on the Sandy has held up fairly well despite ever changing conditions. The low snow levels of early this week have helped to keep the river clear but rising temperatures could melt the snow quickly and increase Sandy River turbidity. The best areas for catching winters are still near Cedar Creek and Revenue.

Hydrological data for the Sandy River on March 24 shows flows at 3,300 cfs, a gauge reading of 10.41ft. and the water temperature near 44°.

SANTIAM RIVER (NORTH FORK): steelhead, Chinook

North Santiam
North Santiam
-Photo by Rick Swart, ODFW-

River conditions are very good at the moment and should remain so for the next week. Steelhead are entering the basin in good numbers. Over 427 winter steelhead as well as the first summer steelhead have navigated Upper Bennett dam as of March 21. Best bets for these fish are in the lower river, from Green’s Bridge down to Jefferson, along the mainstem around the I5 Rest Stop boat ramp, and from Mehama down to Stayton.

More fish are on the way. Counts at Willamette Falls stand at 74 summer steelhead, 30 spring Chinook, and 3,204 winter steelhead as of March 19.

When the ‘bite’ is on, bobbers and jigs are the preferred angling method with spoons, spinners and egg clusters also being effective. Currently the entire river below Packsaddle Park (near the Minto Fish Facility) is open year-round to adipose fin-clipped steelhead. Trout fishing is closed until May 23, 2015.

River levels best for fishing are below 3,000 cfs at the Mehama gauge (currently the gauge is around 2,500 cfs as of Mar. 23). Current conditions

CAUTION: The section between Shelburn and Green’s Bridge remains hazardous for boaters because of downed trees and multiple side channels. Better bets are the floats below Green’s Bridge and above Stayton.

NEW CAUTION: There is a large tree across the entire river between Green’s Bridge and the confluence with the South Santiam above Jefferson making this stretch of river extremely hazardous for boaters. Oregon State Marine Board is aware of this and are working on removing it. Better sections for boaters are below Jefferson and from Stayton to Shelburn.

NOTE: The gate at Green’s Bridge near Jefferson has been opened and will remain open until the next seasonal closure in June 2015.


This section of the river is closed to trout fishing until April 25, 2015. This section of river is closed to salmon fishing.

SANTIAM RIVER (SOUTH FORK): steelhead, Chinook, bass

Flows in the South Santiam below Foster dam have increased to 1,400 cfs at Waterloo as of March 23. Water releases out of Green Peter reservoir are being reduced for the next few weeks to ensure adequate filling before the summer, which should make for excellent fishing conditions in the interim below Foster dam. New summer steelhead and spring Chinook have begun to arrive at Willamette Falls but it will take a few weeks before they arrive in the basin. Winter steelhead are in the basin now and can be found throughout the river. So far, 32 winter steelhead and three summer steelhead have entered the trap below Foster. Best sections to fish are from Wiley Creek to Pleasant Valley boat ramps, around Waterloo County Park, and from Lebanon down to the confluence with the North Santiam.

Closed to trout fishing until May 23, 2015.


Stocked the week of March 9 with 500 legal- and larger-sized rainbow trout.

Sheridan Pond is a 2 ½-acre pond located on the edge of town. An old mill pond, it has plenty of bank access, parking, and a restroom. To get there take Hwy. 18 to Exit 33 onto Balston Rd. Go south on Balston Rd. approximately half a mile and turn left onto a gravel road leading about a quarter mile to the pond.


Smith Reservoir is north of Trail Bridge Reservoir and is accessed by turning off Hwy 126 at Trail Bridge Reservoir and following FS Road 730 north to Smith Dam. The reservoir is not visible from the highway and is open to year-around fishing. Native fish are available for harvest.

Stocking Rainbow Trout in St. Louis Pond.
-Video by Rick Swart, ODFW-

ST. LOUIS PONDS: trout, bass, crappie, bluegill, yellow perch, channel catfish

Stocked with 1,000 rainbow trout the week of March 23.

St. Louis Ponds is located 13 miles north of Salem and west of I-5. To get to there from the north, take the Woodburn exit off I-5. Then go east to Hwy. 99E. At Hwy. 99E, head south to the town of Gervais. At the light, go west on Gervais Rd. through Gervais. Gervais Rd. changes to St Louis Rd. Continue west on St Louis Rd. as it crosses over I-5 to Tesch Lane, at the railroad crossing. Go left on Tesch Lane and follow the signs to the ponds.

TIMBER LINN POND: rainbow trout

This beautiful, family-friendly fishing pond is located within the 8-acre Timber-Linn Memorial Park in Albany. It was stocked March 6 with 200 large rainbow trout averaging 3 pounds each. It will be stocked again this week with 400 legal and 50 larger rainbow trout. Please keep in mind that only one fish over 20-inches may be taken per day. Timber-Linn Lake can be reached by turning east off I-5 onto the Santiam Highway (Hwy. 20), then immediately turning north onto Price Road and proceeding to the park entrance.


Trail Bridge Reservoir is open to year-round fishing. This waterbody is adjacent to Hwy 126 and is approximately 60 miles east of Springfield. Only adipose fin-clipped trout may be harvested from Trail Bridge Reservoir. Flies and lures only may be used.


Stocked the week of March 23 with 3,000 legal-sized rainbow trout.

This is a 15-acre pond just east of Rainier on the north side of Hwy. 30 at the Trojan nuclear facility. The pond is located on the right side of the road as soon as you turn onto the Trojan Access Road.

WALLING POND: trout, crappie, bass

This pond will be stocked this week with 400 legal and 50 larger size rainbow trout. As a reminder, zone regulations apply: five trout daily may be kept and only one may be over 20 inches. This is an 8-acre privately owned pond located in Salem at the northeast corner of McGilchrist and 16th Streets, S.E.

WALTER WIRTH LAKE: trout, crappie, bass

The lake will be stocked this week with 2,200 legal and 150 larger size rainbow trout. As a reminder, only one fish over 20-inches may be kept. Walter Wirth is a 20-acre lake located within the City of Salem’s Cascades Gateway Park.

WAVERLY POND: trout, bluegill, catfish

Waverly Pond is located in Albany and is regularly stocked in fall, winter and spring. It will be stocked this week with 750 legal and 50 larger size rainbow. Please keep in mind that only one fish over 20-inches may be taken per day. From I-5 take exit 234 west towards Albany. The pond is located a quarter mile down Pacific Boulevard on the right. A paved ADA-accessible path runs all the way around the pond.

WILLAMETTE RIVER: sturgeon, winter steelhead, spring Chinook

Springer fishing in the lower Willamette is still a bit slow as the water clarity gradually improves. Most of last week and over the weekend visibility was hovering at or below one foot. Improvement began early this week and there were a few more fish caught from the Multnomah Channel up to Oregon City. Catch rates should improve heading into late March and early April as the heart of springer season gets underway.

Daily counts at the Willamette Falls fish ladder continue, with the total passage for winter steelhead through March 23 standing at 3,306. As of the March 23 a total of 54 spring Chinook have passed through the ladder.

For anglers interested in sturgeon fishing, the “catch-and-release” sturgeon fishery remains a decent bet for hooking into fish and finding steady action with the St. Johns area and Milwaukie offering the best chance for success.

Hydrological numbers for the Willamette on March 24 show flows at 18,000 cfs, a water temperature in Oregon City near 52°, and visibility decent near 3.5 ft.

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  Willamette Zone Hunting



CANCELLED: The March 29 Controlled Hunt 101 Seminar at Cabela’s Tualatin has been cancelled.

Free archery instruction, EE Wilson Wildlife Area, Saturday March 21, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Volunteers from Oregon Bow Hunters will be on hand to teach beginners and intermedia level new archers. No RSVP or pre-registration required. Free but parking permit required; for sale online or at license sales agent but not at wildlife area so get it before you visit.

Controlled Hunts 101 Seminar, April 16, ODFW Headquarters, 6:30-7:30 pm. Learn how the draw works and tips on selecting the right hunt.

Upcoming Hunting Seasons

It is time to start scouting for Spring Turkey season. Most turkey hunting in the Willamette Zone occurs on private lands. Hunters wishing to have the best chance for success should meet landowners and secure access to a place to hunt prior to the start of the season. Turkeys are abundant in the foothills surrounding the Willamette Valley and hunting can be very good for the hunters that have access to private lands that hold turkeys. Hone your turkey calling skills by listening to the sounds of live wild turkeys.

Spring BEAR season is approaching for those hunters who drew a controlled spring bear tag. Tags were allocated through the controlled spring hunt drawing for all hunts except SW Oregon, which is a limited first-come, first-served hunt and is now sold out. Hunters are reminded to check the 2015 Big Game Regulations for their exact hunt boundaries, season dates and requirements for checking in their bear. Get outdoors and do some pre-season scouting to learn new areas and develop your hunt plan. Skunk cabbage and green grasses are preferred forage items for bears in spring. Early in the season hunters will want to target coastal areas or low elevation riparian areas. Please review the 2015 Big Game Hunting Regulations before your hunting trip to ensure that you are familiar with all of the requirements.

Big Game

-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

The 2015 Cougar season opened on January 1, 2015. Snow at the higher elevations provides hunters a chance to try and track a cougar. The best time to track a cougar is following a fresh snow. Hunters can use predator calls that mimic an animal in distress to draw cougar into the open. Approaching cougar can be difficult to see when you are predator calling so hunting with a partner is advised. Successful cougar hunters will need to check-in any cougar taken at an ODFW office within 10 days of the kill. Hunters are reminded that biologists located in field offices may be out in the field handling other issues so call ahead to make arrangements to have your cougar checked-in. The hide and skull must be unfrozen and the skull and proof of sex must be attached to the hide. Hunters are required to submit the reproductive tract of any female cougar taken. Pick up the Big Game Hunting Regulations before your hunting trip to ensure that you are familiar with all of the requirements.

FURBEARER trapping and hunting seasons for bobcat and river otter are now closed. Muskrat and mink are currently open. See page 5 of the Oregon Furbearer Trapping and Hunting Regulations (July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2016).

Hunter orange required for youth

Don’t forget: hunters age 17 and under must wear a fluorescent orange upper garment OR hat when hunting upland game birds (except turkey) and game mammals (deer, elk, bear, cougar, pronghorn, goat, sheep, and western gray squirrel) with a firearm.

Industrial forestland owners will usually have information regarding access to their property posted on their gates and usually have a “hotline” devoted to providing up-to-date access for hunters. In addition, many private timberlands use the following link to provide information regarding the access policy for their private lands.

Hunters need to have permission to hunt or make sure hunting is allowed before accessing private lands.


Hunters are reminded to be prepared for emergencies by keeping survival equipment such as food, water, signal mirror, whistle, sleeping bag and first aid kit with you and in your vehicle during your outdoor adventures. Don’t forget to wear the proper clothing; it is your first defense against the elements. Let someone know where you will be and when you expect to return just in case your vehicle becomes stuck or breaks down.

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 Willamette Zone Wildlife Viewing

Pacific Treefrog
Pacific Treefrog
Listen to a chorus of Treefrogs
-Photo by Bob Swingle, ODFW-


Tree frogs are the most abundant frog in Willamette Valley wetlands. They can be heard this time of year on wet nights especially if the temperature is above 40° F. These frogs are only about an inch long and can be hard to see even where they are plentiful. Although tree frogs are excellent climbers they are rarely found in trees. They can be found at night with a flashlight by quietly following the sound to the source although they will quit calling when you get close. During the day they can often be found under boards or other cover in or near wetlands. They are not common in deeper ponds and permanent water bodies, which are occupied by bullfrogs that will eat the smaller tree frogs. Just about any wetland habitat that has shallow standing water that does not dry up before June is a good place to hear and find these frogs. Their eggs can be located in shallow water seasonal ponds during the month of March. Eggs are about the size of a grape and are actually a cluster of eggs that often appear as one large egg. These egg masses are usually attached to a blade of grass or a twig.

Now is a good time to watch for signs of spring. Indicators include the first blooms on trees and the arrival of sparrows, tree swallows, robins and turkey vultures.

Spring Cleaning is for the birds

Spring is just around the corner. Now is just a good time to clean out your songbird and wood duck boxes. Always remove old nesting material to encourage birds to take up residence. The most common birds that use songbird nest boxes are bluebird, swallow, chickadee, nuthatch and wren. Other species that can use other types of nesting boxes and nesting structures are wood duck, Canada goose, purple martin, robin, flicker, downy woodpecker, screech and barn owl and sparrow hawk.

Anna's Hummingbird

Anna's Hummingbird
- Wikipedia-

Get Ready for Summer Hummers

It time to hang up your feeders for our summer hummers. Avoid the commercial hummingbird mixture you can buy in the store as the red dye can produce digestive problems for these small birds. You can make your own hummingbird food utilizing a 4 parts water to 1 part sugar ratio but always make sure the sugar goes completely into solution before hanging up for use.

EE Wilson Wildlife Area

Bare trees bird watching for perching birds (such as raptors, and hawks) more accessible. Waterfowl and shorebirds numbers will build with the wetter weather.

Wildlife viewing will be improving over the next several months. A waterfowl blind is available to photographers. Call the office at 541-745-5334 to reserve the blind.

Directions to EE Wilson Wildlife Area: From Albany, take Highway 20 toward Corvallis and after 5 miles turn right on Independence Highway. Go 3 miles and turn left on Camp Adair Road, then proceed 2 miles to the wildlife area.

Fern Ridge Wildlife Area

The East Coyote, West Coyote Fisher Butte and Royal Amazon units are now closed to public access six days a week to provide sanctuary for ducks, geese and other birds that are nesting in preparation for the upcoming migration. The closure will be in effect, except on designated trails, through April 30. These areas are open to public access on Saturdays.

Wintering concentrations of waterfowl can still be observed on the lake and surrounding mudflats and wetlands. Several thousand Canada geese use Fern Ridge Lake for an evening roost site and the sunset and sunrise departures and arrivals of the large flocks of geese provides an outstanding viewing opportunity. Observant visitors may also catch a glimpse of black tailed deer and furbearers including beaver, otter, mink, red fox and coyotes.

Royal Avenue and the trail to the Fisher Butte viewing platform remain open all day every day year round. There is a second elevated viewing platform in the Fisher Butte unit located 1/4 mile north of the Fisher Butte unit parking lot on Hwy 126.

The majority of Fern Ridge Wildlife Area is open daily for public use providing great wildlife viewing opportunities. Visitors are reminded there are seasonal access restrictions in place in five units during the fall and winter to provide wildlife sanctuary.

The entire Fern Ridge lake water area and surrounding mudflats remain open daily year-round. The mudflats surrounding the lake low winter pool can provide for excellent hiking on a sandbar type lake bottom that extends for miles. Dogs are allowed on the Wildlife Area but now that hunting season is closed must be leashed.

Parking areas are located along Highway 126, Nielson Road, Cantrell Road, Territorial Highway, and Clear Lake Road. Contact the wildlife area headquarters, (541) 935-2591 if you have any questions.

Sauvie Island Wildlife Area

Snow goose

Snow Geese over Sauvie Island Wildlife Area
- Photo by Rick Swart-

Most of the Sauvie Island Wildlife Area is closed until April 15 to protect wintering waterfowl.

Snow geese are abundant on the Sauvie Island Wildlife Area now as they forage for food in preparation for their flight north to their summer breeding grounds. See them along Reeder Road, Rentenaar Road, and from the Reeder Road viewing platform for the next couple of weeks. (An ODFW parking permit is needed to park on the Wildlife Area.)

Despite the seasonal closure sensitive nesting areas, waterfowl viewing is phenomenal on the wildlife area at designated viewing areas, which remain open. More than 100,000 waterfowl are wintering on the island, and huge flocks can be seen on Sturgeon Lake from ODFW’s Coon Point viewing station. Sandhill cranes are also abundant on the wildlife area this time of year.

Access to the lake itself is closed this time of year in an effort in an effort to minimize any human impacts on the birds. However, they are still quite visible from the viewing station, which is located next to Reeder Road across from Sauvie Island Kennels. An abundance of ducks and geese can likewise be seen from many other points around the island, as can raptors, including bald eagles, northern harriers, sandhill cranes, red-tailed hawks and American kestrel. This year, eagles have been observed rebuilding nests on the island.

Sauvie Island is a main stopping point for migratory birds as they travel along the Pacific Flyway, and ODFW actively manages the Wildlife Area to provide food and cover for these creatures.

In addition to Coon Point, the best viewing opportunities can be found at the Eastside Viewing Platform and Rentenaar Road. All three require a Sauvie Island Parking Permit.

Sauvie Island Wildlife Area is located on Sauvie Island, only 10 miles north of Portland off Highway 30. A parking permit is required for the Sauvie Island Wildlife Area and can be purchased at ODFW License vendors or at the Sauvie Island ODFW office, Monday through Friday during office hours.

For more information, call (503) 621-3488.

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