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

Weekly Recreation Report: Willamette Zone

March 3, 2015

 Willamette Zone Fishing

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

Weekend fishing opportunities:

  • Alton Baker Canoe Canal, Creswell Pond, Dorena Reservoir, Walling Pond and Walter Wirth Lake are all scheduled to be stocked this week.
  • The following water bodies area scheduled to be stocked with 3-pound brood trout this Friday: Canby Pond (100 fish), St Louis Pond (400), EE Wilson (200), Walter Wirth (200), Timber Linn (200), Waverly (200).
  • EE Wilson Pond has recently been refilled and is now open and has been stocked several times.
  • Winter steelhead fishing is improving on the North Fork Santiam.
  • 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.

EVENT:

Become an ODFW volunteer fishing instructor. ODFW will host training on Saturday, March 7 in Salem. With ODFW Family Fishing Events beginning in just a few weeks, now’s a great time to learn how you can participate as an instructor. For registration and more information, visit the ODFW web site.

Send us your fishing report

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.

ALTON BAKER CANOE CANAL: trout

The Alton Baker Canoe Canal will be stocked this week with a total of 965 rainbow trout, including 150 larger fish. The Canal will be stocked approximately every other week through May, when 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

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

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

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.

BREITENBUSH RIVER: trout

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

CANBY POND: rainbow trout

Canby Pond is a 1-acre pond located on the south end of Canby in Canby City Park. The park is south of Hwy 99E and adjacent to the Molalla River. Angling restricted to youth age 17 and under or holders of one of the Disabled Anglers permits.

CARMEN RESERVOIR: trout

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

Not much has changed on the Clackamas in the past week as flows dip even lower and make fishing a bit of a challenge, while keeping sleds off many sections of the river. There is no change in sight for the coming week except that the river could fall even a bit more. On a positive note the knowledgeable, diligent drift boat anglers have been picking up a few winter steelhead between Barton and McIver Park.

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.

Monday, March 2 hydrological data shows river flows down at 1,710 cfs, a gauge reading of 11.81 ft., and the water temperature steady near 44°. All of the readings come from the Estacada gauge near McIver Park.

CLEAR LAKE: trout

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.

COTTAGE GROVE POND (ROW RIVER NATURE PARK POND): trout, warmwater species

Cottage Grove Pond in the Row River Nature Park was recently stocked 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 recently stocked 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) will be stocked this week with 1,750 rainbow trout, a week earlier than previously scheduled.  This week’s stocking will take the place of next week’s scheduled stocking. 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. Over 12,000 legal-size trout were stocked during Sept.-Oct., and further stocking will resume come spring. Currently the reservoir is about 80 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: trout

Dexter Reservoir was recently stocked 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 will be stocked this week with 6,000 rainbow trout. This stocking is a week earlier than first planned and will replace next week’s scheduled stocking. The reservoir is east of Cottage Grove on Row River Road and is open to angling all year. Trout and warmwater fish are available.

EAGLE CREEK: winter steelhead

Eagle Creek continues to run very low and clear, more like early summer flows. It’s still fishable, but effort has been light and catch has been slow.

The Eagle Creek winter steelhead stock is a later returning fish from what anglers may remember several years ago but the hatchery has been spawning returning adult winters in the past few weeks. 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
Fishing in Oregon
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

EE WILSON POND: warmwater, trout

Following a complete draining over the summer to facilitate removal of aquatic vegetation and reworking of the levee, the pond has recently been refilled and is now open. It has been stocked several times, most recently in late February with 500 legal and 400 larger size rainbow trout.

A valid wildlife area parking permit is required.

ESTACADA LAKE: trout

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. Water level has dropped again below the toe slope of each boat ramp, making them unavailable at this time. 

This popular fishing destination has received 10,000 legal rainbow trout this fall. Further trout stocking is scheduled to resume around mid-March, 2015. 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.

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. Storage season began Dec. 1 and it is slowly rising.  The lack of rain, 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

Reopens to fishing on Saturday March 7. Scheduled to receive 18,000 rainbow trout just prior to the reopening; these fish are in addition to several dozen 7-15 pound brood trout released into the lake in December.

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.

Multiple angling reports suggest Hills Creek Reservoir has been fishing well.

HILLS CREEK above HILLS CREEK RESERVOIR: trout

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

HUDDLESTON POND: trout, bluegill

Scheduled to receive 1,500 legal-sized rainbow trout the week of Feb. 23. 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

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 last week 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:

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.

Leaburg Dam is scheduled to be open to traffic all week. Check EWEB’s website for updated dam closure information.

MCKENZIE RIVER above Leaburg Lake: trout, steelhead

The McKenzie River above Leaburg Lake is closed to all fishing until April 25, 2015.

Fishing
Fly Fishing
-Royalty Free Image-

MOLALLA RIVER: winter steelhead

The Molalla River is looking much like it did last week, running low and clear with not much significant change in sight. Anglers can anticipate improved fishing once we get significant rain and a few more winter steelhead begin passing through the Willamette Falls ladder again.

Hydrological data for Monday, March 2 shows flows down slightly at 619 cfs and a gauge reading of 11.29 ft. These measurements come from a station near Canby.

MT HOOD POND: trout, crappie, bluegill

Stocked the week of Jan. 26 with 500 trout weighing approximately a pound apiece. The pond was also stocked Dec. 15 with 95 extra-large rainbow brood trout, and some of those fish may still be available.

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.

SALMON CREEK: 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: trout

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 Sandy River is very susceptible to freezing levels and run-off due to its headwaters coming off the slopes of Mt. Hood. Anglers can typically expect that when the snow level is over 4,000 ft. the river could be off-color, while if under 4,000 ft. conditions should be good. The small amount of recent weekend snow and rain has increased flows slightly but the river continues to be low and clear with little to no change on the near horizon expected.

The catch for winter steelhead on the Sandy has been slow to fair due to the conditions, yet the experienced anglers are landing fish and the hatchery has had nearly a thousand fish return so far this season. The Sandy River winter steelhead are a later returning fish in recent years due to the broodstock fishery management program.

The Oxbow to Dabney drift remains a good bet by drift boat. If you’re bank fishing, try along the Old Columbia River Hwy between Lewis and Clark Park and Dabney Park, Oxbow Park, Dodge Park, Revenue Bridge, and the confluence of the Sandy and Cedar Creek below the Sandy hatchery. Be very cautious if you decide to ford the river – PFDs, good footwear, and walking sticks are always a good idea, especially during periods of higher flows we can expect over the next several months.

Hydrological data for the Sandy River on March 2 shows flows at 1,700 cfs, a gauge reading of 9.34 ft. and the water temperature down near 41°.

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. Over 50 winter steelhead have arrived into the upper basin with more expected in the next few weeks. Best bets for these fish, however, are in the lower river, from Green’s Bridge down to Jefferson and alkong the mainstem around the I5 Rest Stop boat ramp.

Some summer steelhead are still being caught, mostly in the upper sections above Stayton, but no new fish have arrived in the basin yet. Numbers of winter steelhead passing above Willamette Falls stand at 2,423 as of March 1.

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 1,670 cfs as of Mar. 3). 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.

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

SANTIAM RIVER (NORTH FORK) above DETROIT:

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 droppped below 1,000cfs at Waterloo as of March 3. These are very good conditions for fishing. Few Summer steelhead remain, but there are winter steelhead coming into the basin and can be found throughout the river. So far, seven winter 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. New summer steelhead should begin arriving by the end of the month.  

Closed to trout fishing until May 23, 2015.

SHERIDAN POND: trout

Scheduled to receive 1,000 legal-sized rainbow trout the week of Feb. 23.

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: trout

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

Scheduled to receive 1,750 legal-sized rainbow trout and 200 “pounders” the week of Feb. 23. The gate to the road leading to the ponds will reopen March 1. Prior to March 1 fishing is still allowed but anglers must walk approximately a mile along a gravel road to access the fishing site.

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 recently with over 140 brood rainbow trout between 5 to 15 pounds each.

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: trout

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.

WALLING POND: trout, crappie, bass

This pond will be stocked this week with 600 legal and 150 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 was stocked in mid-February with 1,700 legal and 150 larger size rainbow trout. An additional 750 legal and 150 larger size trout will be stocked this week. There may also be a few holdover 7-10 pound brood trout from a previous stocking.
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 was stocked recently with 140 extra-large brood rainbow trout averaging between 5-15 pounds each. 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

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.

Water conditions on the Willamette have begun to look more like summer than early March as flows decrease and the visibility improves. An occasional winter steelhead has been landed at Meldrum Bar and near the Clackamas River mouth at the “blacktop”, along with a handful of spring Chinook recorded in the catch around Oregon City and in the Milwaukie area. Heading into March the springers should begin to show up in better numbers so get the gear and boat ready to hit the river.

Passage counting at Willamette Falls for coho came to close at the end of January with the unofficial final season count standing at 18,062, ending an excellent coho run for 2014-2015. The total passage of winter steelhead through March 1st stands at 2,423. As of yet no spring chinook have passed through the ladder but it’s early.

Hydrological numbers for the Willamette on March 2 show flows fairly low at 12,300 cfs, a water temperature in Oregon City near 49°, and visibility increased to 5.5 ft.

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  Willamette Zone Hunting

OPEN: COUGAR, GOOSE (closes March 10, 2015, see page 16-19 of the 2014-2015 Oregon Game Bird Regulations)

EVENT:

Controlled Hunt 101 Seminars

Join us at the Cabela’s store in Tualatin on March 14, 15, 28, 29 for a seminar about controlled hunts. Learn how the draw works and ways to maximize your chances. For more details on the seminars visit ODFW’s Calendar under the Learn to Hunt Events tab. Remember the deadline to apply for a fall controlled big game hunt is May 15.

Jennifer Osgood

Jennifer Osgood with her 1st buck.
– Photo by Jennifer Osgoodr–

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.

BE PREPARED

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.

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. 

Migratory Birds

The Northwest Goose General Zone and Northwest Goose Permit Zone closes March 10, 2015. Reports suggest average hunting conditions and success this season. Hunters are reminded that a NW Goose Permit is required to hunt either of these zones. Please refer to pages 16 – 19 of the 2014-2015 Oregon Game Bird Regulations for bag limit, open area, and other restrictions. Utilize natural vegetation to brush up your hunting blind. If geese are flaring, try changing the configuration of the decoys. Remember to obtain permission before hunting on private lands.

Big Game

cougar
Cougar
-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.

Field Care of Harvested wildlife

The proper handling of harvested wildlife is the most important criteria to ensure its value as table fare. After properly tagging the animal, the hunter should remove the entrails and get the hide off to start the cool-down process. Wipe down the carcass with a dry cloth to remove any foreign material and keep the carcass clean by placing it into a cloth game bag. Warm weather conditions (greater than 50 degrees) can increase bacteria loads so hunters need to get the carcass cooled/refrigerated as soon as possible. Never place the carcass inside of a plastic bag, tarp or in water since wet or damp meat spoils more quickly. Talk to your local meat processor or butcher to get additional information concerning the proper care of wildlife or go online to find websites that cover this topic.

FURBEARER trapping and hunting season for bobcat closed Feb. 28 2015. Red fox, muskrat, mink, raccoon and river otter are currently open. Trappers and hunters are reminded that all bobcat and river otter pelts need to be checked-in at an ODFW office within five (5) business days after the season ends to obtain an ownership tag. Bobcats must be checked in before March 6th, 2015. The lower jawbone, including both canine teeth, must be surrendered to ODFW and information on sex, date of catch, and county of harvest must accompany each individual bobcat or river otter to qualify for an ownership tag. A record card with required species, sex, date of possession and county must be presented to obtain an ownership tag. See page 5 of the Oregon Furbearer Trapping and Hunting Regulations (July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2016).

Trappers are reminded that waters within the exterior boundaries of the Mt. Hood National Forest are closed to beaver trapping (see page 4 of the Oregon Furbearer Trapping and Hunting Regulations).

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 Willamette Zone Wildlife Viewing

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

Valleywide

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.

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. Find directions to EE Wilson 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

Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane
- Photo by Greg Gillson-

Sauvie Island Wildlife Area will be remained closed through April 15 for the protection of wintering waterfowl, except at designated viewing areas.

Access to the lake itself is closed this time of year 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.

Despite the seasonal closure sensitive nesting areas, waterfowl viewing is phenomenal at the Sauvie Island Wildlife Area. 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.

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.

Directions to Sauvie Island Wildlife Area

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