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

Weekly Recreation Report: Central Zone

January 20, 2015

 Central Zone Fishing

Steelhead
Winter steelhead
-Photo by Derek Wilson-

Weekend fishing opportunities

  • Several rivers remain open for trout fishing year-round including the Deschutes, Metolius and parts of the Fall rivers.
  • The first bright winter steelhead have entered the Hood River. Look for fishing to continue to get better as season progresses.

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.

ANTELOPE FLAT RESERVOIR: rainbow trout

No recent reports. Current road conditions are unknown.

BIKINI POND: rainbow trout

No recent reports. Ice likely a problem.

CRESCENT LAKE: rainbow trout, brown trout, lake trout and kokanee

Open to fishing all year.

CROOKED RIVER BELOW BOWMAN DAM: redband trout, mountain whitefish

The flows are high in order to maintain Prineville Reservoir at the appropriate level for flood control. Like in the spring, fishing will be off until the flows have stabilized for a few days. Fishing will be slower than normal for this time of year as there is more water to cover and the fish will be holding in different areas. Keep an eye on the flows to see if the fishing will be impacted. The use of bait is no longer allowed until May 23, 2015. Only artificial lures and flies may be used. Anglers are reminded that trout over 20-inches are considered steelhead and must be released unharmed.

Flows below Bowman Dam

CULTUS LAKE: rainbow trout, lake trout

Open to fishing all year.

DAVIS LAKE: largemouth bass, redband trout

Open to fishing all year. Restricted to fly-fishing only with barbless hooks.

Fly-fishing on the Deschutes
-Video by Bob Swingle, ODFW-

DESCHUTES RIVER, Mouth to the Pelton Regulating Dam: summer steelhead, redband trout, whitefish

Anglers are reminded that steelhead angling from the northern boundary of the Warms Springs Reservation upstream to Pelton Dam closes Dec. 31. Steelhead and trout angling is permitted year round from the Reservation boundary downstream to the Columbia River.

No recent reports lately on trout fishing, but the lower Deschutes around Maupin can be good in the winter.

Anglers, who catch a tagged hatchery steelhead with an orange anchor tag, are encouraged to report catch information to ODFW at 541-296-4628. Anglers catching a tagged wild fish should release it immediately without recording any information. Check the trap the seasons catch at Sherars Falls as an indicator of fish movement in the Lower Deschutes at river mile 43. The trap is only in operation from July to the end of October.

Lake Billy Chinook to Benham Falls: rainbow trout, brown trout

Fishing restricted to artificial flies and lures.

FALL RIVER: rainbow trout

Fall River downstream of the falls is closed to fishing. Fishing upstream of the falls is open all year. Restricted to fly-fishing only with barbless hooks.

HAYSTACK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, brown trout, kokanee, largemouth bass, black crappie, bluegill

No recent reports.

HOOD RIVER: summer steelhead, trout

A few bright winter steelhead are entering the lower Hood. Anglers should watch for good flows after high water events. Fishing will continue to get better as winter progresses.
                                                                                              
LAKE BILLY CHINOOK: bull, brown and rainbow trout, kokanee, smallmouth bass

No recent reports.

Anglers are reminded there are small numbers of spring Chinook and summer steelhead in Lake Billy Chinook as part of the reintroduction effort. Please release these fish unharmed.

LAKE SIMTUSTUS: bull trout, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass

No recent reports. As a reminder, the lake is now open all year.

LAURANCE LAKE: Rainbow trout, cutthroat trout

Closed to fishing until April 25, 2015.

LITTLE LAVA LAKE: rainbow trout, brook trout

Open to fishing all year.

LOST LAKE: rainbow trout, brown trout

No recent report. Ice and snow will limit access.

METOLIUS RIVER: redband trout, bull trout

Metolius River upstream of Allingham Bridge closed to fishing until May 23, 2015. Metolius River downstream of Allingham Bridge open all year. Special regulations in effect for this section.

rainbow trout
Rainbow Trout
-Photo by Wes Niestrath-

NORTH TWIN: rainbow trout

Open to fishing all year.

OCHOCO CREEK UPSTREAM TO OCHOCO DAM: rainbow trout

Angling is restricted to artificial flies and lures only; two trout per day with an 8-inch minimum length. Trout over 20-inches are considered steelhead and must be released unharmed.

OCHOCO RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, black crappie, smallmouth bass

No recent reports.

PINE HOLLOW RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, largemouth bass

No recent reports. Ice on the lake will limit access.

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

No recent reports.

PRINEVILLE YOUTH FISHING POND: rainbow trout and largemouth bass

The pond is currently iced over. For safety reasons, the pond is closed when iced over. Ice fishing is not allowed.

ROCK CREEK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout

No recent reports, but ice is likely.

SHEVLIN YOUTH FISHING POND: rainbow trout

Open all year to angling. Two trout per day, 8 inch minimum length. Fishing restricted to juvenile anglers 17-years-old and younger.

SUTTLE LAKE: brown trout, kokanee

Open to fishing all year.

Large-mouth Bass
Large-mouth Bass
-U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service-

TAYLOR LAKE: rainbow trout, largemouth bass

The lake has been stocked.

THREE CREEK LAKE: rainbow trout, brook trout

Open to fishing all year.

WALTON LAKE: rainbow trout

No recent reports.

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  Central Zone Hunting

cougar
Cougar
- Royalty Free Image-

OPEN: COUGAR, GROUSE, WATERFOWL (closes Jan. 25, see regs)

GROUSE closed Dec. 31 in much of eastern Oregon (open until Jan. 31 in Hood River and Wasco counties).

Hunters are reminded to purchase their 2015 hunting license.

See the bird and big game hunting forecasts.

Hunters planning to hunt new area open on Columbia River (from the railroad bridge at Celilo to Arlington) – reminder that most Corps of Engineer lands are closed to hunting.

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.

PRINEVILLE/OCHOCO WILDLIFE DISTRICT

Cougar are present throughout the Maury, Ochoco, and Grizzly units. The Maury and Ochoco units are recommended because of their greater amounts of public lands and better accessibility. Remember cougars must be checked in at an ODFW office within 10 days of harvest. Please consult the synopsis for all required parts and be sure to call first to make an appointment.

Coyotes can offer an exciting challenge and will be closely associated with deer and antelope during the fawning time of year. Both the Maury and Ochoco have sizeable areas of public lands that provide hunting opportunities. Hunters should use caution, be properly equipped and prepared for whatever the weather might bring.

Furbearer harvest seasons have opened. Refer to the Oregon Furbearer Trapping and Hunting Regulations 2014- 2016.

THE DALLES DISTRICT

Waterfowl- Closes Jan. 25. A fair number of gadwall and widgeon have concentrated throughout the gorge. While the Columbia River holds mostly diving ducks, look to shallow waters inland for puddle ducks. Most areas of concentrated geese are on private grounds, please ask permission to hunt on private ground. See Oregon Game Bird Regulations for all waterfowl season dates.

Upland Game Birds:

Chukar and Hungarian Partridge are open until Jan. 31: Chukar numbers continue to be low throughout the district. Hunters can expect chukar and Hungarian partridge to be similar to last season.

There are high numbers of Coyotes in Hood River, Wasco and Sherman Counties. Those wishing to pursue will find the best success near agricultural lands. Be sure to ask permission to hunt private lands. Limited opportunities may also be found at White River Wildlife area, and on lower elevation forest service lands.

Hunters wishing to pursue cougar will find best success near areas of deer and elk concentrations, or in canyons near bighorn sheep. Using predator calls throughout the year can be highly effective. Hunters are required to check-in the unfrozen hide and skull, with proof of sex attached to an ODFW office within 10 days. Hunters are also required to provide the reproductive tract of harvested female cougars. See pg. 42 of the regulations for details. Don’t forget to pick up a 2015 tag.

Furbearers: Most harvest seasons for furbearing mammals have opened. Refer to the Oregon Furbearer Trapping and Hunting Regulations 2014- 2016.

WHITE RIVER WILDLIFE AREA

A parking permit is now required to use/park on the White River Wildlife Area along with other ODFW wildlife areas. Camping is allowed only in designated areas.

California Quail

California Quail
-Photo by Charlotte Ganskopp-

Forest Grouse and Quail are open until Jan 31, 2105. Hunters must possess an upland game bird validation to hunt these species. Hunters seeking forest grouse will find grouse activity typically increases following recent rains. Grouse prefer sites that transition from thick timber to open areas particularly with a forage component such as wild rose or snowberry. Quail densities increase in brushy areas adjacent to water. Hunters are also encouraged to place Grouse and Mountain quail wings in ODFW grouse wing barrels located along roads in district.

Eurasian Collared Doves are UNPROTECTED with no season or bag limit restrictions. Hunters only need a hunting license to harvest these birds. Often found in urban areas, make sure you are outside city limits when discharging a weapon.

Vehicle Access: New rules took affect that prohibit all recreational ATV use on the Wildlife Area, also camping is only allowed in designated camping areas. A parking permit is now required to use/park on the White River Wildlife Area along with other ODFW wildlife areas.

Cougar is all year or until zone mortality quotas have been met. Cougar can be found on White River Wildlife Area but are seldom seen. The annual migration of deer from higher in the Cascades will entice cougars to follow. Use weather to your advantage; look for tracks in snow, mud, and dirt. Remember to pick up a 2015 tag.

There are many coyotes prowling about this year. Try calling for them from open fields, meadows, and pastures. The best areas to find them will be near farm grounds on the eastern boundary.

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 Central Zone Wildlife Viewing

Rough-legged Hawk
Rough-legged Hawk
-Cathy Nowak-

CROOK COUNTY

The Ochoco National Forest in wintertime is a great place for fresh air, scenery and deciphering animal tracks. Bring your snowshoes and be prepared to encounter tracks of many shapes and sizes. Also, be prepared for severe winter weather and driving conditions.

Red-tailed, rough-legged and ferruginous hawks, northern harriers, American kestrels, prairie falcons and golden eagles can be found throughout Crook County and are usually associated more closely with open/agricultural areas. Bald eagles and osprey can be found associated with water bodies. Northern goshawks can be located throughout the Ochoco National Forest.

Prineville Reservoir Wildlife Area

The Prineville Reservoir Wildlife Area offers walk-in access to view a wide variety of wildlife, including deer, coyotes, otter, beaver, raptors, shorebirds and waterfowl.

The area is closed to motor vehicle access each winter until April 15. Maps of the wildlife area are available at the Prineville ODFW office, at Prineville Reservoir State Park office and the ODFW website. 12/29/14.

Deschutes County

Winter is an excellent time to view raptors around Deschutes County. Red-tailed hawks are one of the most numerous birds of prey and are commonly seen on fence and power poles scanning meadows, sagebrush, and other open areas for their next meal.

Stella’s jays, white-headed woodpeckers, junco’s, several sparrow species, ravens, spotted towhee, hairy woodpecker, cedar waxwings and red-cross bills are just a few of the species that can be found in the Deschutes National Forest and BLM managed lands. Good sites to look for birds include forest edges surrounding meadows and wetland areas. Those with patience and stealth may be rewarded by the call and possible sighting of a Virginia rail moving through thickets of cattails.

Specific birding destinations to consider include Tumalo Reservoir (west of Highway 20 between Sister and Bend), Pelton Dam wildlife overlook and Lake Simstustus (Deschutes River northwest of Madras), and Hatfield Lakes (just north of the Bend airport), where you can expect to see Canada geese, American widgeon, green-winged teal, bufflehead, ring-necked ducks, northern shovelers, lesser scaup, common and Barrow’s goldeneye, multiple gull species, and various grebes including horned, eared, western, and Clark’s.

Mammal activity is minimal during the winter, but this is a good time to brush up on your snow tracking skills. You might run into a black-tailed jackrabbit in areas where sagebrush abounds and it’s not uncommon to see coyotes cross open spaces in a variety of habitats. Some amphibian activity is occurring beneath the frozen surface of ponds, but for the most part, they will be absent from view for the next couple of months. Likewise, reptiles are sequestered in their underground winter quarters and will remain there until warmer days return in March or April. 12/29/14.

Wasco and Sherman counties

The Lower Deschutes River provides ample wildlife viewing opportunities. California bighorn sheep are frequently observed in the canyon and can provide fantastic viewing all times of the year. The best spot to view sheep is from the BLM access road just downstream and across the river from Sherar’s Falls (along Hwy 216).Focus your efforts near large cliff complexes for best viewing.

Many different raptor species can be seen in the Deschutes River Canyon this time of year including Red-tailed Hawks, Northern Harriers, American Kestrels, Prairie Falcons, Peregrine Falcons, and Golden Eagles. Bald eagles have returned and can be seen congregating at The Dalles Dam. The Dalles Dam Visitors Center is an excellent observation point where upwards of 40 eagles can be seen from that point.

A large variety of songbird species can be viewed in riparian areas along the river also. It is best to go birding in the early morning hours before it gets too hot for birds to be very active. Some common species seen include Bullock’s Oriole, Lazuli Bunting, Mourning Dove, Violet-green Swallow, and Cliff Swallow. 1/6/2015

White River Wildlife Area

Deer are starting into the rut which provides a good opportunity for viewing and photographs with some of the large bucks showing up. Best time to see them is early in the mornings or later in the evening hours grazing in fields and pastures.

Rocky Mountain Elk Calves
Elk
- Photo by Brian Ratliff, ODFW-

There are several groups of elk using the Wildlife Area and much like the deer, elk will be more active in the mornings and evenings. They are just coming out of the rut and may still be seen in large groups but some of the larger bulls have pulled back away from the herds.

If you can find their food sources in the mornings or evenings your chances of spotting them will greatly increase.

It’s also possible to see bald and golden eagles on the Wildlife Area. Other raptors such as red-tailed hawks and rough-legged hawks are common sights. American kestrels and northern harriers are also easily seen hunting for food.

Lewis’s woodpeckers, pileated woodpeckers, flickers, western meadowlarks, Steller’s jays, scrub jays, gray jays, Townsend’s solitaire, horned larks, and robins are all at home on the Wildlife Area. There have also been lots of magpies spotted flying around this year.

Look on ponds, lakes and streams to see a variety of ducks and geese. 11/3/14

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