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Weekly Recreation Report: Central Zone

March 24, 2015

 Central Zone Fishing

Cascade Lakes early openingWeekend fishing opportunities

  • The southern portion of Cascade Lakes Highway will open May 18, 2.5 months ahead of the normal opening. It will allow vehicle access to Elk Lake, Little Lava Lake, and more importantly, Hosmer Lake. All these lakes are open to fishing all year. While they haven’t been stocked yet in 2015, there is opportunity for holdover trout from last year.

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.


USFS road 17 is passable leading to the reservoir. The reservoir isn’t completely full but there is enough water to launch a boat from the ramp. The water is very dirty and fishing has been slow.

BIKINI POND: rainbow trout

No recent reports.

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 have been maintained at around 80 cfs for a few days now. Fishing for trout and whitefish has been fair. Trout may be getting to spawn with the warmer than usual weather, so please be mindful of where you are wading so as to not trample any redds. 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. Davis Lake is accessible but low water has impacted boat ramp access. Restricted to fly-fishing only with barbless hooks.

-Photo by Charlotte Ganskopp-

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 closed 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. Trout anglers should be looking for mid-day hatches when air temperatures start warming.

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

Anglers report fair fishing during the warmer part of the day. Anglers should be aware of high water conditions. Fishing restricted to artificial flies and lures.

ELK LAKE: brook trout, kokanee, cutthroat trout

The southern portion of Cascade Lakes Highway is open up to Elk Lake. More information.

FALL RIVER: rainbow trout

Anglers report fair fishing. 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

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.


Anglers report good fishing. The southern portion of Cascade Lakes Highway is open up to Elk Lake. More information. Lake may be frozen during colder weather patterns.

LAKE BILLY CHINOOK: bull, brown and rainbow trout, kokanee, smallmouth bass

Opportunities for rainbow and brown trout in the upper Deschutes and Crooked River arms are good. The Metolius Arm will open to fishing on March 1. Fishing licenses from both the State of Oregon and the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs are needed to fish in the Metolius Arm. Opportunities for bull trout are expected to be good this year. 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

Anglers report fair fishing with reports of good sized trout being caught. The southern portion of Cascade Lakes Highway is open up to Elk Lake. More information. Lake may be frozen during colder weather patterns.

LOST LAKE: rainbow trout, brown trout

No recent report. Ice and snow will limit access.

Redband Trout
Redband Trout
-Washington Fish & Wildlife-

METOLIUS RIVER: redband trout, bull trout

Anglers report fair fishing during the warmer part of the day. 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.

NORTH TWIN: rainbow trout

Lake stocked with rainbow trout last week. Open to fishing all year.


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

Fishing has been good for trout that average 14 to 16 inches. The water level is high enough that the boat ramp is usable.

PINE HOLLOW RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, largemouth bass

No recent reports.

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

Fishing for trout has been slow.

PRINEVILLE YOUTH FISHING POND: rainbow trout and largemouth bass

No recent reports.


No recent reports.


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.

TAYLOR LAKE (Wasco County): rainbow trout, largemouth bass

The lake has been stocked and there should be a good opportunity to catch a limit of trout.

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  Central Zone Hunting


Youth Turkey Hunting Clinic

Youth Turkey Hunting Clinic
- Photo by ODFW-

Youth turkey hunting clinic, April 4, White River Wildlife Area. Learn turkey calling, turkey hunting techniques, shotgun shooting and patterning at this workshop sponsored by ODFW and Oregon Hunters Association. For youth age 8-17; spaces limited. The workshop is from 8:45 a.m.-4 p.m. and the $10 cost includes lunch. Youth must be accompanied by an adult (who can purchase lunch for $5).  Register online at ODFW license sales page or see the ODFW Calendar for more information.

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.


Spring turkey season is just around the corner. Winter conditions were favorable for turkey survival so we hope to see a good number of birds this spring. Early scouters will find much of the district open due to minimal snowfall this winter. Consult with local land management agencies on travel management rules. Resource damage can occur this time of year with offroad travel due to moist soils.

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.


Spring Bear – Controlled Spring Bear Open April 1st – May 31st Spring weather arrived early this year, allowing bears to come out of hibernation early and in good shape. Hunters should focus on clear-cuts, meadows and grassy slopes where bears are feeding on fresh tender shoots of grasses and forbs. Good optics and patience glassing these areas are key to a successful hunt. 

White River Unit- Bear numbers are good in the White River unit. Despite healthy bear numbers, success rates have been fairly low in the spring and hunters tend to have a tough time finding bears for this hunt. The edges of the major drainages, such as the White River, Badger and Tygh Creeks, should be good places to find bears in the eastern edge of the unit.  Areas south of Mosier provide plenty of open areas in the northwestern portion of the unit.

Hood Unit- Bear densities are good in the Hood Unit. Focus on higher elevation areas with grassy slopes and good vantage points.

Turkey- General Spring Turkey Open April 15th- May 31st. Turkeys can be found throughout the White River Unit with many public land hunting opportunities. The dispersed turkeys can be difficult to locate during the season especially after pressured by other hunters. The key to a successful turkey hunt is good preseason scouting. Identify where they roost, travel and feed and you will be more likely to bag one of these wary birds. Harvest in the White River Unit has continued to increase likely due to an increase in hunters. Be aware of other hunters in the area and take necessary safety precautions.

Coyote hunting
-Photo by Charlotte Ganskopp-

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


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.

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


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.

Prinevill Reservoir
Prineville Reservoir

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

It’s still a bit early, but with the unseasonably warm weather we’re having you may get a glimpse of an early returning turkey vulture. Your chances of seeing one go up as we approach March. 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.

Steller’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.

With most of the snow absent from mid and lower level elevations, mammal activity will start to pick up a little. Squirrels can be seen on warmer days, and you might run into a black-tailed jackrabbit or two in areas where sagebrush abounds. Folks up and about in the early hours may be treated to the sight of a coyote hunting for meadow voles and other small rodents in open meadows.

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 month or so. Likewise, reptiles are sequestered in their underground winter quarters and will remain there until longer and warmer days return in March or April. 2/02/15

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.

Red-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
-Photo by Chuck Gardner-

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.

One of the earliest species to begin nesting, the great horned owl can begin breeding as early as January. Pay close attention to nests made of large twigs, often made by other birds, as you may start to see young owlet heads peering over the edge.

A large variety of songbird species can be viewed in riparian areas along the river. 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. 2/17/2015

White River Wildlife Area

The deer are starting their move back up to the summer ground most of the bucks have lost their horns by now and you may see a few that are starting grow their new antlers. They are starting to lose their winter coat and may look shaggy with patches of hair missing. This doesn’t always mean they are sick.

Elk are being seen around the Wildlife Area in groups of 50 to 60 animals and sometimes more than 100 animals. When the weather is cold or snowy they can occasionally be seen from the viewing site off Rock Creek Rd./Hwy 48. You will have to get up early in the morning just before daylight or later in the evening to see them. These elk are wild and do not normally stand around very long after they have been spotted.

It is 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. 3/09/15.

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