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Weekly Recreation Report: Northwest Zone

September 9, 2014

 Northwest Zone Fishing

Fishing the Columbia
Fishing the Columbia
-Photo by Kathy Munsel, ODFW-

2014 Coastal coho and fall Chinook seasons
Now available on the ODFW Web site.

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.

2014 trout stocking

The 2014 trout stocking schedule for the North Coast Watershed District is now posted on-line on along with other districts on the ODFW trout stocking page.


Trophy trout stocking is scheduled for mid-September in Coffenbury, Lost, Sunset, and Cape Meares lakes. Construction of the new outlet structure at Town Lake is ongoing. The fishing dock has been moved away from its base due to low lake levels. Fall stocking of trophy trout will be delayed until the project is complete and the lake level is brought back up. Fishing for warm water species is slow due to poor water quality in many areas. Weeds are a problem in many areas.


Trout fishing tends to be slow during the summer months as warm water temperatures can put trout off the bite. Look to fish early in the morning or near cool water zones until water temperatures start to cool off in the fall. This time of year can offer anglers a variety of warm water species to go after. There are numerous lakes in the Florence area that have warm water fish species such as bass, blue gill, perch and brown bullhead. Areas to consider are Siltcoos, Tahkenitch, Sutton, Mercer, Munsel and Woahink lakes. Angling out of a boat is typically the most productive in these lakes but there is some bank / dock access to consider.

ALSEA RIVER: Chinook, cutthroat trout

Fall Chinook are starting to enter the river with anglers having some success from the mouth of the bay up to around the Drift Creek area. Trolling herring or lures in the lower portion of the bay and near Drift Creek will produce the best results early in the season. Fishing the incoming tide tends to produce the best results.

Sea run cutthroat trout can be found in tidewater and in the lower to mid section of the mainstem. Resident cutthroat trout are spread out through the basin. The Alsea has many opportunities for bank fishing along Hwy 34 as well as some good riverside camping options.

KILCHIS RIVER: cutthroat, Chinook

Fishing for cutthroat should be fair to good. Sea-run cutthroat are making their way through tidal areas and into the river. Use light gear in the clear water. Some Chinook may be available in tidewater areas below Hwy 101. Bobber and bait will work best in areas the fish hold up.

NEHALEM RIVER: Chinook, coho, cutthroat

Chinook fishing is fair to good. Fish are available through the bay, tidewater and upstream areas. Troll herring near the bottom in the lower bay. Trolling spinners further up the bay or bobber and bait in tidewater and river holes can be effective. Hatchery coho are available in the bay.

The wild coho fishery in the bay opens Sept. 15. Check with ODFW for season and bag limit details. Anglers are reminded that fishing for Chinook is closed upstream of the Foss Rd. bridge and all fishing is closed upstream of Hwy 26. Fishing for cutthroat is fair to good, with sea-run cutthroat and resident cutthroat available in most areas of the river open to fishing.

NESTUCCA RIVER AND THREE RIVERS: steelhead, Chinook, cutthroat, coho

Fall Chinook fishing is improving as more fish enter the system and spread into tidewater. Trolling herring near the mouth or bobber fishing around the boat launches below the Pacific City bridges are both popular. Or try diving plugs on the outgoing tide. Bobber fishing or casting spinners is productive in upper tidewater areas.

The wild coho fishery will be open Sundays and Mondays beginning Sept. 15. Check with ODFW for details on seasons and bag limits. Summer steelhead fishing is fair. Over 200 summer steelhead have been recycled from Cedar Creek Hatchery last week (released at Pacific City). Spinners or small baits like crawdad tails are good options. Cutthroat trout fishing should be fair to good. Anglers are reminded that no bait is allowed above Blaine, and the angling deadline is Elk Creek.

SALMON RIVER: cutthroat trout, Chinook

Cutthroat trout fishing is fair to good from tidewater through the mainstem with sea run cutthroat trout found in the lower portion of the river. Use of bait is not allow above the head of tide but small spinners, spoons or fly fishing can be very productive.

Some fall Chinook are starting to move in on the high tides with the best success this time of year coming from the lower bay up to the Hwy 101 bridge..

Fishing the Siletz
Fishing on the Siletz River
-Photo by Andy Walgamott-

SILETZ RIVER: steelhead, cutthroat trout, Chinook

Fall Chinook fishing is producing some big fish so far this season with anglers having the best chances in the lower to mid sections of tidewater. Trolling spinners or herring seems to be producing the best during the incoming tide through the high slack.

Steelhead fishing has been slow during the low flow and warm river conditions. The best chance to hook into a summer steelhead is in the early mornings from Moonshine Park up to the deadline. Using small spinners, jigs, or pieces of bait can be effective during low clear flows.

The cutthroat trout fishery is fair with sea run cutthroat being found through tidewater and into the mid to lower section of the river. Using small presentations such as spinners, jigs under a bobber, or fly fishing can produce good results.

SIUSLAW RIVER: Chinook, cutthroat trout

Fall Chinook fishing is producing some catch from the lower bay up to the Cushman area. Trolling herring or big spinners behind a flasher seems to be the most productive tactic.

Cutthroat trout fishing is fair with sea run cutthroat trout found in tidewater. Small lures such as spinners, spoons, jigs, crank baits or fly fishing can all be very productive, as well as, trolling for sea run cutthroat in tidewater.

TILLAMOOK BAY: Chinook, coho

Fishing for salmon is improving. Fall Chinook and hatchery coho are being caught in modest numbers throughout the bay. On softer tide series, troll herring in the lower bay. On stronger tide series, trolling herring or spinners in the upper bay is a good bet. The wild coho fishery in the bay will be open Friday and Saturday each week between Sept. 15 and Nov. 30. The first open day is Sept. 19. Check with ODFW for season and bag limit details.

TRASK RIVER: steelhead, Chinook, cutthroat

An occasional summer steelhead is being caught. Fishing for cutthroat trout should be fair to good. Some Chinook and hatchery coho are available in tidewater, and a few early hatchery coho have moved upstream as far as the hatchery.

WILSON RIVER: steelhead, Chinook, cutthroat

Summer steelhead are in the river in decent numbers. Fishing is fair, especially in upriver holes. Cutthroat fishing should be fair. Small spinners and flies are good options. Fall Chinook will make their way into tidal areas over the next few weeks.

YAQUINA RIVER: Chinook, cutthroat trout

Some fall Chinook are starting to show up in the lower bay up to around the oyster farm. The Yaquina run tends to be a little behind some of the other local basins. Trolling herring or large spinners on the incoming tide can be productive.

Cutthroat trout fishing is fair with the sea run component starting to improve in mid to upper tidewater. Using small lures or fly fishing can be very productive as well as trolling near the head of tide.

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  Northwest Zone Hunting


SEPTEMBER CANADA GOOSE season is Sept. 6-14; see regulations.

BAND-TAILED PIGEON open Sept. 15-23.

Use the Oregon Hunting Map to see where to hunt.

See the big game hunting forecast online.


Aaron's first buck bowhunting in eastern Oregon
– Photo by Scott Mckee–

Archery deer hunting will likely be slow due to predicted continued warm and dry weather. Access closures to industrial forest lands will likely be very limited as well. Conditions should improve with precipitation.

Archery elk hunting will also be somewhat slow due to continued warm and dry weather, which makes for noisy conditions in the forest. Access on private industrial lands will likely be limited until precipitation arrives to reduce fire danger levels. A reminder for this year is that in the Trask WMU the bag limit will be one bull within the entire unit.

Forest grouse and mountain quail is likely to be fair as it appears that there was not a strong hatch of young that have survived into the fall. If hunting for grouse, look for ruffed grouse on mid-slopes and along riparian areas, and sooty (blue) grouse are usually found at higher elevations on ridge tops. Mountain quail are most often found in brushy clear-cut areas on south or west facing slopes.

Mourning dove season opened on September 1 and continues this fall through October. The north coast typically does not have a lot of these birds, so the hunting for them will be rather slow. However, the Eurasian collared dove that closely resembles the mourning dove is an introduced exotic that is unprotected. It, along with the exotic rock dove, can offer good year-round hunting opportunity where they occur in more developed areas.

Band-tailed pigeon season starts September 15 and goes through the 23rd. Look for pigeons in older, brushy clearcuts in the coast range with plenty of elderberry and cascara trees. If you find ridge top areas where birds frequently fly over, pass shooting can be good. In either situation,it’s good to have a dog to retrieve downed birds.

The September Goose season on the north coast goes through the 14th with a generous bag limit of 5 Canada geese per day. There should be plenty of locally-produced western Canada geese around for the early season hunters. The lower Columbia River estuary should be a good area with plenty of birds around.

Black Bears should be in good numbers in the northern Oregon coast range, especially in the southern portion of the Trask WMU. With warm weather during the day, bears are most active in forest openings in the early morning and late evening hours. Predator calling, especially during the middle of the day, can be very productive. Consider fawn deer or calf elk distress calls earlier in the season. In general, when scouting for bears look for areas with lots of wild berry crops, such as huckleberries, as they are very opportunistic foragers.

Cougar are most effectively taken by using predator calls. However, cougar densities are relatively low on the north coast. Successful hunters, remember you must check in cougar (hide and skull) at an ODFW office within 10 days of harvest and bring them in unfrozen. It’s also a good idea to prop their mouths open with a stick after harvest for easier tissue sampling, teeth collection and tagging. See regulations for details.

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 Northwest Zone Viewing

The website for the Oregon Coast Birding Trail (pdf) for the north coast area offers over 40 different trails to find birds on the north coast. The trails include coastal, river and interior routes, so the variety of birds you can see on them is nearly endless. The website also has directions to the trails, tips on birding and lists facilities available along or near the trail.

Stellar Sealion
Steller Sea Lions
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-


Steller sea lions are present in good numbers (as usual) at the Three Arch Rocks National Wildlife Refuge near Oceanside with some larger bulls being seen prominently displaying their bulk. This larger cousin to the common California sea lion has been recently delisted along the Pacific Coast, and is locally abundant in some areas of the Oregon coast. Although more numerous on the southern Oregon coast, this haul-out is the most easily viewed one for these sea lions on the north coast.

Common murres and other nesting seabirds have been seen lately on the tops of nearshore rocks such as Three Arch Rocks. Although subject to disturbances from bald eagles, they still seem to try to nest in larger colonies when they can. The birds that choose to nest in smaller groups in more protected areas seem to have higher nesting success.


Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area

Elk viewing has been good at Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area. The breeding season or “rut” has begun with bulls bugling and battling for dominance. Breeding behavior should continue throughout September and into the first week or so of October. Listen for bugling and antlers clashing in the late evening and just after dark. Elk have been visible most mornings and evenings depending on the weather. The herds tend to stay out longer in the mornings and come out earlier in the evenings on cool cloudy days. On warm sunny days viewing has been limited to very early mornings and late evenings. Best viewing on warm days is about 1 hour before dark. Good places to look are the Fishhawk Tract along Hwy 202 and the Beneke Tract along Beneke Creek Road.

Visitors are reminded that areas posted as “Wildlife Refuge” are closed to public entry and posted portions of the Beneke Tract are closed to entry during elk seasons including the general archery season. Consult the 2013 Big Game Regulations for additional information and exceptions. Wildlife Area Parking Permits are now required on the wildlife area.


Both brown and white pelicans can be seen this time of year on the lower Columbia River. The more common brown pelican is seen most frequently at the mouth of the river, up to Astoria. A great place to view them is from the South Jetty viewing platform at Ft. Stevens State Park. The larger white pelicans are a relative newcomer, and spend most of their time above Tongue Point on Miller Sands Island and other nearby ones. The white pelicans have traditionally been associated with far inland areas, but drought, particularly southeastern Oregon, may have encouraged them to nest on the river in recent years.

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