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Weekly Recreation Report: Northwest Zone

January 20, 2015

 Northwest Zone Fishing

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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.

Most rivers and streams closed to trout fishing on Oct. 31.

Coffenbury Lake

Fishing on Coffenbury Lake


Trout stocking is scheduled to resume in March. Some surplus hatchery steelhead have been released in Town Lake, Lorens Pond, Coffenbury Lake, and Vernonia Pond this winter.


The rainbow trout stocking program will begin in many mid coast lakes in early February. Be sure to check out the 2015 stocking schedule for the most up to date information. Fishing for the various warm water fish species can still be productive during the winter months but anglers may need to target different areas of a lake (typically deeper) versus when fishing in the spring or summer.

ALSEA RIVER: steelhead

The winter steelhead fishery has produced fair to good results recently. This week should be productive in the mid to lower reaches of the river while flows are low and river temperatures are warming.


Fishing for winter steelhead has been good. Good numbers of fish are still available, but more dark hatchery fish are showing in the catch.

KILCHIS RIVER: steelhead

Winter steelhead fishing should be fair to good. Fish are distributed well, and can be caught on a variety of techniques. Scale your gear to the water conditions.


Winter steelhead fishing should be fair to good. Fish are spread through the system. Adjust your gear to the conditions, and move around to find fish. Boaters should use caution as woody debris can impede passage.

North Coast Steelhead
- Oregon Fish and Wildlife-


Winter steelhead are being caught in the north fork up to the hatchery. Fishing has been very good lately. Drift fishing, bobber and jig, or spinners have all produced some fish. Some fish are available in the mainstem Nehalem River basin also. Look for fishing to get better in this area as the winter goes on.


Winter steelhead fishing has been good. Water is high at this time but should be in good shape through the latter half of the week and weekend. More fish, both hatchery and wild, are entering the system. Fish are being caught on a variety of techniques depending on the conditions.

SALMON RIVER: steelhead

Winter steelhead fishing is starting to pick up in many coastal basins. The Salmon River is now open to harvest of wild winter steelhead (Jan 1 – March 31). Anglers are advised to read the new regulations as there are harvest restrictions and new deadlines in effect.

SILETZ RIVER: steelhead

Steelhead fishing is slow to fair but should start to pick up in the coming weeks. Fish can be found throughout the river for both bank and boat anglers. River conditions should be good through the weekend.

SIUSLAW RIVER: steelhead

The winter steelhead fishery is producing fish in both the Siuslaw and Lake Creek. The next few weeks should see a good push of fish. River conditions should remain good through the weekend. Typical steelhead angling tactics apply.


Catch-and-release fishing for sturgeon should be fair to good. Fish the channel edges on the outgoing tides and move often until you find fish. Sand shrimp on the bottom is a good bet.

TRASK RIVER: steelhead

Winter steelhead fishing has been good. The catch is a mixture of hatchery and wild fish. Fish are spread out, with some fish available in the north and south forks. Drift fishing and bobber and jig or pink worm are good bets, with boaters also scoring fish side drifting. 

WILSON RIVER: steelhead

Winter steelhead are available in increasing numbers. Fish has been good generally over the last couple weeks. Look for fish to be spread out throughout the river. Bobber and jig or spinners/spoons are good options in the upper river. Drift fishing, side drifting, bobber doggin’, or plugs have been producing fish for anglers in the lower river.

YAQUINA RIVER: steelhead

The winter steelhead fishery is fair to good in the Big Elk. River conditions should remain in good condition through the week. Anglers are advised to watch for private property. Typical steelhead angling tactics apply but the Big Elk is bed rock dominated and does have a lot of snags.

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  Northwest Zone Hunting


Duck Hunting
Toby the yellow lab shows off his work
-Photo by Troy Rodakowski-

Hunters are reminded to purchase their 2015 hunting license if they will continue to hunt into 2015.

Use the Oregon Hunting Map to see where to hunt.

See the bird and big game hunting forecasts.

Duck season goes through Jan. 25, 2015 (see regs for season break dates and details). The overall liberal bag limit with some species restrictions, continue this season. See the 2014-15 Oregon Game Bird Regulations for details. More migratory ducks are present now than earlier, and the weather has been generally more conducive to productive hunting. Some of the best hunting occurs during the onset of stormy weather when ducks are moving around a lot.

Forest grouse and mountain quail is likely to be only 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.

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. Remember to pick up a 2015 tag if hunting as of Jan. 1.

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 Northwest Zone Wildlife Viewing

Whale watching
Whale watching
- Photo by Bob Swingle, ODFW-

Beach walkers are reminded that seabirds such as Cassin’s auklets and common murres have been washing up dead on north coast beaches in higher-than-normal numbers this fall and winter. All birds sent in for necropsy work have shown them to be extremely emaciated. Colored zip ties on these birds indicate that the University of Washington research staff has already marked them, making reporting to ODFW or USFWS unnecessary.

Substantial numbers of great egrets are now in Tillamook County, where they should be present in farm fields and along estuaries in the county through the winter months. These large white birds are easy to spot as they usually provide a strong contrast to their surroundings, and can often be seen foraging in close proximity to great blue herons.

Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge is located east of Pacific City and is situated along Hwy 101. It is host to a wide variety of wintering Canada geese, many of which are the relatively rare Dusky variety. For best viewing, go to the refuge’s viewing area off Christensen Rd. and bring your optics.


Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area

elk at Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area

Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area
-Photo by Rick Swart, ODFW-

Elk viewing has been excellent at Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area. Elk have been visible throughout the day on the Fishhawk Tract. Best viewing times are from about 9:00 AM to Noon. There have also been elk visible on the Beneke Tract. Brochures with maps of the area are available at the main viewing area along Hwy 202. Elk are currently being fed a supplemental diet of alfalfa hay. Staff try to feed close to the viewing areas especially on weekends to enhance viewing opportunities.

Reservations for the winter elk feeding tours have been completely filled for the three month season. Please remember that areas posted as wildlife refuge are closed to public access and areas along Beneke Creek posted closed to entry during any Saddle Mountain elk season are also closed during those hunting seasons.

Wildlife Area Parking Permits are now required on the wildlife area (as of Jan. 1, 2014) including during the elk feeding tours.
The Twilight Eagle Sanctuary located just off of Hwy 30, east of Astoria, is a great place to view waterfowl and other water birds that frequent the lower Columbia River in the winter months. An ADA accessible viewing platform allows for sweeping views of Wolf Bay and surrounding areas, especially if you have a spotting scope. Often times, tundra swans can be seen from the platform out on the Columbia River.

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