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Weekly Recreation Report: Northwest Zone

March 24, 2015

 Northwest Zone Fishing

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.

Coffenbury Lake

Fishing on Coffenbury Lake

Most rivers and streams will re-open to trout on May 23, 2015.


The latest trout stocking schedule is posted to the ODFW website. Hebo, South, Town, and Tahoe lakes and Lorens Pond were stocked the week of March 16. Coffenbury, Lost, Sunset, and Vernonia lakes are scheduled to be stocked the week of March 23. Some surplus hatchery steelhead have been released in Town Lake, Lorens Pond, Coffenbury Lake, Sunset Lake, Lost Lake and Vernonia Pond this winter.


The rainbow trout stocking program is in full swing and most water bodies have been stocked recently or will be soon again. Most areas will be stocked multiple times until early June. 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 be productive during the spring months as lake temperatures start to rise and fish begin spawning. Anglers will start finding more fish up in the shallows over the next month.

ALSEA RIVER: steelhead

The winter steelhead fishery is slowing down for the season down but fair numbers of fish can still be found in the upper river, especially after a rain event. Native fish tend to be prevalent this time of year. Casting lures, bobber and jig/bait or drifting beads along the bottom can be effective techniques.

KILCHIS RIVER: steelhead

Winter steelhead fishing should be slow to fair this week. The river should be clear, with lower flows. Use light gear and fish deeper holding water where fish are more likely to be concentrated.


Winter steelhead fishing will probably be slow. The flows are low and the river is clear. A slight rise in river level is forecasted for mid-week, which may lead to better fishing briefly. The steelhead angling season ends March 31.


Winter steelhead fishing should be slow to fair in the north fork. Mostly wild fish are showing in the catch. Drift fishing, bobber and jig, or spinners have all produced some fish. Fishing should be fair to good in the mainstem Nehalem River basin. The north fork and the Nehalem upstream of Hwy 26 close to fishing March 31.

Anglers who catch a steelhead or salmon with numbered tag(s) are encouraged to report catch information via the internet or by calling ODFW at 503-842-2741 and asking for Derek Wiley. All live tagged fish that are not legal to retain or are voluntarily not kept should be released quickly and unharmed with tags intact.


Winter steelhead fishing should be good. Fish are being caught on a variety of techniques. Side drifting, drift fishing, plugs, bobber and jig, bobber doggin’ or casting spinners/spoons should all produce fish. Match your gear to the conditions, with larger, brighter offerings when the river has some color and smaller, more subtle presentations as the river drops. Spring Chinook angling opens April 1. Expect slow fishing for several weeks.

SALMON RIVER: steelhead

Winter steelhead fishing is fair and the river should fish well this week through most of the mainstem. The river is 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. The deadline for steelhead fishing is at the confluence with Prairie Creek which enters the Salmon River west of the Van Duzer rest area at the same point as where Sulpher Creek enters the Salmon River.

Williams Family

Steve Williams with his daughter and son, Kathyrn and Kyle after a day of steelhead fishing on the Siletz River.
-ODFW Photo-

SILETZ RIVER: steelhead

Steelhead fishing is slow to fair. Fish are being caught in most sections depending on river conditions. This time of year tends to produce a good percent of native fish and/or post spawn fish. Typical steelhead tactics apply such as side drifting, bobber and jig / bait, or casting spoons or spinners.

SIUSLAW RIVER: steelhead

The winter steelhead fishery is starting to slow down for the season but decent numbers of fish are still around the Whittaker Creek area. The river should fish well later in the week as the river levels being to drop. Lake Creek typically clears up more quickly.

TILLAMOOK BAY: sturgeon, Chinook

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. Spring Chinook angling opens April 1. Fishing usually starts off slow.

TRASK RIVER: steelhead, Chinook

Winter steelhead fishing should be fair. The catch is a mix of hatchery and wild fish. Fish are spread out, with fish available in the north and south forks. Drift fishing and bobber and jig or pink worm are good bets, with boaters also catching fish side drifting. The river opens to spring Chinook April 1. Fishing usually doesn’t pick up until May.

Anglers who catch a steelhead or salmon with numbered tag(s) are encouraged to report catch information via the internet or by calling ODFW at 503-842-2741 and asking for Derek Wiley. All live tagged fish that are not legal to retain or are voluntarily not kept should be released quickly and unharmed with tags intact.

WILSON RIVER: steelhead, Chinook

Winter steelhead fishing should be slow to fair. Last weekend’s rain brought good numbers of fish into the system. Fish will be holding ups as flows are low. Bank anglers can find success throughout the river. Boaters should fish the lower drifts until more rains come. Use lighter gear in the clear water. Spring Chinook fishing opens April 1, but few fish will be present for several weeks.

YAQUINA RIVER: steelhead

The winter steelhead fishery is slow in the Big Elk. The fishery is typically very slow for the rest of the season. Anglers are advised to watch for private property. Typical steelhead fishing tactics apply but the Big Elk is bed rock dominated and does have a lot of snags.

  Northwest Zone Hunting


Use the Oregon Hunting Map to see where to hunt.

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 Wildlife Viewing

March and April are months where migrating shorebirds start showing up on north coast beaches. They typically are not shy of humans, but having binoculars handy to watch them from a distance minimizes disturbance to them.

Spring vacation for schools marks the time when migrating gray whales are moving up the Oregon coastline on their annual pilgrimage up to the Bearing Sea. During the week of March 22 there will also be Whale Watching Spoken Here viewing stations at many sites on the north coast. Some great spots to view migrating whales on the north coast include Cape Kiwanda near Pacific City, Cape Lookout and Cape Meares near Netarts, Neah-Kah-Nie Mtn. and Cape Falcon near Manzanita, and Silver Point near Cannon Beach. Bring your binoculars or spotting scope for best viewing!


Black Brant
Black Brant
- Photo by Greg Gillson-

Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge is located east of Pacific City and is situated mostly 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.

Brant geese are common inhabitants of Netarts Bay during the winter months. This small, dark goose is generally rare in Oregon, wintering only in a few estuaries including Yaquina and Tillamook Bays as well. They feed exclusively on eelgrass that grows on tidal flats in the estuaries, and are generally shy of human activity. In Netarts Bay, look for them in the southwestern corner of the bay, along the base of Netarts Spit. For best viewing, bring your spotting scope.

Netarts Bay is home to sea ducks that are usually not seen in estuaries.  Perhaps due to its high salinity levels throughout the year, scoters of various types are often seen in the late winter and early spring months along the eastern edge of the bay, easily visible from the paved road.  Bringing binoculars along to view ensures great bird watching success.


Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area

Roosevelt Elk
Roosevelt Elk
-Photo by Jim Yuskavitch, ODFW-

The winter elk feeding tour program at Jewell Meadows Wildlife area has been completed for the season.  Elk may still be provided supplemental feed on an irregular basis throughout the month of March depending on natural vegetation growth.  Elk viewing continues to be good.  Best viewing times are mornings and evenings, but elk may be visible throughout the day depending on weather.  As spring progresses and temperatures start to warm, elk will use the timbered areas more during the middle of the day. Bull elk have started to shed their antlers and will continue through March and April. New antler growth is visible within about 2 weeks after losing their old antlers. Other wildlife to watch for include: coyotes in the fields, bald eagles perched in tall trees near creeks or soaring overhead, and songbirds near the viewing areas.  Additional species that should start showing up this month include band-tailed pigeons, swallows, and numerous species of migrant songbirds.

Visitors are reminded that areas posted as Wildlife Refuge are closed to public access. Posted portions of the Beneke Tract are open to the public starting March 16 and will remain open until August 1.  Wildlife Area Parking Permits are required on the wildlife area.

Ft. Steven’s State Park

The viewing bunker at Trestle Bay within the Ft. Steven’s State Park is a great place to view waterfowl and shorebirds, especially at lower tides. The bunker provides good shelter from rain, wind and storms, and viewing optics, such as binoculars or a spotting scope are highly recommended for best viewing.

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