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Weekly Recreation Report: Southwest Zone

December 16, 2014

 Southwest Zone Fishing

Chinook Salmon
My First Chinook!!!
-Photo by Mike Coburn-

Weekend fishing opportunities

  • A few winter steelhead are being caught in the Coos and Coquille basins.
  • When rivers are blown out, anglers may want to try fishing for some good-sized carry over trout in Garrison Lake.
  • December can be an excellent month for steelhead fishing in the lower Rogue River, as there is little fishing pressure and good numbers of steelhead.

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.

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.

AGATE LAKE: largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, bullhead

Agate Lake is 16 percent full and the boat ramp is no longer usable. Fishing has likely slowed with cooler weather. Jackson County Parks closes the park at dusk this time of year.

APPLEGATE RESERVOIR: largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, trout

Applegate Reservoir is 10 percent full. The Hart-tish facility and boat ramp are closed for the season. The Copper ramp may not be usable, but the low water ramp at French Gulch will still be accessible. Cooling temperatures should mean improving conditions for trout anglers now and into the fall.

The Oregon Health Authority issued an advisory recommending that people limit their consumption of largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, yellow perch, bluegill, and crappie taken from Applegate Reservoir due to elevated levels of mercury. Trout are not included in the advisory and remain a healthy choice for those wanting to retain fish for the table.

APPLEGATE RIVER: rainbow and cutthroat trout, winter steelhead

The Applegate River is open for trout fishing with a bag limit of two adipose fin-clipped rainbow trout per day. All other trout must be released. The river is closed to fishing for steelhead and salmon.

ARIZONA POND: rainbow trout

Pond levels have been lowered to help control aquatic vegetation.

BEN IRVING RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, bass, bluegill, yellow perch, crappie

The reservoir was stocked with about 4,000 trout in the spring. An additional 1,000 trout were stocked the first week of September. Warmwater fishing for bass and crappie is winding down with the cooler water temperatures.
Chinook Salmon
Chinook Salmon
-Photo by Patti Abbott-


Temporary regulations have been adopted for the Chetco River starting Sept. 1, 2014. Anglers should check these regulation changes prior to fishing the river. Temporary gear restrictions are no longer in effect. As of Nov. 4, anglers can fish the Chetco River per zone regulations. Chinook anglers are still under bag restrictions of 1 wild adult Chinook per day and 5 wild adult Chinook year.

Good river flows have moved most Chinook upstream of Nook Creek and into spawning tributaries. This time of year anglers start side drifting eggs or plunking spin and glows to pick up steelhead. Look for steelhead numbers to really pick upthrough December.

Before anglers head out to fish, check the flows and fish the river as it is dropping.

Chetco River flows near Brookings

COOPER CREEK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, bass, bluegill, yellow perch, bullhead

Cooper Creek was stocked with about 9,000 trout and received an 2,000 additional trout for fall fishing. Some of the trout do have copepods which are tiny parasites on their bodies and gills. These are not harmful to humans, but the lesions can be removed and the meat should be thoroughly cooked.

COOS RIVER BASIN: Dungeness crab, bay clams, steelhead

Steelhead have been caught this past week on the West Fork Millicoma, East Fork Millicoma, and South Fork Coos rivers. There is bank access on the West Fork Millicoma at the Millicoma Interpretive Center and on the East Fork Millicoma at Nesika Park. Access to the South Fork Coos River is through Weyerhaeuser property and anglers must have the appropriate permit from Weyerhaeuser. In the Coos Basin starting on Dec. 1 one additional fin clipped steelhead may be retained per day for a total aggregate of 3 adult fish harvested daily.

Crabbing in Coos Bay has been decent for boat crabbers. The best crabbing has been near the jetties but crabbers are getting legal-size crab all the way up to the BLM Boat Ramp.

Clamming is excellent during low tides near Charleston, off Cape Arago Highway, and Clam Island. There are also good places to dig clams even on positive low tides in Coos Bay. Before any shellfish harvest trip, make sure to check the Oregon Department of Agriculture website for any updates.


A few steelhead have been caught by anglers fishing near the town of Coquille and at LaVerne Park on the North Fork Coquille River. Steelhead fishing on the South Fork Coquille River has been a little slow. Bank anglers usually plunk for steelhead at the town of Coquille and Johnson Mill Pond. There is also good bank access on the North Fork Coquille River at LaVerne Park. This is the very beginning of the steelhead run and fishing will continue to get better in the next couple months. In the Coquille Basin starting on Dec. 1 one additional fin-clipped steelhead may be retained per day for a total aggregate of 3 adult fish harvested daily.

Diamond Lake
Diamond Lake
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-


Fishing pressure is low on Diamond Lake. Snowfall is beginning to close the road around the lake. A 17 inch fish was caught using bait this past week. Temperatures are dropping, but the lake is not yet frozen over.

The Forest Service campgrounds are closed for the season. Boats can still be launched from the north boat ramp near the Resort. Anglers can check fishing conditions at Diamond Lake on their website, or call their toll free number at 1-800-733-7593, ext. 236 or 238 for updates.

ELK RIVER: Chinook

Frequent storms are keeping the river flows and water color in near perfect condition. Chinook salmon are spread throughout the river, with a few steelhead moving in daily. Anglers can call Elk River Hatchery information line (541) 332-0405 for river height and color. The river fishes best at 5 feet and dropping.

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

The reservoir is currently 16 percent full and the boat ramp at the county campground is no longer in use. Anglers fishing from personal watercraft like float tubes or fishing from shore should have good luck on trout, bass and panfish now and into the fall.

EXPO POND: trout

Expo Pond was stocked with 100 one-pound and 500 legal-sized trout in October. Fishing should be good.

FISH LAKE: rainbow trout, brook trout, spring Chinook

Water levels at Fish Lake have dropped below the Bureau of Reclamation measuring gauge, and trailered boats can no longer launch at the lake. Fish Lake was a natural lake before the dam was built, however, so fishable water will remain through the fall. Trout anglers may want to give places like Fish Lake a try from the shore or from small watercraft or float tubes. In addition to stocked rainbow trout, anglers can catch land-locked Chinook salmon, brook trout and tiger trout. The lake bottom near the water line has crusted fairly well so that bank anglers can walk along the shoreline with hiking boots or knee boots. When releasing the salmon and trout, be sure to handle them gently and keep them in the water at all times; using barbless hooks will help. Salmon were caught on Panther Martins, super dupers cast from shore, and a streamer fly fished behind a casting bubble.

FLORAS LAKE: rainbow, cutthroat trout

Trout fishing is hit or miss depending on the wind. The best method for catching trout is slow trolling flies or wedding ring spinners from a boat. Bank access is limited. Anglers can launch at an improved boat ramp at Boice Cope County Park. The lake can be very windy, so anglers will want to check the weather prior to heading out. Boat anglers are reminded to clean all aquatic vegetation off their boats and trailers before heading home to help control the spread non-native plants and animals.

GALESVILLE RESERVIOR: rainbow trout, bass

Galesville Reservoir
Galesville Reservoir
-Photo by Rick Swart-

In addition to trout, the reservoir has also been stocked with coho smolts for the last couple of years. Many people mistakenly think these fish are kokanee. All of the coho smolts are adipose fin-clipped, remember to release the ones less than 8-inches long. In Galesville Reservoir, all landlocked salmon are considered trout and are part of the five-per-day trout limit, with only one trout over 20-inches long allowed for harvest. Some adult hatchery coho were recently placed in the reservoir, but they were getting dark. Galesville was stocked with about 8,000 trout this spring. Anglers are reminded all bass between 12 and 15-inches must be released, and only one bass over 15-inches may be taken per day. The reservoir is currently low. Call 541-837-3302 for information on camping and boat launching conditions.

GARRISON LAKE: rainbow trout, cutthroat

When rivers are blown out, anglers may want to try fishing for some good sized carry over trout. This time of year trout are usually feeding along deeper weed lines. Boat anglers will want to keep an eye on the weather and fish the lake when there is no wind. Access for bank anglers is best at the 12th Street boat ramp, Arizona Street, or along the foredune accessed through Tseriadun State Park. Garrison Lake is located in the middle of Port Orford. Boat anglers are reminded to clean all aquatic vegetation off their boats and trailers before heading home to help control the spread non-native plants and animals.

HEMLOCK LAKE & LAKE IN THE WOODS & Umpqua High Lakes: trout

Hemlock has received over 6,000 trout this season, including some large fish just before the Labor Day holiday. Anglers fishing the high lakes in the Umpqua District are encouraged to e-mail fishing reports. Most of the Umpqua’s high lakes are off of roads that are not plowed during the winter. Contact the Forest Service at 541-496-3532 for road conditions.


Closed to fishing until April 25, 2015.


Closed to fishing until April 25, 2015.

ILLINOIS RIVER: trout, steelhead

The Illinois River is open to fishing for trout and steelhead. Anglers are restricted to artificial flies and lures only, and only adipose fin-clipped rainbow trout may be retained. Since anglers are unlikely to catch steelhead or fin-clipped trout this time of year, the Illinois currently offers catch-and-release fishing for cutthroat trout.

Illinois River flows at Kerby

LAKE MARIE: rainbow trout

The lake was stocked with over 5,000 trout this year. Most anglers use PowerBait or worms. The lake also received some Labor Day lunkers and was stocked again the first week of September.

LAKE SELMAC: trout, largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie

Selmac was stocked with 1,200 one-pound rainbows in October and fishing should be good for trout. Fishing for warmwater species has likely slowed with cooler weather.

Lemolo Lake
Lemolo Lake
-Photo by Rick Swazrt, ODFW-

LEMOLO RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, kokanee

Lemolo was stocked with about 8,000 trout in late spring and received about 1,500 nice 14-inch trout in time for Labor Day. The reservoir is drawn down. From Nov. 1 – Dec. 31, all brown trout must be released. Rainbow trout and kokanee can be harvested for the 5 trout limit. Only 1 trout over 20 inches can be harvested per day. Lemolo will be closed to angling from Jan. 1 until April 1, 2015. For information on fishing conditions, contact Lemolo Lake Resort at 541-957-8354. The Forest Service campgrounds are closed for the season.

LOON LAKE: rainbow trout, bass, bluegill

Loon Lake has been stocked with nearly 8,000 trout. The lake is also providing good fishing for crappie, bluegill and bass. The boat ramps are closed for the season.

LOST CREEK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, spring Chinook, bass

The Oregon Health Authority has issued a health advisory for Lost Creek Reservoir due to high levels of blue green algae. Visit the OHA website for more information. Lost Creek Reservoir was stocked with rainbow trout in October. The surface temperature was 48F Monday morning. Trout anglers will probably want to fish deep in the main body of the reservoir. Trout fishing is probably still best upstream of the Hwy 62 Bridge. Good reports came from anglers trolling flashers and worms and flashers and wedding rings last weekend. Bank anglers also caught fish near the Takelma boat ramp. Lost Creek Reservoir is 46 percent full. All boat ramps are accessible.

MEDCO POND: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, bluegill

Trout fishing should improve as lake waters cool in the fall. Fishing for warmwater species has likely slowed with colder weather.

PACIFIC OCEAN AND BEACHES: bottomfish, Dungeness crab,

The ocean is now open again for harvest of Dungeness crab. Fishing for bottom fish, including rockfish and lingcod opened back up to all depths starting Oct. 1. The marine fish daily bag limit is seven fish and a separate daily limit for lingcod (two). Retention of cabezon is now allowed but only one cabezon per day per angler.

PLAT I RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, warmwater fish

In addition to trout fishing, the lake also has good bullhead fishing. Bass can be harvested from March 1 to Oct. 31 and are catch-and-release only from Nov. 1-Feb. 29. The reservoir received about 4,500 trout this year. The water level in the reservoir is currently low. Some of the trout do have copepods which are tiny parasites on their bodies and gills. These are not harmful to humans, but the lesions can be removed and the meat should be thoroughly cooked.


Reinhardt Pond was stocked with 100 one-pound and 250 legal-sized trout in October. Fishing should be good.


Rogue River, lower: winter steelhead

Anglers are picking up a few winter steelhead plunking spin-n-glows. Anglers will want to keep an eye on river flows and try to fish as the river is dropping. December can be an excellent month for steelhead fishing in the lower river, as there is little fishing pressure and good numbers of steelhead.

Rogue River, middle: steelhead, trout

Releases from Lost Creek Reservoir have dropped for the fall, and the flow at Grants Pass was 2,670 cfs on Monday morning. The water temperature was averaging about 46F. Summer steelhead are available, and fishing should be good. Always keep the fish in the water when looking for fin marks or taking photos, and release fish quickly. Only adipose fin-clipped fish may be harvested. Anglers are reminded that the area from Hog Creek boat landing to the Fishers Ferry boat ramp is closed to the harvest of Chinook salmon starting Oct. 1, 2014.

Rogue River, upper: steelhead, trout

rogue river
Fishing the Rogue River
-ODFW Photo-

Anglers are reminded that beginning Nov. 1, the river opens to the use of lures and bait as well as flies upstream of the Shady Cove boat ramp to the deadline at Cole Rivers Hatchery. Also beginning Nov. 1, from Fishers Ferry boat ramp upstream to the Shady Cove boat ramp, the river opens to the use of lures as well as flies. Consult the synopsis for more information. Anglers may want to try nymph patterns, or a big stonefly pattern in combination with a smaller nymph, or standard steelhead patterns. All other trout must be released unharmed. Always keep the fish in the water when looking for fin marks or taking photos and release fish quickly. Only adipose fin-clipped fish may be harvested.

Another shot of rain brought the river up and likely brought in a fresh batch of steelhead and today the river is pretty much back in shape. Fishing in the upper reaches of the river has been very good for steelhead. The release from Lost Creek Reservoir was 1810 cfs and the water temperature was 46F the morning of Dec 15. The water temperature at Gold Ray was averaging about 46F. As of Dec 9, 2,710 summer steelhead had entered Cole Rivers Hatchery.

Rogue River, above Lost Creek Reservoir: trout

Trout are still available in the waters above Lost Creek Dam! Fish stocking has ended for the year upstream of Lost Creek, but fishing remains open and should be very good. Anglers can fish bait like single salmon eggs or worms, or cast small spinners like a Panther Martin or Rooster tail, or let a fly drift downstream below a bobber.

In addition to the stocked trout, naturally produced rainbow, cutthroat, brown, and brook trout are available in the river and in many tributaries. Plentiful trout, beautiful scenery, easy access, and an abundance of Forest Service campgrounds and day-use areas make this a great place to go trout fishing.


Chinook are spread throughout the river, but few new fish are moving in. Anglers are reporting picking up a few steelhead.

SMITH RIVER, Umpqua: steelhead, sturgeon, striped bass

Winter steelhead will start arriving in the Smith River basin. Most of the steelhead will be wild, therefore fishing will be primarily catch-and-release.


Closed to fishing.

TENMILE BASIN: yellow perch, coho salmon

Yellow perch are biting on night crawlers or jigs tipped with a worm in Tenmile Lakes. Yellow perch will be concentrated in big schools in deep water. Sometimes anglers need to try several spots before finding the bigger fish. There are lots of smaller yellow perch that anglers have to sort through to catch enough keepers for a meal. Some of the keeper yellow perch are over 12-inches long.

The wild coho season open in Tenmile Lakes until Dec. 31. The bag limit for wild coho in Tenmile Lakes is 1 wild coho adult per day and a total of 5 wild adult coho for the season in aggregate with other NW and SW Zone waterbodies. Anglers are also allowed 1 wild coho jack per day.
Brook Trout
Brook Trout
-Photo by Kevin Clawson-

TOKETEE LAKE: brown trout, rainbow trout

Fishing is open in Toketee year-round. The boat ramp is currently closed and the reservoir is partially drawn down. For more information call the U.S. Forest Service at 541-498-2531.


Most of these lakes are off Forest Service Roads that are not plowed during the winter. Contact the Forest Service at 541-957-3200 for road and trail conditions.


The mainstem Umpqua is closed to wild steelhead harvest, but remains open year-round for adipose fin-clipped steelhead. This fishery is primarily catch-and-release since the number of hatchery fish is relatively low compared to the number of wild fish. The number of steelhead will increase in the Main throughout the rest of the month and early January. Plunkers should have some success following this most recent rain.

The 50 Places to go fishing within 60 minutes of Roseburg,” handout which is available online or at the office, identifies several good places for salmon and steelhead fishing.


Rock Creek Hatchery is once again open for visitors. The hatchery is open to visitors from 7:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. The new RockEd facility is lacking displays, but can be opened on request by calling the hatchery at 541-496-3484. Remember all wild steelhead must be released unharmed. Fishing for winter steelhead will continue to improve, peaking in February through March. Most of the fish returning to the North are wild so the fishing is mostly catch-and-release.

Note that from Oct. 1 through June 30, fishing in the fly water area is restricted to a single barbless artificial fly which can be dressed with conventional fly tying material. Remember that from March 1 through July 31 the anti-snag gear restrictions apply on the North from the Lone Rock boat ramp upstream to the fly area boundary above Rock Creek. The Mainstem from Soda Springs Dam, including Soda Springs Reservoir, up to Slide Creek Dam is closed year-round to fishing.

North Umpqua River water levels at Winchester Dam


The South Umpqua opened for steelhead beginning Dec. 1, 2014. The peak numbers of fish normally show up from February to late March. The South Umpqua offers the best chance for catching an adipose-fin clipped steelhead for harvest. The hatchery program for winter steelhead is centered in the South Umpqua. Most hatchery fish are caught from Canyonville downstream. All wild fish must be released unharmed. 

WILLOW LAKE: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, black crappie, brown bullhead

At 51 percent of capacity, Willow Lake has the most water among all irrigation reservoirs in the Rogue watershed to date. Trout are available, though fishing for warmwater species is likely slowing with colder weather.

WINCHESTER BAY: chinook, fin-clipped coho

Most salmon have already moved upstream. Fishing for bottomfish in the Triangle and South jetty has been successful. Crabbing has been good recently.


The river is closed to all fishing Aug. 1 to Dec. 31, 2014. The river was closed due a forecasted low return of fall Chinook salmon.

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  Southwest Zone Hunting


See the bird and big game hunting forecasts.

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. ODFW appreciates hunters’ assistance to establish wolves’ presence in Oregon; 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.


Her first Bufflehead
Her first Bufflehead
-Photo by Garrett Yarbrough-

Duck and Goose season in the goose Southwest Zone and duck Zone 1 continue, be sure to check regs for details. Canada goose numbers appear to be good in the local area so hunting for them should be good. Hunters will find these birds will be attracted to green grass. The flocks are generally habitual about where they go to feed during the day. So, scouting for these areas is beneficial for hunters. With the onset of stormy weather duck numbers appear to be improving. However, rain has caused flooding in agricultural lands in Coos County. This appears to have caused birds to scatter to some extent. As the season progresses waterfowl numbers should continue to build. Presently sea duck numbers are good in the lower portions of Coos County bays.

Wilson’s snipe abundance is increasing with the coming of winter. Wilson’s snipe could be considered the woodcock of the west because they are very similar to woodcock in appearance. Presently snipe can be found in huntable numbers around wetlands, flooded agricultural fields and in some clear cuts. Any place where water ponds there will be habitat for these birds and the potential to find them. Snipe feed on worms and other invertebrates that are found just under the soil’s surface. When soil is moistened by precipitation these birds are able to poke their flexible bill in to the soil to catch their food. While they like open fields and wetlands they can be found in reforested clear cuts where water ponds, as well.

Elk – controlled hunts only at this time. Populations and bull ratios are at or above management objectives in many units in the local area. Hunters will find that as hunting pressure occurs elk will move away from roads and into more secluded locations such as un-roaded creek drainages. Still hunting places with low road densities or behind gated roads where access is allowed is the best method to score on a bull. While elk use clearcuts extensively for feeding, hunting pressure will cause them to become more secretive and less likely to be found during daylight hours there. Elk hunters who will be hunting units in Coos County and the western portion of Douglas County need to be aware that access may have changed for some private lands. Hunters need to contact landowners to ensure lands ore open even if the hunter has hunted there in past years. Don’t assume private land is open, check to make sure that it is.

Grouse and Quail seasons continue. This summer was a good one for grouse and quail production. Broods seemed to have survived well. However, the past several years of poor survival for these young birds has resulted in populations that are low and that will need several good years of reproductive success to rebound. Hunters will find the best hunting for both quail and grouse on closed roads on public land. Grouse will generally be found near streams and quail will generally be found neat ridge tops, with the exception of Valley quail, which are usually found near agricultural lands.

Black Bear - General Bear season continues thru Dec. 31. Bear populations are robust in much of Coos County and offer opportunities for hunting. Due to the time of year and rain black berries are in low abundance and bears are no longer concentrating on them.

Many landowners are complaining of bears damaging apple and other fruit trees. With landowner permission good hunting for bears can be found around isolated orchards. With cooler wet weather occurring bears will not be active for much longer. Season closes Dec. 31.

Cougar hunting is open. Hunters can expect an average year. Cougars are abundant throughout with indicators pointing to stable or increasing numbers. Hunting cougar is a challenge because these animals are very secretive, but harvest success is greatest adjacent to private land with high deer populations using a predator call.



Deer - Only a few controlled hunts are open at this time.

Elk - Only a few controlled hunts are open at this time. Elk populations are similar to last year so this hunting year will be average.

Cougar season is open. Hunters can expect an average year. Cougars are abundant and widely distributed. Hunting success is best around high deer population areas using a predator call.

Bear – General bear season is open. Hunters can expect an average year. Some nice size bears have been harvested in the last few weeks. Successful bear hunters are reminded there is a mandatory check-in for all harvested bear within 10 days of harvest (see regulations for details). Season ends Dec. 31.

Bird Hunting
Bird Hunting
- Photo by Dave Budeau-


Grouse & Quail - The season is currently open. Blue grouse success is best in mid to high elevations of the Cascades in partly open conifer stands. Ruffed grouse can be found near creeks mostly at mid elevations of both the Cascades and Coast Range. Success is best in the lower elevation agricultural lands for California quail and mid-elevations of the Cascades and Coast Range near brushy clear cuts on secondary forest roads for Mountain quail.

Fall Turkey – The season is currently open. Hunters can expect a good harvest year. Most turkeys are on or adjacent to low-mid elevation private lands associated with oak savannah habitat. Season ends Dec. 31.


Crow– Crow season is open. Hunters can expect an average year. Crow are abundant and widely distributed on the Umpqua Valley floor. Hunting crow is a challenge with most being on or adjacent to private lands.


Duck hunting is open Oct. 29 – Jan. 25. Goose hunting is Oct. 11 – Nov. 30 & Dec. 8 – Jan. 25. Goose and duck hunters can expect an average to above-average year. Hunting for resident goose and duck in Douglas County should be very good because of an excellent production again this year. Nearly all goose and duck hunting in the Umpqua Valley is on private property and hunters should obtain landowner permission before hunting.

Goose and duck hunters can expect an average to above-average year. Local duck production is historically good but small so a fair number of local ducks are available now with improved opportunity as the fall migrating ducks arrive later in the season. Hunting for resident geese in Douglas County should be very good because of an excellent production again this year. Nearly all waterfowl hunting in the Umpqua Valley is on private property and hunters should obtain landowner permission before hunting.


-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Bobcat & Gray Fox – Currently open. Healthy populations throughout Western Oregon. The last day of the season for these species is February 28, 2015.

River Otter, Beaver, Raccoon & Red Fox – Currently open. Healthy populations throughout Western Oregon. The last day of the season for these species is March 15, 2015 except red fox which is January 15, 2015.

Mink & Muskrat – Currently open. Healthy populations throughout Western Oregon. The last day of the season for mink and muskrat is March 31, 2015.

Marten – Currently open. Good populations at higher elevations of the Cascades. The last day of the season is January 31, 2015.


Denman Wildlife Area: Remember to get your parking permit. Hunters get the permit free with their purchase of an annual hunting license. Display on car dash.

Bear general season closes Dec. 31, 2014. The season is winding down as bears become scarcer because it’s their time to hibernate for the year. The Applegate unit has one of the highest harvests for the fall season in the state for the past several years. At this time of year bear finding the last of the berry crops and again are eating the new green grass along with acorns. The best times to look for bears are in the early morning and late evenings. Successful bear hunters are reminded there is a mandatory check-in for all harvested bear within 10 days of harvest (see regulations for details).

Deer season youth control tags starts December 15 thru January 5, 2015 in the Rogue (630T), Evans Creek (629T) and Applegate (628T) Units. Deer are at low elevations, and BLM lands provide good access to these animals. Deer numbers and buck ratios are strong and the season will be average. Although with the lack of snow it can create a challenge. A reminder, youth are required to wear orange while hunting.
Turkey Hunters

Turkey Hunters
- Photo by Meghan Collins-

Fall Turkey season is from Oct. 15 – Dec. 31. Hunters can expect a good year. The mild spring provided good survival of chicks and brood counts showed production up from the last two years. Hunters are allowed to shoot either sex, and are allowed to have two tags. Majority of our turkeys are found in low elevation and around private lands, although a growing number are found in conifer stands that have meadows or clear cuts.

Crows – Season is open until January 31 2013. No limit on harvest. It is critical to distinguish between crows and ravens. Crows are smaller in size (17.5 inches) with smaller beaks with fan shape tail in flight and they make a caw sound. Whereas ravens are larger (24 inches) with long heavy bills, wedge shaped tail, with a low, drawn-out croak call and are protected.

Grouse and Quail - Season will end January 31, 2015. Both mountain quail and forest grouse numbers are higher this year due to the mild spring, so hunters can expect a good year. Forest grouse can be found in timbered creek draws and mountain quail will be found in brushy clear cuts near water. A good bird dog will aid greatly in bird retrieval.

Waterfowl - The fall flight forecast calls for high numbers of waterfowl, but weather conditions will determine migration patterns and hunter success. The best waterfowl hunting at Denman Wildlife Area tends to occur around the end of November; area managers continue to plant crops and flood fields to attract waterfowl to Denman.

Due to lower water in many of our lakes and pond this year the Rogue River can be a little more productive. Hyatt Lake, Howard Prairie and Agate Lake will have waterfowl but will be difficult to hunt due to low water levels.

Pheasant - Statewide season started October 11 and will run through December 31. Pheasants on the Denman Wildlife Area will be few and far between now that the fee season is over. Few pheasants are found in the Rogue valley but there are some and they will be found on private lands. Be sure to ask for permission to hunt these areas.

Wilson’s Snipe season opened November 1 – February 15. Snipe is another challenging bird to hunt for they are small, fast and erratic low-flying birds that can be hard to identify. Be sure to know how to differentiate it from killdeer and other shorebirds before you hunt. Snipe may be spooked in areas where there are high numbers of hunters but other times a person can walk up on them. Snipe almost always emit a call when they take off in flight. The best time to hunt snipe will be late fall and winter months. Denman Wildlife Area has decent numbers of snipe.

Cougar season is open statewide year-round or until zone quotas are met. Hunters are encouraged to carry a cougar tag while hunting other animals; you never know when an opportunity will come available. Most cougar hunters’ success comes from predator calls.

Western Gray Squirrel is currently open for the part of the Rogue Unit south of Rogue River and S. Fork Rogue River and North of Hwy 140 where the season remains open year round with no bag limit. Squirrels can be found in oak or mixed conifer stands. This is a great animal to hunt for first time hunters.

Coyotes are abundant in our area. Remember to ask for permission to hunt on private lands. This is the time of years rancher will welcome hunters to come onto their property to take coyotes that are cause problems with live stock.

Furbearers – Pursuit season is currently open for bobcat, fox and raccoon. A reminder to trappers and hunters that specific licenses and tags are required to hunt many furbearer species, and hunters should refer to the 2012-14 Oregon Furbearer Trapping and Hunting Regulations for details. Martin is currently open, with population in high elevation strong and healthy. Gray Fox, Muskrat, Mink, Raccoon, River Otter and Beaver open November 15. Population for gray fox and raccoon is down due to distemper for the past two years. Bobcat season opens December 1, and the population is strong.

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 Southwest Zone Viewing


Brown Pelican
Brown Pelican
-Photo by Kathy Munsel-

Sea Birds

Birds that are here for foraging include California brown pelicans, cormorants and Western grebes. Great places to watch these birds and their activities are Coos Bay, near Charleston and the Coquille Bay near the harbor in Bandon. Feeding birds can be seen diving on baitfish in the bay and sometimes working in unison to corral fish near shore.

Occasionally other animals get in on the action when foraging birds have located baitfish. Seals, sea lions, porpoise, and even whales will go after these fish as birds are mounting attacks from above.

Marine Mammals

Seal and sea lion abundance in coastal waters around Coos County is high at this time of year, especially south of Coos Bay. At Simpson Reef, a heavily used haul out exists. From the lookout, viewers can see California sea lions, Steller sea lions, harbor seals and elephant seals.

Do not approach seals and sea lions you may find on Oregon beaches. If you think an animal you find is in trouble, contact your local ODFW office to report the animal or contact the Marine Mammal Stranding Network an (800) 452-7888.


Shore birds found along the coast now are here for winter. In places fairly large numbers can be seen. Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge is probably the best place in Coos County to see these birds. The Bandon Marsh Unit is located immediately north of Bandon and is probably the best part of the refuge to visit for shore bird observation. Otherwise mud flats in Coos Bay, Winchester Bay (Douglas County) and the Coquille Bay are great places to check. Recently large flocks of shore birds have been seen on the Coos Bay North Spit beaches and other beaches in the area.


While waterfowl numbers are quite high in Coos County right now they may be somewhat challenging to find. Due to recent rain agricultural lands inland of the coast are inundated with water. This has caused waterfowl to scatter inland from the coast. Generally few birds are in Coos County bays, instead these birds are in Winter Lake and other inland locations.

That said, there are good numbers of sea ducks in the bays presently. Sea ducks will not scatter inland as fresh water inundation occurs. Good places to see sea ducks are the Charleston area of Coos Bay and the Bandon area of the Coquille Bay. 12/9/14.



Christmas Bird Count

Medford will have their bird count on Saturday Dec. 20 and Ashland will have theirs on Saturday January 3. This important event gives everybody an opportunity to be part of the biggest citizen science effort in the New World.

Go to the Rogue Valley Audubon Society web page to learn more.

Southward migration

Birds are starting their southward migration so look for species congregating at roosts and feeders or in the air just before or during migration. Some to watch for are: ospreys, turkey vultures, swifts, swallows, cedar waxwings, and some species of flycatchers, warblers, finches and shorebirds.

-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-


Ringtails are small, forest carnivores, nocturnal in habits, and secretive in nature. Ringtails are common in South West Oregon, but rarely seen due to their nocturnal behavior. They are buff to dark brown in color with white under parts and a black and white striped tail. The ringtail prefers to live in rocky habitats associated with water. Often known as Ringtail cat or Miner’s cat but they are not a cat they are in the raccoon family.

Denman Wildlife Area

Hunting season starts Sept. 1 on the Denman Wildlife Area and will go into February. Other recreational users are encouraged to wear bright orange or other bright colored clothing and to stick to the trail systems. Be aware of hunters while watching the wildlife on the area.

Denman Wildlife Area has had an increase of hawks, accipiters and buteos. Many Northern Harriers, Red-tailed hawks, and Rough-legged hawks have been seen hunting throughout the valley.

Lewis’s woodpecker

Lewis woodpeckers are seen in our area collecting acorns and stuffing them into holes in trees. In addition, they eat insects found on surfaces of trees and will catch them out of the air. They are the size of an American robin with a greenish-black head and back, with a gray neck and breast. Most distinguishing is the dark red face and pinkish belly. Look for them in open woodlands.


Winter Raptors

Wintering raptors, especially red-tail hawks, are commonly be seen along highways throughout the county.

Bald Eagles

Bald Eagles are now commonly seen along the mainstem portion of the Umpqua River from Roseburg to Reedsport. 12/16/14.

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