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ODFW WEEKLY RECREATION REPORT
Fishing, Hunting, Wildlife Viewing
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Southwest Zone Map

Weekly Recreation Report: Southwest Zone

May 26, 2015

 Southwest Zone Fishing

Rainbow Trout

Rainbow Trout
-Photo by Jim Yuskavitch, ODFW-

Weekend fishing opportunities

  • Spring Chinook fishing on the Mainstem Umpqua has slowed but Spring Chinook are being caught on the North Umpqua mostly around Rock Creek.
  • Trout stocking beings this week on the Rogue River above Lost Creek Reservoir. Plentiful fish, easy access and a beautiful setting make this a premiere trout fishing destination.
  • With warmer weather and fish moving into the shallows, crappie, largemouth bass and other warmwater fishing is improving in several area water bodies, including Agate Lake and Galesville and Lost Creek Reservoirs.
  • You have heard the news about low water levels at Howard Prairie, but did you know that trout fishing is very good for boat anglers? Small boats can still launch right now, and trollers caught limits over the weekend. Good numbers of 11-12 inch trout are available, along with trout to 18”.
  • Releases of large trout from Cole Rivers and Klamath hatcheries are spicing up the catch at several Rogue waterbodies. Willow Lake, Fish Lake, Lost Creek Reservoir and Applegate Reservoir all offer great opportunities for trout.

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, black crappie

Fishing for warmwater gamefish has been good. Largemouth bass, crappie, and other warmwater species can be found around structure along the shore. Bass are hitting a variety of lures. Bluegill and crappie can be caught with small jigs or bait. Agate Lake is 100 percent full.

APPLEGATE RESERVOIR: largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, trout

Applegate Reservoir is fully stocked with legal and larger sized rainbow trout. Fishing should be fair to good for these stocked trout. Fishing for smallmouth bass should be improving as the fish move into shallow water along the shore. Applegate Reservoir is 60 percent full. The Hart Tish Park, French Gulch and Copper boat ramps are open. The campground at Hart Tish Park is now open as well.

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. Anglers may keep two adipose fin-clipped rainbow trout per day. Nonadipose fin-clipped rainbow trout and all cutthroat trout must be immediately released unharmed. The river will remain closed to salmon and steelhead angling.
 
ARIZONA POND: rainbow trout

Good numbers of trout, but weeds are starting to make it tougher to fish. The best time to fish is on cloudy days or when the sun is off the water. The pond is managed by Oregon State Parks as youth only fishing and is located at Arizona Beach State Recreation Area; approximately halfway between Gold Beach and Port Orford.

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

The reservoir has been stocked according to schedule (pdf) with 4,000 rainbow trout. Continue to check the website for the next release date. Warmwater fishing for bass and crappie is improving with the recent increase in water temperature.

BURMA POND: rainbow trout

Burma Pond, located on BLM land east of the town of Wolf Creek, is stocked with legal-sized rainbow trout.

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

Cooper Creek has been stocked with 7,000 rainbow trout since March and will continue to be stocked according to the schedule. Catches of largemouth bass, bluegill, and yellow perch should improve as water temperatures increase. Last year, some of the trout had 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 COUNTY LAKES/PONDS: trout,

Powers Pond will be stocked this week with legal and trophy size rainbows. There is a kids fishing derby in the morning at Powers Pond Saturday, May 30. Bradley Lake, Saunders Lake, Bluebill Lake, Tenmile Lakes, and Butterfield Lake were all stocked earlier this month with legal-size trout. Trout are biting on bait fished near the bottom or lures like spinners or spoons.

COOS RIVER BASIN: Dungeness crab, bay clams, rockfish, trout

Streams in the Coos Basin are open for trout fishing as of Saturday, May 23. Angling is restricted to artificial flies and lures in streams above tidewater. Anglers should have good success catching trout in the deeper pools and riffles using spinners or flies.

Black Rockfish
Black Rockfish
-Photo by Bob Swingle-

Anglers are still catching a few rockfish inside lower Coos Bay around the jetties. The best fishing has been around the slack tides. The marine fish daily bag limit (which includes fishing in estuaries) is 7 fish and a separate daily limit for lingcod (two). Anglers will be able to keep only 3 blue rockfish and 1 canary rockfish as part of their daily limit and there will be no harvest of China, quillback or copper rockfish.

To help anglers identify common species and comply with the regulations, ODFW has produced several sheets of ID Tips for blue vs. black rockfish and for China, copper and quillback rockfish, as well as a handout titled “What Can I Keep, and How Many?”

Crabbing has been decent in the lower bay with crabbers catching a mixture of hard and soft crabs. The best crabbing will be near the jetties and close to high tide. 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. Recreational harvest of razor clams is closed for the entire Oregon coastline from the Columbia River to the California border due to elevated levels of domoic acid. This includes all beaches and all bays. Before any shellfish harvest trip, make sure to check the Oregon Department of Agriculture website for any updates.

COQUILLE RIVER BASIN: trout

Streams in the Coquille Basin are open for trout fishing as of Saturday, May 23. Fishing is restricted to artificial flies and lures in streams above tidewater. Anglers should have good success catching trout in the deeper pools and riffles using spinners or flies.

Smallmouth bass fishing has been good in the Coquille Basin. The best fishing is in the South Fork and mainstem Coquille rivers. Anglers are catching smallmouth bass on jigs, crankbaits, spinner, and worms (bait is legal in tidewater). There is no size limit or bag limit on smallmouth bass in the rivers of the Coquille Basin.

DIAMOND LAKE: trout

Anglers have been catching fish in the 12 to 17-inch range mostly by trolling lures and using a combination of PowerBait and lures on anchor. ODFW will stock Diamond Lake with approximately 300,000 rainbow trout during Memorial Day week. The Forest Service has opened some campgrounds or parts thereof. Check with the Forest Service to determine which ones have been opened. Anglers can check fishing conditions at Diamond Lake on the Diamond Lake Resort website, or call their toll free number at 1-800-733-7593, ext. 5 for updates. The Marina is open and has boats and charter trips available.

DUTCH HERMAN POND: rainbow trout, largemouth bass

Dutch Herman Pond, located on BLM land east of the town of Wolf Creek, is stocked with legal-sized rainbow trout.

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

Emigrant has been stocked with legal-sized rainbow trout. The water is still turbid, so fishing with bait or using lures that will put off vibrations in the water will be most effective. Angling for bass and other warmwater fish has been fair. With the dirty water, bass anglers are having best success with crank baits. The water level in the reservoir is at 82 percent of capacity. The campgrounds and boat ramps are open.

EXPO POND: trout

Expo Pond has been stocked with legal-sized rainbow trout. Still fishing with PowerBait or worms will likely provide the best success. Fishing for bass, crappie, and other warmwater fish has been good. Expo Pond is located directly adjacent to the access road at gate 5.

FISH LAKE: rainbow trout, brook trout, spring Chinook

Fish Lake is well stocked with legal-sized and larger trout, and fishing should be good. Chinook salmon and brook trout are also available. In addition, tiger trout have been stocked into the lake, but must be released unharmed if caught.

Fish Lake is 62 percent full. The Forest Service boat ramp and campground are open. The Fish Lake Resort restaurant, boat launch, and campground are open as well.

Anglers are encouraged to report catches of larger spring Chinook or tiger trout to the local ODFW district office at 541-826-8774.

FLORAS LAKE: rainbow, cutthroat trout

Warmer water and increased weed growth has slowed fishing. Anglers fishing early or late evening are faring the best. Always check the weather before heading out out, as it can be windy. 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.

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

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, and please 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. Galesville has been stocked with approximately 8,000 rainbow trout since March.

Bass fishing should improve as water temperatures increase. 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. Call 541-837-3302 for information on camping and boat launching conditions.

GARRISON LAKE: rainbow trout, cutthroat

Weed growth is starting to pick up which is making it tougher fishing for bank anglers. This time of year boat anglers tend to do best fishing the deeper weed lines.

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

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, but the lack of snowfall may allow access earlier than normal. Contact the Forest Service at 541-496-3532 for road conditions. Hemlock Lake has been stocked with approximately 6,000 rainbow trout in 2015, and Lake in the Woods has been stocked with approximately 1,000 rainbow trout in 2015.

HOWARD PRAIRIE RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass

Trout fishing was good to very good for anglers in boats at Howard Prairie over the weekend. Several boats reported limits. Most of the trout averaged 11-12 inches, but trout to 18 inches were caught. Fish were being caught well into the afternoon around the dam and south of Buck Island on Monday.

Water clarity was a cloudy green color and visibility was low. Boaters trolling flashers appeared to have the best success. One angler trolled a red wedding ring behind a dodger and oval sinker, with a bit of nightcrawler, and caught a limit that included an 18 inch trout. Another angler caught a limit still fishing with powerbait. Bank anglers were catching trout with powerbait but in lower numbers than the boat anglers. Bass anglers also reported good success.

The resort boat ramp has just under 2 feet of water depth on the concrete. Once launched, there are shallow spots until boats get around the corner get out towards the tip of the marina jetty. While smaller boats can still do ok at the resort, larger boats are not advisable.

Anglers need to remember that even when the resort boat ramp is dry there is an old rocked road near the resort that will continue to provide access for small boats.

The Howard Prairie Resort and several campgrounds are open. The reservoir is only 37 percent full and water level is dropping. The marina area is dry, and boat rentals are not available.

HYATT LAKE: rainbow trout, largemouth bass

Hyatt Lake has been stocked with 5,000 legal-sized rainbow trout. Fishing has been fair for good-sized trout. Fishing for largemouth bass should be improving.

The lake is only 41 percent full and just a few inches lower than last week. The Mountain View Boat Ramp, on the southeast corner of the lake still extends into the water; however, the water at the toe of the ramp is very shallow, so it is not suitable for launching larger boats. The gravel ramp at Wildcat Campground is usable. Anglers fishing from the shore or wanting to launch small watercraft will find adequate opportunities. The Bureau of Land Management campgrounds are now open for the season.

ILLINOIS RIVER: trout, steelhead

The Illinois River is open for trout fishing. Anglers will be able keep five adipose fin-clipped rainbow trout per day. Nonadipose fin-clipped rainbow trout and all cutthroat trout must be immediately released unharmed. The river is not stocked and very few steelhead will be present, so the river will primarily offer anglers the opportunity to catch and release cutthroat trout.

Illinois River flows at Kerby

LAKE MARIE: rainbow trout

The lake has been stocked with roughly 5,000 rainbow trout in 2015. Most anglers use PowerBait or worms.

LAKE SELMAC: trout, largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie

Lake Selmac is stocked with trout and fishing should be good

Fishing for bass and other warmwater fish has been good. Look for fish in the shallow areas along the shore. Largemouth bass can be caught on a variety of lures. Many of the other species of warmwater fish can be caught by fishing with a worm under a bobber or by casting and retrieving small jigs.

LEMOLO RESERVOIR: brown trout, rainbow trout

Brown trout may be harvested as of April 25th. So far in 2015 the reservoir has been stocked with 5,000 rainbow trout. The Forest Service has opened Poole Creek Campground. Contact Lemolo Lake Resort at 541-957-8354 for conditions and additional information.

LOON LAKE: rainbow trout, bass, bluegill

Loon Lake has been stocked with 7,500 trout in 2015. The lake also has good fishing for crappie, bluegill and bass during warmer months. Visit the BLM and Loon Lake Resort websites for information on opening dates and camping this summer.

LOST CREEK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, spring Chinook, bass

Trout fishing is very good at Lost Creek Reservoir and fish remain spread out around the lake as of late May. Legal-sized trout are plentiful, but trout 15-18 trout are being caught as well. Some of these fish are holdovers, and some come from recent releases from Cole Rivers and Klamath hatcheries.

Bank anglers may want to try fishing bait or casting lures along the shoreline near the Takelma parking area. Boat anglers should do well trolling lures or attractors and bait. Fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass should be improving as the fish move into shallower water. The reservoir is 90 percent full, and the surface temperature has jumped to 64o F.

MEDCO POND: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, bluegill

Medco Pond is stocked with legal-sized rainbow trout. Trout fishing has been very good. Anglers are asked to check their trout this year for adipose fin clips, and report Medco trout catches back to ODFW at 541-826-8774. Fishing for largemouth bass and bluegill has been good as well.

Dungeness Crab
Dungeness Crab
-Photo by Kathy Munsel, ODFW-

PACIFIC OCEAN AND BEACHES: bottomfish, salmon, Dungeness crab, surf perch

The ocean is open for harvest of Dungeness crab.

Anglers continue to catch surf perch from the beaches near Winchester, Bandon and Coos Bay. The best fishing is usually on the incoming tide. Sand shrimp is one of the best baits to use when fishing for surf perch.

Recreational ocean salmon season from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt. opened on March 15. The season is open for all salmon except coho salmon, with a bag limit of two salmon per day, and a minimum size for Chinook salmon at 24 inches or larger. Fishing has been difficult due to rough seas and there are few reports of fish being caught, but fishing should improve with conditions.

The next all-depth halibut open days will be May 28-30, June 11-13, and June 25-27. Halibut anglers this past weekend had great success with some fish weighing up to 70 pounds. The nearshore halibut season does not open until July 1.

Starting on April 1, fishing for bottom fish is restricted to inside the 30 fathom curve. Fishing for black rockfish has been good from Charleston to Bandon. The marine fish daily bag limit is seven fish and a separate daily limit for lingcod (two). Anglers can only keep 3 blue rockfish and 1 canary rockfish as part of their daily limit and there will be no harvest of China, quillback, or copper rockfish. Retention of cabezon is not allowed Jan. 1 – June 30.

To help anglers identify common species and comply with the regulations, ODFW has produced several sheets of ID Tips for blue vs. black rockfish and for China, copper and quillback rockfish, as well as a handout titled “What Can I Keep, and How Many?”

PLAT I RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, warmwater fish

In addition to trout fishing, the lake also has good bass fishing. Bass can be harvested from March 1 to Oct. 31 and are catch-and-release only from Nov. 1-Feb. 29. The reservoir has received about 4,500 trout since the beginning of March.

Some of the trout have had 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.

REINHART POND: trout, largemouth bass, bluegill

Reinhart Pond has been stocked with legal and larger-sized rainbow trout. Fishing for trout, bass, and bluegill has been very good.

ROGUE RIVER

Rogue River, lower: spring Chinook

Increased water temperatures this week will slow spring Chinook fishing.

Rogue River, middle: Chinook salmon, steelhead, trout

Spring Chinook are available, and last week’s freshets should bring more fish upstream. Only hatchery Chinook with clipped adipose fins may be retained at this time. In addition the river is open for trout fishing. Anglers can keep five adipose fin-clipped rainbow trout per day. Nonadipose fin-clipped rainbow trout and all cutthroat trout must be immediately released unharmed.

As of Monday, the flow at Grants Pass was 2,350 cfs and the water temperature was peaking at 62oF. Releases from Lost Creek are increasing by 200 cfs on Tuesday, and will likely increase again with some warmer weather forecast for later in the week. For those interested in checking conditions before getting on the river, the City of Grants Pass Water Division’s website offers information on NTU’s at Grants Pass as well as a link to a river camera.

rogue river
Rogue River above Lost Creek
-Photo by Rick Swart, ODFW-

Rogue River, upper: steelhead, trout

Bank anglers are having success drifting bait or drift-bobbers. Boaters are catching fish by back-bouncing bait or back-trolling plugs. Anglers are reminded that only hatchery Chinook with clipped adipose fins may be retained. In addition the river is open for trout fishing, and fishing can be very good for trout on the upper river. Anglers can keep five adipose fin-clipped rainbow trout per day. Nonadipose fin-clipped rainbow trout and all cutthroat trout must be immediately released unharmed.

The flow at Gold Ray was 2,590 cfs and the water temperature was peaking at 62oF on Monday. The outflow from Lost Creek Reservoir was 2,000 cfs at 51oF. Releases from Lost Creek are increasing by 200 cfs on Tuesday, and will likely increase again with some warmer weather forecast for later in the week. As of May 20, a total 1,868 spring Chinook have been collected at Cole Rivers Hatchery, with 563 new Chinook collected last week.

Rogue River, above Lost Creek Reservoir: trout

Weekly trout releases in the mainstem of the Rogue above Lost Creek Reservoir are underway. Fishing should be very good. Anglers should note that two stocking sites have been dropped for this year: Foster Creek and Woodruff Creek at Abbott Campground. Hamaker Campground will not be stocked directly but will receive trout from a release upstream at Minnehaha Creek.

SMITH RIVER, Umpqua: sturgeon, striped bass, steelhead, trout

As of May 23rd, retention of adipose fin-clipped steelhead is allowed in the Smith River mainstem from the mouth upstream to Spencer Creek and in the North Fork of the Smith River from the mouth upstream to Johnson Creek. The use of bait is allowed in tidewaters. Trout fishing on the Smith River and tributaries also opened on May 23rd, and anglers should pay close attention to catch and release, harvest, and artificial fly use deadlines outlined in the regulation manual. Striped bass fishing will pick up as spring progresses. Sturgeon fishing is catch-and-release only.

SODA SPRINGS RESERVOIR: Closed to fishing.

SPALDING POND: rainbow trout

Spalding Pond is stocked with legal-sized rainbow trout.

TENMILE BASIN: trout, largemouth bass, yellow perch

Streams in the Tenmile Basin are open for trout fishing as of Saturday, May 23. Fishing is restricted to artificial flies and lures in streams above tidewater. Anglers should have good success catching trout in the deeper pools and riffles using spinners or flies.

Tenmile Lakes is open all year for trout and anglers have been catching trout trolling wedding ring spinners tipped with a worm in the main part of Tenmile Lakes. Trolling for trout in the upper arms of the lakes has been a little slower.

Bass anglers have been catching several largemouth bass in Tenmile Lakes. Bass can be found this time of the year in shallow water near structure like logs or weed lines.

A few anglers have been catching yellow perch from the fishing dock at the County Boat Ramp. A worm or piece of cut bait fished near the bottom works well for catching yellow perch.

TOKETEE LAKE: brown trout, rainbow trout

Fishing is open in Toketee year-round. The boat ramp is currently open but water levels remain low making it difficult to launch boats. For more information call the U.S. Forest Service at 541-498-2531.

North Umpqua River
North Umpqua River
-ODFW Photo-

UMPQUA HIGH LAKES AND FOREBAYS: trout

Access should be good with the limited snow received over the winter. Contact the Forest Service at 541-957-3200 for road and trail conditions. Clearwater Forebay 2 has been stocked with approximately 3,000 rainbow trout in 2015. Anglers fishing the high lakes in the Umpqua District are encouraged to e-mail fishing reports.

UMPQUA RIVER, MAINSTEM: steelhead, spring Chinook

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. Plunkers should have some success throughout the season following rain events that cause the steelhead to hug the shoreline. Spring Chinook fishing has slowed with the low water conditions making some boating access difficult. Catch and release trout fishing on the mainstem Umpqua opened May 23. Trout fishing in Umpqua tributaries also opened on May 23rd, with fishing restricted to the use of artificial flies and lures except for in tidewater areas where bait is allowed.

Please note the changes in regulations this year on page 40 of the 2015 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations booklet. On the Main, anglers can harvest 2 wild spring Chinook per day and up to 5 wild springers from Feb. 1 – July 31. From Aug. 1 – Dec. 31, you can harvest 2 wild Chinook per day, and in combination with the other salmon/steelhead recorded on your salmon tag, up to 20 fish total. Fin-clipped hatchery fish can be recorded on a separate hatchery harvest tag that is available. There is no limit on the number of hatchery tags that can be purchased. Daily limits still apply.

Now that the water is warming up the opportunities for catching good numbers of shad and smallmouth bass are increasing. Shad fishing is usually productive through Father’s Day and smallmouth bass fishing using a variety of lures such as twister-tails and worms should be good throughout the summer months.

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.

UMPQUA RIVER, NORTH: steelhead, spring Chinook

Summer steelhead should begin to return to the North Umpqua in the coming weeks. Most of the fish returning to the North are wild so the fishing is mostly catch-and-release. Remember all wild steelhead must be released unharmed. Trout fishing on portions of the mainstem North Umpqua and tributaries opened on May 23, and anglers should pay close attention to which sections and streams are open to catch and release, harvest, and artificial fly use outlined in the regulation manual.

Spring Chinook fishing has been spotty with some fish being caught around Rock Creek. Fishing should continue to improve especially with recent precipitation.

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. Per the new regulation on page 40 of the 2015 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations booklet, from Feb. 1 – July 31, 2 wild Chinook per day can be harvested and up to 10 wild Chinook during this time frame in combination with wild Chinook harvested in the Main. Remember that from March 1 through July 31 the anti-snagging 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.

Rock Creek Hatchery and new RockEd facility will be closed to visitors from March 16 through June.

North Umpqua River water levels at Winchester Dam

UMPQUA RIVER, SOUTH: steelhead

The mainstem South Umpqua upstream to Jackson Creek Bridge opened to fishing on May 23, with trout fishing being strictly catch and release. Catch and release trout fishing in South Umpqua tributaries below Jackson Creek Bridge also opened on May 23, with fishing restricted to the use of artificial flies and lures. Smallmouth bass fishing should be productive with warming water temperatures.

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

In addition to being well stocked with legal-sized trout, Willow Lake received 1,500 larger trout averaging one pound each last week from Cole Rivers Hatchery. Anglers can enjoy very good trout fishing right now with a catch that includes some very nice fish. Bank anglers should do well fishing bait, while boat anglers should catch fish by trolling with bait or lures or by still fishing with bait.

Fishing for bass and other warmwater species has been fair and should improve as the fish move into shallow water. Willow Lake is full. The campground and boat ramp are open.

WINCHESTER BAY: bottomfish, perch

Fishing for bottomfish in the Triangle and South jetty has been successful. Perch fishing has been productive in the bay, and it was reported that good size striped perch were being caught along the jetty. Crabbing has picking up with some limits reported.

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  Southwest Zone Hunting

OPEN: COUGAR, SPRING BEAR, SPRING TURKEY

Spring bear and turkey hunting close May 31.

See the turkey hunting forecast.

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.

Black Bear
Black Bear
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

COOS COUNTY

Bear – The black bear population in Coos County is healthy. In general terms, the population is denser toward the coast. This does not mean the only good hunting is closer to the coast, though.

Hunters should look for forest openings that will attract bears such as clear cuts and slides where grass it growing. As bears become active in the spring they are most interested in eating green, vigorously growing grass. They are generally most active in early morning or late afternoon. Hunters will have the best success if they take their time glassing these areas meticulously. Once a bear is located spend time to verify it is not a sow with cubs before attempting to harvest the bear.

As the season progresses bear activity appears to be picking up. This is likely due to the fact that as the hunting season progresses the breeding season for bears gets closer and bears, especially male bears, become active. Hunters need to be careful in deciding to harvest a bear and make sure that the bear they choose to take is not a sow with cubs.

Turkey season closes May 31. Late season turkey hunting can be productive. Many of the hens are incubating eggs on nests and toms will often quickly respond to calls from a hen that they think is still receptive. Most turkeys in Coos County are found near agricultural lands. Lands in the Coquille Valley near Myrtle Point, Coquille and Fairview are good places to look for turkeys.

Coyote - Numbers are strong throughout Coos County. Using predator calls to lure them in can be an effective method for harvesting coyotes. Try calling in early morning and late afternoon. Be sure to ask permission before hunting on private land.

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.

DOUGLAS COUNTY

GAME:

Cougar – The cougar season is currently 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.

Bear – Spring bear season ends on May 31st.

Turkey –Turkey season ends on May 31st.

Coyote - Numbers are strong throughout Douglas County. Using predator calls to lure them in can be an effective method for harvesting coyotes. Try calling in early morning and late afternoon. Be sure to ask permission before hunting on private land.

JACKSON, JOSEPHINE, CURRY COUNTIES

Turkey

Turkey in Yamhill County
-Photo by David Budeau-

TURKEY - Season closes May 31. Hunters are finding plenty of young toms this year. After last year’s successful nesting season, we have an increase in turkey numbers allowing this season to be better than those of the past few years. Turkey flocks continue to be found in a wide variety of places in our counties. Plenty of public lands have turkey, often found in grassy/oak savannas on BLM lands and lower elevation timber/meadow lands of the Rogue National Forest, although most will be found on private land where permission will needed to be acquired before hunting. Turkeys will be feeding on green grasses and insects. Use locator calls before light or after dark to locate roosting trees; then set up in an area of their travel and begin calling as light approaches.

BEAR season is open and continues thru May 31. All spring bear tags are sold out. Typically spring bear hunting improves as the season goes along. Boars are usually first to show and sows show later. This is what usually occurs when we have a normal winter season. This year may be a bit different with very little winter and warm sunny days. Bear activity may occur earlier. Bear number continue to be high. When bears are out they will be feeding in grassy openings. Focus on south facing hillsides in the early mornings and evenings. Good spots to check are skid roads and side roads that are untraveled with lots of grassy margins and bear sign.

Remember successful bear hunters need to checking in an unfrozen skull; otherwise tooth collection, measurement and tagging is difficult. Biologists recommend propping the bear’s mouth open with a stick after harvest; it makes for easier tooth collection and measuring. Weyco permits for bear hunting information

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.

Cougar season is open statewide year-round or until zone quotas are met. 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. Hunter can find coyotes around meadows and brush piles where mice and rabbits are found. Predator calls are very useful when used in conjunction to known prey base.

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 Southwest Zone Wildlife Viewing

Stellar Sealion
Steller Sea Lions - Rogue Reef
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

COOS COUNTY

Elk

Due to green up of grass in Coos County elk are very visible right now. These animals move in to clear cuts and other forest openings to feed on the grass there. Those interested in seeing these animals should concentrate their search on south slopes. Many bulls have shed their antlers. Now, they will start the process of regrowing antlers. By July, some will have a significant amount of their antlers visible. By mid-August most will have the majority of their antlers regrown.

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.

Shorebirds

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.

Waterfowl

Bufflehead
Bufflehead male in breeding plumage
- Photo by Cathy Nowalk, ODFW-

Waterfowl abundance is high presently in Coos County. The birds in Coos County now are primarily here to spend the winter. The Coquille Valley is a great place to see dabbling ducks in large numbers. As many as 95% of the pacific coast dabblers stopover in the Coquille Valley during the migration. A large number of them spend the winter there. For those interested in seeing large numbers of diving ducks Coos Bay in the vicinity of Cape Arago Hwy. and Clam Island, on the Coos Bay North Spit, are good places to look. Also, sea ducks like surf scoters are easy to find right now in all the coastal bays. 3/31/15

CURRY, JACKSON, JOSEPHINE COUNTIES

Curry County

For a great birding trail along the southern coast, visit Oregon Birding Trails

Whale watching is occurring along the coast through end of May with one migration heading south until February. This migration is occurring two miles off shore. March through May is their northern migration when they will be cruising closer to shore. Viewing points within Curry County from north to south are Battle Rock, Cape Sebastian, Cape Ferrelo, and Harris Beach State Park.

While in Curry County be on the lookout for seals along the port in Gold Beach, Osprey nesting all along the lower river (look for stick nests), and Osprey and occasional brown pelican fishing in the bay at Gold Beach.

Jackson and Josephine Counties

Check out Roxy Ann Peak trail as an area to view the Rogue Valley and the various wildlife found along the way. Roxy Ann Peak

LAKE SELMAC is a great place to see waterfowl, eagles, osprey and other lake shore birds. Directions from Grants Pass, take Hwy 199 west about 12 miles to lake turn off sign at Lakeshore Drive. Turn left, follow to lake.

Lost Creek Lake provides 30 miles of trails which includes portions of the Rogue River National Recreation Trail. Along the lake and riverbanks, a wide variety of wildlife and wild flowers can be observed. Deer may be seen early in the morning and late evenings along waterways. A brochure of the trail system can be picked up at federal land agency and visitor centers in the area.

Killdeer

A bird known by its shape and behavior as plover. They have a distinct double black band on their breast and a loud piercing call: kill-dee or dee-dee-dee. They are found in low to no vegetation areas such as lawns, golf courses, driveways, parking lots, and gravel-covered roofs, as well as pastures, fields, sandbars and mudflats. They protect their nest by leading predators away by acting like they have a broken wing. Be aware of their nest which are often found in gravel driveways. Found throughout Oregon.

Denman Wildlife Area

Swallows have returned to Denman Wildlife Area to inhabit our song bird boxes, come watch them soar around and begin staking out their new home. Many people are visiting the area for fishing opportunities where bass, blue gills and bull head cat fish are caught. School and scout groups are scheduling appointments where Area staff has provided presentations and tours of the area.

DOUGLAS COUNTY

Bullock’s Oriole
Bullock’s Oriole adult
- Wikipedia -

Bullock’s Oriole

The Bullock’s (Northern) oriole has now arrived, and is commonly seen and heard around the Umpqua Valley. Look for their colorful orange and black bodies that are 8” long. The Bullock’s oriole is our only oriole in Western Oregon found nesting in woodlands, orchards, riparian areas and farmland in tall shade trees like cottonwood. Their diet is insects (spiders), snails and nectar. Remember if you have an oriole feeder that you can make your own oriole food, similar to hummingbirds, 4 parts water to 1 part sugar ratio but always make sure the sugar goes completely into solution before hanging up for use.

Fish Passage

Winter Steelhead and Spring Chinook migrating upstream passing through Winchester dam fish ladder on the N. Umpqua River which is free and open to the public. To view the migrating Steelhead go to exit 129 on I-5, proceed southeast on 99 to the fish ladder on the north side of the river.

Killdeer

Most of the local shorebirds are nesting at this time. Shorebirds include oystercatchers, plovers, turnstones, sandpipers and phalaropes. One of the most common shorebirds and plovers in our area is the killdeer. The killdeer is a brown, white and black medium sized shore bird 10.5 inch long with two black neck bands and orange on the upper tail and lower back plus a long tail.

Killdeer are commonly seen in pastures, fields, meadows, airports and soccer fields often far from water emitting a killdeer call when startled. This migratory bird has variable nests but commonly makes an unlined depression nest in the gravel. Killdeer are famous for feigning injury near its nest to distract intruders.

Common Nighthawk

The first nighthawk’s have arrived from their wintering areas in South America. The nighthawk is a darkish colored bird 9.5 inch long with long pointed wings and white wing patches. Nighthawks are commonly observed flying high in the evening sky catching insects on the wing emitting a nasal peent call. This migratory bird is one of the last birds to migrate to North America for nesting. It can be seen and heard in Western Oregon from cities and towns to woodlands and forests.

Turtles and other reptiles

Western Pond Turtles can be seen on warm sunny days and afternoons at all local reservoirs plus Stewart Park Pond in Roseburg. Springtime is a good time to run across snakes and lizards since they are coming out of hibernation as the temperature warms up. Most all snakes are in Western Oregon are non-venomous with the only venomous snake being the Western Rattlesnake. Some common snakes in our area are Sharptail, Ringneck, Common King, Gopher and Garter (four species). The most common lizards in our area are Alligator Lizard (two species), Western Fence and Western Skink.

Stewart Park Wildlife Trail

The Stewart Park ponds and nature trail system next to Fred Meyer in Roseburg is a great place to enjoy numerous wildlife species. Ducks, geese, turtles, herons, pigeons, nutria, swallows, sparrows and swifts are some of the common wildlife seen in the area. The nature trail has many interpretative signs to read along the way besides great viewing opportunities in this unique wildlife mitigation area. 

Deer

Fawns are being seen in our area so keep in mind that almost all fawns are not abandoned. Please do not pick up or move the fawns since the doe is probably foraging in the vicinity. Contact the local ODFW office or reference the ODFW website if you have fawn questions.

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