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

Weekly Recreation Report: Southwest Zone

March 24, 2015

 Southwest Zone Fishing

Black Rockfish
Black Rockfish
-Photo by Bob Swingle-

Weekend fishing opportunities

  • Several area lakes (too numerous to mention!) were stocked with trout last week in anticipation of spring break.
  • Recent rains are giving winter steelhead anglers one last hurrah before the season closes on rivers like the Applegate, Chetco, Sixes and Illinois.
  • Spring Chinook have been caught in the lower Rogue and recent rains should bring more fish into the river.
  • Steelhead fishing is getting better on the middle Rogue, and anglers on the upper river were catching a few fish per boat.

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.

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.

APPLEGATE RESERVOIR: largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, trout

Applegate offers a winter trout fishing opportunity and trout fishing has been fair. Anglers have reported good catches where the creeks enter the reservoir. Boat anglers can launch at the French Gulch low water ramp.

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 currently open for winter steelhead fishing. Only adipose fin-clipped hatchery steelhead may be kept, while all non-adipose finclipped steelhead must be immediately released unharmed. Outflow from the dam has decreased to 150 cfs but there are good numbers of hatchery and wild fish spread throughout the system and anglers have reported fair to good success over the last week. Fishing has been good from the Rogue up to dam. The Applegate will close to all fishing on March 31 so now is the time to get out there and catch some steelhead.
 
ARIZONA POND: rainbow trout

A mix of legal-size and trophy trout were stocked last week. This pond is managed by Oregon State Parks as a 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 was stocked with about 2,500 trout last week and will be stocked again before spring break. Warmwater fishing for bass and crappie may improve with the recent water temperatures.

CHETCO RIVER: steelhead

Rain this week will give anglers one more chance for good fishing conditions before the season is over at the end of the March. Most fish are spawned out, but a few late steelhead will be around.

Chetco River flows near Brookings

Rainbow Trout

Rainbow Trout
-Photo by Jim Yuskavitch, ODFW-

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

Cooper Creek was stocked with about 2,000 trout last week, plus 400 legals and about 100 one-pound trout earlier this year. It’s scheduled to be stocked again before spring break.

Last year, 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 COUNTY LAKES/PONDS: trout,

Trophy trout were stocked last week in Bradley Lake and Johnson Mill Pond. Legal-size and trophy trout were also stocked last week in Empire Lakes. Legal size trout were stocked in the past month in Bradley Lake, Saunders Lake, Powers Pond, Mingus Park Pond, and Johnson Mill Pond. Trout are biting on bait fished near the bottom or lures like spinners or spoons. There are several lakes like Tenmile, Eel, and Butterfield with holdover rainbow trout from last year’s stocking.

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

Steelhead fishing is open until April 30 in the Coos Basin although many anglers have put away their steelhead gear for the season. River levels have been low but there are still a few steelhead around. 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.

Fishing has been good for rockfish inside lower Coos Bay around the jetties. 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?” All are available on ODFW’s website.

Anglers have been catching surf smelt using herring jigs on the docks in Charleston. Fishing has been best near high tide.

Crabbing has been decent in the lower bay. 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. Before any shellfish harvest trip, make sure to check the Oregon Department of Agriculture website for any updates.

COQUILLE RIVER BASIN: steelhead

Steelhead fishing is open in the Coquille Basin until April 30. River levels have been low but there are still a few steelhead around. There is good bank access on the North Fork Coquille at LaVerne Park. Bank and boat access is spread out along the South Fork Coquille River from Broadbent to Powers. 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: trout

The warmer temperatures have melted all of the snow and ice, and the entire lake is now open. Since the North and South boat ramps are not currently snowed in, there is an opportunity for boat fishing. Anglers have been catching fish in the 12-15 inch range. The water is still very cold so the fish are biting lightly.

The Forest Service campgrounds are closed for the season. Anglers can check fishing conditions at Diamond Lake on their 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.

ELK RIVER: steelhead

Low. 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 Lake
Rainbow Trout at Emigrant Lake
-Photo by Daniel Vandyke-

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

Emigrant was stocked with 3,500 legal-sized trout last week. However, the water is still a little turbid from recent rain. Fishing for trout should be good and warm water angling should begin picking up soon. The water level in the reservoir is at 75 percent.

EXPO POND: trout

Expo Pond was stocked with 1,500 legals three weeks ago and was stocked with 100 one-pound and 500 legal-sized trout in October. Fishing should be good. Still fishing with PowerBait or worms will likely provide the best success.

Expo Pond is located directly adjacent to the access road at gate 5.

FISH LAKE: rainbow trout, brook trout, spring Chinook

Fish Lake is ice free and fishing should pick up as the weather warms.

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

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.

By early April, Galesville should be stocked with about 6,000 trout. 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

Warmer weather this week should put the trout on the bite. Good numbers of trophy and legal-size trout are spread throughout the lake. 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. The Little River Road (27) had a slide that prevents access to Hemlock and Lake in the Woods. Folks would have to go up Apple Creek for access. Contact the Forest Service at 541-496-3532 for road conditions.

Steelhead
Showing off a Nice Steelhead
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

ILLINOIS RIVER: trout, steelhead

The Illinois River is open to fishing for trout and steelhead below Pomeroy Dam. Anglers are restricted to artificial flies and lures only. Between Klondike Creek and Pomeroy, anglers have a limited opportunity to harvest a wild winter steelhead. Non adipose fin-clipped winter steelhead at least 24-inches long may be harvested, one per day and up to five per year. Flows are up and that has increased winter steelhead movement in the Illinois. Conditions will be good all week for those interested in steelhead fishing. The Illinois will close to all fishing on March 31 so now is the time to get out there.

Illinois River flows at Kerby

LAKE MARIE: rainbow trout

The lake was stocked with over 5,000 trout in 2014. It will receive 2,000 trout for spring break. Most anglers use PowerBait or worms.

LAKE SELMAC: trout, largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie

Selmac was stocked with 5,000 legal-sized fish this week and was stocked with 5,000 legal-sized fish over one month ago. Those fish coupled with releases last fall mean that good numbers of rainbow trout are available for anglers at Lake Selmac.

LEMOLO RESERVOIR: Closed for fishing until April 1

Even though the reservoir is ice-free, Leomolo is closed to fishing until April 1. Contact Lemolo Lake Resort at 541-957-8354 for conditions and addition information. The Forest Service campgrounds remain closed. When Lemolo opens, it will be catch and release for brown trout from April 1 to 24.

LOON LAKE: rainbow trout, bass, bluegill

Loon Lake was stocked with nearly 8,000 trout in 2014. Loon Lake will be stocked with trout before spring break. The lake also has good fishing for crappie, bluegill and bass during warmer months.

The boat ramps are closed for the season. 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

Lost Creek offers very good winter trout fishing. Water clarity remains good near the dam and the main body of the reservoir. Lost Creek was stocked with 25,000 legal-sized trout last week but be mindful of all the floating debris that has accumulated over the over the winter.

Bank anglers may want to try fishing the shoreline at the Takelma parking area. Trollers may want to try fishing the lower portion of the reservoir while keeping an eye out for floating debris from the storm. Limits have been reported from the middle of the reservoir down to the dam over the last few weeks.

MEDCO POND: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, bluegill

Medco is ice free and very fishable. Trout are available. Anglers are asked to check trout this year for adipose fin clips, and report Medco trout catches back to ODFW at 541-826-8774.

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

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

The ocean is open for harvest of Dungeness crab.

Anglers continue to catch surf perch from the beaches near 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 for lingcod has been very good in the Coos Bay and Bandon areas. Anglers are catching lingcod in shallow and deep water. Fishing for black rockfish has been decent. The all depth rockfish season ends on March 31. Fishing for rockfish and lingcod is open to all depths until the end of March. 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?” All are available on ODFW’s website.

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 1,500 trout last week and should receive more before spring break. The water level in the reservoir may still be 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: trout

Reinhardt Pond was stocked with 300 legal-sized trout last week and was stocked with 300 legals three weeks ago. Recent stocking coupled with the October stocking means fishing should be good.

ROGUE RIVER

Rogue River, lower: winter steelhead, spring chinook

Most anglers have turned their attention to spring chinook. Boat anglers picked up a few more springers over the weekend, but bank anglers are having a tougher time due to the lower flows. It is still early in the run, but everyday should bring new fish into the river.

Rogue River, middle: steelhead, trout

We are approaching peak winter steelhead fishing in the Grants Pass area and reports indicate a lot of fresh fish have moved up into this area. Drift boats and bank anglers reported success. Fish are reportedly spread throughout the area in good numbers and fishing has gotten better this week. The water temperature was 49°F, with a flow of 2,070 cfs, on Tuesday. 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, upper: steelhead, trout

The release from Lost Creek Reservoir is at 800 cfs. Fish are now spread throughout the upper Rogue in good numbers. Reports indicate a few fish per boat over the last week with a mix of wild and hatchery fish caught. Bank anglers have reportedly done well from Casey Park to the hatchery. The flow at Gold Ray was 2,300 cfs on Tuesday. The temperature was 48°F on Tuesday. As of March 18, a total of 3,530 summer steelhead have entered Cole Rivers Hatchery, with 8 new for the week. A total of 1,048 winter steelhead have been collected with 560 new for the week. This is by far the highest total for winter steelhead at this date (compared to the last ten years), with many more expected so now is the time to fish the upper Rogue.

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

Rogue River, above Lost Creek Reservoir: trout

The river above Lost Creek is open for trout fishing year-round.

SIXES RIVER: steelhead

Slow, but conditions are good for the last weekend of the winter steelhead season.

SMITH RIVER, Umpqua: steelhead, sturgeon, striped bass

Most of the steelhead will be wild, therefore fishing will be primarily catch-and-release. Striped bass fishing will pick up as spring progresses.

SODA SPRINGS RESERVOIR:

Closed to fishing.

TENMILE BASIN: steelhead, largemouth bass,

Steelhead fishing is open in the Tenmile Basin until April 30. In the Tenmile 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.

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.

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.

UMPQUA HIGH LAKES AND FOREBAYS: trout

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.

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. The river rose to about 5.5 feet with the rain this past weekend, but it will be dropping steadily. However, it should get the springers moving. Spring chinook have now been caught on the Umpqua. Low water conditions makes some boating access difficult.

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.

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

North Umpqua River
North Umpqua River
-ODFW Photo-

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. Conditions should be good this weekend and with the warm conditions, the steelhead should be on the move.

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. Spring chinook will start arriving in late March or early April. 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-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.

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 peak numbers of fish normally show up from February to late March. Fish have been caught in the Canyonville area and hatchery fish have been reported. The hatchery program for winter steelhead is centered in the South Umpqua, which offers the best chance for catching an adipose-fin clipped steelhead for harvest. Most hatchery fish are caught from Canyonville downstream. All wild fish must be released unharmed. Plunking should be good at places such as Lawson Bar, Myrtle Creek and behind Seven Feathers. The water has been low making it harder for long boat drifts, but still suitable for bank anglers.

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

Willow Lake was stocked with 4,500 legal-sized trout last week in time for spring break. Willow Lake is 100 percent full.

WINCHESTER BAY: bottomfish

Fishing for bottomfish in the Triangle and South jetty has been successful. Crabbing has been slow recently.

WINCHUCK RIVER: steelhead

Low and clear.

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  Southwest Zone Hunting

OPEN: COUGAR

SW Oregon spring bear tags sold out Feb. 9, 2015.

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.

COOS COUNTY

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.

Elk
Bull Elk
- Royalty Free Image-

DOUGLAS COUNTY

HUNTING:

GAME:

Cougar – Opened on January 1st. 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.

Controlled Spring Bear – Opens on April 1st and continues through May 31st. Bear numbers are good with the highest numbers at lower elevations in the coast range with lower numbers elsewhere in the coast range and Cascades. Hunters can focus on open meadows early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Successful bear hunters are required to check in the skull within 10 days of the kill.

Turkey – Spring turkey season starts April 15th so start practicing your calling. Last year’s chick/poult counts showed above average production so hunters can expect the spring gobbler hunt this year to be excellent. Over the last 14 years all indicators point to a healthy turkey population in Douglas County. While the hens are off nesting the first part of the season most toms are found on private land sometimes adjacent to public lands. In general, most turkeys are found on or adjacent to low-mid elevation private lands associated with oak savannah habitat. Hunters are reminded to obtain permission before hunting on private lands.

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.

TRAPPING:

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

JACKSON, JOSEPHINE, CURRY COUNTIES

The Jackson Cooperative Travel Management Area is in effect until April 30. This agreement between government agencies and private partners provides hunters with access to a variety of lower elevation areas to hunt. Now that hunting seasons are over the roads continue to remain closed within designated areas unless posted to provide very little disturbance to wildlife especially deer and Elk. Maps can be obtained online through ODFW’s website; click on the Oregon Hunting Access Map

Scouting

TURKEY scouting is here. 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 need 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 just around the corner April 1. 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 hill sides 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.

Shed Antlers

The season is here to find antler sheds. A few of the deer have already lost their antlers, within the next month most will lose them. Most deer sheds will be found in deer winter range which is usually below 3500 feet, often around oak trees and buck brush. Most deer winter range in Jackson county has road closures found in the Jackson Cooperative Travel Management Areas Maps (refer to ODFW Maps). Elk will begin losing their antlers next month. Elk can have a higher elevation winter range up to 5000 feet and sheds are often found around meadows and clearings.

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.

Mink/Muskrat- Healthy populations throughout Western Oregon. Last day of the season is March 31, 2015.

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 Southwest Zone Wildlife Viewing

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

COOS COUNTY

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.

Black Brant are in Coos Bay in large numbers, as well. These marine geese have recently been spending time in the same general areas as the diving ducks in Coos Bay. Observant viewers may see neck collars on brant. If you can see the color of the collar and read the numbers on it report this information to your local ODFW office. This type of information is useful to waterfowl managers. 1/20/15.

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.

Red-winged Black Bird
Red-winged Black Bird Male
- Photo by Dave Budeau -

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

Jackson and Josephine counties are full of flocks of blackbirds, meadowlarks and a variety of sparrows, so take the opportunity to do some bird watching.

Turkey Vultures

A few turkey vultures are starting to appear in the Rogue River Valley from their wintering grounds.

Shed Antlers

The season is approaching to find antler sheds. Few of the deer have already lost their antlers, within the next month most will lose their antler. Most deer sheds will be found in deer winter range which is usually below 3500 feet, often around oak trees and buck brush. Most deer winter range in Jackson county have road closures found in the Jackson Cooperative Travel Management Areas Maps refer to ODFW Maps. Elk will begin losing their antlers next month. Elk can have a higher elevation winter range up to 5000 feet and sheds are often found around meadow and clearing.

Denman Wildlife Area

Tree Swallows
A family of tree swallows in a nest box.
- Photo by Ram Papish-

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.

Bird watchers are welcome to visit the area to see variety of local waterfowl and hawks. A bald eagle has been sighted regularly around Wheatstone Pond. Many Northern Harriers, Red-tailed hawks, and Rough-legged hawks have been seen hunting throughout the valley.

Time to clean out birdhouses and wood duck boxes out for spring.

DOUGLAS COUNTY

EVENT

Migratory Bird Festivals: Look for migratory bird festivals throughout the state in April and May. The Umpqua Valley bird day is at the Douglas County Fairgrounds (exit 123 on I-5) on Saturday April 18, 2015 at the Earth day Celebration. Admission is free.

Turkey Vultures

A few turkey vultures have arrived in the Umpqua Valley.  Look for more turkey vultures returning from their wintering grounds in Mexico and points south.

Amphibian

The Pacific (chorus) tree frog is starting to vocalize around ponds, puddles and other watered areas getting ready for spring breeding season.  They can be heard vocalizing on warmer days and afternoons.

Songbird Boxes

Springtime is just around the corner.  Now is a good time to clean out your songbird and wood duck boxes.  Always remove old nesting material to encourage birds to take up residence.  The most common birds that use songbird nest boxes are bluebird, swallow, chickadee, nuthatch and wren. Other species that can use other types of nesting boxes and nesting structures are wood duck, Canada goose, purple martin, robin, flicker, downy woodpecker, screech and barn owl and sparrow hawk.

Hummingbirds

It is time to hang up your feeders for our summer hummers. Avoid the commercial hummingbird mixture you can buy in the store since the red dye can produce digestive problems for these small birds.  Remember that you can make your own hummingbird food utilizing 4 parts water to 1 part sugar ratio but always make sure the sugar goes completely into solution before hanging up for use.

Fish Spawning

Each year there is a chance to observe wild Winter Steelhead spawning just below and just above Soda Springs dam on the N. Umpqua River 55 miles east of Roseburg.

Shed Antlers

Now is a good time to get out in the woods and look for shed deer and elk antlers.

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