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Fishing, hunting and wildlife viewing opportunities detailed

A young boy concentrates on his next cast while fishing at The Dalles Marina. FILE PHOTO Mark B. Gibson

Photo by Mark Gibson
A young boy concentrates on his next cast while fishing at The Dalles Marina. FILE PHOTO Mark B. Gibson

Columbia and Willamette spring chinook seasons

The first fish of the season have been caught on both the Columbia and Willamette. Seasonal regulations take affect March 1 and are posted here.

Spring bear controlled hunt application deadline Feb. 10

Check page 35 of the 2013 Big Game Regulations for more information

Women’s Introduction to Pheasant Hunting

Sunday, Feb. 24 at Luckiamute Valley Pheasant Preserve in Monmouth. Registration is $50 and includes lunch, instruction, equipment (shotguns, ammo, safety gear) and hunts with volunteer handlers and dogs. Go to the ODFW website to learn more and to register.

Tax time: Write in for Wildlife

Help conserve Oregon's wildlife by making a donation on your state tax form. The Nongame Wildlife Fund funds the conservation of the 88 percent of Oregon's wildlife that are not hunted or fished. Write in Charity Code # 19.


Central Zone

Central Zone


Weekend fishing opportunities:

• There are many great year-round fisheries for the fly angler, including the Metolius, Fall and Crooked and Deschutes rivers. Snow and cold temperatures can mean quiet, peaceful fishing. And hypothermia, so be prepared for winter conditions.

• Depending on current weather and ice conditions, January and February can be good months for ice fishing. Always proceed with caution and make sure conditions are safe before going on to the ice.

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 waterbodies 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.


The reservoir is not accessible by vehicle due to the snow on the roads.


The most recent stocking was in late September with a number of one pound rainbow released.

BIG LAVA LAKE: rainbow trout

Closed to fishing until spring.

BIKINI POND: rainbow trout

The pond has received its fall stocking, and should provide anglers with good fall fishing opportunity.


Water level in reservoir is at low levels due to irrigation demand. Recent snow will limit access.

CRANE PRAIRIE RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, brook trout, kokanee, largemouth bass

Closed to fishing until spring.

CRESCENT LAKE: rainbow trout, brown trout, lake trout and kokanee

Opportunities for rainbow and brown trout are good.

See the story of the 26-pound lake trout recently caught at Crescent Lake.

CROOKED RIVER BELOW BOWMAN DAM: redband trout and mountain whitefish

Fishing for trout has been good. Water levels have been consistent and fish are feeding on small mayfly and midge nymphs. The use of bait is prohibited until May 2013. Trout over 20 inches are considered steelhead and must be released unharmed.

Flows below Bowman Dam.

A sample of redband trout and mountain whitefish are tagged with a numbered floy tag protruding from the back. Anglers who catch a trout or whitefish with a floy tag are encouraged to release the fish with the tag intact after recording the tag color and number, fish length and location caught. Anglers can send the information to ODFW at (541) 447-5111 ext. 24 or

CULTUS LAKE: rainbow trout, lake trout

No recent reports.

DAVIS LAKE: redband trout, largemouth bass

Inaccessible due to snow.

DESCHUTES RIVER: steelhead, redband trout

Mouth to the Pelton Regulating Dam: steelhead, redband trout, whitefish

Trout fishing remains good for trout downstream from the Warm Springs Reservation Boundary. Best trout fishing typically occurs around midday, as the best light reaches the canyon floor. Fly anglers will find best success with nymphs along with egg patterns for trout and whitefish. Anglers are reminded trout angling is closed upstream from the Warm Springs Reservation Boundary.

Anglers should note that fall chinook salmon retention closed on the Deschutes Nov. 1.

Anglers, who catch a tagged hatchery steelhead with an orange anchor tag, are encouraged to report catch information to ODFW at 541-296-4628 or via the internet Anglers catching a tagged wild fish should release it immediately without recording any information.

Anglers can check the trap for the seasons catch at Sherars Falls as an indicator of fish movement in the Deschutes. The Sherars Falls trap went offline for the season Nov. 2.

Lake Billy Chinook to Bend: rainbow trout, brown trout

Flows have increased with the end of irrigation season. This will make the river more difficult to wade but often triggers trout to feed more heavily and seek out new territories. Rainbow trout average 10 to 16-inches, while brown trout up to 26-inches are available. Anglers will find better access downstream of Lower Bridge. Remains open year round; however, gear is restricted to artificial flies and lures only.

EAST LAKE: rainbow trout, brown trout, Atlantic salmon, kokanee

Closed to fishing until spring.

FALL RIVER: rainbow trout

No recent reports. The river below the falls closed on Sept. 30. The river above the falls is open all year. Fishing is restricted to fly fishing only with barbless hooks.

FROG LAKE: rainbow trout

No recent reports. Snow will limit access.

HAYSTACK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, brown trout, kokanee

No recent reports.

HOOD RIVER: summer steelhead, winter steelhead

Anglers are catching a few early winter steelhead, the fishing will continue to get better as the winter progresses. Anglers are reporting the best success on bait due to the cold water temperatures.

HOSMER LAKE: Atlantic salmon, brook trout, rainbow trout

Inaccessible due to snow.

LAKE BILLY CHINOOK: bull trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, kokanee, smallmouth bass

Fishing for bull trout has been fair. Anglers are reminded there are small numbers of spring chinook and summer steelhead in Lake Billy Chinook as part of the reintroduction effort. Please release these fish unharmed. The Metolius Arm closed to fishing Oct. 31.

LITTLE LAVA LAKE: rainbow trout, brook trout

No recent reports.

LOST LAKE: rainbow trout, brown trout

No recent reports. Anglers should check with the USFS Hood River Ranger Station for 541-352-6002 concerning access.

METOLIUS RIVER: redband trout, bull trout

Trout fishing has been good. Insect hatches should offer lots of opportunities for good dry fly fishing. Angling for post spawning bull trout should be excellent. Large streamer flies fished in the deeper pools and slots are the best bet.

The mainstem above the Allingham Bridge closed to fishing Oct. 31.

NORTH TWIN: rainbow trout

No recent reports.


No recent reports.

Angling is restricted to artificial flies and lures only; two trout per day with an 8-inch minimum length. Trout over 20 inches are considered steelhead and must be released unharmed.

OCHOCO RESERVOIR: rainbow trout

The reservoir is completely iced-over but anglers should exercise extreme caution if ice fishing. Freezing and thawing cycles may weaken the ice.

ODELL LAKE: kokanee, lake trout, rainbow trout

Closed to fishing until spring.

PAULINA LAKE: brown trout, rainbow trout, kokanee

Closed to fishing until spring.


No recent reports; might be frozen.

PRINEVILLE RESERVOIR: rainbow trout and largemouth bass

The reservoir is mostly iced over with some open water. Anglers should exercise extreme caution if ice fishing.

PRINEVILLE YOUTH FISHING POND: rainbow trout and largemouth bass

The pond is iced over and ice fishing is not allowed. Due to safety concerns, no one is allowed to be on the ice.


No recent reports; likely frozen.


Shevlin Pond is fishing well and typically fishes well throughout winter if not iced over.

SOUTH TWIN LAKE: Rainbow trout

Closed to fishing until spring.

SUTTLE LAKE: brown trout, kokanee

No recent reports

TAYLOR LAKE: rainbow trout and largemouth bass

Taylor Lake has been recently stocked, and has provided consistent catches of rainbow trout.

WALTON LAKE: rainbow trout

No recent reports.

WICKIUP RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, brown trout, kokanee, largemouth bass.

Closed to fishing until next spring.



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.


Cougar - Present throughout the Maury, Ochoco, and Grizzly units but are more likely near deer and elk herds. The Maury and Ochoco units are recommended because of their greater amounts of accessible public land. Remember cougars must be checked in at an ODFW office within 10 days of harvest. Please consult the synopsis for all required parts and be sure to call first to make an appointment.


Cougar - Hunters wishing to pursue cougar will find best success near areas of deer and elk concentrations and near recent cougar kills and calling. With periodic snow events, following fresh tracks can improve chances of locating a cougar. Successful hunters, remember you must check in cougar (hide and skull) and bear skull at an ODFW office within 10 days of harvest and bring them in unfrozen. It’s also a good idea to prop their mouths open with a stick after harvest for easier tissue sampling, teeth collection and tagging. See regulations for details.


Vehicle Access: Most gates through the Wildlife Area closed Dec. 1 and will remain closed until April 1, 2013. As of January 1, 2013 new rules take effect that prohibits all recreational ATV use on the Wildlife Area, also camping will be only allowed in designated camping areas.

A parking permit is now required to use/park on the White River Wildlife Area along with other ODFW wildlife areas. Visit ODFW’s Web site.

Cougar - Open all year or until zone mortality quotas have been met. Look for areas that have recent deer and elk activity. Focus your efforts along migration routes, and along rim rocks and canyons. Look for fresh tracks or kills to increase success. Deer are down on the Wildlife Area for the winter so it is a good area to look for cougars.

Coyote - Hunters should be looking in open areas along the eastern perimeter of the wildlife area. Open fields can provide good calling opportunities on the area.


Jefferson and Crook Counties

Prineville Area

Winter conditions are present and recreational users and their pets should dress and come equipped for snow, ice, and potentially dangerous driving conditions.

The Prineville Reservoir Wildlife Management Area (WMA) offers winter wildlife viewing opportunities. With recent frigid winter temperatures many ducks, geese, and other waterfowl have moved to more temperate areas. The WMA and the north side access road are now closed to motorized access. Walk in or bike access is allowed and provides vantage points to view migrating birds and resident wildlife.

Waterfowl hunters and trappers may also be using the area and all users are encouraged to wear bright hunter orange clothing. Most trappers avoid using the more traveled areas along the north shore, but could be using remote upland areas and the south shoreline which is difficult to access without a boat or canoe. Dog owners should use care when using remote uplands or the south shore. A map of the area is available at the ODFW’s Prineville Office and the Oregon State Park office located at the Prineville Reservoir State Park, or for more information, visit ODFW’s Web site. 12/18/12.


It’s still a bit early, but scan the sky’s for a glimpse of a large birds with a “V” shaped wing pattern and you could be looking at a turkey vultures as they start to arrive back into the area. You’re chances of seeing one go up as the month progresses and we approach March.

Winter is an excellent time to view raptors around Deschutes County. Red-tailed hawks are one of the most numerous birds of prey and commonly seen on fence and power poles scanning meadows, sagebrush shrub steppe, and other open areas for a tasty rodent.

Stella’s jays, white-headed woodpeckers, junco’s, several sparrow species, ravens, spotted towhee, hairy woodpecker, cedar waxwings and red-cross bills are just a few of the species that can be found in the Deschutes National Forest and BLM managed lands. Good sites to look for birds include forest edges surrounding meadows and wetland areas. Those with patience and stealth may be rewarded by the call and possible sighting of a Virginia rail moving through thickets of cat tails.

Specific birding destinations to consider include Tumalo Reservoir (west of Highway 20 between Sister and Bend), Pelton Dam wildlife overlook and Lake Simstustus (Deschutes River northwest of Madras), and Hatfield Lakes (just north of the Bend airport), where you can expect to see. Canada geese, American widgeon, green-winged teal, bufflehead, ring-necked ducks, northern shovelers, lesser scaup, common and Barrow’s goldeneye, multiple gull species, and various grebes including horned, eared, western, and Clark’s.

Now that snow has melted at lower elevations, mammal activity will start to pick up a little. Squirrels may be seen on warmer days, and you might run into a black-tailed jackrabbit or two in areas where sagebrush abounds. Folks up and about in the early hours maybe treated to the sight of a coyote hunting for meadow voles and other small rodents in open meadows.

Some amphibian activity is occurring beneath the frozen surface of ponds, but for the most part, they will be absent from view for the next month or so. Likewise, reptiles are sequestered in their underground winter quarters and will remain there until warmer days return in March or April. 2/4/13.


The Lower Deschutes River can provide ample wildlife viewing opportunities. California Bighorn Sheep are frequently observed in the canyon and can provide fantastic viewing this time of year. The best spot to view sheep is from the BLM access road just downstream and across the river from Sherar’s Falls (along Hwy 216). Other wildlife that may be seen along the river include the red-tailed hawk, American kestrel, Osprey, Golden and Bald eagles. Waterfowl are commonly observed on the river, and visitors can usually see many different songbirds and upland game birds that also call the canyon home. 12/21/12.


Columbia River Zone

Columbia River zone

Weekend Fishing Opportunities:

• Sturgeon fishing is good in the Bonneville Pool, and fair in the lower Columbia.

• Anglers are catching a few steelhead in The Dalles and John Day Pools, as well as along the beaches of the lower Columbia.

• Walleye anglers are catching a few fish in Bonneville, The Dalles, and John Day pools.

Current Columbia River regulations for sturgeon and spring chinook can be found at the Sport Fishing Regulation Update page.SALMON, STEELHEAD AND SHAD:

Steelhead anglers are finding a few fish in The Dalles and John Day Pools; bank anglers are also having some luck on the lower Columbia.

Portland to Longview Bank:

Weekly checking showed one adipose fin-clipped steelhead kept for 62 bank anglers.

Portland Boats:

Weekend checking showed no catch for three boats (six anglers).

Bonneville Pool:

No report.

The Dalles Pool:

Weekly checking showed one unclipped steelhead released for 15 bank anglers; and three unclipped steelhead released for one boat (two anglers).

John Day Pool (Columbia River above John Day Dam and John Day Arm):

Weekly checking showed no catch for nine bank anglers; and one clipped and four unclipped steelhead released for four boats (nine anglers).


Gorge Bank:

No report.

Gorge Boats:

No report.

Portland to Longview Bank:

Weekly checking showed no catch for one bank angler.

Portland to Longview Boats:

Weekend checking showed 35 sublegal sturgeon released for 24 boats (67 anglers).

Bonneville Pool:

Weekly checking showed nine sublegal sturgeon released for 56 bank anglers; and 33 legal white sturgeon kept, plus 11 legal, two oversize and 473 sublegal sturgeon released for 48 boats (135 anglers).

The Dalles Pool:

Weekly checking showed one sublegal sturgeon released for 14 bank anglers; and two legal white sturgeon kept, plus one oversize and 10 sublegal sturgeon released for one boat (three anglers).

John Day Pool:

Weekly checking showed one sublegal sturgeon released for 54 bank anglers; and three legal white sturgeon kept, plus four oversize and 12 sublegal sturgeon released for 37 boats (80 anglers).

Sturgeon creel sampling summaries and catch estimates for Bonneville, The Dalles, and John Day Pools can be found at the following link:

WDFW Mid-Columbia River mainstem sport sampling summary


Bonneville Pool:

Weekly checking showed three walleye kept for one boat (one angler).

The Dalles Pool:

Weekly checking showed two walleye kept, plus one walleye released for two boats (three anglers)

John Day Pool:

Weekly checking showed six walleye kept, plus three walleye released for 18 boats (31 anglers).


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