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Central zone fishing, hunting and wildlife viewing

Spring trout stocking continues

Trout are a great fishing opportunity for kids and families. Early season trout stocking is underway, download schudule at right.

Minus tides make for great tidepooling

The first morning minus tides of the year start at the end of March and continue into April on the Oregon Coast. More hours of daylight make this prime time for visiting tidepools and watching the life that was just a few hours before under as much as 10 feet of water.

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Central Zone

FISHING

Weekend fishing opportunities:

• Water levels have been steady and fishing has been good on the Crooked River.

• Trout fishing in the upper Deschutes River between Lake Billy Chinook and Bend often picks up during increased flows, which are happening now.

• Anglers are catching good numbers of winter steelhead in the Hood River, and that number will increase as the season progresses.

• Pinehollow and Rock Creek reservoirs have been stocked recently and fishing should be good for rainbow trout.

ANTELOPE FLAT RESERVOIR: trout

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

BEND PINE NURSERY POND: trout

Although the most recent stocking was in late September, it is likely that many fish overwintered.

BIG LAVA LAKE: rainbow trout

Closed to fishing until spring.

BIKINI POND: rainbow trout

The pond has been stocked this spring and should provide bank anglers with good spring fishing opportunity.

CLEAR LAKE RESERVOIR: rainbow trout

Snow will limit access.

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

Crane Prairie opens to fishing April 27.

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

Opportunities for rainbow and brown trout are good.

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.

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 timothy.k.porter@state.or.us.

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 fishing is closed upstream from the Warm Springs Reservation Boundary.

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.

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

Opens to fishing April 27.

FALL RIVER: rainbow trout

The river above the falls is open all year; the river below the falls opens May 25. Fishing is restricted to fly fishing only with barbless hooks.

FROG LAKE: rainbow trout

Snow will limit access.

HAYSTACK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout, brown trout, kokanee

Fishing has been fair. Anglers are reporting 8 to 10 inch kokanee.

HOOD RIVER: summer steelhead, winter steelhead

Anglers are catching good numbers of winter steelhead; the fishing will continue to get better as the spring gets into full swing. 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 is open to fishing again and there are good numbers of legal-sized bull trout. A tribal angling permit is required in the Metolius Arm. Please check the special regulations for this area.

LITTLE LAVA LAKE: rainbow trout, brook trout

No recent reports.

LOST LAKE: rainbow trout, brown trout

Inaccessible due to snow. 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.

OCHOCO CREEK UPSTREAM TO OCHOCO DAM: rainbow trout

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 ice free and fishing has been fair.

ODELL LAKE: kokanee, lake trout, rainbow trout

Fishing season opens April 27.

PAULINA LAKE: brown trout, rainbow trout, kokanee

Fishing season opens April 27.

PINE HOLLOW RESERVOIR: rainbow trout

The reservoir has been stocked and should offer anglers a great chance to catch recently stocked legal and brood size rainbow trout.

PRINEVILLE RESERVOIR: rainbow trout and largemouth bass

No recent reports.

PRINEVILLE YOUTH FISHING POND: rainbow trout and largemouth bass

The pond is free of ice and the trout are active.

ROCK CREEK RESERVOIR: rainbow trout

The reservoir has been stocked and should offer anglers a great chance to catch recently stocked legal and brood size rainbow trout.

SHEVLIN YOUTH FISHING POND: rainbow trout

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

SOUTH TWIN LAKE: Rainbow trout

Fishing season opens April 27.

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.

Fishing season opens April 27.

CENTRAL ZONE HUNTING

OPEN: COUGAR, COYOTE

Mandatory Reporting

Thanks to all hunters who reported their 2012 tags on time. Hunters who did not report 2012 deer and elk tags on time will pay a $25 penalty fee when they purchase a 2014 hunting license. If your 2012 deer and elk hunts extend into 2013, you have until April 15, 2013 to report your hunt. More information

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.

PRINEVILLE/OCHOCO WILDLIFE DISTRICT

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.

THE DALLES WILDLIFE DISTRICT

Bear- Bear season opens April 1 for spring bear tag holders in the Hood and White River WMU’s. Spring bears often prefer foraging on new grasses and forb growth. Bring a good pair of binoculars or spotting scope and glass open south facing hillsides. Predator calling can be productive, particularly if you know a bear is in using an area. Successful hunters will need to check in with an ODFW office within 10 days of harvesting your bear. The bear head must be unfrozen, and propping the mouth open with an object will help biologists to remove the tooth necessary for aging.

Turkey - Spring turkey season begins April 15. Turkeys typically are found in lower elevations in the Hood and White River WMU’s. The White River Wildlife Area is a popular destination for those wishing to hunt turkeys as well as USFS property adjacent to the wildlife area. The Hood River County Forestry land can provide some hunting opportunities in the Hood Unit as well as private timberlands. Be sure to gain permission prior to your hunt. Spring turkey tag holders will need to report if they harvested a turkey or not.

WHITE RIVER WILDLIFE AREA

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 prohibit 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.

Bear – Controlled Spring Black Bear Season opens on April 1 and runs through May 31. Black bear can be found throughout WRWA but are very elusive and hard to find. Search for tracks on dirt or muddy roads to find areas that they are using. Look for food sources. Bears spend much of their time filling up on grasses, acorns, and other food to fatten up after their winter slumber. Remember to check in any harvested bear skulls at an ODFW office. It is best to make an appointment before you take it in.

Turkey – Spring Turkey Season opens on April 15 and runs through May 31. Turkeys inhabit most of WRWA lands. Pre-season scouting can be very helpful in locating the elusive spring gobbler. Use locating calls to find birds roosting in your area. Turkeys can often be found along ridge tops or foraging for food in meadows or oak groves. Be careful and aware that other hunters could possibly be hunting the same turkey that you are after.

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.

CENTRAL ZONE VIEWING

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.

DESCHUTES COUNTY

It’s still a bit early, but scan the skies for a glimpse of a large birds with a “V” shaped wing pattern and you could be looking at a turkey vulture.

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.

WASCO AND SHERMAN COUNTIES

The Lower Deschutes River provides 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 black-taildeer, red-tailed hawks, American kestrels, Osprey, and 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. 3/19/13.

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