ODFW Recreation Report

Photo Credit: Courtesy of ODFW

by OR Department of Fish & Wildlife Staff

(There will not be a Recreation Report update the week of Dec. 28.)

Best bets for holiday fishing

Winter steelhead and ice fishing

With a couple of long holiday weekends coming up, there’s plenty of opportunities for anglers to spend some time outdoors:

  • Winter steelhead fishing is underway, and with dry conditions in the forecast, many rivers will be falling into fishable conditions as early as this weekend.
    • Most north and mid-coast rivers are seeing some early fish, but best bets may be the Alsea, lower Columbia tributaries, North Fork Nehalem, Necanicum and Three Rivers.
    • On the south coast, anglers have been catching fish in the Coos and Coquille basins, lower Rogue, Illinois and North Umpqua. Look for water conditions to improve later this week and into next.
    • And in northeast Oregon, there are steelhead throughout the John Day, Grande Ronde and Imnaha rivers. 
  • Ice fishing for trout has been good in several locations, including Yellowjacket Reservoir, Phillips Reservoir and Kinney Lake.
  • Trout fishing will be best in:
    • Lower elevation lakes and reservoirs that were stocked throughout the year, and that don’t normally freeze – think Lost Creek Reservoir, Cooper Creek Reservoir, Garrison Lake and Krumbo Reservoir (at least until it ices over).
    • Several Willamette Valley ponds are stocked throughout the winter – check the zone report for recent stocking updates.
    • A handful of rivers on the east side are open for trout fishing year-round and are good opportunities for the patient (and warm-blooded!) angler. These include the Crooked, Deschutes, Fall, Metolius, Blitzen, Chewaucan and Wallowa rivers.
  • Finally, Chinook anyone? While Chinook fishing is pretty much over everywhere, anglers are still running into a few salmon in Elk and Sixes rivers. It’s a long drive for many, but if you’re in the area, check it out.

Winter whale watching

This year it’s a DYI adventure

It’s that time of year, when whales travel south along the Oregon coast. While there won’t be a visit to the Depoe Bay Whale Watching Center or with a volunteer from the Watching Spoken Here program (due to the Coronavirus), you can still go on your own. An Oregon State Parks has put together a brochure, Oregon Coast Whale Watching, includes a map with the best whale watching sites and tips for whale watching. So, bring a pair a binoculars and scan the horizon slowly to catch a glimpse of these magnificent creatures.

Time to discover snipe hunting

Yes, it’s really a thing

Snipe hunting offers the wing shooter a cross between a waterfowl and upland hunt. They’re found in shallow wetlands, but flush like an upland bird. They also present a formidable shooting challenge. Learn more about snipe hunting in Oregon.

Holiday hunting

Upland bird and waterfowl hunting season still open

This is the last weekend for rooster pheasant hunting, but grouse, chukar and quail will remain open through Jan. 31. So that’s pheasant hunting for Christmas and chukar hunting for New Years? Or duck hunting anytime.

Report your 2020 hunt

It's not too early

If all that’s left of your 2020 hunt are the memories, there’s still one last thing to do. You need to report your hunt and why wait until the last minute?  You can report online or with an ODFW license agent. ODFW offices remain closed to walk-in traffic.

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