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Effective Thursday, June 25 at 12:01 a.m., the mainstem Columbia River downstream of the OR/WA border will close to sockeye and hatchery steelhead fishing.

Effective June 10, 2020 through September 30, 2020, size and harvest limits of game fish are lifted on Howard Prairie Reservoir.

Under emergency regulations effective June 3, the Cole Rivers hatchery hole is closed to all fishing through July 31.

Beginning March 23, all ODFW offices will be closed to visitors. ODFW staff will be available by phone and email.

Effective March 18, all state-owned fish hatcheries are closed to public access and visitors. Trout stocking in lakes and ponds continues for now.

Recreation Report

Southwest Zone

Recreation Report

Tips to recreate responsibly

We continue to urge anglers and others recreating outside to stay close to home, keep your social distance, and travel safely. Here’s more information about how to recreate responsibly.

COOS COUNTY

Coquille Valley Wildlife Area (CVWA)

Coquille Valley Wildlife Area (CVWA) is open to public access. Permits for access are required and are available, free of charge, at the kiosk located in the parking lot along North Bank Road. You must access to CVWA through this point. Please fill out the upper half (“A” half) of the permit and deposit it in the slot located on the post of the kiosk. Sign and carry the lower half (“B” half) with you while you enjoy CVWA. At the end of your visit please fill out the B half and deposited it in the same slot.

Birds

Waterfowl numbers are declining in Coos County as many ducks and geese are beginning to migrate north. However, there are still good numbers of birds to view in the area. The Coquille Valley Wildlife Area (CVWA) is a great place to go see them. CVWA is open to public access but visitors must adhere to the governor’s executive order to maintain social distancing. Due to the present distribution of water in Coquille Valley good numbers of water birds are available to see at CVWA. Many of these birds will not be here too much longer as they will be migrating north to nesting areas.

Winter/s storms bring seabirds closer to shore as they escape heavy seas due to winter storms. So this a good time of year to see fulmars, murres, pigeon guillemots and other seabirds from places like Cape Arago and the access points along Beach Loop in Bandon.

Common murres and other sea birds that nest on off-shore islands have been congregating near these islands and provide spectacular opportunities to see huge groups of these birds.  Other birds congregating in the same areas inlcude pigeon guillemots, marbled murrelets (these birds nest inland but feed near the islands), western and Clark’s grebes (can you tell the difference?) and many others. Bring a spotting scope so you can view birds from places well away from the surf zone and practice social distancing. 

Large numbers of black brant in Coos Bay offer another excellent viewing. Black brant are geese that spend their lives in the salt chuck. They migrate south along the west coast to winter in Mexico and California. Presently, they are migrating back north to the North Slope of Alaska for nesting. Good places to see these birds are areas with eel grass, which is what brant eat.

Flocks of birds are often seen from Cape Arago Hwy near Barview and near Clam Island next to Coos Bay North Spit. They also can be seen along the rocky shoreline of Cape Arago.

Be very careful not to get close to waves crashing on the rocks or to places where “sneaker” waves could run up beaches and pull you into the ocean.

Big Game

Deer tend to move down slope in the winter and spring to feed in agricultural lands around Coos County. You can see them throughout the day this time of year. Watch these animals from a distance to help them conserve energy. When people approach, deer will burn valuable energy running away and may be displaced to areas with fewer nutrients in the forage.

Bears are becoming active earlier than normal this year due to the sunny calm winter and spring we are experiencing. Bears are most often seen on south facing slopes vigorous grass growth. Clearcuts and natural landslides are good places to focus on to see bears.

This time of year bears can be active at any time of day but usually evenings are the best time to see them. Those interested in viewing bears need to have, at a minimum, a good pair of binoculars. A spotting scope is a very valuable tool for seeing bears, as well.

Elk tend to spend much of their time in timber where thermal cover is better. During clear weather when sunshine reaches the ground, plants can green-up. This will bring elk out into pastures and south sloping hillsides to feed. As with deer, give elk plenty of space so they conserve their energy.

Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area is a good place to watch elk as several herds are currently spending most days in the fields near observation points. Dean Creek is also a good place to see a variety of birds from waterfowl to wintering songbirds.

Marine Mammals

Lots of sea lions and seals are using the Simpson’s Reef haul out of Cape Arago Hwy. Now is a great time to visit lookout at Simpson’s Reef, which offers a great view of these animals.

Elephant seals are using Cape Arago as a haul-out. In the spring and summer the females will only nurse their pups for a few weeks before the female heads off shore to feed in deep water. At this time the pups are on their own.

ODFW often gets calls about young elephant seals lying dead on local beaches. Upon investigation, we find these are live animals don’t know any better than to lie on beaches, even the ones frequented by people. Young seals will do this until they get large and strong enough to follow the rest of the elephant seal population off shore. Some adult elephant seals can reach 5000 lbs. When you are a baby of one of these behemoths you not only weigh several hundred pounds, but you can also lie anywhere you like.

Please make sure to give elephant seal pups or any other marine mammals plenty of room on beaches if you find them.  If you are concerned for the safety of the animal contact your local Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife office or Oregon Parks and Recreation office to report it.

DOUGLAS COUNTY

Deer

You can see Columbian white-tailed deer and black-tailed deer throughout much of the Umpqua Valley’s agricultural lands in strong numbers.

Elk

Viewers can see Roosevelt elk taking advantage of the Umpqua Valley’s agricultural lands. Large herds of elk nightly visit many local grass producers, and there are good chances to see them during early morning and evening hours as they move between food and cover.

Acorn woodpecker

Look for this loud and vocal woodpecker in Roseburg at River Forks Park, N. Bank Mgt. area and Whistlers Park. Since this woodpecker is a hoarder, look for signs of a granary in the bark of large pine trees that are used to store insects and acorns in cracks and crevices.

JACKSON and JOSEPHINE COUNTIES

Jacksonville Forest Park

The Jacksonville Forest Park is located just outside of the historic town of Jacksonville, Ore. This is a 1,100-acre park with 17 trails covering over 15 miles of the area. This is a great area located on the foothills just above the valley floor. There should be plenty of wildlife viewing opportunities for many different species within this section of land.

Rogue Valley Audubon

The first Wednesday of every month is the Rogue Valley Audubon’s bird walk at the Denman Wildlife Area. If you would like to participate you are asked to meet at the green gate on Touvelle Rd where it intersects with Agate Rd before 8:30 a.m., as the gate will be locked at that time. These walks take place on the first Wednesday of each month. In this ongoing citizen science project, the numbers of different species observed by walk participants are entered in the Cornell Ornithological Laboratory’s eBird database.”

Denman Wildlife Area

Take one of two trails off TouVelle Road and enjoy birdwatching and sightseeing. Below the fourth pond and to the north, you will find the Denman horse trail (2.5 mile) that provides great views of the Upper Table Rock and opportunities to see birds that live in oak trees, wedge leaf ceanothus and areas of riparian vegetation along the Little Butte Creek.

The trail to the south that runs along the fourth pond dike is our interpretive trail, come in to the office and pick up and interpretive trail guide. You will learn of some of the history of the wildlife area and the different environment unique to our area. A wide variety of wildlife can be found along this 1.5-mile trail.

A covered viewing station on the Denman Wildlife Area provides a good opportunity to view waterfowl, egrets, raptors and songbirds. The Oregon Hunters Association built the structure and it is accessed by a paved, ADA-accessible pathway. Two additional fishing dikes Whetstone pond provide more fishing access; it’s possible to catch bass, bluegill, bullhead catfish, black crappie and carp. Warm water fishing is most productive when water temperatures are warm. The pond is located just north of the ODFW Rogue Watershed Field Office in Central Point.

A parking permit is required to park at Denman Wildlife Area. Find out how to buy a parking permit

Mourning doves

Mourning doves are found across the Rogue Valley wherever there are open grain fields and areas with roosting trees that have plenty of water. They are currently found nesting in trees or other shaded structures. They can have multiple nests throughout the early summer. They are a fast flying, graceful, wing whistling birds. They feed on small seeds of weeds and various grains.

A species that is similar but slightly larger is the Eurasian collared dove. Unlike the Mourning Doves, Eurasian Collared Doves are a non-native species. They are seen around residential areas and have known to visit bird feeders. Unlike the pointed tail of the Mourning dove their tail will be square shaped.

Quail

We have two species of quail here in southwest Oregon. The first is the mountain Quail. that typically lives at higher elevations and is characterized by its long straight head plume and chestnut-colored throat and flanks.

The second is California quail, also referred to as Valley quail. As the name suggests this species of quail is typically found in the valleys with lower level elevation. Unlike the mountain quail, California quail have a curved head plume and the feathers on their chest give them a scaled appearance.

Both of these species recently finished nesting and are now caring for their young. If you happen to see an adult look closely because there may be a large number of young quail following nearby.

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.

Osprey

Ospreys have been seen on the Denman Wildlife Area recently near the Rogue River and Whetstone Pond. Ospreys are a large bird of prey that almost exclusively feed on fish. If you spot one watch it hunt as it flies over the water and strikes with a splash, if successful it should take flight again with a fish in its talons.

Burrowing owl

The burrowing owl is a smaller owl that typically lives in flat open ground with short grass such as prairies and farmlands. They get their name by burrowing into the ground where they create their nests and raise their young. They typically eat insects and small mammals and can be seen hunting at dusk.

There have been some recent sightings near Agate Lake here in Jackson County, which is somewhat uncommon for our area.

Waterfowl:

Whetstone Pond on the Denman Wildlife offers visitors the chance to see a variety of waterfowl species.

Another area that waterfowl species seem to congregate at is near the confluence of the Rogue River and Little Butte Creek. You can access this are by getting a key for the green gate on Touvelle Rd at our office, and then driving to the end of Touvelle Rd.

Reptiles and amphibians:  Call the ODFW office on the Denman Wildlife Area to ask about free coverboards. A coverboard is a 2’ by 4’ sheet of plywood that provides habitat for reptiles and amphibians. If you pick a couple up, deploy them on your property, and check them a few times during April and May, when reptiles and amphibians are most active, you might add to your knowledge of the animals using your property.

Mt. McLoughlin

Mt. Mcloughlin is the tallest peak in Southern Oregon reaching an elevation of 9,495 feet. This mountain can be hiked almost year round depending on your skill level; however starting in mid-July through September is the peak of the climbing season. During this time of year there is no snow, decreasing amounts of bugs, and a clearly marked trail. This is a 10 mile round trip hike that gains over 4000 feet of elevation and is a great opportunity to see a variety of wildlife. During the first part of the hike you will be in the tree-line where you can see many different small mammals running around. Towards the top you have great views of the surrounding lakes and many birds flying across the sky.

Local Lakes

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

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.