Recreation Report: ODFW’s free fishing weekend set for Saturday and Sunday

The Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife will offer its free fishing weekend on Saturday and Sunday. “FW is a great time to introduce friends or family members to your favorite fishing adventures,” ODFW said in this week’s recreation report.

No license, tag or validation will be needed to fish anywhere in Oregon. All other regulations and closures apply.

ODFW put together a listing of beginner-friendly places to fish.

Watching wildlife

ODFW encourages the public to watch wildlife from a distance and lave them where you find them.

“Young wild animals are rarely orphaned — mom’s probably just off foraging for food,” ODFW said. “So if you see a deer fawn, elk calf or other young animal alone, leave it where it is. Chances are an adult animal is nearby.

Fishing best bets

Weekend fishing opportunities include trout, salmon, steelhead, bass and warmwater species, and a variety of ocean fish.

• Summer steelhead are have started showing up in the Nestucca, Siletz and Wilson rivers.

• The Lower Columbia Tributaries, Nestucca River, Tillamook Bay and Trask River best bets to catch a spring Chinook.

• Fishing for stocked trout, and warmwater species, has been very good in several lakes along the north and mid-coast.

• Fishing conditions at Garrison Lake are prime, and there are good opportunities for both native and stocked fish.

• Diamond Lake has been producing some very nice trout this year

• Lower Empire, Tenmile and Butterfield lakes are good bets for largemouth bass.

• This week, several ponds in the Willamette Valley will be stocked for the last time this season. Get out this weekend while the fishing is good.

• It’s the right time of year for shad below Willamette Falls on the Willamette River. Luck can be had from a boat or from the bank at Clackamette Park. Good fun for the whole family!

• Crappie fisheries should begin to peak with the warmer weather – check out Gerber, Campbell and JC Boyle reservoirs.

• Fishing for trout at Lake of the Woods should be excellent. The lake is getting additional stocked trout originally intended for Fourmile Lake.

• Look for black drake stoneflies to be hatching on the Upper Williamson.

• Current conditions in the Umatilla are excellent for fishing. Trout anglers should keep an eye out for early salmonflies and golden stoneflies.

• The Columbia River is open to hatchery spring Chinook from the Tongue Point/Rocky Point line upstream to the Bonneville Dam deadline.

• Walleye fishing has been excellent in the John Day pool of the Columbia.

• For ocean anglers, halibut, ocean salmon, rockfish and lingcod are all in season.

Check out the zone reports for more details, including occasional updates on wipers, striped bass and kokanee.

Bracing for drought

March and April were among the driest spring months since the 1890s and ODFW is bracing for a serious drought as summer arrives. Currently, 72% of the state is in severe or extreme drought status.

As the summer progresses, anglers should continue to expect changes to fish stocking and possible emergency regulations. See more details here. The weekly recreation report will be your best source of information on conditions and any emergency regulations.

Cutthroat trout fishing

Cutthroat trout in Oregon’s coastal rivers and streams is a popular summer fishery. Resident cutthroat are available now, and look for sea-run cuts to start entering the rivers in July/August. If you’re new to cutthroat trout fishing, we’ve got some tips.

Wildfire impacts map

Natural resource agencies in Oregon have teamed up to create an interagency status map that shows open, closed and reduced service areas on a single map, regardless of reason for closure. The map now also includes an updated boat ramp status map.

Register for workshops

ODFW is offering several of its popular shotgun skills and pheasant hunting workshops beginning in June. A shotgun skills class is a prerequisite to a pheasant hunting workshop. These classes fill quickly, so sign up soon. See more details and register.

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