HUNTER EDUCATION

Anyone aged 17 or younger must have a Hunter Education certificate in their possession when hunting on other than their own land. For information about hunter safety education please call the Tillamook ODFW Office at (503) 842-2741.

CONTROLLED HUNT APPLICATION DEADLINE IS MAY 15

The deadline to apply for this fall's controlled big game hunts is May 15. The cost to apply is $4.50 per hunt series. Hunters must have a 2006 hunting license to apply. A random computer drawing occurs in June and hunters are notified by June 20 if they are successful.

SPRING FISHING FORECAST

ODFW’s Spring Fishing Forecast is now available on the ODFW Web site at www.dfw.state.or.us. It offers an overview of what anglers can expect this spring and summer in favorite local fishing destinations around the state.

Northwest Zone: Hunting

COUGAR: These large predators are very reclusive animals and are not common on the north coast. The most effective way to hunt them is by calling aggressively with a predator call.

Viewing

GRAY WHALES should be visible off the coast of Oregon, and April marks the peak of the whale-watching season on the north coast. These large mammals are making their annual trek to northern waters, and will continue to be visible through early May. Calmer ocean conditions make for the best viewing prospects. Although it’s possible to spot them with the unaided eye, a good pair of binoculars is a real advantage in locating and viewing them. Some excellent places to view whales include Tillamook Head at Ecola State Park, Silver Point (south of Cannon Beach), Cape Falcon at Oswald West State Park, Neah-Kah-Nie Mtn., Cape Meares, and Cape Lookout.

COASTAL ESTUARIES such as Netarts Bay are an excellent place to view a variety of migrating birds. Some species are only visible for a few weeks at this time of year while others spend the entire winter there. Some of the types of birds to be found include scoters, diving and puddle ducks, black brant, grebes, loons and eagles.

MIGRATING SHOREBIRDS are common now along beaches and shallow estuaries on the north coast. Many species of shorebirds are on their way north to nest, and present some unique opportunities for bird sightings. Beaches to check out include Bay Ocean Spit, Netarts Spit, Clatsop Beach. Good prospects for estuaries include Sand Lake, Netarts Bay, Tillamook Bay and Nehalem Bay.

STELLAR SEA LIONS can be seen on Seal Rock, a smaller rock associated with the Three Arch Rocks near Oceanside. They can be seen there at any time of year, and have recently been seen there in large numbers.

TWILIGHT EAGLE SANCTUARY, located east of Astoria off of Hwy 30, is an excellent place to observe bird life on the lower Columbia River. Bald eagles are nesting in the vicinity and can often be seen in the greater Wolf Bay area. A host of other migratory and resident birds are present this time of year as well. A wildlife viewing platform is there, so be sure to bring binoculars and/or a spotting scope.

Fishing

NESTUCCA RIVER and THREE RIVERS: Spring chinook angling is slow. Summer steelhead angling is fair. Water is low and clear. The lower river sections are probably the best bet for fresh fish. A few winter steelhead are still available also.

NORTH COAST LAKES: Coffenbury, Lost, South, Town, Hebo, and Cape Meares lakes, and Lorens Pond are scheduled to be stocked with legal size rainbow trout the week of May 15th. Bay City Reservoir was not stocked due to blocked access, and will likely not be stocked this year.

TILLAMOOK BAY: Sturgeon fishing has been slow to fair. A few spring chinook have been caught recently, and angling is improving. Trolling herring on the incoming tide in the lower bay has produced a few fish. Trolling spinners in the upper bay is another option.

WILSON AND TRASK RIVERS: Spring chinook and summer steelhead angling is slow to fair. Best prospects for spring chinook are in the lower Trask. Bobber and eggs/shrimp has been the more productive method. Water levels are low and clear.

Marine Zone: Fishing

HALIBUT season opened Monday. For the central coast management zone, halibut fishing is open seven days a week in waters less than 40 fathoms and the "all-depth" halibut fishery for the opens May 11 on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. This should be one of the best Pacific halibut opportunities off the Oregon Coast in the past decade. This year’s sport halibut quota is more than 276,400 pounds for Oregon, up 4 percent from last year.

Boat anglers along the central coast report good catches of BLACK, BLUE and YELLOWTAIL ROCKFISH and LINGCOD. Rockfish, lingcod are "on the bite." One observer aboard a charter boat out of Newport said all anglers aboard caught their limits of rockfish in one drift. Fishers report some good catches of cabezon out of Depoe Bay.

Fishing for lingcod, perch and rockfish is good this time of year from the jetties and rocky points. Bottom fishing is open at all depths. For complete regulations please see http://www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/fishing/regulations_2006-marine.pdf.

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