ODFW Recreation Report: December 14

Bald Eagle at the Lower Klamath Lake National Wildlife Refuge. (Image by Brian Gailey)

Bald Eagle at the Lower Klamath Lake National Wildlife Refuge. (Image by Brian Gailey)

Highlights from this week’s Recreation Report:

Winter fishing

Don’t let your fishing season end just because the cold weather has arrived. There can be great fishing in Oregon throughout the year – even in winter. Check out some of the winter fishing opportunities in the Recreation Report or on our website.

Whale Watch Week is December 27–31.

Trained volunteers will be on hand at spots along the Oregon coast to help people see and learn about gray whales as they head south for the winter. Find out more at whalespoken.wordpress.com. 

Winter steelhead have arrived

Winter steelhead are here. Use light lines and small presentations during the current low water conditions. Fishing will be better once we get some rain to bring more fish in. Check out the zone reports to see where the first fish are being caught.

Bird hunting continues

Seasons are open for western turkey, and most waterfowl and upland birds. Check the game bird harvest statistics to see which wildlife areas have been productive.

Time’s running out to take a friend hunting

Hunters have until the end of the year to enter the “Take a Friend Hunting” contest. For veteran hunters who want to pass on their passion for the outdoors, this is the year to take that friend hunting—and enter to win a prize for your efforts. Find more details about how to participate.

Wildlife Viewing Report - Klamath County

Even though the fall migration is largely over, great opportunities still exist for other species which will spend the winter in the Klamath Basin.  Many raptors can be found around agricultural areas including bald and golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, and rough-legged hawks.

The Link River trail below Upper Klamath Lake is an excellent place to view many species of wildlife including deer, river otter, muskrat, buffleheads, goldeneye, great-blue heron, and great egret.

Bald eagles migrate from nesting areas to winter here in the Klamath Basin.  They can be found foraging near waterfowl use areas such as Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge and agricultural areas in the Lower Basin.


Updated Dec. 11, 2017

The Miller Island Unit is open to public use Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. All other days are closed to all entry, except public Rds., parking areas, boat ramp, designated birding trail and designated dog training area.

95 percent of the area is frozen over at this time.


Cold temperatures have frozen over most of Miller Island, however waterfowl can still be found on the Klamath River or if temperatures warm on the Miller Island Unit’s ponds and wetlands. Flocks of western Canada Geese can be found scattered across the area.  Northern shoveler, northern pintail, mallards, gadwall, American wigeon, American green-winged teal may still be found, but numbers are very low. Diver species and numbers have dropped off dramatically, but bufflehead, common and barrows goldeneye, canvasback, redhead, ruddy duck, scaup and ring-necked ducks may still be observed, especially on the Klamath River.

Shorebirds, waders and other waterbirds

Great blue herons and American bitterns can be seen scattered around the area.

Gull numbers have declined over the past week, but the occasional ring-billed and Franklin’s gulls may still be found.

Pied billed, western and eared grebes have all been observed on Klamath WA, Miller Island Unit.

American coot may still be found on the areas few remaining pockets of open water, but their numbers have really dropped off. Virginia rails and soras can be heard throughout the area, but can be hard to spot.


Great horned and barn owls can be seen at dusk. Red-tailed hawks, Rough-legged hawks, northern harriers, cooper hawks, American kestrels, prairie and peregrine falcons can all be seen foraging throughout the wildlife area. Eagle use on the area has increased over the past week.

Upland Game Birds

California quail and ring-necked pheasant can be found scattered around the old homesteads and the headquarters area.


Mourning and Eurasian collared doves can be found scattered over the area.

American and lesser goldfinches, house finches, American robins, spotted towhees, black-billed magpies, scrub jays, western meadow larks, brewers blackbirds and Northern flickers continue to be a common site throughout the area. The occasional horned lark and American pipits can be spotted on the wildlife areas agricultural fields. Marsh wrens and song sparrows can be found in dense stands of tall emergent hard stem bulrush and broad-leaf cattail. White-crowned and golden crowned sparrows and dark eyed juncos are now a common site on the area. Black Phoebe can be observed along the river in the trees and willows

Shrike can sometimes be found using the shrub dominated uplands of the Southern part of Miller Island.

Belted kingfishers can be located perched in trees overlooking water.

Common ravens are quite numerous at this time.


Muskrat are very common and easily observed this time of year. Beaver, River Otter, Mink, Long-Tailed Weasel, Coyotes, Stripped Skunk and Raccoon may also be observed using the Wildlife Area. Mule deer are also occasionally spotted on the area.

A Wildlife Area Parking Permit is now required to park on the Wildlife Area. Cost is $10 daily or $30 annually. Free with purchase of hunting license; just be sure to put it on your dashboard. Buy online or at an ODFW office that sells licenses or at a license sales agent.

Overnight camping is not allowed on the Miller Island Unit.

If you have any questions, please contact Klamath Wildlife Area at (541) 883-5732.