Any tips for Northern Oregon / Portland area?

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Jeremy Wright
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Any tips for Northern Oregon / Portland area?

Post by Jeremy Wright » August 30th, 2018, 11:24 am

Hi all,

I'll briefly introduce myself as it's been a minute since I've posted on here. I'm Jeremy, and I am a college freshman that just has moved into Lewis and Clark college in Portland. I'm born and raised in Claremont, in California, a big change from this area.

My helping experience in Oregon is essentially nonexistent, so any information or tips would be greatly appreciated. For the time being (this semester) I am without a car, so I will be staying in the Portland area, however in the future I will have the flexibility to move around. I do also have family friends in Eugene that I will be visiting every so often.

I am extremely close to Tryon Creek if anyone has any experience with that area. Looks like the only snakes there are garter snakes and a few species of salamanders, all of which would be lifers. Once the rain starts coming I'll probably make some trips to see if I can see those guys.

Anyways, any tips or information would be greatly appreciated. I am also a passionate angler, and am learning to fly fish. (I also do have freshwater and saltwater baitcasting setups with me.) If anyone has tips for fishing in the Portland area (the Willamette is a 3 minute walk from my dorm) those would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you all,

Jeremy Wright

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jonathan
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Re: Any tips for Northern Oregon / Portland area?

Post by jonathan » August 30th, 2018, 6:47 pm

Hi Jeremy! I grew up near Portland and went to college in Claremont, so pretty much your inverse. :thumb:

Salamandering is your world now. I love salamanders, you will not be a happy herper in Portland unless you love them too. The salamander diversity matches all the other herps combined.

I've herped Tyron Creek once, it certainly has Coastal Giant Salamanders as well as several woodland species. Flip just about anything and put it back carefully - giant larvae can be flipped in the water, everything else is terrestrial or on the edges. Through trial and error you will figure out which situations each species in most likely in. I assume that Pacific Chorus Frogs and Northern Red-legged Frogs are in Tyron Creek too, as well as two garter species.

But really, all that stuff can be found in any forested creek in Portland. Forest Park is especially great, a ton of creeks and a ton of trails to choose from. Coastal Giants, Dunn's, and Western Red-backed Salamanders in and near streams, Ensatina in the forest, Long-toed Salamanders, Northwestern Salamanders, and Rough-skinned Newts in and near certain marshes and ponds. There is also an outside chance at Clouded Salamander.

Frogs are pretty much limited to Pacific Chorus Frogs and Northern Red-legged Frogs, plus invasive bullfrogs. I have no idea where the toads went.

Reptile-wise the Red-spotted Garters and Northwestern Garters are by far the most common, but Northwestern Alligator Lizards are not uncommon. Very special areas with the right amount of rocks and sun may have Rubber Boa, Western Yellow-bellied Racer, or Western Skink, each of those is a pretty big find though. There may be Western Terrestrial Garter Snakes hanging on somewhere, but I don't know for sure.

There are some lakes with Western Painted Turtles, and "maybe" Western Pond Turtles but I think the pond turtles are tough to find nowadays.

If you want to get exciting head in the direction of the Columbia Gorge, full of wonderful streams and waterfalls and old growth. They had a big fire there last year that closed nearly all the trails, but they're starting to re-open. From what I heard it's a good mosaic fire, left lots of habitat, but it'll be interesting to see how the forest responds. I'd still be careful during rainy times as there could easily be mudslides or falling trees. Besides all the stuff I already named, the gorge will give you Cope's Giant Salamanders, Cascade Torrent Salamanders, Larch Mountain Salamanders, Oregon Slender Salamanders, and Coastal Tailed Frogs.

Keep driving through the gorge until you get to the hot dry side of Oregon out past Hood River, and you'll finally start seeing snake diversity, things like Ringneck, Gopher, Night, and Northern Pacific Rattler. Also Oregon Spotted Frog and Pygmy Short-horned Lizard as well as some other lizard diversity.

You could also go south into the Willamette Valley and see ringnecks and gophers, as well as have a better shot at rubber boas and racers than you would in Portland. And if you know what you are doing maybe find a sharptail snake.

Herping up in the Cascade Mountains, and you might add Cascades Frogs and Western Toads.

Head west into the Coast Range, and you'll be able to add Columbia Torrent Salamanders.

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Jeremy Wright
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Re: Any tips for Northern Oregon / Portland area?

Post by Jeremy Wright » September 1st, 2018, 10:10 am

jonathan wrote:Hi Jeremy! I grew up near Portland and went to college in Claremont, so pretty much your inverse. :thumb:

Salamandering is your world now. I love salamanders, you will not be a happy herper in Portland unless you love them too. The salamander diversity matches all the other herps combined.

I've herped Tyron Creek once, it certainly has Coastal Giant Salamanders as well as several woodland species. Flip just about anything and put it back carefully - giant larvae can be flipped in the water, everything else is terrestrial or on the edges. Through trial and error you will figure out which situations each species in most likely in. I assume that Pacific Chorus Frogs and Northern Red-legged Frogs are in Tyron Creek too, as well as two garter species.

But really, all that stuff can be found in any forested creek in Portland. Forest Park is especially great, a ton of creeks and a ton of trails to choose from. Coastal Giants, Dunn's, and Western Red-backed Salamanders in and near streams, Ensatina in the forest, Long-toed Salamanders, Northwestern Salamanders, and Rough-skinned Newts in and near certain marshes and ponds. There is also an outside chance at Clouded Salamander.

Frogs are pretty much limited to Pacific Chorus Frogs and Northern Red-legged Frogs, plus invasive bullfrogs. I have no idea where the toads went.

Reptile-wise the Red-spotted Garters and Northwestern Garters are by far the most common, but Northwestern Alligator Lizards are not uncommon. Very special areas with the right amount of rocks and sun may have Rubber Boa, Western Yellow-bellied Racer, or Western Skink, each of those is a pretty big find though. There may be Western Terrestrial Garter Snakes hanging on somewhere, but I don't know for sure.

There are some lakes with Western Painted Turtles, and "maybe" Western Pond Turtles but I think the pond turtles are tough to find nowadays.

If you want to get exciting head in the direction of the Columbia Gorge, full of wonderful streams and waterfalls and old growth. They had a big fire there last year that closed nearly all the trails, but they're starting to re-open. From what I heard it's a good mosaic fire, left lots of habitat, but it'll be interesting to see how the forest responds. I'd still be careful during rainy times as there could easily be mudslides or falling trees. Besides all the stuff I already named, the gorge will give you Cope's Giant Salamanders, Cascade Torrent Salamanders, Larch Mountain Salamanders, Oregon Slender Salamanders, and Coastal Tailed Frogs.

Keep driving through the gorge until you get to the hot dry side of Oregon out past Hood River, and you'll finally start seeing snake diversity, things like Ringneck, Gopher, Night, and Northern Pacific Rattler. Also Oregon Spotted Frog and Pygmy Short-horned Lizard as well as some other lizard diversity.

You could also go south into the Willamette Valley and see ringnecks and gophers, as well as have a better shot at rubber boas and racers than you would in Portland. And if you know what you are doing maybe find a sharptail snake.

Herping up in the Cascade Mountains, and you might add Cascades Frogs and Western Toads.

Head west into the Coast Range, and you'll be able to add Columbia Torrent Salamanders.
Hi Jonathan,

Thank you so much for the help. What a small world it is! I love amphibians, especially photographing them. I'm excited to explore. I got to Tryon this morning before classes and it looked great, but it was dry. There was a bit of water by the few creeks, but once you got a few feet from the water it was bone dry. Once we start getting some rain soon I'll definitely explore there a lot.

Jeremy

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jonathan
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Re: Any tips for Northern Oregon / Portland area?

Post by jonathan » September 1st, 2018, 12:53 pm

Jeremy Wright wrote:Hi Jonathan,

Thank you so much for the help. What a small world it is! I love amphibians, especially photographing them. I'm excited to explore. I got to Tryon this morning before classes and it looked great, but it was dry. There was a bit of water by the few creeks, but once you got a few feet from the water it was bone dry. Once we start getting some rain soon I'll definitely explore there a lot.

Jeremy
If you look at the Oregon post I just made you'll see that I was still having success with almost all the salis up through when I left in mid-July (only purely terrestrial stuff that doesn't lean on water bodies stopped showing up, like ensatina, slenders, larchies). But the options are certainly more limited when it's hot and dry. The options are also more limited for stream salis when water levels are at full-bore. Peak wetness is the best for finding salis in rock talus and woodland, a little drawn-down but not dry is the best for finding them in streams.

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Re: Any tips for Northern Oregon / Portland area?

Post by the_cw1 » September 1st, 2018, 1:39 pm

I second everything Jonathan said. But, I also want to add that night herping for salamanders is very productive in the PNW. Some of my favorite herping experiences when I lived in Portland were those going out at night. The Columbia gorge, if you can find trails that are still open, is great. Waterfall splash zones at night are crawling with salamanders. It was easy to find dozens in a single night of multiple species. I'd also like to add that Sauvie island is a great place for herps of all kind.

Good luck and have fun. If you're willing to get wet, Oregon is amazing. :)

-Derek

(please post pictures of your finds. I miss salamanders now that I live in the great basin, haha)

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Jeremy Wright
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Re: Any tips for Northern Oregon / Portland area?

Post by Jeremy Wright » September 2nd, 2018, 11:10 am

jonathan wrote:
Jeremy Wright wrote:Hi Jonathan,

Thank you so much for the help. What a small world it is! I love amphibians, especially photographing them. I'm excited to explore. I got to Tryon this morning before classes and it looked great, but it was dry. There was a bit of water by the few creeks, but once you got a few feet from the water it was bone dry. Once we start getting some rain soon I'll definitely explore there a lot.

Jeremy
If you look at the Oregon post I just made you'll see that I was still having success with almost all the salis up through when I left in mid-July (only purely terrestrial stuff that doesn't lean on water bodies stopped showing up, like ensatina, slenders, larchies). But the options are certainly more limited when it's hot and dry. The options are also more limited for stream salis when water levels are at full-bore. Peak wetness is the best for finding salis in rock talus and woodland, a little drawn-down but not dry is the best for finding them in streams.
the_cw1 wrote:I second everything Jonathan said. But, I also want to add that night herping for salamanders is very productive in the PNW. Some of my favorite herping experiences when I lived in Portland were those going out at night. The Columbia gorge, if you can find trails that are still open, is great. Waterfall splash zones at night are crawling with salamanders. It was easy to find dozens in a single night of multiple species. I'd also like to add that Sauvie island is a great place for herps of all kind.

Good luck and have fun. If you're willing to get wet, Oregon is amazing. :)

-Derek

(please post pictures of your finds. I miss salamanders now that I live in the great basin, haha)
Much appreciated Jonathan and Derek! I will definitely post what I turn up when I get the chance. I'm so used to brown and barren landscapes so I'm also excited to do both macro and wild angle shots of amphibians with all the moss and ferns around. It's a very refreshing change from home.
I definitely will try to get out at night too - classes take up most of my mornings and early afternoons but I don't have much planned for the evenings.

Jeremy

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