Scotch Creek
Wildlife Area Location

Jim Olson
1514 Concunully Highway
Okanogan, WA 98840
(509) 826-4430

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Scotch Creek Wildlife Area
Similkameen-Chopaka Unit

The Similkameen – Chopaka Unit, which encompasses 1,139 acres, is located 18 miles west of Oroville along the Chopaka road.

Lands to the north and south of the unit are privately owned and used primarily for hay production and cattle grazing. To the west are the steep slopes of Chopaka Mountain, which is owned by the Bureau of Land Management, rising to elevations of 8,000 feet on Hurley Peak. This slope provides a scenic backdrop to the lush valley bottom that is the Similkameen - Chopaka Wildlife Unit. The Similkameen River forms the eastern boundary and is lined with cottonwoods, aspen and alder.

Deciduous shrubs include hawthorn, willows, dogwood, rose and snowberry, and grasses are dominated by introduced species like smooth brome. The center of the area has historically been farmed and is presently in a grass/alfalfa hay field of approximately 350 acres. To the west and across the Chopaka road is native shrub-steppe with sagebrush, rabbitbrush, and bitterbrush with grasses including bluebunch wheatgrass, Idaho fescue, and wild rye. An invasive plant species, diffuse knapweed, has severely infested this area, though efforts have been made to combat the problem knapweed. Stands of conifers in this area include ponderosa pine, and Douglas fir.

The Similkameen River, and the cottonwood stands on the eastern boundary, floods annually but has maintained a good grass/shrub cover. Between these two habitats are primarily agriculture fields with irrigated alfalfa.

The wildlife area is known for trophy white-tailed buck deer. Other big game animals include bighorn sheep and mountain goats on the slopes of Chopaka Mountain, black bear and cougar. Ruffed grouse use the riparian areas, and upland birds include ring-necked pheasant, gray partridge, California quail, chukar and mourning dove. Each spring, the ponds and oxbows are filled with Canada geese, dabblers and diving ducks of all kinds and trumpeter swans. The short meadow grass fields are forage for geese and waterfowl.

Viewing Opportunities


  • Birds of Prey
  • Songbirds
  • Upland Birds
  • Waterfowl
  • Mammals

  • Bear
  • Bighorn sheep
  • Deer
  • Mountain Goats
  • How to Get Here
    Access Site #1
    Driving Directions
    From Tonasket, take the Loomis highway northwest to the small town of Loomis. Stay right as the road will turn north and continue past Palmer Lake. 1 mile past Palmer Lake, turn left on Chopaka road and continue 3 miles to the north. The main access parking is on your right next to the Oxbow pond.
    Parking/Restroom Information
    A developed gravel parking area with reader board, large enough for trailer turn around. No restrooms available.
    Unique Features
    The steep mountain range to the west provides spectacular scenery which also is home to big horn sheep and mountain goats. The valley floor is mostly agricultural land with water rights for 305 acres. These fields are irrigated with center pivot systems and are held in an agricultural lease to cut and bale grass/alfalfa hay. This cropping provides short grass for geese and water fowl foraging. The ponds hold trumpeter swans, Canada geese and a variety of dabbling and diving ducks. The brushy riparian draws are a natural feature of the high water table, and provide habitat for upland birds as well as numerous migratory perching birds. A great place for bird watching, especially in the early spring.
    Other Information

    The access site includes ADA parking and an ADA trail to a viewing blind overlooking the pond. A small canoe launch is also available at this site, and with a short portage provides access to the Similkameen River.

    The area has current agricultural and grazing leases at various times of the year. The public is welcome to enjoy the area and are asked to respect the lessee’s equipment on the area. Please leave gates “as you find them”.

    Wildlife Area Habitat Conservation Plans
    Weekender Report
    Wildlife Viewing Guides
    Accessing Washington's Outdoors
    Find a Water Access Site
    GoHunt - Interactive Mapping
    Green Dot Maps
    • Bird watching
    • Wildlife viewing

    If you are Hunting or Fishing, remember to check all current regulations.

    Activities may include restrictions or require permits. Please see Public Conduct Rules for more information.