May 22, 2013
Trout opener this weekend and anglers should find good fishing for cutthroat.
Check river conditions by calling 541-332-0405.
Like most of southwest Oregon, settlement into the Elk River area was started with the discovery of gold near Port Orford in 1853. Although gold has long since ceased to be a mainstay of the area, it is still a recreational activity that many people in the region enjoy. The Elk River begins in the mountains of northern Curry County. It flows generally westward through the Grassy Knob Wilderness area before turning northwest towards the coast where it empties into the Pacific Ocean just north of Port Orford.
At just under 40 miles in length, the Elk River drains approximately 92 square miles of forest lands and often steep terrain. In the 1950’s and 60’s logging and the timber industry were a huge part of the Elk River system. At one time there were 14 active saw mills in the Port Orford and Elk River areas. In the early days of settlers pioneer families settled into the lowlands of the Elk River. Many of these ranches have remained in the families for several generations and are still present today.
On March 30, 2009 the Copper Salmon Wilderness area was established along the Elk River. There were 13,700 acres dedicated to this area which contains one of the nation’s largest remaining stands of old growth timber and one of the healthiest salmon, steelhead and cut-throat trout runs in the continental United States.
Elk River holds a population of Chinook salmon, Coho, Steelhead and Cut Throat Trout. The river is open to fall salmon and winter steelhead along with trout fishing starting in late spring. There are several areas to fish from the bank and for drift boat take outs. The most sought after fish of course is the fall salmon run on the Elk River.
The river is also used for recreational activities such as swimming, rafting and boating. The banks of the Elk River even provide some beautiful primitive camping along Butler Bar, Sunshine Bar and Laird Lake.