Central Oregon fishing – Odell Creek

There are so many great places to fish in central Oregon that it is hard to choose where to go. Luckily most of the small streams in the area are managed so that the native fish will not be depleted and people can enjoy to fish in them for years to come. Odell Creek is currently catch and release for all trout and limited to using fly or lures.

Odell creek is a small stream flowing from Odell Lake down through mostly thick timber down to Davis lake. In low water years like this year is turning out to be the upper end by Odell lake is very shallow with few places for fish. The lower end closer to Davis lake picks up some water and has some decent rainbow trout fishing. The size varies year to year depending on the water levels in the area. In early 2005 a fire swept through the area and the removed all the heavy timber in the last few miles of the stream going into Davis lake. No shade for fishing or to keep the water cooler. Still chilly even without the shade.

Towards the area outside of the fire burn.

Since I was a teen I have always enjoyed fishing this gem of a stream. In the really hot years once Davis lake gets warm the larger trout can swim up into some of the deep holes in the creek. Sadly the large fish in Davis are not what they used to be. Bass were illegally introduced in the mid 1990’s and that has hurt the trout population. For avid bass fisherman this is a great thing, but for those of us that love the trout it is a sad change. You can still find these bigger trout but since the fire I have noticed less of them going very far up into the creek.

At the edge of the old burn line the smaller brushy river alders are making a comeback
Closer to the lake the banks are still bare of any sized trees. There are a lot of smaller ones coming up now.
A larger native rainbow.

In my last couple of trips to the creek the average size has been around 6″-8″ with the occasional larger fish. I normally spin fish with lures but this is a great creek to fly fish in. Just lots of brush and logs in the water to make it a bit challenging.

Since It was a nice day this last time I also made a short fishing video. Not a lot of fish caught but it is a great hike along the creek.

90+ temps but still fun

Compact DIY Emergency fishing kit

No one can predict when an emergency will happen. It can be anything from as simple as having your vehicle break down, to a natural disaster that effects the entire area you are living in. One thing that is good to keep in a vehicle just for an emergency is a small kit filled with basic fishing supplies. For this kit I use a small metal altoid can. But any container that is small enough to fit in a glove box will work. The nice thing about these little metal boxes is that they can be used for several purposes once you have removed the fishing supplies. This also makes a great 5 minute craft to put together with children

Simple kit with basics in it. I do recommend more hooks and weights then what is shown in the picture.

Possible list of what you can put into your box:

Still some room that more weight and hooks can be added and a small folding knife

This list is for a very basic kit and can easily be customized to whatever works for you. As you can see from the pictures there is still lots of space inside the tin to add some other things to the kit. One additional thing that would be good to have in this kit is a compact knife. I always carry a belt knife so it is not needed for my kit. this would be very useful for gutting any fish and cutting a pole to use as a fishing rod.

The best way to store the line is to wrap it around the box and then secure it with tape. For this kit I am using 100lb nylon braid. Very strong and can also be used as cordage for any needs.
Wrap multiple layers of tape around the kit to secure the line and also to use in an emergency.

If making your own mini kit is not something you would like to put together then there are several pre-built kits available on Amazon that can be purchased.

This is a good list of books that are fairly compact and can be carried in the glove box or in an emergency bag.

All That the Rain Promises and More: A Hip Pocket Guide to Western Mushrooms by David Arora (smaller pocket guide that is excellent to use)

The Forager’s Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants

Pacific Northwest Foraging: 120 Wild and Flavorful Edibles from Alaska Blueberries to Wild Hazelnuts (Regional Foraging Series)

SAS Survival Handbook, Third Edition: The Ultimate Guide to Surviving Anywhere This is the go to guide for most people looking into survival

And some good survival gear

There are also several E-books that can be found on Kindle unlimited

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Spirit lake

Today was a search of some ripe huckleberries for us and the kids.  We went in search for them at Spirit lake in the western Cascades on the west edge of the Waldo lake basin.  It is only a short half mile hike with very little elevation change.  Making it perfect for kids of all ages.  Granted the youngest didn’t walk, and instead I carried her in the kiddo backpack. I don’t think I could have kept a toddler moving in one direction for that distance.  We didn’t find a lot of huckleberries, but there was enough to have a nice snack of them. The lake has a good population of brook trout in it.  The average size is about 10″  with reports of ones up to 15″ being caught.  I wasn’t able to get more then one bite, but the ones surfacing for mayflies looked to be about a foot long. For more information of fishing at Any cascade lake please check out Fishing in Oregon.  Tons of information in it on almost every waterbody in Oreogn

  • Directions: Proceed east from the Oakridge Ranger Station on Hwy. 58 to Oakridge. From downtown Oakridge proceed east on Salmon Creek Road (24) for about 13 miles to the junction of Road 2422. From here proceed left on 2422 for 9 miles to trailhead on right. Across from the Waldo Meadows Trailhead.
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Recommended Season: June – October
  • Elevation change: 169 feet

Nice easy walk to the lake.
Nice easy walk to the lake.

The view of the lake as you come to the end of the trail
The view of the lake as you come to the end of the trail.

Interesting tree growing in the meadow.  looks like it had fallen down and then grown up from the fallen trunk
Interesting tree growing in the meadow. It looks like it had fallen down and then grown up from the fallen trunk.

Lots of fallen trees in the water
Lots of fallen trees in the water.

Katy all ready to return back to the car for lunch
Katy all ready to return back to the car for lunch.

Several great books for the local areas

Hiking Waterfalls in Oregon: A Guide to the State’s Best Waterfall Hikes

Day Hiking Bend & Central Oregon: Mount Jefferson/ Sisters/ Cascade Lakes

100 Hikes / Travel Guide: Central Oregon Cascades

100 Hikes / Travel Guide: Oregon Coast & Coast Range

Shane’s outdoor fun is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

Goodman Creek trail

Now that the weather has changed towards spring it is time to do some more hiking adventures.  This is a new hike for us, with a bonus that it is still fairly close to Eugene, and there is a waterfall near the end of the hike. For me this is a very easy hike.  Not so much for Staci.  She didn’t yell at me at least this time. I normally do almost this much during my lunch hour at work.  Granted that is walking on pavement though. The path is nice and wide as it meanders through the forest.  The path was very muddy in spots.  As it dries out this would be a great hike to take kids on.  Not too steep and lots of wildflowers and scenic forest to explore.

interesting to see how the hike plotted out on google maps
Interesting to see how the hike plotted out on Google maps.

 

Goodman creek Trail: A well wooded trail that runs along side an inlet. After a brief climb, the trail crosses a few small creek beds before taking you through tall trees and fern lined views. Just short of two miles in, you will come across a small waterfall, that is very rewarding to your hike. Continue to the right just a few hundred yards to a large log bridge and Goodman Creek. Great picnic spot and turn around.

  • Distance: 4 miles round trip
  • Elevation gain: 300 feet
  • Difficulty rating (in alltrails): Medium (easy must be flat only)

How to get there: Take HWY 58 off I-5, just south of Eugene. As you approach Dexter Lake, and the small town of Lowell, keep your eyes out for a turnoff between mile post 20 and 21. There is a decent size parking lot to the south side of the road. The trail head is near the road and the sign will read Hardesty Trail, with mileage for Goodman Creek Trail junction as well. After a short hike through the trees, you will come to the junction for Hardesty Mountain going to the left, and a right going to Goodman Creek Trail. The waterfall is before you get to a log bridge across the creek.

I always wonder how old these signs are when I see them.

IMAG0630
Staci walking down the trail. We are almost to the waterfall at this point.

One of hundreds of Trillium blooming along the trail

IMAG0635
The waterfall at the end of the our hike. The trail continues in a loop that can be walked or biked.

Siuslaw river

River with fall colors
River with fall colors

One of my favorite rivers for all seasons is the Siuslaw River in western part of Oregon.  The Siuslaw River is nearly 110 miles long.  It drains an area of approximately 773 square miles in the Central Oregon Coast Range.

steep banks in places make for some interesting tree shapes
steep banks in places make for some interesting tree shapes

The river has historically been a spawning ground for Chinook and Coho salmon. And at one time was the only river in Oregon that had a higher return of salmon was the Columbia.  Although the Chinook population is substantial, Coho numbers have declined from an annual average of 209,000 fish between 1889 and 1896 to just over 3,000 fish between 1990 and 1995. Since the early 1990’s the Coho have slowly been increasing in number, but they still have a long ways to go before returning to historic numbers.  The estuary of the river is surrounded by extensive wetlands that are a significant habitat for migratory birds along the coast.  It is one of the very few Western Oregon Rivers where all major forks are undammed.

There are lots of boulders throughout the lower river
There are lots of boulders throughout the lower river

During the summer months the river is a great place to swim and get away from the high heat of the Willamette valley.  Even though the water can be very low there are many deep holes throughout the length of the river that can easily be over 10 feet deep.  Also during the summer there a many crawfish that call the river home that can be easily collected and eaten.  We made a crayfish alfredo one year that was wonderful.  After the first heavy rains of fall the Chinook and Coho will start running up the river to their spawning grounds.  Fishing is currently open for salmon until the middle of November.  But always check online for updates and changes to the season and catch quota.  As you move into winter and spring a very large run of Steelhead will run up the river.  Most of them are hatchery fish that only go up as far as Whittaker creek.

River just below the edge of tidewater
River just below the edge of tidewater

The drive along the river is a beautiful one no matter what time of year you go.  Enjoy the beauty of the coastal valleys and sample some of the fares of the wilderness.

Coquille lighthouse

Nice foggy view of the lighthouse
Nice foggy view of the lighthouse

During our trip to Bandon last month we also were able to stop and see this historic lighthouse at the mouth of the Coquille river. The view is not as scenic as the one at Heceta head but still worth the stop to look at it and go inside.  It is situated at the end of Bullard’s beach park.  There is a nice campground nearby and lots of good beach access.

Decription of the lighthouse at the start of the path to it
description of the lighthouse at the start of the path to it

And now for a little history on the light house:

Adjacent to the town, the Coquille River empties into the Pacific Ocean. The river extends inland a great distance and was a natural link to the virgin stands of timber in the area. The bar at the mouth of the river, formed by the interaction of the river and ocean, was a major obstacle for ships entering the river. At times, only a few feet of water would cover the bar, but vessels still attempted to navigate the river in hopes of reaping the rewards that lay upstream. In 1880, Congress passed a bill funding the construction of a jetty on the south side of the river’s entrance. The jetty created a clear channel in the river, resulting in a rapid rise in the number of ships entering the river.

A lighthouse at the entrance to Coquille River was the next logical step for improving navigation, and in 1890 the Lighthouse Board used the following language to request funds for it.

A light of the fourth order with a fog-signal, at this point, would enable vessels bound into the river to hold on close to the bar during the night so that they would be in a position to cross at the next high water. The light would also serve as a coast light and would be of much service to vessels bound up and down the river.
Congress appropriated $50,000 for the project on March 3, 1891, but it would be four years before land was purchased, plans were solidified, and the construction crew arrived on site.
The workers first leveled the top of Rackliff Rock to provide a base for the lighthouse and oil house. Local stone was cut to form the structure’s foundation, while the lighthouse itself was built of brick, covered with a layer of stucco. The design was unique with a cylindrical tower attached to the east side of an elongated, octagonal room, which housed the fog signal equipment and had a large trumpet protruding from its western wall.

A long, wooden walkway connected the lighthouse to the keepers’ duplex, 650 feet away. Each side of the duplex had three bedrooms, a kitchen, dinning room, sitting room, and a 15,000-gallon brick cistern for storing water. A barn was located 150 feet beyond the dwelling.

One of several history plaques inside the light house
One of several history plaques inside the light house

A visit to Face Rock Creamery

On our trip to Bandon for Staci’s birthday I was able to squeeze in a trip to the newly opened cheese factory that is at the site of the original Bandon cheese factory that was bought out by Tillamook cheese factory years ago. My grandparents used to take my sister and I to the original one for cheese curds.  Ahhh the memories of tasty cheddar curds.

Face rockThere are several varieties of cheese that they make that is available with samples to try before you purchase

  • Grand Opening Cheddar
  • “In Your Face” Spicy 3-Pepper Cheddar
  • Vampire Slayer Garlic Cheddar
  • Monterey Jack
  • “Face Rockn’ Jack” Pepper Jack,
  • “Black Jack” Monterey Jack with black olives and garlic
  • Fromage Blanc in various flavors

All three varieties of cheddar are also available as curds.  I picked up a bag of the 3-pepper and a bag of the garlic cheddar.  Both were delicious.  It is a great place to explore and taste test.  If you are in the area i recommend stopping to taste.  Their web site has a lot of information on the history of cheesemaking in the area

Cases full of wonderful cheese
Cases full of wonderful cheese

Cleaning up after cheese making it looks like
Cleaning up after cheese making it looks like

Curds!!!!!!!
Curds!!!!!!!

Forest Dell Park

While on my daily lunch walk I noticed a little green park section on my map of the area.  So as i tend to do I decided to explore and see what was there.  The path into the park is unmarked and actually looks just like a deer path going into the trees.  After about 50 yards the path splits into a fairly nice wide trail.  It ends up being that the trail loops around inside the little park for a nice half mile walk or so.  Small elevation gain but no more than 50 feet total on the path.

NIce little loop inside the park.
NIce little loop inside the park.

Small path leading into the park
Small path leading into the park

going right at the fork
going right at the fork

looking into the center of the park
looking into the center of the park

Looped back around
Looped back around

The only dark dense part of little trees
The only dark dense part of little trees

 

 

 

Silver creek south falls and lower south falls

Silver creek has a total of 10 falls inside the state park.  The trail of 10 falls is a mild 8.7 mile loop with only 600 ft elevation change.  Next time I go I would like to do the entire loop.  For this trip we only hiked the first two falls.  It would have been a bit difficult once we got to the stair to take the strollers down to the base of lower south falls.  The first 2 falls are an easy two-mile hike down and back that is very easy for children.

South falls as you hit the first fork in the path
South falls as you hit the first fork in the path

Getting There: From Interstate 5 exit 253 in Salem, drive 10 miles east on North Santiam Highway 22, turn left at a sign for Silver Falls Park, and follow Highway 214 for 16 miles to the park entrance sign at South Falls.

The short hike: From the South Falls Picnic Area C parking lot, follow a broad path downstream a few hundred yards to historic Silver Falls Lodge, built by Civilian Conservation Corps crews in 1940. After inspecting this rustic stone-and-log building, continue a few hundred yards to an overlook of 177-foot South Falls. From here take a paved trail to the right. Then switch back down into the canyon and behind South Falls.

A few hundred yards beyond South Falls is a junction at a scenic footbridge. Don’t cross the bridge unless you’re truly tired, because that route merely returns to the car. Instead take the unpaved path along the creek. This path eventually switchbacks down and behind Lower South Falls’ broad, 93-foot cascade.

The creek in between the two falls
The creek in between the two falls

My sister on a log that crosses the creek
My sister on a log that crosses the creek

The lower south falls near the base of the staircase
The lower south falls near the base of the staircase

Both of the first two falls have a path that goes behind the waterfalls
Both of the first two falls have a path that goes behind the waterfalls

 

 

 

Elk Creek trail #3510 into the Mink lake basin

Me at the 4 mile mark hiking in to the Mink lake basin
Me at the 4 mile mark hiking in to the Mink lake basin

A journey for my birthday this year.  Our original goal was to hike all the way into mink lake.  But we only made it to Junction lake before we collapsed from exhaustion.  Next time we will start from a different starting point. There are a lot of mosquitoes in this area so bring lots of bug repellent

  • Trail name: Elk Creek Trail #3510
  • Distance: 7.6 miles to Junction Lake
  • elevation gain: 2000 ft  (2950 to 4970)
  • Difficulty: Difficult

Directions:
From Blue River proceed east for 4 miles on Hwy 126, turn right on Rd 19 (Cougar Dam) and continue for 22 miles, turn left onto Rd 1964 for 2.7 miles, then turn left onto Rd 456 to Elk Creek trailhead ½ mile.

Trail map in reverse direction but it shows the trail well
Trail map in reverse direction but it shows the trail well

The first three miles of the path up from the parking area are the most brutal of this climb.  1600 foot climb in just under three miles.  Well it was brutal for the two of us.  We got passed by a group up near the three mile mark and it didn’t even look like they had even broke a sweat.  After reaching the top of the plataeu the path is mostly small rolling hills for the rest of the way in.

Start of the path up the steep part


The end of the hill climb is in sight

 

Most of the path is flat the rest of the way as it alternates between central oregon dry and western Cascade forests
Most of the path is flat the rest of the way as it alternates between central Oregon dry and western Cascade forests
Mink lake sign
Mink lake sign

Just past the five mile mark you will reach a trail crossing the path.  The intersection has a well marked sign on what is each direction.  The trail to Mink lake is on the northern trail (turn left)

The first lake you come to is Rock lake.  There are no fish in the lake, but it is a nice spot to stop and take a break.
The first lake you come to is Rock lake. There are no fish in the lake, but it is a nice spot to stop and take a break.
Our camping spot for the day ended up being Junction lake
Our camping spot for the day ended up being Junction lake

By the time we made it to Junction lake we were barely moving still.  In hindsight doing a eight mile hike as our first backpacking trip was probably not my best idea.  But it was a good measure of how good of shape we are in and how far we still need to improve.  For me losing a bit more weight will make a big difference. By my 40th birthday next year I want to be in good enough shape to hike up to the top of South Sister mountain.  Which is a 11.5 mile round trip with a 4900 foot elevation climb. There are supposed to be Cutthroat and Rainbow trout in Junction Lake, but we did’t have any bite or see any raising to the surface.  We were on the shallower side of the lake so the fishing might be better around the back of the lake.  We were just to tired to walk around to the other side.

Friendly giant toad we found in the mountains
Friendly giant toad we found in the mountains
Morning on Junction Lake
Early morning camp

Day trips and hiking places in Oregon

Several great books for the local areas

Hiking Waterfalls in Oregon: A Guide to the State’s Best Waterfall Hikes

Day Hiking Bend & Central Oregon: Mount Jefferson/ Sisters/ Cascade Lakes

100 Hikes / Travel Guide: Central Oregon Cascades

100 Hikes / Travel Guide: Oregon Coast & Coast Range

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