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Hunters Creek

December 18, 2020

Hunters Creek is a little known spot on the southern Oregon coast that is both a population center and the creek that runs through it. My parents lived there for many years and my wife and I also lived there for nearly two years. Both lie just south of the town of Gold Beach, Oregon.

Gold Beach is famed for being on the mouth of the Rogue River, the same piece of water that was made famous by author Zane Grey. The Rogue River is an amazing salmon and steelhead fishery that extends from the Pacific Ocean eastward into the Cascade Mountains above Grants Pass.

A few Gold Beach residents have always preferred to live south of town at Hunters Creek. It is sheltered somewhat from the fierce winds that beat Gold Beach and is a microcosm onto itself, replete with a even more rural culture than Gold Beach.  There probably have always been some residents in the immediate Hunters Creek area.

Speaking for myself, I found Hunters Creek a delightful place to call home when I lived there in 1987 and 1988. There was an old abandoned hardware store, a few scattered homes and a stretch called Upper Hunters Creek that was even more sparsely populated. The people were the kind I have always liked: No BS folks who appreciated the land, forest and streams that surrounded their homes.

My parents moved to Hunters Creek in 1979 after having lived in Los Angeles and Atlanta. Instead of bringing their big city baggage to Gold Beach, they embraced the local culture and found a unique home located on Hunters Creek Loop. Being an avid fisherman, my father soon became well known as an honest conservationist who helped rebuild once depleted anadromous fish runs on the Rogue River, the Pistol River and Hunter Creek. When I joined my parents, I also joined the efforts at habitat and fish restoration.

The above photo is of the bridge that goes over Hunters Creek on the way to Gold Beach, It was built in 1928, replacing a primitive bridge. When I left decades ago the bridge was in need of work, I imagine it has been rebuilt since. I had many good memories forged near that bridge, specifically at the Guard Rail Pool.

The Guard Rail Pool was located just to the left of my parent’s house and as the name implies, it was located below a guard rail on the road. It was a favorite spot for Steelhead fisherman including me and my father. I recall one afternoon when my father was mowing the lawn. I had snuck over to the Guard Rail Pool about an hour earlier and returned with two nice Steelhead (10 and 12 pounds). My father just stared at me, let go of the mower in a rush to get his gear and was on the same spot within minutes. Looking back I can understand why he was pissed. I was the one who should have been mowing, allowing my elderly father the luxury of fishing.

I also recall a rainy morning when the water was rapidly rising on Hunters Creek and my wife and I were fishing its waters. Boom! I hooked a large buck and he went upstream and through my legs in one great surge. I shifted my feet in a second but my foe was long gone upstream, leaving me with just a busted leader.

Hunters Creek was a wonderful place when I was there. I truly hope that it has remained the same, unspoiled by progress. It’s just a hope, the same kind of wish that I have when I’m drifting an Elk Hair Caddis in the hope that a fish will rise.

PS – Yes, the photo was taken during my Grizzly Adams phase… 😂

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2 Comments
  1. olive blankenship permalink

    I’ve been to Gold Beach OR but never to Hunters Creek. A lot of people with RV’s go fishing there. They catch a lot of salmon around there. The itself has grown especially along the highway, but I noticed when we went through there in August, there were a lot of empty businesses. It a beautiful area.

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    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Olive – I’m glad someone else knows where Gold Beach is located. The next time you’re there, check out the fish hatchery on Indian Creek (3-4 miles up the Rogue River. My father built it.

      Like

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