Gold Beach Oregon is
located by the mouth of the mighty Rogue River, where it
meets the ocean. Gold Beach stretches back more than a
millennium. It's history is the story of several Native
American cultures, Spanish explorers, pioneers, European
fur trappers, miners, settlers, ranchers, loggers,
commercial fishermen, and mill workers who built a nice
life for themselves in this coastal paradise.
The climate here is very mild for the Oregon coast. 3/4
of the days in the winter time are as warm as the
average of summer days. The nights are cool. Enjoy the
outdoors in all of the seasons here at Gold Beach.
This beautiful area has an
abundance of recreational activities. Explore the
mountains, beaches, wildlife, campgrounds, fishing,
kayaking, windsurfing, wilderness mountain hiking or
biking and much more!
From inland, traveling westward, the Rogue River travels
through Grants Pass, Galice and other towns and ends up
here at Gold Beach. The Rogue River is a rafters
paradise for excitement and nature watching. But be
careful, parts of this wild river are very dangerous to
raft. Please check with an experienced river guide
before proceeding. This area is famous for it's
Steelhead fishing, and there are plenty of fishing
The early story
of Gold Beach is a weaving of Native American cultures and wars,
Spanish explorers and European fur trappers, ranchers, gold miners,
loggers, fishermen, mill workers and town folk ó all building a
special kind of life in an amazing place thatís never lost its natural
The history of the area that has most influenced the Gold Beach you
see today began in the mid-1800ís. In 1853, a short time after gold
was discovered in California, the shiny stuff was found in the beach
sand near the mouth of the Rogue River. Gold Beach was born, and
established fast. Originally given the name of Ellensburg, in 1858 the
town became the county seat of the newly formed Curry County.
But everyone called it Gold Beach.
Prospectors poured into the area and set up their sluice boxes, and
soon a number of small enterprises sprang up around them, with people
making a living on salmon, logging, tanning and simply keeping all
those folks stocked with food and dry goods. Copper and other minerals
were also mined and at one point there was even a jade mine above
Agate Beach. None of the mines ever amounted to much, compared to the
gold fields elsewhere, but there are still a few gold mining
operations in the upriver area and gold can still be panned on the
The prospectors are long gone, but many small outposts on the Rogue
still ply goods to a different kind of fortune hunter ó the angler.
Hard to imagine, but in the late nineteenth century it wasnít known
that salmon would take a hook and line; for years salmon was heavily
harvested with seine and gill nets. In 1876, Robert D. Hume
established a canning operation and very quickly came to dominate the
industry locally. In 1878 he built the first fish hatchery in the area
at Hatchery Gulch just south of Indian Creek.
In 1896, a Mr. Frank was fishing for trout near the mouth of the Rogue
River using a fly rod and small spinner. To his and everyone elseís
surprise he reeled in an 18-pound salmon, and Rogue River sport
fishing was born.
Salmon has played an important role in contributing to the local
economy since. As gold mining, fur trapping and the lumber industries
declined in importance locally, each forced a large number of people
to leave the area in search of work. After 1908, commercial fishing on
the Rogue expanded rapidly and the salmon fishery was largely depleted
in a very short time; in 1935 commercial fishing on the Rogue was
ended by state legislation. Since then sport fishing has taken off and
a number of enthusiasts have formed organizations to protect and
increase the salmon population not only in the Rogue, but also in
other coastal rivers up and down the state. Today the salmon,
steelhead, trout and other sport fish draw enthusiasts from around the
country to this small town.
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