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 guides available.
The early story
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 � all
building a special kind of life in an amazing
place that�s never lost its natural allure.
Gold! The history
the area that has most influenced the Gold Beach
you see today began in the mid-1800�s. 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
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 beach.
prospectors are long gone, but many small
outposts on the Rogue still ply goods to a
different kind of fortune hunter � the angler.
Hard to imagine
, but in
the late nineteenth century it wasn�t 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.
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 else�s
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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