The Elk River, which empties on the south side of Cape Blanco, and the Sixes River, which meets the sea north of the cape, are two popular streams for salmon and steelhead fishing. Chinook and steelhead begin to enter both rivers after the first good rains of fall arrive, usually in November. Private lands limit bank access, with the exception of a good stretch of the Sixes that runs through Cape Blanco State Park.
The salmon season runs to the end of the year, and steelhead through the following March. Lamm’s Guide Service (541/440-0558, www.umpquafishingguide.com) leads trips on both rivers.
Between Port Orford and Bandon (just south of Langlois) is Floras Lake, one of the southern Oregon coast’s two great windsurfing and kiteboarding spots (the other is south of Gold Beach at Pistol River). The lake, just barely inland from the beach, catches incredible breezes.
Floras Lake Windsurfing School (541/348-9912, www.floraslake.com) offers windsurfing and kiteboarding lessons and rentals; the proprietors also have a very nice B&B just above the lake. It’s 11 miles north of Port Orford, about four miles west of the highway on Floras Lake Loop Road.
On the lake is Boice Cope County Park, which has basic tent and RV sites and a boat ramp. When the wind’s not blowing (fat chance of that!), explore the hiking trails from the campground to the beach.
From Floras Lake north to Bandon is the most isolated beachfront on the Oregon coast—ideal for beachcombing. Grasses, dunes, and shore pines usher you the 25 miles back to Bandon, and chances are good you won’t see a soul.
The south-facing beach at Battle Rock Beach, in downtown Port Orford, can be OK for surfing during the winter, when northwesterly winds blow in. Otherwise, surfers tend to go about a mile south of town to the beach at Hubbard Creek (best in the spring). What these spots may lack in intensity, they make up for in scenery.
More Water Sports
In the northwest of Port Orford, drive west of the highway on 14th or 18th Streets to 90-acre Garrison Lake for boating, waterskiing, and fishing for stocked rainbow and cutthroat trout. Buffington Memorial City Park, at the end of 14th Street, has a dock for fishing or swimming, plus playing fields, tennis courts, picnic areas, hiking trails, and a horse arena. Half a mile north of the lake, look for agates on Paradise Point Beach.
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel