Oregon Map

Hundred Valleys of the Umpqua

Douglas County


Douglas County, 97436

A Community Invested in its Natural Resources

Well, I finally made the trip to Elkton for new photos. The town was abuzz with labor day activities (2014) especially at the new replica Fort Umpqua facility. I was able to get breakfast at Arlenes Cafe and reminisce about having had breakfast there as a kid 55 years ago. To be sure I have been there a few times in between, but I am amazed that both I and Arlene's Cafe survived over that span of time.



(Written in 2012. I took photos in 2014 but will just leave this narative as is.) I can't believe I have no photos here for you. I have known this town since I was about five years old. Elkton is on the main Umpqua river and probably would never see a stranger if it were not on one of the two main roads that connect inland Douglas county to the coast. The river in this area is now well known for its small mouth bass fishing. Elkton sponsors a sizable fishing tournament each year for these exciting bronzebacks. When I was a kid and passed through here on the way to Winchester Bay there were no bass in the river. The mighty salmon reigned supreme in those days (1950's). Crowds of anglers frequented Sawyers Rapids just downstream from Elkton when the migrating salmon were in the river. Now the salmon are gone and the fishing lodges are gone. I should also mention another fun migrant though, the lowly shad. In May and June these 2-3 lb fish run up the Umpqua and can be caught with fly equipment at Sawyers Rapids. These are hard fighting fish which are a blast to catch. Unfortunately they are not much to eat. The meat is dark and bony. A special filleting technique cuts the meat into long strips and gets rid of most of the bones. Unfortunately they still taste very strong. Let me mention Scottsburg while I am here as I do not have an entry elsewhere for it. Lying just downstream from Sawyer Rapids, it is little more than a dot on the map, but Scottsburg has seen a lot of history. Tidewater reaches inland to this little town and in the early days large freight vessels sailed upstream to Scottsburg before off-loading cargo headed inland. The town was all hustle and bustle. It was an important jump-off point. Today the roar of the eight-teen wheelers has replaced the steam whistles of the cargo ships and the little town is a mere shadow of its former self. Scottsberg was dead even when I was a kid. Let me toss in one more faded memory here. It concerns the small pieces of fertile river bottom soil that flank the mighty Umpqua from Elkton to Reedsport. In the 1950's and into the 1960's these fields grew acres and acres of daffodils, all seemingly the same brilliant yellow. They probably grew there many years before also, but I know nothing about that. Anyway, the daffodils went the way of the salmon. You can still see an occasional yellow bloom in the fields in spring, and I suppose occasionally a salmon passes by also. Maybe I took no photos because of the lack of subjects. I can remember a cafe or two and a school. Perhaps I had better go back with my camera before the local populace stages an uprising on my web site. In any case I am surprised how my forty years of images of this stretch of river came surging back when I started to write. We had no digital cameras and cheap photos in those days so writing will have to suffice.