Butte Creek

OREGON FISHING FORUM

Fishnbuck

Member
On the way home from dropping the eldest back off at WOU, we routed through Silverton to stop at a farm store. As we left town, we crossed Abiqua, and Butte creeks. Being the conscientious (and exploratory) fisherman that I am, I pulled out the copy of the ODFW Fishing regs I keep between my seat and center console, and determined they are both open year round, above their respective falls.

We would like to venture out that way for some fly and spinner fishing. I am looking for feedback regarding accessibility, as my wife and son are not as inclined to bushwhack as I, and we would like to avoid trespassing. My google searches indicate we should probably avoid Abiqua, since we drive a Ford Focus 5-door, and don't like sheer cliffs.

Thanks,

FB
 

Modest_Man

Well-known member
Both Butte and Abiqua are accessible above the falls by the same gravel logging road. Access is tough, but Butte is "easier". There is an actual trail to Butte Creek Falls but it puts you below the falls, not above. I have not found a trial to above the Abiqua, I just bush whack. There is one below to the base of the falls, but you're stuck below.
 

GungasUncle

Well-known member
Used to fish that drainage extensively. My question, and this needs asked of ODFW - regarding Butte, is it above the upper or above the lower falls that the stream opens? Guessing upper since it's not specified. Access to Butte is not bad. To fish above the upper falls, it's easiest to drive up to the campground area about half a mile past. There's a nice gravel pull out on the road, no need to park in the CG. From there hike up or down stream. Downstream is fairly easy, with only a couple dicy wading spots were the creek gets wide. Make sure you have good boots though, the rocks get slick. You can drive further up and pick up butte in a number of spots.

Abiqua is a bushwacking game, period. The hike to the falls is not one for someone not into hiking/bushwacking.

Here's a few shots of Abiqua below the falls - I was fishing with my cousin Tyler (TTuck) in these pix (of him) - which opens up end of May...











It's a gorgeous stream and worth the hike if you are so inclined.

When all of Butte opens up the water between the two falls is productive. And if you're really adventurous, hiking down to the plunge pool of the lower falls can be rewarding. That is NOT a hike I'd recommend for someone with balance issues, fear of heights, common sense or not fairly fit physically, because unless the rock face has changed since last I went, it's nearly vertical and the ground gives way easily. When I was 18 and stupid it was no biggie. At 35 and not as in shape - I wouldn't try it now without climbing gear - mostly because the falling risk is high on that one. Getting into the plunge of the upper is easy - the trail takes you right there. Some nice cutties in that plunge pool, and you can walk behind the falls like you do at Silver Falls.

I can't find my pix of Butte, except for a handful of shots at the upper end of the creek, near where it last (or first depending on your outlook) crosses the road.





It's really bushy and narrow up there - short light rods are the way to go when exploring the headwaters.

Spin and fly fishing both work well up there. If using spinners - I like the light stuff - 1/16th rooster tails or panther martens usually. If fly fishing - dries work most of the time - but I usually do a dry & dropper and hang either a small generic nymph like a prince, hare's ear, or pheasant tail, or a soft hackle wet fly. Never found them particularly pattern picky. Flies from size 12 and down are usually what I'm fishing up there.
 

Modest_Man

Well-known member
My interpretation of the regulations is that it would be the lower falls. There is no way anadramous fish are getting above the lower falls, which is why the falls are the deadline. (There are additional falls on Abiqua as well, above the "main" falls.)

Here's a couple photos I took of Butte Creek

Upper falls-


Lower falls-
 

Fishnbuck

Member
Thanks for the info guys. It seems a solo "scouting trip" is in order, to make sure it's "safe" for the family. Will post-up with results, based on weather, probably not this weekend though.
 

GungasUncle

Well-known member
Wew - when did that tree appear in the lower plunge pool? It's been a few years since I was there last. Some nice fat little cutthroat in the pools of both falls.

I like your longer exposure on those pix too - did you use a tripod? Love how the white water turned out.
 

Fishnbuck

Member
Well, didn't quite make it to Butte this weekend. Saturday we headed out to Silverton Reservoir for a few hours. We hung around the launch/pier area. Threw eggs, crawlers, power bait, spinners for nada, which met our expectations. It was more about be outside together, and get some quiet time away from the house and schoolwork. On our way home, we did venture out towards Butte Creek, however google maps ceases to be helpful when you combine logging road with no cell service. As a precaution I did screenshot the directions, but failed to note the odometer reading when the wife turned on to Crooked Finger. That makes the nameless left turn 11 miles down the road difficult to identify. We passed by the ATV staging area, and assumed we were nearing our destination, so we watched for a left turn, and signage. We encountered a road on the left not too far after, but the only visible signage was a truck warning/CB channel sign. It appeared narrow and rocky, so we continued on, until we reached a significant incline that turned to rock/large gravel instead of the nice hard pack we were on. Since we were in a Ford Focus 5-Door, and without reasonable navigation devices, we chose to head home, and pursue this after properly equipping ourselves. I chatted with our neighbor who is very familiar with the area, and he said had we taken the left, we would have made our destination in about a mile. He said the sign was probably knocked down by the snow plow(s), and our decision not to take our car on that road was a good one. As they say, nothing ventured nothing gained. At least now we know what to do next time!
 

GungasUncle

Well-known member
So that narrow rocky road that shoots off to the left (then curves right not too far down, then starts on a downhill grade for a little while) was the road you want. It's only a couple minutes past the ATV staging area. There are/were no signs up there, except for CB channel signs for truckers. It can be a little hair raising of a trip on the first time - but once you've been there and seen it it's not bad at all. You've got a couple miles on that road and you'll see the parking area and trail head to the falls. There is/was a sign board there. And the parking area is/was ringed with huge rocks and it had a portapooper.

If you go another mile or so up that road you'll reach the camp ground. There's a brick poop house by the road, and unimproved camping spots in the campground proper. Just past this, around the bend is a concrete bridge over the stream, and a gravel pullout you can park at and have an easy walk to the creek. Fishing downstream from here all the way to the edge of the falls is fairly easy, only one dicey wading spot where the stream gets wide and deep - I'm 6'4" and it comes to my navel at that crossing. Good fishing in that run though ;)

Upstream from the bridge is more of an invigorating hike, the stream gains elevation a bit quicker than it looses it down from the bridge. Upstream of the bridge also gets fished less, or did. Fisherman's trail petered out after about 200 feet. Some nice runs though if you go upstream of the bridge. Great dry fly water.

The run immediately upstream of the bridge wasn't the greatest - the channel runs river left (to your right if facing upstream) and there are a bunch of overhanging limbs. It doesn't get really deep and there wasn't a lot of contour to the bottom. The fish always seemed to spook easily in that run to boot. Upstream where it bends to your left a bit there are better runs. The banks are very brush lined to watch your back casts. There were some downed tree limbs to watch out for if you are fishing nymphs or wet flies - but those could've been washed downstream by now. Don't want to spoil all of it for you, but I'll say there's some fun, pretty water up stream if you're up for the walk.

If you venture up the road past the bridge, count your turns and turn offs carefully! It's easy to get turned around with all the spurs up there. While exploring the drainage and looking for a certain lake - I found Mollala on accident by taking too many left turns ;) My second attempt to find said lake was a success. But I did a bit of extra unintended exploring up there too...

Word of caution - TAKE A SPARE TIRE - sorry for shouting, but I've blown tires up there. Once I was 15 miles up the road from Camp Dakota. THAT was not pleasant. I ground an alloy rim down to...well lets just say it wasn't really recognizable. Just to get to Crooked Finger. From there we walked half way to Camp Dakota before a nice retired couple on a country drive gave us a lift down there. Then we hoofed it all the way back to the car and waited for the tow truck. Did I mention I foolishly made that trip ON my spare tire? Yeah. Embarassing, given what I do for a living. Took 3 hours for the boss to get to us. I'm not sure AAA or other auto clubs would actually send a tow truck up there - AAA sometimes declines service if you're on logging roads or wilderness areas. Even if they sent a truck - the closest tow services are Baker & Baker in Woodburn, P&M out of Salem, or Whitman's out in Canby, IIRC.

Probably don't need to tell you the next bit - but if you're going up there this time of year, make sure you've got gear stowed in the car in case you have to spend a night or two up there. I hit the April opener up there a few years ago, and a light misty rain turned into a good snow fall by noon. Even in a 4WD with chains - I wasn't going to risk staying up there by myself. To rub salt in the wound - I didn't even get a bump that morning during what fishing I was able to do.

I used to make that trip up there in a typical 4 door sedan - so your Focus will be fine if you stick to the road. Watch for crazies going way too fast up there though. When the creek was open April to October, you could almost count on seeing a state trooper making the rounds, which was nice. ODF foresters were a common sight too.

When fishing Abiqua I've seen all manner of sedans and hatchbacks up there - and if I remember right Modest Man used to drive a focus himself and fished up that way.
 
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Fishnbuck

Member
Thanks G-

Loads of good intel, I appreciate. The wife was driving (as she typically does when we are together, passenger = car sickness for her and no it's NOT my driving) and she has had some bad experiences growing up in Texas, so I did not want to spoil a nice outing by pushing her too far. Now that we have made it that far, and were able to talk to the neighbor, and get feedback from you, she will be more comfortable making our destination. It has also helped spur my pursuit of a second vehicle for the household, hopefully a truck or SUV. I just wish I could make money at this fishing game to spur my budget!!!

Tight lines
FB
 
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