How to Fish Union Creek in Oregon

Union Creek flows through a forest of massive trees and volcanic rock. There are numerous wildflowers and bushes as well, making it a place of beauty. Located near the west boundary of Crater Lake National Park, the cold and fast-flowing stream also offers great opportunities to catch fish. Single day licenses are even available.


It is important for the fisherman to know which fish species are most likely to be caught, as a starting point for knowing how to fish for them.

The fish found in Union Creek include rainbow trout, brook trout, cutthroat trout and brown trout. However, it is also known for the steelhead and salmon runs. There are other fish present, as well. This might give an idea of how rapidly flowing, clean, and cold the water is.

Fishing techniques

Note: Always check the fish synopsis regarding sizes, catch limits and allowable fishing techniques.

Bait fishing, in areas where it is legal, sometimes yields modest results in the number of fish caught. The difficulties with bait fishing is mostly due to the water flow. Through much of the year, the stream moves so fast that a heavier weight is needed to keep bait on the bottom of the creek. This can make it more difficult to detect a strike, particularly by a smaller fish. Rocks cause another problem, as the weighted lines can easily become snagged.

Lure fishing doesn’t present the same issues, except for the rocks that can become easily snagged. Some fishermen have caught nice size fish on lures. Smaller lures tend to do better, even for the larger fish.

Fly fishing is the favored technique for many fishermen when fishing this stream, particularly where the water flows the most swiftly through narrow volcanic channels. Care must be taken because of the number of trees and bushes near the stream. However, fishermen have reported that the fish often hit hard and fast, before the fly can be carried downstream and out of their reach.

Landing fish

Landing the fish can also be quite a challenge. The water flow makes it hard, but the trees and brush around the creek makes it even harder. Ideally, the fish can be lifted free of the water before they are reeled completely to shore. This isn’t always possible, depending on the undergrowth and the part of the stream that is being fished. Also, a five pound salmon or steelhead can be difficult to lift. This means that what will work in one place with a particular specimen won’t necessarily work in another or with a different fish.

It is interesting to note that with the speed of flow and the shading from the trees, the water seldom warms up very much. In fact, in the narrower areas where the water is moving faster, it often causes mist in the air. Even in the heat of summer, it might be a good idea for a fisherman to carry a windbreaker, just in case.

Union Creek is a beautiful place to fish, and the fishing can be quite productive. There are fish in abundance in the stream, though it often requires patience and skill to catch them. Considering the size of the creek, surprisingly large fish have been caught from this water.

Additional sources:

US Forest Service
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
Author’s personal experience