Photo by Susan Dimock

Stretching from Heceta Head in Northern Florence to Cape Arago in Southern Coos Bay, the Oregon sand dunes span 54 miles along the Oregon Coast. In fact, these dunes cover 40,000 acres making it the largest area of any dune system in the West Coast of North America. What makes these dunes even more impressive is that they are over 100,000 years old. Studies show that individual sand grains originated from the Umpqua River making it the primary source of the Oregon Dunes.

Since 1972, the dune system is known as the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area (ODNRA) and is managed by the U.S. Forest Service thanks to Congress.

U.S. Highway 101 is the major coastal highway that runs through almost the entire Pacific Coast line from Northern Washington to Southern California, making it easy to access the dunes.

Nestled within them are many lakes making the Oregon Dunes a popular destination for outdoor adventure. In fact, the most popular activities to do are hiking, camping and off-highway-vehicle (OHV) riding.



Jean C Fisheries was established in 1950 and is currently run by Kevin Bennett, who bought the Jean C after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ed Chevalier built the boat, named after his wife, and fished out of Washington and Alaska for over 65 years until Kevin bought it.

Kevin has been operating Jean C Fisheries since April 2014. He fishes for ling cod, salmon, and tuna. His start/stop dates, limits, and restrictions are governed by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the federal government. It’s a one-man operation and Kevin will go out to fish for up to five days at a time on the ocean. His boat is equipped to have multiple fishing lines out at a time and accommodates his living needs while he’s gone for multiple days.

Kevin says that “it’s fishing,” so he never knows exactly how many fish he will bring in after a trip. When I met him, he was unloading 96 tuna fish from his boat. He can catch up to 4,000 pounds at a time.

When asked about how he sells his freshly caught fish Kevin says, “I have a limited seller permit that allows dockside sales to the ultimate consumer whole fish sales.” His tuna is either sold from the boat or to a plant; salmon is almost always to the Pacific Sea food plant; ling cod to local fish shops or dockside sales.”

Gold Beach is a small town on the Southern Oregon Coast, sitting where the Rouge River meets the Pacific Ocean. It has excellent biking, bird watching and world-class fishing.

Five Star Charters is an ocean and river fishing charter based in Gold Beach. Mark Lottis, owner of Five Star, has been chartering since the early 70s and opened the business in 2003. It is family owned and operated by Mark, his wife, and son. They offer both river and ocean trips and fish for halibut, ground fish, and salmon, depending on season. About 85% of their customers are returners, proving that they provide great fishing and customer service. Something that makes Five Star Charters special is that they have boats and equipment for specifically fishing ling cod. Their location with the Rouge reef makes it a perfect place for ling cod, as well as other ground fish and salmon. Mark believes a lot of the value in hiring a charter comes from having the most recent knowledge of where the fish are, as well as the convenience of not having to invest in all the fishing equipment. In addition, customers are able to focus on fishing rather than being concerned with navigation or boat maintenance.

For more information about Five Star Charters, visit their website at


Mark Lottis, owner of Five Star, standing in front of their fish cleaning station.