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.

When settlers first came to the Oregon Coast, they were amazed at the abundance of salmon in the area. Commercial salmon fishing started in the 1860s and provided an influx of jobs in cities like Astoria, Tillamook and Gold Beach. By the 21sst century, it became an important part of every coastal town’s economy. Settlers and immigrants came to the area for the opportunities in both the fishing and canning industries. As the number of commercial fisherman increased, so did the competition between them. Innovations and technological advancements created higher yields with less work. Things like fishwheels and gillnets lead to unrestrained and unsustainable harvesting, rapidly decreasing salmon populations in the area.


Photo obtained from Oregon State University, Special Collections and Archives Research Center


Today, fisheries are managed by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Pacific Fisheries Management Council. They set limits, regulations and run studies to sample fish and shellfish, as well as provide fisherman with as much information as they can. It is important for fisherman to follow limits and quotas set by these agencies because they are implemented to ensure fishing is sustainable and that there will be plenty of fish for everyone and the future of fishing. With proper fisheries management, the Oregon Coast will remain a premier fishing destination for generations to come.


Whale skeletons on display

 Anyone visiting the South Oregon Coast should try to pay a visit to the gem of Charleston. Both an aquarium and museum, the Charleston Marine Life Center exhibits some the most fascinating creatures of the Oregon coast, from the rocky shores to the deep underwater volcanos.Something that makes the center special is its ability to appeal to and accommodate a wide range of ages. They have a wide range of exhibits including touch tanks, fossils, and live animals. While younger children may enjoy the touching creatures and listening to whale sounds, adults can marvel at fact sheets and fossils from a variety of marine mammals, including a sperm whale skull and preserved giant squid. The center also has many helpful and informative volunteers, whohave gone through trainings to find the best ways to communicate information to their audience. It is set right on the water, so visitors can look out the windows and watch boats pass through the marina or observe seafood being sorted into crates at Pacific Seafood.

One of the best features of the marine life center is its connection to the OIMB research facility, located right across the street. They are able to work with scientists and students first hand to collaborate for programs. This keeps the information, exhibits and programing happening in the center current and relevant.

Display of various crabs in the center

After learning about the marine mammals and playing in the touch tank, visitors can drive to the local state parks in the area to see sea lions, sea stars and anemones in the wild. It can be difficult to find a place that balances education, discovery and fun, and the Charleston Marine Life Center is a perfect example of just that.