Galesville Reservoir in southern Douglas County is known as a good bass and warmwater fishery and seasonal spot to potentially limit out on stocked rainbow trout.
The 630-acre reservoir is open year-round but fishes best in spring and summer.
Galesville has the potential for good largemouth bass fishing, although the fishery tends to wax and wane somewhat. It’s an honorable mention on our run-down of Western Oregon’s best largemouth bass fishing.
Largemouth will move into shallow water before and during spawning each spring and can be aggressive biters at this time. Later in spring and into summer and early fall, bass will spend time in deeper water but continue to hunt in shallower water during low-light conditions.
Soft plastics, crankbaits and other lures can be effective for large bass.
Trout fishing is fair to good here during the period that the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife typically stocks it, often in March and April. A recent planting schedule showed a total of 7,500 trout planted in the reservoir.
ODFW also lists cutthroat trout as a potential catch here. These would be counted in the trout limit if you keep any.
Trout bite well for both bank and boat anglers. Still-fishing with baits such as nightcrawlers, PowerBait and salmon eggs is effective. Boat anglers often do well trolling for trout. For some suggestions on how to catch stocked trout, read our article: Trout Fishing: Basic How-To Techniques and Tips.
Galesville also can be good for crappie, sunfish and bullhead catfish.
Crappie are the next most popular target for anglers here, after bass and trout. Crappie fishing tends to be cyclical, with a few good years followed by a few years when catching them is more difficult. Water conditions play a role as well.
Crappie often hold around cover, including sunken branches and drop-offs. In the spring they move into shallow water, especially around sunken willows. At other times, crappie schools are often found at mid-level or deeper water.
Sunfish often prefer shallow water along the banks during the warm months and can be caught with a worm beneath a bobber.
Bullheads stick close to the bottom. They can be caught all day but often move into shallower water in the evenings and night. Natural and prepared baits work well.
Some anglers may remember that ODFW previously had planted coho salmon smolts in Galesville to supplement the trout fishery, but this allotment of landlocked salmon has been shifted to Cooper Creek Reservoir, also in Douglas County. These lake salmon were not kokanee, as some anglers assumed.
There may be few if any of these coho left in Galesville, but rules remain that direct anglers to count salmon caught here as part of a trout limit. Just one trout or salmon over 20 inches may be retained.
Anglers should know that the state has issued consumption guidelines for resident fish caught here, due to naturally occurring mercury found in the watershed. The forested area in the upper Cow Creek watershed that feeds the reservoir has been mined for mercury. (See Oregon Health Authority guidelines.)
Galesville has good access for both bank and boat anglers. A good place to start is Chief Miwaleta County Park on the north side of the reservoir along Upper Cow Creek Road. You’ll find both day-use and camping facilities here, along with a boat launch and other typical facilities.
Galesville can suffer from low-water conditions in late summer and into fall and winter. You can call 541-837-3302 for updated camping and boat launching conditions.
The county park at Galesville is located roughly eight miles northeast of Interstate 5 at Azalea using Upper Cow Creek Road (Highway 36). Azalea is a little over 10 miles south of Canyonville. From larger communities, the reservoir is about an hour south of Roseburg and a similar drive time northeast of Grants Pass.