Willow Creek (Malheur River)

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Willow Creek
Country United States
State Oregon
County Malheur
 - location near Ironside
 - elevation 3,724 ft (1,135 m) [1]
 - coordinates 44°20′08″N 117°56′15″W / 44.33556°N 117.93750°W / 44.33556; -117.93750 [2]
Mouth Malheur River
 - location near Vale
 - elevation 2,234 ft (681 m) [2]
 - coordinates 43°59′14″N 117°13′51″W / 43.98722°N 117.23083°W / 43.98722; -117.23083Coordinates: 43°59′14″N 117°13′51″W / 43.98722°N 117.23083°W / 43.98722; -117.23083 [2]
Length 57 mi (92 km) [3]
Basin 787 sq mi (2,038 km2) [4]
Location of the mouth of Willow Creek in Oregon

Willow Creek is a 57-mile (92 km) tributary of the Malheur River in Malheur County in the U.S. state of Oregon.[3] The creek, which forms at 3,724 feet (1,135 m) above sea level and ends at 2,234 feet (681 m), flows generally southeast between Ironside and Vale.[2] Willow Creek's watershed covers 787 square miles (2,040 km2) of relatively arid land.[4]

Willow Creek begins at the confluence of its Middle and South forks, slightly north of Ironside and U.S. Route 26. It flows northeast away from Route 26 to Malheur Reservoir, then turns southeast by Huntington Junction before reaching Route 26 again at Brogan. The creek continues southeast, roughly parallel to the highway, through Jamieson and Willowcreek before reaching Vale.[5] It enters the Malheur River about 19 miles (31 km) from the larger stream's confluence with the Snake River.[6]

Irrigated farming in the basin produces sugar beets, onions, potatoes, corn, mint, grain, alfalfa seed, vegetable seed, and hay. Between Brogan and Vale, the creek has been turned into a drainage and irrigation canal for farms. Above Brogan, as far as the Malheur Reservoir, 41 miles (66 km) from the mouth, the historic stream was dredged and placer-mined for gold and silver. Water flow for much of the creek is controlled by releases from the reservoir. The upper creek is also used for irrigation.[4]

Fishing on the main stem above Malheur Reservoir and along Middle and South Willow creeks is good for native Great Basin redband trout and "hatchery trout escapees from the reservoir".[7] The creeks also have a population of rainbow trout; catches averaging 9 to 10 inches (23 to 25 cm) are the norm. The Willow and its forks are not heavily fished.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Source elevation derived from Google Earth search using GNIS source coordinates.
  2. ^ a b c d "Willow Creek". Geographic Names Information System (GNIS). United States Geological Survey (USGS). November 28, 1980. Retrieved March 5, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "Malheur River Basin Agricultural Water Quality Management Area Plan" (PDF). Oregon Department of Agriculture. February 15, 2001. p. 9. Retrieved March 5, 2011.  Reference states that Willow Creek is dammed 41 miles (66 km) from its mouth. The remaining distance is an estimate based on map scale and ruler.
  4. ^ a b c Malheur Watershed Council; Burns Paiute Tribe (May 2004). "Malheur River Subbasin Assessment and Management Plan For Fish and Wildlife Mitigation" (PDF). Northwest Power and Conservation Council. pp. 10–14. Retrieved March 5, 2011. 
  5. ^ Oregon Atlas & Gazetteer (Map) (1991 ed.). DeLorme Mapping. § 79, 83–31. ISBN 0-89933-235-8. 
  6. ^ United States Geological Survey (USGS). "United States Geological Survey Topographic Map, Vale East, Oregon, quadrangle". TopoQuest. Retrieved March 5, 2011. 
  7. ^ a b Sheehan, Madelynne Diness (2005). Fishing in Oregon: The Complete Oregon Fishing Guide (10th ed.). Scappoose, Oregon: Flying Pencil Publications. p. 300. ISBN 0-916473-15-5.