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106 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
July 27, 2003

North Santiam River Report

The fairly low water on the North Santiam has reduced traffic here. There are still a few boats, rafts, and bank anglers, but the river had lots of peaceful places last week. The large number of summer people has switched to some other location, and that really adds to the enjoyment of this area.

At Packsaddle, we have to wade the boats out into the river about 40 feet so we have enough water to float. That’s not a bad price for solitude the rest of the day. There have been a few people fishing at the Line Hole daily, and a few more at Minto Park. Lots of water remains unfished every day.

A cottonwood tree fell across the river just below Spencer’s Hole, but it has been completely removed. Another tree sticks most of the way across the river just below Rock Creek, but there is room to get by and plenty of time to maneuver.

Steelhead are numerous in many of the drifts and holes. With the salmon concentrated in the deep holes, the steelhead are moving into the traditional drifts. That is really a good sign, since they will strike better in these drifts. Excellent steelhead fishing can occur in August and September.

Fishermen’s Bend to Mehama is excellent right now, and boats can drift through all the riffles, even the shallow ones. There are some shallow places on upper and lower drifts where dragging is necessary, but the Fishermen’s Bend run is all clear and runnable. The water temperature is also very good in that drift some of the day.

Last week, someone suggested that it is more important to focus on fishing rather than over-intellectualizing about moon position. That suggestion has some merit. Just go fishing and the fish will bite some of the time anyway. If you go to places where there is an abundance of fish, the odds will take care of the bite. There are a few subtle applications for information such as moon position and barometric pressure. If you want to go fishing and have some choice as to the date and time, you might as well fish when those variables are the best. If your time is limited, just go fishing anyway. Incidentally, I got lots of responses from people who are interested in those things. That knowledge can’t hurt, and could help.

Fishing has picked up over on the North Coast, especially for salmon. The fresh Chinook served at the River Guides meeting last week was ocean troll salmon from Garibaldi, and it is hard to beat that for great fish. Nehalem, Tillamook, and Astoria are all getting ready for ocean and bay fishing.

The whitewater on the North Santiam is a strong draw in the mid-valley, and we have the additional benefit of fresh steelhead. The comparatively few people here also contribute to the outdoor “feel” of the area. If there were more people, there might be less wildlife. We enjoyed seeing several deer at water’s edge last week, and the osprey were very active. It is just the start of the best photography season, since the Fall colors will start emerging soon.

Small baits and lures are called for now. We should be able to forget bringing the raingear, but windbreakers are needed sometimes.

There are still a few good salmon in the river, but many are turning dark and soft. The good ones are in deep water, and often very hard to see. Small clusters of eggs or shrimp or tuna balls will interest them, however.

Bill Sanderson
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