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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
October 13, 2003

North Santiam River Report

Detroit Lake is now 46 feet below summer level, and the water that warmed up in the sunshine all summer is flowing down the river. The warmer water causes better fish activity up to a point, and actually the river temperature is ideal for steelhead biting. Trout and kokanee fishing is pretty good at the lake also

Medium high North Santiam River levels cover many of the rocks and make many places for the fish to hide. It is a little harder to find the fish, but they bite a little better right now. The weather is a big factor for recreational people, with moon position and barometric pressure being variables for the fish.

Minto Park is having dangerous trees removed, so the park is closed during this removal. It just is not safe for anglers to be present during a logging operation, but the work is scheduled to be completed around Halloween.

Packsaddle Park has more steelhead than any other park along the river at this time, and there is good access along the river there. Other parks along the river are still very good, and steelhead are being caught regularly at Mehama, the State Park, Fishermen’s Bend, and Kimmel Park. River temperature is the reason for better bites at different locations, and that changes during the day. Boaters drift far enough to be in different temperature waters anyway, and bank anglers have the option of moving to different locations to put themselves in the best spots.

Steelheaders have their monthly meeting this Wednesday (Oct. 15) at the Salem Library at 7:00 p.m. The program will be the “Friends of Oregon Rivers” group, and they will discuss the history of the access issue and their efforts in forming their group. There also will be a discussion of current fishing locations and a general sharing of fishing information.

Rainfall last week caused the Little North Fork to rise enough for steelhead to move up to the Swiss Village, North Fork Park and many of the excellent drifts along the way. It is dropping down again now, so many of the Fall steelhead will still be between Neal Park and Stout Creek waiting for another rain so they may go upstream. They are not in a big hurry, since they don’t spawn until winter. Some times of the day, the river temperature is ideal in that area.

The river level is high enough so that it is a little difficult for waders at the Frank Hole. It is still wadable, but the current is deep enough and strong enough to require strength and carefulness. Long rods help cast across the river here, and spey rods are excellent this time of year. Fishermen’s Bend Park acquired that property, so the shore is public. It may be the most popular fly fishing spot on the river, and access is best by walking up the river bank from Fishermen’s Bend.

Driftboats are ideal craft for fishing the North Santiam, but the higher river levels create many challenges with big water, whirlpools, and excitement above Mill City. It is still tricky down to Mehama. The diversion dams at Stayton are difficult to handle the first trip down, and the drift is good enough to deserve the learning process, which should involve following someone else the first trip. Trees and logs are still a problem between Shelburn and Green’s Bridge, but the river is clear from Stayton to Shelburn and from Green’s Bridge all the way to the Willamette at Buena Vista. Some fresh fish are coming into the lower section, and the temperature is within range some of the time.

Scenic trips are excellent this month, but the occasional rainfall and cooler weather keeps some of the people indoors. Other people enjoy the solitude, and this is an excellent time of year for those folks.

Small heavy lures, especially orange ones, are very effective now.

Salmon have nearly finished spawning, and the fresh redds are obvious all over the river. Patches of freshly turned gravel indicate that there are baby salmon growing there. It is desirable to avoid walking through the redds. From the abundance of salmon spawning, we can tell that some good success is occurring with salmon programs. There should be good returns from this year’s progeny.

Bill Sanderson
 

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Hey Bill! Hows about rebuilding the old "Fish Hatchery" down by the Mehama bridge so we can sit there and play cribbage half the night and go fishin` in the morn? Remember those good old days? 1975 or thereabouts. Had some memorable time there. Later, Fishft. :cheers:
 

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Thanks for the high quality report. What is a good bankie spot for steelhead now for bobber/jig? What are the best colors for N. Santiam? Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Originally posted by Fish mojo:
Thanks for the high quality report. What is a good bankie spot for steelhead now for bobber/jig? What are the best colors for N. Santiam? Thanks.
<font size="2" face="verdana,arial,helvetica">I would fish a lot at Packsaddle Park, especially around the large underwater ledges and along the cliff across the river. The large drift 300 yards downstream is also excellent. There is a mark on a tree 20 yards below the boat ramp indicating the upstream fishing deadline. Peaches and cream, pink and white, orange and black, purple, all the regular colors are good to try. In this water, 1/4 ounce or 1/8 jigs will get you down to the fish. After fishing Packsaddle (at milepost 35 on Hwy 22) I would try at Fishermen's Bend and also North Santiam State Park. The riffle in fromt of the ramp at FishBend is good. The Frank Hole (upstream several hundred yards) is even better. At the State Park, go down the hill and turn left to the end of the parking lot. Take the trail down to the river and fish just below the big rock. You can hike a little and find unfished water above and below the park. Good luck. Sincerely, Bill
 

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Hey Bill great report. I had heard the steelheaders haveing a yearly drift boat tour on the Santiam. Where you can follow some of the more experienced drifters down various runs. Could you info me on that here, or at [email protected]

Thanks Bill
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Originally posted by Rustyoar:
Hey Bill great report. I had heard the steelheaders haveing a yearly drift boat tour on the Santiam. Where you can follow some of the more experienced drifters down various runs. Could you info me on that here, or at [email protected]

Thanks Bill
<font size="2" face="verdana,arial,helvetica">The "Learn the River" trips start on the first Saturday of March from Green's Bridge to Buena Vista, the lowest drift on the North Santiam. The first Saturday in April, we go from Stayton to GB. The first Saturday in May we go from Mehama to Stayton. The first Saturday in June is from Fishermen's Bend to Mehama and later in June we do the run from Packsaddle to Fishermen's Bend. These trips are sponsored by North Santiam River Guides, Steelheaders, and the Watershed Council. Other private Learn the River trips are available--just ask if you have some people who want to go. We normally meet for breakfast at 7:30 or 8, unload the boats at the ramp at 9, do our own shuttle, and are in the river at 10. We finish around 3:00.
Private trips may have different scheduling. I'll be happy to send you more info if desired. Thanks for your interest.

Bill Sanderson
 
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