SANDY RIVER: After a few days of scattered showers the Sandy has fallen back into decent angling shape, with good color and fishable flows. There are still coho in the sytem from Lewis and Clark Park all the way up to the hatchery; more than 3,000 fish have come into the trap with over 2,300 being donated to the local food banks. Returns to the hatchery have slowed down considerably so it may be that the fish all returned in a short period of time when the water levels were up. Angling effort has also slowed as a result of what appears to be a decreased number of returning coho after the early returns.
USGS hydrological data for Oct. 24 shows the Sandy flows falling to 2,780 cfs, with a gauge reading of 10.10 feet and the water temperature steady near 49° F.
North Fork - Water levels are still very high from last weeks high rainfall. Extra water is being released from upstream reservoirs making for difficult fishing conditions downstream. Once flows return to normal there are still plenty of summer steelhead and coho salmon for anglers to catch. The most recent counts at Bennett dam fish ladders indicate that more than 5,300 hatchery steelhead and over 300 coho salmon have passed into the upper river above Stayton so far.
When the bite is on, bobbers and jigs are the preferred angling method with spoons, spinners and egg clusters also being effective. Currently the entire river below Packsaddle Park (near the Minto Fish Facility) is open year-round to hatchery steelhead. River levels best for fishing are below 3,000 cfs at the Mehama gauge; Currently, the river flow is at 8,240 cfs as of Oct. 24.
Anglers may keep up to five hatchery trout from the mouth to Big Cliff dam through Oct. 31.
South Fork - Flows out of Foster Dam have increased somewhat during the last week and current flows as of Oct. 24 are approximately 5,430 cfs as measured at Waterloo.
Hatchery Chinook season is is now open through Dec. 31 to the deadline below Foster Dam. There are still plenty of summer steelhead in the river with most fish found above Waterloo. Further downstream below Lebanon there is solitude, smallmouth bass and perhaps the occasional coho salmon waiting for the intrepid angler. Recycling of fish downstream has ended for the season. Best times to catch these fish are early and late in the day. Anglers may keep up to five hatchery trout below Foster dam through Oct. 31.