SANDY RIVER: Sandy River flows have dipped a bit more in the past week with summer conditions definitely in place to stay for a few weeks. Anglers who go out will find that there are summer steelhead and spring Chinook in the river with fish being landed, despite the low angler effort and tough fishing conditions. Due to warm weather, even at higher elevations on Mt. Hood, the river has taken on the glacial melt milky-blue color which some experienced Sandy anglers actually find isnt a deterrent to hooking fish.
The overall catch reports have been fair , with morning and evening fishing offering the best opportunity to hook a fish. The Oxbow to Dabney trip is a good choice by drift boat and if youre bank angling try Oxbow Park, Dodge Park, the Cedar Creek area at the hatchery, Revenue Bridge, up around the old Marmot dam site, or near the mouth of the Salmon River. This should be a decent year for spring Chinook on the Sandy with fish already returning to the hatchery, and several showing up in ODFW traps working throughout the basin.
Please be aware the Lower Sandy River has changed recently with a new channel mouth flowing to the north/northwest about 0.75 miles downstream of I-84. The new channel is shallow and flows are irregular and controlled by the tide along with Columbia and Sandy river flows. Angling is currently allowed in this channel which is also accessible by foot from the Columbia Gorge Scenic Area parking lot on the Sandy Delta (downstream and east side of the I-84 bridge crossing of the Sandy River).
Monday hydrological data shows the river flows below Bull Run down to 843 cfs, a gauge reading of 8.51 ft. and the water temperature up slightly at 59°.
North - Fish can be found throughout the river, but are more concentrated in the upper sections (Mehama to Packsaddle), where summer steelhead and spring Chinook can find cooler water. But plenty of new arrivals are on their way. Counts at Willamette Falls as of June 30 show over 28,000 spring Chinook and about 17,238 summer steelhead have entered the upper basin. Of those, over 6,200 spring Chinook and 3,042 summer steelhead have made it above Stayton on the North Santiam through July 12. Warming water temperatures should make fish more active. 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 the Minto Fish Facility is open to salmon and steelhead fishing.
North - This gorgeous section of the river is open to fishing April 26 to Oct. 31. It will be stocked again this week with 3,000 legal size rainbow trout. Up to five trout of 8 inches or larger are allowed per day, but please be aware that this section of river is closed to salmon fishing.
South - Flows in the South Santiam below Foster dam have dropped to around 1,040 are cfs and should remain fairly stable for the next few weeks. These are excellent conditions coinciding with a large influx of new fish into the basin. Spring Chinook and summer steelhead numbers at Willamette Falls indicate an improved run this year, and so far fish have showed up in good numbers to the base of Foster dam. Best sections to fish are from Wiley Creek to Pleasant Valley boat ramps, around Waterloo County Park, and from Lebanon down to the confluence with the North Santiam. So far, 1,670 spring Chinook and 2,176 summer steelhead have entered the fish ladder, as of July 14.