North and South Santiam River: North - Returns of adult steelhead and Chinook have all but ceased this late in the season at Willamette Falls but the overall numbers show a huge improvement from last year, especially with summer steelhead. Many of these fish are destined for the Santiam basin. Over 3,700 hatchery Chinook have passed the Bennett dams in Stayton, along with 5,052 summer steelhead as of Aug. 13. Flows on the N. Santiam have been fairly consistent lately and are not expected to change much over the next few weeks. Best times to fish are early and late in the day.
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. Hatchery Chinook and coho fishing runs through Aug. 31, after which it will be closed until mid-October. Wild steelhead season closes for the remainder of the year on Aug. 31. River levels best for fishing are below 3,000 cfs at the Mehama gauge; the river flow is at 1,130 cfs as of Aug. 22
Above Detroit - Regulation changes for 2016 makes this section a year-round fishery. The river was stocked one final time in early August with 3,000 hatchery rainbow trout. Anglers may keep up to 5 trout per day. This section of river is closed to salmon fishing.
South Fork - Flows are settling in to normal summer conditions. Current flows (as of Aug. 22) are approximately 852 cfs as measured at Waterloo and are likely to drop further as the summer progresses.
Peak season for summer steelhead and spring Chinook is now and anglers are reportedly doing very well. Anglers can target these fish throughout the river, with heaviest concentrations from Waterloo up to Wiley Creek. As a reminder, Chinook retention closes from Sept. 1 through Oct. 15.
As of Aug. 16, 1,795 spring Chinook and 2,845 summer steelhead have been reported at Foster dam fish ladder. Recycling of fish downstream has ended for the season. Best times to catch these fish are early and late in the day.