North and South Santiam River: Fish can be found throughout the river, but are more concentrated in the upper sections (Mehama to Packsaddle), where summer steelhead can find cooler water. Counts at Willamette Falls as of Oct. 16 show just over 22,800 summer steelhead had entered the upper basin. Of those, around 3,900 made it above Stayton on the North Santiam through Oct. 18, including several hundred just in the last two weeks.
The river is now closed to spring Chinook harvest. There is lots of spawning activity going on, especially around Packsaddle boat ramp. Please be careful when launching boats there and avoid stepping on to spawning beds or otherwise harassing spawning fish.
Coho salmon have arrived in the basin, and anglers are permitted to catch up to 3 coho per day below Stayton. Above the Stayton-Scio bridge, coho fishing is closed until Nov. 1. It looks like it will be another banner year for coho - over 18,000 10,000 coho have already passed the Willamette Falls fish ladder as of Oct. 16. Many of these fish can be found from the mouth up to Stayton. 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 adipose fin-clipped steelhead, while trout fishing will remain open to Oct. 31.
North - This gorgeous section of the river is open to fishing April 26 to Oct. 31. It was stocked again for the last time this season on July 28 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 are at 1,150 cfs as of Oct. 20 6 although forecasted rains will bring higher water levels. These are excellent conditions coinciding with the diminishing influx of new fish into the basin.
As a reminder, spring Chinook fishing closed on Aug. 15 and will not reopen until Nov. 1. Below Lebanon, however, there are coho salmon moving in and fishing for these wild fish can be very good.
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. As of Oct. 20 3,047 summer steelhead had entered the fish ladder and nearly 2,450 were recycled back down river for another angler opportunity. The recycling has now ended for the year.