North and South Santiam River: North - As of Mar. 21 flows are at 9,500 cfs at the Mehama gauge. With more rain in the forecast the river is expected to remain high all week. River levels best for fishing are below 3,000 cfs.
At the moment there are very few fish available for anglers to catch. A few winter steelhead have entered the river but the Chinook and summer steelhead are still a few weeks away from returning.
The first few summer steelhead have entered the Willamette but the bulk of the population will probably not be in the Santiam River until May. When the bite is on, bobbers and jigs are the preferred fishing 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.
The river is now closed to trout harvest and any trout caught must be released. Trout harvest will re-open in May.
South Fork - High flows this week will make for difficult fishing conditions. River flows are currently around 11,600 cfs (as of Mar. 21). Summer steelhead are beginning to enter the Willamette but it will be several more weeks before the bulk of these fish will arrive in the Santiam basin.