North Santiam River Report August 13, 2012

North Santiam River at Niagara

The North San­tiam River at Niagara

The weather has been great, and is likely to con­tinue. Water tem­per­a­ture is in the mid-fifties both going into and com­ing out of Detroit Lake. Nia­gara water has been between 56 and 59 degrees, tol­er­a­ble for steel­head and salmon.

Water tem­per­a­ture at Green’s Bridge has been between 64 and 71, much too warm for sport­ing fish. Steel­head willl quickly swim upstream in order to find cooler water. If you hap­pen to be fish­ing where the steel­head are quickly migrat­ing upstream, you might get lucky and inter­cept one with a good lure or bait. But in order to find fish that are just hang­ing out bid­ing their time (until spawn­ing sea­son), you’ll to go upstream.

We know that some of the fish around Pack­sad­dle and Minto will drop back down­stream twelve miles on some days and will go back upstream as the heat of the day increases.

A few steel­head have been reli­ably found in a drift about two miles down­stream from Mill City for the last nine float trips. It’s always been a good drift and that hasn’t changed this year. The unusual thing is that other nor­mally good drifts in aren’t con­sis­tently occu­pied. As the sea­son matures, per­haps that will change.

Many birds and and plenty of deer are cruis­ing the river banks feed­ing and rest­ing. Some of the deer are timid and spooky, and some don’t seem to care about our pres­ence. The same is true about geese and ducks and osprey.

Some young eagles are becom­ing pro­fi­cient at spot­ting fish in the river and div­ing to pick them out of sev­eral feet of water and fly­ing them up to tree­tops for eat­ing. Most of this year’s crop of new eagles, osprey, and heron are fledged and are feed­ing them­selves. They often still take fish back to the nest to eat in peace.

River sec­tions down­stream from Mehama have shal­low places and some drag­ging of boats is nec­es­sary, espe­cially around Stay­ton Island. The soli­tude makes the extra work bear­able, and boaters should be pre­pared to do some wad­ing and dragging.

Call or email Water­shed Coun­cil mem­ber, Bill Sander­son, for oppor­tu­ni­ties to get out on the river and enjoy the North San­tiam. Tele­phone: 503 897 3301 Email:

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