North Santiam River Report, October 1, 2012

North Santiam River Report, October 1, 2012

North Santian River Report

North Santiam River Report

[box type=”alert” size=”large” style=”rounded”]The boat ramp at Shelburn is a little difficult to pull into from upstream because of two large branches sticking out in the waves just above the ramp. It is possible to see the branches from upstream and to row around them, toward the middle of the river, and then to cut back into the boat ramp.

The next ramp is five miles downriver at Green’s Bridge.


Channel Changes: Shelburn to Green’s Bridge

The last high water events had a favorable result in the two mile section of moving logjams between Shelburn and Green’s Bridge.

  • Two upper entrances to the South channel have been partially blocked by trees and gravel bars.  Now the entrance to that channel is easy to negotiate. The channel is usable but narrow.
  • The North channel entrances continue to be partially blocked and there is not enough water to float the entire distance in this channel.
  • The remaining channel, in the left center of the river, has a clear channel all the way through and is very comfortable for navigation with kayaks, canoes, driftboats, rafts, and pontoon boats.

Fish and Wildlife

Will High has been studying eagles and other birds in that area for years, and he has walked around all the islands and channels. I enjoyed an opportunity follow him through around over the past week and hear his comments about wildlife activity.

On September 30, there were still hundreds of salmon spawning in the redds all the way from Packsaddle to Mehama. Most are in the Packsaddle and Minto Park area, but you will find salmon in many other places.

River Running

The biggest whitewater section of the North Santiam is in the Gorge, which starts half a mile downstream from the Gates Bridge.  The waves in the four rapids in the Gorge are big and the rocks are many. Dodging them is important. There is so much water that now there is a straightforward route through all the rapids. It may be difficult to identify that safe channel, but once found it provides a good ride and a lot of spraying whitewater.

Lower river sections all have good scenery, plenty of wildlife, and lots of tranquility. The boat slide at Upper Bennett Dam at Stayton Island is easy to use once you understand how it works.  I think it’s a good idea to follow someone to watch the process on your first trip through.

The peak of the Fall colors is approaching, perhaps the most beautiful time of year on Oregon rivers. The river level is good now but will change as the rains come later this month. Check North Santiam river flow levels on our dedicated page. 

The weather is wonderful this week and we will have many dry days to enjoy river activities the rest of the year. People who like sunshine will do well to plan for trips right away. People who enjoy can tolerate a little rain will have a longer season.


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