Siletz River

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The Siletz flows out of the coast range between Salem and Corvallis and into the Pacific just south of Lincoln City. We were out at Newport for a long weekend, so I had to take a day to explore a new river! It’s almost a three-hour drive from Portland, so I wasn’t sure when I’d next get to come out this way. I was lured to the Siletz with the opportunity to catch spring Chinook (open April 1), which I have yet to actively fish for. I’ve since overheard that spring Chinook are targeted more in the Willamette Valley, and fall Chinook and coho on the coast.

To be honest, I was somewhat disappointed by the Siletz. There’s very little bank fishing access from the mouth up to the town of Siletz. It looks like it would be an easy boating river, but the bank is almost entirely private property save a couple boat ramps. I stopped at Ichwhit Park, donned my raincoat and headed down to the water. No fish, but I was tickled to see an otter surface and dive back under. A minute late he popped up again closer to me upstream. He repeated the process going right up by me in the current. It’s the first time I’ve seen an otter fishing, which was pretty cool. I’m sure he had a better day that I did.

There’s also Strome County park, and Jack Morgan Park on the way to Siletz. In the town of Siletz there’s He He Illahee park—this river definitely has the best names—with some more bank access. A little further upstream I stopped at Twin Bridges Memorial Park. Twin Bridges does have a boat ramp with a riffle running into some frog water right in front of it. There’s also some room below to fish under the bridge, where I had a small cutthroat come up at the lure, but it was outclassed.

The next access is Moonshine County Park, but I didn’t have $5 for parking. Further above is the Siletz Gorge, which is supposed to have good access, but is privately owned by a timber company and only open to anglers on the weekend.

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I’d expected to spend the better part of the day exploring the river—on the map the river looks quite long, but I’d made my way from the mouth to the deadline in only a couple hours. This, coupled with the fact that it rained sideways the entire morning, and I hadn’t seen any sign of fish, left me both disappointed and soaking wet. I’m sure anyone who fishes the river regularly will chuckle and say, “good, one less city slicker on my river.” I would have liked to explore the gorge, as it is supposed to have good bank access, but I don’t know when I’ll make the three-hour drive out to try it again.

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