Little North Fork Santiam


A pretty little recreational stream that flows into the Santiam near Mehama, the Little North Fork of the Santiam is close enough to Salem to get a lot of traffic from bathers and picnickers in the summer. In August, the water was crystal clear and very low, as can be expected. Although it’s open year-round for steelhead, I only saw one tiny trout the whole morning on the river, and didn’t even land that. Best Fishing in America says that odds are better in the winter than the summer.

The only other odd tidbit is that all the parks in the recreation area are fee parks, but are run by the county, BLM, and the Forest Service, each with its own separate fee. I paid the county fee at the pay station near the head of the road only to be stopped by a park manager at another spot to be told that it’d be an additional $5 to fish there because that part was managed by BLM and not the county. Needless to say, I didn’t fish there.


There may be some hidden gems somewhere on this river, but I’m not going to pay to find out. If you want my advice, fish the rest of the Santiam—fewer people, more access, more likelihood of a hookup, and no one’s going to charge you to go fishing.


North Fork Santiam – Detroit to Marion Forks


Highway 22 traces the North Fork Santiam from Salem to the Santiam Pass for close to 60 miles. The river below Big Cliff Dam is home to salmon, steelhead and trout. I focused on the 15-mile stretch between the head of Detroit Reservoir and the Marion Forks Hatchery. Continue reading

The Upper Sandy


The Sandy is one of the easiest rivers to access from Portland; only a 30 minute drive out to the mouth at Troutdale. There’s plenty of bank access on the lower river: Lewis & Clark, Dabney and Oxbow, as well as a few pullouts along the highway. I thought I’d try my luck further up the river as it’s getting later in the winter steelhead season and the fish should be spread throughout. Continue reading

Eagle Creek


I’ve often hit Eagle Creek at Bonnie Lure Park and bushwhacked my way down to the Clackamas, but I’ve never caught a fish here. Fishing in Oregon said the upper creek runs through mostly private property, and for years I’d never ventured higher. Last spring I spent a morning around Eagle Fern Park, but again, no success. Continue reading

North Fork Reservoir

1506145NorthForkReservoirThe North Fork Reservoir was recommended to me on the iFish forum as a spot with some decent bank angling for trout. I keep being drawn back to the Clackamas area; I don’t know if it is the proximity, or the lure of big fish, even though I have yet to ever land a fish on this river. Continue reading