Fly Fishing North Santiam River Oregon
The North Santiam River is a 92-mile long tributary of
the Santiam River in western Oregon. It rises in the  
Cascades in the Willamette National Forest and flows
north through mountainous territory past Marion Forks.
Near Mount Jefferson, it turns to the west and flows
through a canyon past Idanha and Detroit to Niagara
County Park. Continuing through Gates, Mill City and
Mehama, the North Santiam River flows into the
Williamette Valley to where it meets the South Santiam
River to from the main stem of the Santiam River.

The lower North Santiam River, below Big Cliff Dam, has
a population of wild rainbows and cutthroat trout and is
open to catch and release fishing from the end of May
through October. The same section of water is a favorite
of the steehead angler.

The summer run of steelhead average about eight to
ten pounds and are hatchery, fin-clipped fish that arrive
in late May. They are present through the month of July
with June and July being the prime months.

The wild winter run of steelhead begins in December
and remain in the river through May.

The spring Chinook Salmon run starts in May.

The North Santiam River can be fished from a drift boat
from Big Cliff Dam downstream to the mouth of the river.
Caution should be used. The river isn't easy to navigate
and can be tricky to dangerous, depending on the flows.

Above Detroit Dam to the headwaters, you will find
plenty of stocked rainbows and brook trout. This area is
open to fishing from the end of April through October. In
the Mount Jefferson Wilderness, you can find wild
cuttroat trout, rainbow trout and brook trout.

Above Marion Forks, the stream is especially appealing
to the fly angler. It is easily accessed from Highway #22
that rungs nearby the river for approximately twenty-five

Fly fishing the North Santiam River is especially
appealing to anglers from in and around the Salem
area. Its diverse population of fish and sheer length of
the river, makes it a top destination from many local and
visiting anglers.     

The season varies depending on the species. Be sure
and check the current regulations

Late Spring an be okay for rainbows depending on the
weather. Wild winter steelhead are present until May.
The spring Chinook Salmon run starts in May.
Summertime is the best time for rainbow trout fishing.
Summer steelhead are present from late May through
Early Fall is usually very good for the trout.
The winter run of wild steelhead enter the river in
December and remain into the Spring.
Copyright 2019 James Marsh
Type of Stream
Freestone and tailwater

Steelhead (winter and summer)
Rainbow Trout (Wild and stocked)
Brook Trout (Wild and stocked)
Chinook Salmon

Small to Medium, 92 miles long

Western Oregon

Nearest Towns

Varies with species

Good with plenty of public access

Non-Resident License
State of Oregon

National Weather Service

Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle and
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North Santiam River Fishing Report:
11/24/13 Steelhead have begin to move into the river
and a couple have been caught. Customer ordering
Perfect Fly Spey flies and Giant Black stonefly
steelhead nymphs. Fishing slow but expected to pick
up fast.
12/30/13 Winter Steelhead are beginning to move into
the river. Some Summer Steelhead are being caught
dropping back downstream
02/04/14 Sorry for the late reports. Our local contact
has been sick. The flows have dropped big time,
about 1,800 cfs at Mehama. Rain is in the forecast/.
Water temperatures have warmed some. Steelhead
are in the river throughout the system, but most fish
are in the upper sections
(Bottom Of Page)
Fishing Report Updated 10/27/19
03/23/14 The flows are down from their recent highs
but it is still a little high and off-color. Best conditions
are in the lower reaches where new winter
steelhead are staging.
Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.

2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.

3. Email us (
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.

All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $100 are shipped via
Priority Mail.  
04/17/14 River level is back down is great shape for
steelhead. Both Summer and Winter fish are holding
at Mehama.
06/24/14 New Summer Steelhead are arriving in the
lower river and the stream is in decent shape with
steady flows. Fish are being caught on a consistent
10/18/14 Sorry for the lack of reports. The Mehama
to Packsaddle area has lots of summer steelhead.
Cohos are in the lower river. Rain has helped the
12/05/14 There are plenty of steelhead in the river
from Mehama to Packsaddle and they are being
caught by anglers fairly consistently.
Perfect Fly
Steelhead flies.
12/25/14 Two customers catching some nice fish
between Stayton to Shellburn using our Spey flies,
streamers and nymphing.
02/08/15 Sorry for the lack of reports lately. We
did receive a few good reports during the past
two months but only when the stream levels and
temperature was in good shape. Conditions are
pretty good right now and anglers should be
catching fish.
01/21/16 The new year is starting off with
very high flows, around 7,000 cfs and 3,000
is normal. Keep a check and when the water
gets a little above normal fishing should be
02/04/15 Flows have been high but plenty of
winter steelhead have made it into the river
and the flows are just right..
USGS Real-time Stream Flow
Near Mehama
02/27/16 Steelhead and trout are being
caught but the stream is on the way back up
again. Rain is in the forecast every day, so
the action probably won't last long.
03/19/16 A few steelhead are being caught
but there would be a lot more if the levels
were down. It is still very high. Use Spey flies
and/or swinging streamers.
03/26/16 Stream levels very high.
04/14/16 The stream is in good shape and
lots of fish are being caught. Swinging,
nymphing under indicators and eggs are
catching fish.
04/30/16 Steelhead and trout are being
caught. The stream in on the low side of
normal and clear at this time.
05/14/16 The summer steelhead fishing is
improving and the trout fishing excellent at
this time. Flows/stream levels are good.
05/28/16 Trout fishing has been excellent
and should continue. There are a lot of
hatches and good stream levels. Big Cliff
discharges have been low.
06/11/16 Pale Morning duns are starting
to hatch. Good stream levels continue and
we are receiving some good reports.
07/02/16 The section above the lake is
producing a lot of trout. Summer run
steelhead and Chinook salmon are
arriving in large numbers. Good reports
are coming in on the steelhead.
07/20/16 Steelhead and salmon coming
in the river is slowing down but a lot of
them has come in. You can still do well
fishing early and late in the day. Trout
fishing in the upper river is also good.
09/03/16 Anglers are still catching decent
numbers of trout. The cooler weather
should help. Fish in the Fisherman's
Bend area.
10/08/16 Stream levels are a little high but
falling. Trout are being caught in good
numbers. Blue-winged olives, Mahogany
duns and other insects are hatching and
terrestrials are still working.
11/10/16 Hatchey steelhead and some
Coho salmon are being caught. Stream
levels are down some but okay.
11/19/16 There are plenty steelhead being
caught when the stream levels permit.
They have been rather high recently. It is
currently 5570 cfs, which is too high.
12/03/16 The levels are at 6703 cfs at 6.03
feet.  The levels need to be around 3000
cfs. There are plenty of SH in the river.
12/17/16 Flows down to 3240 cfs and
steelhead are being caught swinging and
on SH nymphs under indicators.
01/07/17 The flows are at 3540 cfs., a little
high. A very few winter fish have been
caught. The weather should warm up soon.
01/28/17 Flows are back down to near
normal and there still some late summer SH
and Winter fish being to move in, in good
Perfect Fly Steelhead flies.
02/04/17 Flows are up to 4600 and
increasing. There is snow and rain forecast
everyday this coming week.
02/11/17 The flow a 5710 at 5.64 and
falling. It is low enough to fish by boat but
should be much better in a day or two.
02/25/17 The stream levels are still high,
at 5570 cfs and 5.58 feet. There is less
rain forecast and we think the levels will
continue to fall down this time.
03/18/17 Sorry for the lack of reports. The
stream levels are back up at 13,200 cfs at
8.05 ft, or far too high to fish. There is more
rain in the forecast.
06/17/17 Trout fishing is very good, with lots
of hatches taking place and good stream
levels. PMDs, caddis, stoneflies and more.
07/01/17 More good reports from
customers of trout being caught. Lots of
hatches and good stream conditions.
07/22/17 Good stream levels at about
1450 cfs. Some summer run steelhead
being caught. Chinook are in the river.
07/29/17 More summer run reports.
Stream levels are in good shape.
09/16/17 The stream levels are fine and
there are some summer steelhead and
plenty of trout to be caught. We haven't
received any reports from angler recently.
12/02/17 We are getting reports of winter
Steelhead beginning to enter the river.
Now is the time to get set up with flies and
gear. Send us an email:
06/19/18 Lots of summer steelhead and
Chinook salmon are being caught. Trout
fishing is also very good with some good
hatches taking place.
07/03/18 Summer steelhead fishing
continues to be very good.
08/21/18 Summer steelhead fishing is still
good and so is trout fishing. There are
lots of hatches taking place. Stream
levels are low.
08/04/18 The river is still low but summer
steelhead are being caught in good
numbers. Trout fishing the upper river
remains good.
08/18/18 Flows are up some and summer
steelhead and trout are being caught.
The cooler weather is helping as well.
10/05/18 The stream levels are okay and
summer steelhead are being caught in
decent numbers.
10/15/18 The river is in good shape.
Summer steelhead are being caught.
Some Coho are being caught. Chinook
season opens again after today.
10/22/18 Summer steelhead fishing is
fairly good. A few Coho and a very few
Chinook are being caught.
11/15/18 Stream levels are in good
shape and good numbers of summer
steelhead are being caught. . Send us
an email for a fly list:
01/20/19 Stream flows are still 4560 cfs,
which is high. They need to be in the
3000 ft range. Winter steelhead are
moving in the river. Fish when it drops.
02/03/19 Stream flows are down to
3900 getting near the right levels. A
few winter steelhead are being caught.
03/12/19 Anglers are still catching
summer steelhead that haven't yet
06/11/19 Sorry for the missed reports.
Trout fishing is very good right now.
There are several hatches taking place
and we are getting good reports. Send
us an email for a recommended fly list.
06/19/19 Excellent conditions continue
with good number of trout being caught
and good hatches taking place.
07/05/19 Good numbers of trout are
being caught. Send us an email for a
recommended fly list.
08/06/19 Stream levels are down in good
shape and trout, Spring Chinook and
Summer steelhead are being caught in
good numbers. Fish the upper sections.
08/27/19 Summer steelhead are in the
upper and middle sections. Trout are
being caught in good numbers.
09/08/19 Summer steelhead and trout
are still being caught by our customers in
good numbers.
10/01/19 There are a few coho being
caught along with the summer
steelhead. Condiitions are good.
10/20/19 Stream levels are above
normal, but still in good shape. We are
still getting good reports about Coho
and Summer Steelhead.
10/27/19 The river is still running above
normal, but is still in good shape. This is
generally the best time of year for Trout,
but Coho and Summer Steelhead are
still biting. Great weather should make
this a good week. Midges rigged in
tandem are working as well as Sculpin