Idaho Fish Report
Hoot Owl regulations have been rescinded below Big Cliff dam
by OR Department of Fish & Wildlife Staff
“Hoot owl” regulations have been rescinded below Big Cliff dam. That means fishing is again open all day for the entire river as far as the mainstem Santiam River near Jefferson. Tributaries such as Little North Fork still have “hoot owl” restrictions in place. Many public access points along the river are still closed from last year’s wildfires, including Fisherman’s Bend, and all recreation areas along the Little North Fork. But Packsaddle Park has recently re-opened, which is just below Minto Dam. Anglers can still access the river from Stayton downstream and in a few places above such as the Mehama bridge and North Santiam State Park.
The gate at ODFW’s Green’s Bridge property on the lower North Santiam near Jefferson has been locked. Only anglers with boat trailers will be able to park past the gate, and they must first request a key. Anglers can call ODFW’s Corvallis field office at (541) 757-4186 to get an application form. The gate will be re-opened in September.
No recent fishing reports. River levels best for fishing are at or below 3,000 cfs, and the river is currently running at 1,160 cfs at the gage in Mehama. Water clarity is good.
Fishing for hatchery steelhead is open year-round. Around 1,400 summer steelhead have arrived in the upper Willamette as of July 1. So far fewer than 60 have reached the Stayton area indicating that this year’s run is not likely to be strong.
Fishing for Chinook is closed as of Sept. 1 to allow them to spawn undisturbed. If you see fish paired up or actively digging in the gravel to build their nests, please give them a wide berth to avoid stressing them unnecessarily. There are a few summer steelhead around and they are available year-round. The first handful of coho have arrived at Willamette Falls but it will be several weeks before they have arrived in numbers in the basin.
Hatchery trout harvest is now open until Oct. 31, with a limit of 5 per day. Wild trout need to be released unharmed.