If you go over to the west side (SB) you can take a 1/4 mile walk through the woods to a nice bend in the river away from the highway and its noise thats really a nice place as long as its not the middle of the summer, then it turns into a beach.
I've hooked into salmon and steelhead right there at the rest area. I've also seen smallmouth, caught a ton of carp and trout in that area. The hike that you're talking about can take you to some very productive water if you're using the right gear for the right season. Right now, there should be some late fish in the water and some early fish. It's not going to be a consistent bite, but if you're lucky you might be able to fight something to the bank. If you're at the area right at the rest area...... try chuckin your gear just past the column (on the downstream side) and let it drift/plunk/whatever. If the water's right, there are fish right there a lot of times..... just remember that the section between you and the column.....has a ton of stumps and other obstructions..... fish them but be prepared to lose some gear.
Right now the only salmon you will be seeing are coho's. And its a small number at that. Most of the coho's go to other rivers. The fish we've been fishing for have been the summer steelhead and yes they are still coming in slowly. The ones that have been here for awhile are starting to mature sexually. But there are still a few fresher fish to be had. We havent fished below mehema in about two months, so I would focus higher up.
My best advice tho, if you want to catch a fish. Take the time to drive to a river that has a run going on right now.
I'm guessing your variety of Carp didn't have whiskers? Those would be Largescale Suckers, in no way related to Carp, and they are actually Native.
Carp and Suckers come from a totally different family, Carp - Cyprinidae and Suckers - Catostomidae, two totally, unrelated fish, although some may disagree just because they have a mouth that points downwards :wall:.
Not trying to shoot you down, just wanting to educate others that what they are catching from the Santiam is not 'invasive'.
They do look like Carp when your floating over deep holes in an inner tube from Greens Bridge to Jefferson, I believe some of those are monster Squawfish as well.