Sep 17 - Daytripping in the North Santiam area

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SmallStreams

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Started out in French Creek. No fish seen despite the lovely pools. It's possible that we just didn't go upstream far enough, but since we didn't even see the juveniles zipping around the very clear pools, we moved on.

Humbug Creek doesn't look quite large enough to bother with (and realize this is said by the guy that likes small streams!). Maybe someone has a favorite hole on one of the forks?

Breitenbush River, characterized by deep narrow fast pools, between Humbug Creek & the Breitenbush community, it was full of spawning salmon. At one large wide pool with 5 salmon cavorting in it (and another 4 trying to clear the rapids below), they'd swirl around and then the biggest one would stick his head out of the water 6-12" to look around, standing on his tail! I've never seen a salmon intentionally breach the water before... it was like watching a whale breach.

In this stretch, my spinners were followed by a few 15-20" fish that flashed away before they had quite caught up to the lure. Getting curious, we climbed up and looked down in the pool to realize that I was being teased by three rare & endangered Bull Trout, confirmed by a passing young lady who was counting salmon. They're quite graceful, conserving energy in their movements, and lazily follow their prey.

Onward upstream... after we'd wasted time watching salmon. Above Breitenbush community, above the river forks, we finally found hatchery rainbows. Here the stream is dominated by riffles and fishing the riffles produced the four fat rainbows we kept (picture soon). Have to give credit to my fishing buddy for 3 of them, though I did get the first.

With an eye on the dark clouds approaching, we headed back down to the North Santiam, about 6 miles above the reservoir. Here the river is still a raging angry torrent, boiling over large boulders. We worked a deep pool and its margins for 45 minutes (I catching a fingerling) before the looming darkness chased us away. Not one drop of rain fell on us, but by the time we reached Idanha, the sprinkles began. And then the downpour all the way to Salem, where we reached the edge of the cloud, but then going up I-5, we found ourselves back under the heavy downpour at about Tigard.

Biggest lessons learned this trip:
1) Blue Fox spinners stand out nicely in the riffles. Roostertail blades keep hitting the rocks, though they didn't stop dead. Krockodile wobbler is happiest here, too, but see the next lesson.
2) When the little red plastic tag breaks off a Krockodile, the fish quit biting. When I stopped to change lures because I was suspiciously no longer getting any bites, my buddy went to the riffle I'd been working and immediately pulled out a keeper. Later I came back with a Blue Fox and hooked two undersized rainbows. Yup, that little bit of red is important!
3) If a large rainbow goes sideways in the current, don't try to horse him back to shore or else you'll pop the hook out of his mouth (doh!).
 
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ryguy

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How do i get here?

How do i get here?

Im new to the area and was wondering how to get to the brietenbush area you were talking about from corvallis? thanks in advance
 
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autofisher

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Im new to the area and was wondering how to get to the brietenbush area you were talking about from corvallis? thanks in advance

I-5 North to the Hwy 22 exit. Go Right off of the exit and drive for about 50 Miles. He's right up by the Detroit Lake recreation area. Go past the resevoir, there'll be a few streams and rivers that you can chase. Breitenbush is the left you would make at the town of Detroit (the marina). There's a lot of good fishing to do, and even better if you're willing to make the hike up stream where the fish don't get as much pressure.
 
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ryguy

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small streams

small streams

was there a lot of people out there?
 
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SmallStreams

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was there a lot of people out there?

Not on a Wednesday! Where we caught the rainbows, there was evidence of heavy usage and the most likely-looking pool had been cleaned out, but otherwise there was no effect on our fishing. Apparently the common crowd doesn't try to fish the riffles.
 
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ryguy

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thanks

thanks

right on thanks for the info do you know if you can camp out there?
 
bass

bass

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I am curious about seeing Salmon in the Breitenbush. Where do they come from? I thought that Big Cliff stops the salmon run on the North Santiam.
 
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SmallStreams

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I am curious about seeing Salmon in the Breitenbush. Where do they come from? I thought that Big Cliff stops the salmon run on the North Santiam.

The little bit of internet research I did suggests that the dam was targeted for salmon remediation. In other words, sometime in the past 9 years a fish ladder was built, probably 2002 or 2003, and then hatchery salmon planted in the Breitenbush. There are documents on adding both juvenile and adult salmon in the Breitenbush published in 2005. Making this year's salmon probably the second year that they've spawned?

Now spotting bull trout was apparently something very new! While remediation efforts for bull trout were discussed in the 2000 plans with notes that they were historically in the Breitenbush, nothing was done. Efforts seem to be concentrated in the Mackenzie drainage (and Middle Fork Willamette?).

I'll post some video soon...
 
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bass

bass

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I can not find any mention of a fish ladder on Big Cliff or Detroit dams. The only document I can find is a 2002 document indicating that there is no fish ladder on Big Cliff or Detroit. It is hard to believe that they built two fish ladders in secret :D What I found was that the ODFW has at times released adult salmon into the river to see if they would spawn (they did!). A January 31, 2009 report on North Santiam salmon does indicates that there are not any naturally present salmon in the river. Perhaps they are running studies year on year to check on their spawning ability. However, as far as I can tell there is presently not any way (other than hand-carrying) for fish to get back and forth between the Breitenbush and the ocean). Hopefully this will some day be remedied!

BTW, I forgot to say last time, but great fishing report!
 
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rainbowfisherman

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i fished in mill city at the river a week ago and cought two little trout fly fisahing..anyone do any better? went to minto park and watched HUGE steelhead? swim upriver
 
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SmallStreams

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I can not find any mention of a fish ladder on Big Cliff or Detroit dams. The only document I can find is a 2002 document indicating that there is no fish ladder on Big Cliff or Detroit. It is hard to believe that they built two fish ladders in secret :D What I found was that the ODFW has at times released adult salmon into the river to see if they would spawn (they did!). A January 31, 2009 report on North Santiam salmon does indicates that there are not any naturally present salmon in the river. Perhaps they are running studies year on year to check on their spawning ability. However, as far as I can tell there is presently not any way (other than hand-carrying) for fish to get back and forth between the Breitenbush and the ocean). Hopefully this will some day be remedied!

BTW, I forgot to say last time, but great fishing report!

A little more digging and it looks like ODFW are catching salmon in a screwtrap at Minto and then trucking them around the dam.

Thanks for the compliment on the report :)
 
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