The Santiam River is a tributary of the Willamette River, about 12 miles (19 km) long, in western Oregon in the United States. Through its two principal tributaries, the North Santiam and the South Santiam rivers, it drains a large area of the Cascade Range at the eastern side of the Willamette Valley east of Salem and Corvallis.
The main course of the river is short, formed in the Willamette Valley by the confluence of the North and South Santiam rivers on the border between Linn and Marion counties approximately 8 miles (13 km) northeast of Albany. It flows generally west-northwest in a slow meandering course to join the Willamette from the east approximately 8 miles (13 km) north of Albany.
Both the North and South Santiam rise in high Cascades in eastern Linn County. The Middle Santiam River joins the South Santiam where the South Santiam is impounded to form Foster Lake. The North Santiam is impounded to form the 400-foot (120 m) deep Detroit Lake in the Cascades. The Santiam is a major source of water supply for Salem.
Santiam River Spring Chinook
Spring Chinook adults spend three to four years in the ocean before returning to the hatchery. Averaging 15 pounds and weighing up to 40 pounds, these fish are a prize catch of anglers from the mouth of the Columbia river to the upper reaches of the Willamette river and its tributaries.
Summer Steelhead on the Santiam River
Introduced to the Santiam river in the late sixties from Washington State this species of steelhead has gained both in numbers and popularity among anglers in the Willamette River system Adults return to the hatchery two to three years after being released. The average adult weighs 6 pounds but can reach up to 18 pounds.
The North Santiam River is 60 miles In length and is shallow above Detroit Reservoir then deeper below the dam. Fish are trout steelhead salmon. The best fishing methods are wading and bank fishing with flies above the reservoir and using fresh bait and lures below the dam. The boat & bank fishing season varies from year to year so check with ODFW. Catch winter run steelhead in March April and May. Summer run Steelhead are caught using popular Steelhead fishing baits by anglers who know how to catch Santiam River Steelhead during the summer from April through December. Spring Chinook runs on the North Santiam are from May-July. Popular fishing tips for catching Steelhead on the Santiam River include fresh bait and popular lure4s and flies or contact a local Santiam River Fishing guide. The North Santiam River is the slightly larger of the north and south forks of the Santiam River, both very productive trout, steelhead and salmon streams. The North Santiam begins its journey high in the Cascade mountains at Santiam Lake in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness Area and runs for 60 miles to its confluence with the South Santiam near the town of Jefferson.