South Santiam: Hidden Jewel?

How could a River so beautiful have remained undiscovered? Dunno. Summer day, moderate 70s, broken cloud cover, gentle breeze, and swallows working bugs in the afternoon. Several nice runs to swing flies in, without a boat in sight.

River teeth and beaver-sticks to collect. Petrified wood treasures if you can find them. Green rocks from upstream in the Middle Santiam basin, perfect for garden landscaping. All the petrified wood has to come out of the Wiley Creek basin these days, because Foster Dam blocks any downstream flow of gravel from the river above that point. All the petrified wood – one hundred percent – shows evidence of a prehistoric forest fire. One perfect place (right side, lower end of the first island) for kids to wade in the shallows. Plenty of healthy snacks – no shortage of brownies and chips.

Oops! Somebody couldn’t resist a Marabou fly on the hang-down. Rod jumps into Jackson’s hands. Oops! Reel forward to make the line come in. Let him run if he pulls hard. Upstream and downstream, ‘round the boat – a narrow miss – almost wrapped that nice green Winston around the bow anchor release. “ Get the net ready”, Jackson says. Oops! That’s OK son, we were going to let him go anyway.

Jay Nicholas South Santiam Pics

Jay Nicholas South Santiam Pics

So it goes. The river looked clean, the steelhead runs green, and the deep holes were blue. Trout splatted at the evening hatch. A 510 gr Airflo Scandi Compact seemed right strung on a 7123. My freshly tied Muddlers skated like they were supposed to.

The R&E funded restroom at the take-out was sparkling clean. Life’s gifts can be so perfect and simple. We unhitched the boat so we could use the drive-up at the Sweet Home A&W. Root Beer Floats and Tater Tots served on a window-tray. Brad paisley sings, “I’m Still a Guy” on Country Western Radio. We all sing along. Home by 8:30.



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7 Responses to South Santiam: Hidden Jewel?

  1. What drift boat are you running? You know, your kinda getting that Ted Nugent look.


  2. Randall Clark says:

    Sweet report!!!!

  3. Jay Nicholas says:

    Rich. This is a stealth boat. Stealth technology. I think it’s made of carborundum. They will be making fly rods outa the stuff in a year or so, and all our tackle will be obsolete. Even the lines and leaders will be made of the same stuff they make drift boats out of.

    Say, what was the question? Ted who?


  4. You must have picked the perfect day. That river has been packed with boats and bankies! Sounds like you had a great time.

  5. Hey Jay,

    Ted Nugent the rocker from the early 80’s.


  6. fishlife says:

    Great report! I fish the south fork almost everyday and I love hearing about people enjoying the river! Now if we can evolve past localism,drift over bobber&jig,and boat over bank angling we will have a crown jewel of angling opportunity for all to enjoy! Good luck fishing this summer to you and every1 out there!

  7. jay nicholas says:

    For all who have been asking — Tom Holley is a great Shuttle Driver — he has kept my truck keys for the last ten years and is totally dependable.

    Reach Tom at 541 401 2059.


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