Skip to content

Fishing, Boating and Kayaking

The South Santiam River

The South Santiam River is easily accessible for bank angling just below Foster Dam on both the north and south banks, near the confluence of Wiley Creek, at Camp Koinonia off North River Drive, at Northside Park in town, and at Pleasant Valley Bridge on the west end of Sweet Home. Drift boats can utilize the public boat ramps at Wiley Creek Park, located just downstream of Foster Dam at 1936 54th Ave, or at Pleasant Valley Bridge. Shuttle service is available in town. The South Santiam River is one of the premier spots for Chinook and Summer Steelhead fishing in the state due to its excellent hatchery program. Whether you take a guided fishing tour or cast your line from the riverfront, anyone who enjoys fishing will find this a spectacular location. 

The best fishing is in May and June for Summer Steelhead; however, the run begins in April, and fish are available through SeptemberWinter Steelhead fishing season is March through May, but these wild fish must be released. Spring Chinook salmon season is typically good from May through July, with a mix of hatchery and wild fish. Trout fishing is also available, although the river is not stocked.

Foster Reservoir

Foster Reservoir is stocked with over 40,000 rainbow trout from April to June yearly to accommodate year-round trout and bass fishing. As a result, the reservoir is full from late May through September each year. Bank angling is popular near the dam at Lake Shore Park at 1600 Foster Dam Road and several areas along the south and north sides of the reservoir. Bank fishing is good using standard trout fishing techniques such as bobber and worms, casting spinners, or Power Bait. Trails along most of the north shore and two county parks provide good water access. Boat angling is best from April 1 to mid-June; trolling with spinners, such as rooster tails, allows fishermen to access more isolated areas of the reservoir, such as up the South Santiam arm.

Sunnyside Park (KID FRIENDLY)

Sunnyside Park has two stocked fishing ponds located between the A-Row and B-Row camping areas. They are stocked with troutbassbullhead, and bluegill. The ponds are easily accessible from the day-use parking lot at 44930 Quartzville Drive. The ponds are a great place to relax, kayak, and fish. Smallmouth Bass and Rainbow Trout are just a cast away! The ponds are the perfect place for young anglers and those with limited mobility.

Visit the ODFW website for stocking information HERE.

Green Peter Reservoir

Green Peter Reservoir is best known in fishing society as western Oregon’s premier Kokanee lake, boasting numerous fishing tournaments annually! This year-round fishing reservoir is also home to populations of rainbow troutsmall-mouth and large-mouth bass, and even land-locked salmon. A bonus limit of 25 fish includes both Kokanee and other salmon, in addition to the bags allowed for other species.

​Due to the depth and frigid waters, it’s important to note that Kokanee are shallow in the spring and go deeper as the water warms, spawning in tributaries in the early fall. Kokanee fishing is good from late May through late September, with July and August usually being the most productive months. When the lake is down a bit and the surface temperature is above 70 degrees, usually the fishing improves.

Green Peter and Quartzville Creek, a tributary to the reservoir, are stocked with rainbow trout in the spring and early summer. At full pool, the reservoir is more than 3,700 acres and is nearly ten miles long. Due to the sheer size and steep terrain along the shoreline, bank fishing for Kokanee is almost impossible in most places around Green Peter. Still, many anglers try their luck jigging from the bridge over the Whitcomb Creek arm or at the south end of the dam, at Thistle Creek boat ramp and other sites. Boat anglers find jigging and trolling to be the most effective methods of catching fish on this lake using their boats to gain access to more isolated areas of the reservoir and up Quartzville Creek.


Kayaking on Canyon Creek

Canyon Creek, Oregonis a seven mile ride through extraordinary scenery that has earned quite a reputation with kayaking aficionados.  The upper two miles provide some of the best class V rapids in the state and should only be attempted by the highly experienced and zealous paddlers.  While the upper run is vicious and merciless; the lower five miles are undemanding and hospitable as they glide over ledges and slides in one of nature’s best water theme parks.

Many paddlers choose to pair the lower five mile ride with the Lower Soda Fork class III and IV rapids.  If you are beginning with the Canyon Creed run, travel on Hwy 20 east of Sweet Home; the turn off for Canyon Creek is just past milepost 43; turn south and put-in at Black Creek Bridge (approximately 4.9 miles). This run has year-round approach ability and a trail provides relatively easy access.

Right out of the gate, the first significant drop is directly downstream of the put-in and around a bend to the left where it drops out of sight.  The long stretches of tranquil water between drops allow for plenty of recovery time and are ideal for intermediate creekers.  About ¼ mile in is ‘Osprey’, the most difficult torrent on the lower five.  Even strong paddlers need to be cautious because this hole is more difficult than it looks, especially at high water.

Below Osprey, the creek mellows out significantly; rapids are farther apart and the creek is wider and less limited which provides the opportunity for paddlers to observe the wider, sunnier nature of the canyon.  Kayakers should not let this distract them from the upcoming ‘Constrictor’ which should only be attempted by fearless, talented and/or lucky paddlers.

Just downstream of the Constrictor is the final stretch leading up to the confluence of Canyon Creek and the South Santiam River.  Emerald waters rush between vertical rock walls lined with old-growth Douglas fir to create one of the most beautiful stream scenes in Oregon.  The final mile or two is the highlight of the trip down lower Canyon Creek.

Paddlers can take-out at the bridge over Canyon Creek just above the confluence or continue downstream.  The float of an additional mile on the South Santiam River, through Hobbit Gorge, to Cascadia State Park is breathtaking and worth the experience.

​Kayaking the Soda Fork of the South Santiam River both upper and lower are short but packed with fun rapids and are often paired with a trip down the Canyon Creek run for an exciting day-trip.

Kayaking the Lower Soda Fork is Class III and IV rapids.  Best run at higher water levels this half-mile of steep rapids on the Upper Soda Fork is a super fun, roller coaster ride down a series of non-stop slides and ledges up to 8 feet tall.  The creek is wide and scenic; a beautiful accompaniment to the naturally created water ride.  This ride is too short for a single trip and is usually combined with nearby runs on the South Santiam River.

​Located 25 miles east of  Sweet Home on Hwy 20 at Upper Soda, turn north just before the bridge across the Soda Fork Creek.  Travel up the road along the Soda Fork for .88 miles until you reach a bridge.  To take out you must travel past Upper Soda and take out on the South Santiam River.  To take out on Hwy 20 about 200 yards west of the bridge you will see a nearly invisible road going into the woods on the south; this leads to a meadow with a couple of trails down to the river.

Kayaking the Upper Soda Fork is 1.37 miles of Class V rapids.  The put-in for the Upper Soda Fork is deceptively placid and loggy, however, a few hundred yards downstream the creek tilts on edge and changes instantly from a sleepy little stream to a foaming pile of huge, stone congested white water.  The narrow, powerful rapids are jam-packed with boulder gardens covered in moss and interspersed with fallen trees.  Scouting or portaging the rapids is easiest on the right side of the river.  The scenery is pretty nice with large mossy boulders and lots of trees but the creek will probably have your full attention!  Downstream the gradient cools off slightly but the rapids are still really good. Much too short for a single trip, this section is usually combined with a run down nearby Canyon Creek.

​Located up Highway 20, 25 miles east of Sweet Home at Upper Soda, turn north  just before the bridge across the Soda Fork Creek; 2.25 miles to the second bridge. Put in at this bridge.  While there, be sure to check out the gigantic 6+ foot diameter old growth Douglas fir.  Take out at the first bridge 1.37 miles down steam unless water is high enough to continue down to the Lower Soda Fork takeout site.

Scroll To Top