Timing is Everything
According to professional fishing guide Dennis Hull of the nwfish.com website, steelhead runs take place during late March on the Santium River, part of which flows past Lebanon. In addition there is a summer run on the Santium, taking place in mid- to late June and running through July and early August.
Big River Steelhead
Fishing for steelhead in a larger river like the Willamette requires a bit of technique. According to Dennis Hull, big river steelhead angling is done by using anchor fishing or "plunking". Steelhead prefer the shallower waters near the river bank, in about three feet of water. If you are going to fish the Lebanon section of the Willamette or Santium from a boat, use plugs, spinners or drift-bobbers and wait for the steelhead to come to you.
The Santium Locations
The Santium River is stocked with steelhead by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife above the Big Cliff Dam. Fishing below the dam is recommended by the staff at Creekside Flyfishing Guides. You are allowed to fish from shore or by boat on this section of the river. The area is popular with steelhead anglers because of the year-round presence of the sport fish in this section of the river. The North Santium section is known for the run of summer hatchery steelhead that starts in May and peaks in June and July after the waters heat up. All fish are catch and release on this portion of the river.
Article Written By Eric Cedric
A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.