What could be better than a sunny afternoon and a fishing rod? Fishing in the Salem area is one of the many great activities this beautiful city has to offer. Within a few minutes, an angler can be knee deep in the upper Santiam River chasing the elusive steelhead, or sitting on the bank of a local pond trying to hook a bass or blue gill.

“Although August is not the busiest time for fishing, there is still plenty of opportunity,” says Wayne Hunt, Fish Biologist with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.  “Many of the river steelhead and trout are less active at this time of year as the water temperature drives them to find cooler areas. But there are plenty of warm water species to go after.”
Many local lakes and ponds are abundant with bass, crappie and bluegill. If you’re simply after the thrill of catching a fish, any fish, then your best bet in August is going after the warm water variety. Favorite local spots include Walter Wirth Lake in Cascades Gateway Park, Walling Pond at the corner of 16th and McGilchrist Street, and the Minto-Brown Island complex. There are numerous others; your ODFW office has plenty of materials highlighting other areas in Marion and Polk County.

The supplies you will need are determined by the type of fish you want to catch, how you’re going to try to catch it and how long you might be out. First and most importantly, you must acquire a state angling license. The angling license is available through the ODFW and at most retailers that feature outdoor sporting equipment. For those 18 to 69, the fee is $24.75. Next, pick up a free copy of the current Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations. This guide book will tell you if you need any other special tags and if there are any special regulations for the place you want to fish.

As for actual equipment, the variety of items available and the prices for them are as broad as the waters you intend to fish. For the novice warm water fisher, the basics include a rod and reel, fishing line, hooks, weights, and bait or lures. It is wise to carry a hook removal tool, especially if you plan to release the fish back into the water. After the basics, the more serious tackle includes nets, knives, waders, more lures and hooks, specialized clothing, coolers and more.

After developing a passion for fishing with a basic rod and reel, you may feel the desire to try fly fishing. Fly fishing is an art unto itself. A quick visit to Creekside Flyfishing at Pringle Plaza will help you understand the passion these anglers develop for their sport. Displays are filled with specialized clothing, sunglasses, rods, fly tying supplies, and more. With equipment to fit just about any budget, Rich and Kathy Youngers own the only locally owned shop to offer such supplies in town. Not only will they fix you up with the correct equipment, they can arrange a guided trip on some of our local rivers.

According to Kathy, “The salmon and steelhead fishing has remained pretty good in the North Santiam.”