Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife South Santiam Fish Hatchery is a fun and interesting excursion for anyone interested in learning about fish and other local wildlife. Approximately 8,000 visitors each year have the opportunity to meander through the beautiful setting on the shores of the S. Santiam River. The public is invited to enjoy the many rearing and holding ponds and view various species of fish in the 1,200 gallon aquarium.
Although open year-round, if you’re interested in viewing adult and juvenile fish, the best time to visit is June through January. Guided tours for groups or self guided tours are available from 7:30 am Monday through Sunday. While enjoying the outing, guests can take advantage of the lush surroundings with a picnic. Many visitors have enjoyed bird watching sighting larger birds of prey, wading birds and waterfowl.
Built in 1925, this was the first hatchery on the South Santiam River. Originally situated about five miles upstream from its present site, it was relocated and dedicated in 1968 to compensate for the loss of spawning and rearing areas created by the construction of two dams above Sweet Home. The hatchery is annually funded by the US Army Corps of Engineers and the State of Oregon for raising Spring Chinook and summer Steelhead to be released into the South Santiam.
The facility is used for collection of adult fish, egg incubation and rearing of spring Chinook and summer Steelhead to be released in local waterways. Returning adults are captured at Foster Dam from March through October; an average of 9,400 spring Chinook, summer and winter Steelhead are collected annually. These fish are held until they release their eggs – which is known as spawning.
The young fish are reared at the hatchery and released in local waterways. All remaining hatchery summer Steelhead and some spring Chinook are recycled downstream to enhance angling opportunities.
Additional information is available by calling South Santiam Fish Hatchery at (541) 367-3437