South Santiam Hatchery Visitors' Guide

In 1925 the first fish hatchery on the South Santiam River began operations about 5 miles upstream from today’s present site, rearing annually approximately 100,000 spring Chinook in dirt ponds for release into the South Santiam River. The present site came about with the construction of Foster Dam. In 1968 the facility was dedicated for the rearing of spring Chinook and summer steelhead. This facility was built and annually funded in part by the US Army Corps of Engineers to compensate for the loss of spawning and rearing areas above the dams on the South Santiam River.

South Santiam Hatchery

Best time to visit: June – January for viewing adult and juvenile fish

Visiting hours: Self-guided tours are available from 7:30 a.m. to dusk and guided tours for groups from 7:30 a.m. to 4:20 p.m. Monday through Sunday.

Fish raised: spring Chinook and summer steelhead

What to see and do: Returning adults are captured and held at at Foster Dam March – October at the Foster Adult Fish Facility which was constructed by the USACE in 2014. Public access to the site is not available at this time but there is a viewing area with a visitor kiosk which overlooks the facility. Adult fish are often visible on the hatchery side of the river at the base of the old fish ladder during the late summer and early fall. Spawning of adult fish takes place during the months of September for spring Chinook and December – January for summer steelhead. Juvenile fish are reared at the hatchery year-round. There also is a 1,200-gallon aquarium for viewing various species of adult and juvenile fish.

  • Wildlife: birds of prey, wading birds, waterfowl, fish
  • Facilities: campground, camp host, fishing, picnic area, restroom
  • Nearby: The South Santiam River is one of the top summer steelhead fishing-rivers in the state, with the best fishing May – July. Foster Reservoir upstream from the hatchery has fishing, boating, picnicking and camping available to visitors all year
  • If you're interested in white water rafting or kayaking, there are paddling companies that give tours down the South Santiam.  

Directions: Take Hwy. 20 through Sweet Home. Just east of Sweet Home turn onto Foster Dam Road. Cross Foster Dam and proceed to a stop sign at the opposite end of the dam. Turn left onto River Road. Travel 1/2 mile and turn left to enter the hatchery.

Address and Phone:
South Santiam Hatchery
43182 N. River Drive
Sweet Home, OR 97386
(541) 367-7566