Changes this year for Foster Free Fishing Day

As the title states, there are some big changes for this year’s Foster Lake Fishing Derby scheduled for this Saturday, June 7.

These changes were made in response to several issues such as liability concerns, safety, and the low numbers of fish caught at the dam. For the sake of ease and organization I will list the major changes and give a brief description as to why these changes were made.

The biggest change is that we moved the location. Linn County Parks officials have graciously allowed us to move the event to the swim beach at Lewis Creek County Park located on the north side of Foster Reservoir approximately 2 1/2 miles above the dam off Quartzville Road. This new site provides more space, a safer fishing area, and more parking. Parking fees will be waived for FFD participants.

The fishing area for kids ages 6 and under will be at Lewis Creek Park instead of the South Santiam Hatchery, where it has been held in the past. This will eliminate the need for busing people to and from the hatchery. The hatchery staff will provide a large portable tank full of fish for the younger kids.

We will also provide a fishing area for kids up to 14 years of age on the swim beach itself. This area will be stocked with approximately 1,500 rainbow trout and enclosed with a 150-foot seine net to keep the fish there during the event. Each young angler will be allowed a two-fish limit.

The swim beach is the only shallow flat area on Foster that would allow for this situation. But as its name states, it is a swimming area and fishing is not usually allowed on the swim beach itself.

Linn County Parks officials are letting us fish on a portion of the swim beach on June 7 only. The rest of the swim beach outside of the seined area will be closed to fishing during the event. We will also provide all of the fishing gear this year; personal fishing equipment will not be allowed on the swim beach. This will allow us to control the possibility of lost hooks in the swimming area itself.

Since we will need to restrict fishing to the seined area only, we were forced to change the traditional derby rules. In the past everyone would get there early and line up hoping to catch the first fish. Not everyone will be able to fish inside the 150 foot seined area at once so we will not be awarding prizes for first fish and biggest fish caught. Instead we will be specially marking some of the larger trophy trout and any lucky angler who lands one of these fish will be eligible for some great prizes.

The limited fishing space will also restrict the number of anglers that can fish at one time. The kids 6 and under who have fished at the hatchery are used to this but for some of the older kids who fish off the dam, this will be new. Because of this we are allowing more time for the event.

In past years it started at 8:30 a.m. and ended at noon. This year the event will start at 9:30 a.m. and end at 2:30 p.m. In an effort to best utilize the fishing area, we have reduced the maximum age limit from 18 to 14 years of age. We feel this will provide more opportunities for those kids who normally may not have the chance to catch fish. Even though the fishing area may not be as large as previous participants may be used to, we feel that there will be many more opportunities for the kids to catch fish at the new location.

Fish stocked at the old site would disperse almost immediately after being stocked, leaving very few fish to be caught later in the day, while the younger kids who visited the hatchery pond were guaranteed limits. We hope to provide limits of fish to all our anglers this year.

Lewis Creek Park also provides more space for educational opportunities. The USFS will be providing a large covered area with hands-on educational displays from various natural resource agencies. The park also has large picnic areas and open spaces for all types of recreational activities.

So mark it on your calendars: Saturday, June 7, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. All are welcome, kids 14 and under will be allowed to fish and all fishing gear and bait will be provided. Young anglers who are registered will also receive a goody bag and a free pop and snack.

Our goal is to create opportunities for all of the anglers at our event to catch fish and learn about the watersheds in which they live. Hope to see you there.

For more information on the Free Fishing Day event, contact K.C. Briggs at 367-3492.

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Green Peter, and Foster reservoirs are nearly full and all boat ramps are useable.

All have been stocked numerous times with rainbow trout and are producing good catches. Fish are near the surface because the water temperatures are still so cool.

Green Peter is also producing some good catches of 9- to 12-inch chinook, with some bigger ones being taken. Kokanee catch seems to be down some this season so far.

Stream flows in Quartzville Creek above Green Peter Reservoir have come down from the very high levels of last week, but are still high and cold. Scheduled stocking will be delayed to this week, according to the last report from the ODFW.

The South Santiam is fishable, but still a little high and expected to remain so during the near future. Steelhead numbers are increasing in the rivers but, as of June 2, the Willamette River and tributaries above Willamette Falls are closed to the retention of hatchery spring chinook salmon, with the exception of the Molalla River, which will remain open to the retention of one adult adipose fin-clipped spring chinook as part of the daily bag limit.

To date, about 5,100 chinook have gone over the Falls,” said Steve Marx, ODFW South Willamette watershed manager “If substantial numbers of chinook cross the Falls in the next few weeks, we may be able to re-open some limited chinook fishing opportunities.”

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Elsewhere in the outdoors, Silver Falls State Park, with 20 miles of trails to explore on horseback, is offering guided trail rides from now through Labor Day

Riders can arrange custom-riding experiences through a concessionaire, Northwest Equine Outfitters, which is offering rides daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the park’s Howard Creek Horse Area Trailhead. Reservations and information on riding opportunities are available by calling 503-991-RIDE (7433).

Group and individual reservations can be made for riders age six and above, and for people of all abilities. Rates for the rides are $120 for two hours; $220 for a half-day ride, which includes lunch or dinner at the Conference Center Historic Dining Hall; and $400 for a full-day (eight-hour) ride.

Price quotes, information on group discounts and details on special rides also are available by phone: 541-991-RIDE (7433).

Silver Falls State Park is 26 miles east of Salem. The Howard Creek trailhead is in the east side of the park off Highway 214

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Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is encouraging visitors to all parks to carry cameras so they can enter the department’s new calendar photo contest. Winners in the contest, which runs through Aug. 1, will receive special camping packages.

Visit for more details.