Breitenbush River Fishing (2024 Stocking Update)

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Editor’s Note: Late-announced road closures convinced ODFW to remove Breitenbush River from its stocking schedule in 2024, despite stocking it last year and making plans to do so again this year. Best to check for updates.

You might find me camping and fishing along the Breitenbush River near the town of Detroit Lake. It is a great retreat to catch keeper trout in the summer, and much quieter than the popular reservoir.

This major tributary of the upper North Fork Santiam River and feeds into Detroit Lake, about an hour east of Salem.

Trout Fishing

The biggest attraction for anglers here are the hatchery rainbow trout planted at several of the easier access points above the reservoir.

Good bets for stocking are at the campgrounds, such as Cleator Bend and Breitenbush. There are a few bridges in this same stretch that are likely stocking sites.

Trout stocking historically has occurred here beginning in late May or early June and continuing nearly every week into late July or early August. However, the most recent stocking plans, at least so far, include far fewer stocking dates.

There also are wild cutthroat trout available in this river system. There’s a reasonable chance that the Breitenbush River’s wild trout numbers increased during the two-year road closure that blocked access to anglers.

At this writing, the limit is five trout of any kind as long as they are at least 8 inches in length.

How to Catch Trout

A closeup of a trout caught at Breitenbush River.
Photo by Eric Apalategui

Bait fishing is allowed here, and lures and flies were definitely catching fish when we’ve been there.

A deep red Rooster Tail attracted vicious strikes from some of the fish that had managed to survive a while after stocking and moved into holding spots away from the nearest dump site, such as in pocket water and under steep banks.

See our article Trout Fishing: Basic Tips and Techniques if you are new to this type of fishing or need a refresher.

Besides the stocking schedule linked below, also use the regulations link to check rules before fishing.

Remember that stocking schedules and sites have a way of changing, but if you’re up there after there have been some plantings, you should be able to find fish.

The Breitenbush and its North Fork are accessible (sometimes with some steep hiking involved) from Forest Service Road 46, one of the routes used to get to Olallie Lake and numerous other high mountain lakes in the region.

Camping and Supplies

As mentioned above, this area was severely impacted by wildfires, which may result in the loss of dispersed or other camping options.

There is ample camping on the Breitenbush, including Breitenbush Campground, where we have stayed and which has excellent sites right along the stream.

Cleator Bend is another close by option, and there is some unimproved camping available in this general area, upstream several miles from Detroit. See Willamette National Forest for other camping and recreation info.

Breitenbush Hot Springs, a retreat center managed as a business, are another attraction here.

Most things you’d need including fishing equipment and licenses, groceries, gas and restaurants and motels are located in the small city of Detroit.

A short drive away, the North Fork Santiam above Detroit Reservoir is also planted with rainbows during the same season. It’s accessible from Highway 22.

2024 Breitenbush River Trout Stocking

The Breitenbush River was initially included in the 2024 trout stocking schedule but has been removed due to work along the road that will lead to closures.

Find more fishing spots in Marion County

Oregon Resources

ODFW Weekly Fishing Report
ODFW Trout Stocking Schedule
Oregon Fishing Regulations
National Weather Service