Foster Reservoir Fishing Report (2024 Update)

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The Willamette Valley’s Foster Reservoir has a variety of fishing opportunities, the most popular of which is excellent fishing for the many hatchery rainbow trout planted in the impoundment.

Foster Reservoir, also commonly known as Foster Lake, also has bass, yellow perch, bluegill, crappie, bullhead catfish and kokanee.

Foster Lake is located in the Cascade Mountain foothills just east of Sweet Home and within an easy drive from Albany and Eugene.

Editor’s note: See below for recent updates.

Trout Fishing

You can catch rainbow trout here any day of the year, with good survival rates in the 1,200-acre reservoir, which is located on the South Santiam River.

Nevertheless, trout fishing certainly will be best during the stocking seasons.

In recent years, the reservoir has been stocked heavily in the spring and often again in the late summer and fall.

Most of the stocked trout will be typical legal-sized fish, which are pan-sized, but a modest number of larger trophy trout are also included in some plantings.

Also, some of the typical planters manage to survive encounters with anglers in this year-round habitat and grow into the teens, making a nice catch.

It’s not unusual for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to put tens of thousands of trout here during a calendar year.

While the late summer and fall plantings are smaller than the spring ones, those later stockings will help maintain months of good fishing.

In most reservoirs, fishing pressure is lighter in the fall than in the spring, so that many trout typically would support good fishing for months.

Foster is open year-round and can be productive even in the winter when there’s enough of a break in the weather to make fishing pleasant for people.

You won’t see summertime crowds, but there is definitely a winter fishery here, especially when those nice weather breaks crop up.

Trout anglers here will be successful with the usual tactics.

Bank anglers often still-fish with bait, including natural and artificial baits. Casting lures and flies can also be effective.

If you’d like to learn more about catching trout, start here: Trout Fishing: Basic How-To Techniques and Tips.

Note that Oregon regulations allow only fin-clipped trout (hatchery origin) to be retained at this location.

There are both wild resident trout and young wild steelhead in the upper Santiam River system, and these fish with an intact adipose fin must be released when caught in Foster, which they occasionally are.

The wild steelhead are trapped below Foster Dam and trucked upriver so they can use natural spawning areas, and the next generation of smolts often coming into the reservoir on their downstream migrations.

Where to Catch Trout

There is plenty of bank access at the reservoir, with popular spots including near the dam (especially at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers park) and along the south shore in spots where the bank is easy to traverse.

The north side also has bank opportunities and often fewer anglers.

Boat anglers can use those same methods successfully, but many boat anglers opt for trolling lures and bait.

Some boaters report good success in the areas around where the creek arms come in.

Check the rules before fishing.

Bass Fishing

Bass fishing can be quite good here.

Anglers have reported catching many smallmouth bass. Although the vast majority of smallies tend to be little, there are some bigger bass here as well.

Smallmouth bass prefer structure such as rocks near shore and rocky mounds and drop-offs farther out.

Largemouth bass also have been caught here, but their numbers appear to be fairly limited.

These fish, which can grow to larger sizes, often prefer areas with muddier bottoms and plant and wood structures, and you’ll do better catching them at other western Oregon largemouth fishing lakes and reservoirs.

Bass will bite a wide variety of lures that look like prey species, such as smaller fish and crayfish, or that provoke these species’ aggressive natures to strike out at intruders.

Soft plastics, including curly-tailed grubs and worms, swimbaits resembling fish, crankbaits resembling fish or crayfish, and spinnerbaits, are among the myriad of good options.

Quickly elevate your game with our simple bass fishing techniques and tips.


There are a variety of panfish in the reservoir.

Yellow perch angling has been successful for many. These tasty fish can run small but can be caught in good numbers if anglers locate a school.

Perch eagerly bite worms and other natural baits, but check out our yellow perch fishing techniques and tips how-to article to fine-tune your approach.

There also are modest fisheries for sunfish, crappie and bullheads in the lake.

Unlike with the trout and kokanee, there are no limits on the size or number of bass and panfish caught here.


Kokanee are definitely present (and possibly more so if any of those that washed out of Green Peter Reservoir survived the ride), but they are not a primary quarry here for many anglers. Most kokanee caught here come while anglers are targeting the trout.

Kokanee, which are land-locked sockeye salmon, are counted among the trout bag at Foster Reservoir. (Chinook salmon are protected as must be released.)

On the bright side, if you do find Foster’s kokanee, they often tend to run significantly larger than they do up at Green Peter. Because of that, there are a handful of anglers who prefer to target kokanee here, where they are counted as part of the trout limit here.

Still, if catching big numbers of land-locked salmon is your first interest, drive just a few miles farther to target Green Peter kokanee.

But if rainbow trout are your thing, Foster often has more than Green Peter and will treat you right.

More information: Kokanee Fishing: Simple Tips and Techniques

Location and Access

Foster Reservoir is about a half hour’s drive from Interstate 5 at Exit 216 heading east toward Sweet Home on Oregon 228 to Highway 20.

From Albany, it’s less than an hour’s drive and a little farther if coming from Eugene. There are supplies and services in Sweet Home.

The reservoir has multiple boat ramps, including at Gedney Creek, Calkins and Sunnyside County Park.

The latter park also has camping and day-use facilities. Sunnyside is on the Middle Santiam River arm on the northeast side of the reservoir.

Sunnyside Pond in the park is also seasonally stocked with trout and has some of the same bass and panfish species as the big reservoir. It’s a nice fishing hole for kids when the fish are biting.

2024 Updates

Starting in the fall of 2023, Foster Lake became very turbid due to the extreme drawdown of Green Peter Reservoir upstream. The water quality is starting to improve at last word.

While it was stocked with trout in September, low visibility seems likely to slow down catch rates. I’d think about using scented baits and lures when it’s turbid.

Foster tends to be drawn down to very low levels every winter when often the only usable boat launch is the one at Sunnyside County Park.

Bank access can also be difficult in the winter, mostly because the exposed shoreline is muddy, and the hike to the water level is at its longest of the year.

2024 Foster Reservoir Trout Stocking

Stocking ScheduleTotal
Mar 25-293,300
Apr 1-52,000
Apr 8-122,000
Apr 15-193,300
Apr 22-263,300
May 6-103,900
May 13-173,900
May 20-243,800
Sep 16-203,000
Sep 23-273,000
Stocked fish are legal-sized rainbow trout unless otherwise noted. Stocking schedules are subject to change for a variety of reasons. The ODFW Weekly Fishing Report linked under Oregon Resources below may provide updated information.

Other nearby fishing spots frequently stocked with rainbow trout include Green Peter Reservoir and Quartzville Creek upstream in the Middle Santiam River drainage.

Find more fishing spots in Linn County

Oregon Resources

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

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