Salmon River, New York

Rapidan Chapter member Fred W. Fox fished the Salmon River (Oswego County, NY) on Columbus Day 2011 with his wife’s cousin Bob. Ideal conditions for central New York, daily highs  80 -81 deg. F. at Syracuse airport with clear skies and spectacular fall foliage.  River flow 335 CFS, 60 degrees.

Bob arranged for a guide and we entered the river before 5:00 AM in the village of Pulaski, staked-out a good run, stood in the cold river and waited for dawn.  Guide Dave explained the technique; swinging egg patterns just off the bottom with spin tackle, 12 lb. test.  During this demonstration, Dave hooked a nice Chinook salmon and handed me the rod.  The fish barreled upstream peeling off line against the drag, eventually turned downstream and broke off.  We repeated this lesson again but with Dave’s help and a huge net, landed the good-sized Chinook.  I was feeling bad about keeping this beautiful specimen I had not personally hooked, but while posing for a photo, it thrashed out of my grip and was gone.

I had it down and Dave went off to help Bob and to fish a little on his own.  He reappeared to help with snags and breakoffs and supplied all the flies.  Over the morning I hooked-up 8 or 9 more times, with some fish breaking off quickly and others lost after epic battles.  I landed a nice female and very large male that went on the stringer.  I landed another big Chinook that broke-off in 2 inches of water just as I was dragging him the last foot to the bank.

After catching the big male on a Wooly Bugger, I finally had a chance to check the time, 11 o’clock.  I told Dave to let us know when the time was up, and I returned to my spot knowing I could catch and keep one more to limit-out.  Drifting a generic-looking egg pattern, the line went tight and a big fish ran upstream, jumped twice and headed down.  Dave grabbed the net and shouted instructions and “Coming down!” to warn the guys on the bank.  I worked the fish and jogged downstream about 120 meters, hearing people say, “Wow, that’s a huge Steelhead!”  I fought him through several pools and runs and we managed to land that fish after 10 minutes, a keeper hooked in the mouth.

Our day was done and we headed out.  Dave gave us 3 nice Chinooks he caught and I took Mr. Steelhead to be mounted.  I guess my 3 fish ranged about 23 – 33 pounds each, maybe more.  Lots of places to have salmon expertly filleted for $3, so the freezer is packed.

There are also 2 very productive flyfishing-only, catch & release sections upstream on Salmon River.  This was my first time and I’m no expert but if readers would like more information on tackle, locations, fly shops, etc., please leave a “comment” and I will reply with a comment.

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