Saturday, September 4, 2021

Salmon River Fish Hatchery Improvements


The Salmon River fish hatchery's  new fish ladder is almost ready.  Construction crews have been working since last summer to modify the main hatchery drainage plumbing and to remove the old fish ladder that was in need of replacement.  The new ladder is now in place and should be fully operational by the upcoming fall salmon run.

Make sure to include a visit to the hatchery in you fall trip to the Salmon River.

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Salmon River NY fall salmon run forecast

Here it is, Labor Day weekend, what some consider the official start of the fall salmon run here on the Salmon River.  All of us who make a living here on the river are looking forward to the upcoming season.  We have had more than enough rain this summer to keep the reservoir full, or at some points, above full pool.  So we should not have a repeat of last years low water conditions.  As I type this the release is 750cfs till tomorrow evening and then the flow is cut back to 350cfs, which I would anticipate to be the regular release through November.  Things can change, but with the levels in the reservoir currently, I can't foresee any major changes.

Water level recently at the boat launch in Redfield, NY
Water level at boat launch a year ago.


There are reports of salmon in the river as one would expect, however, not in big numbers.  We are experiencing fall-like weather right now so with cooler temperatures at night (low 40s to 50s) and decent water flows, we should see the steady movement of salmon into the river from here on out.  Look for the 3rd week of September to see things really start to pick up.

Reports from the lake indicate that in the past few days salmon have been moving closer the the river's mouth and off 9 mile point.  Fish are being caught in 50-110' in these areas.  As always, they will come and we will have a blast.

Hope you get the opportunity to visit the salmon River this fall.  See you soon.

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Friday, February 19, 2021

Winter steelhead fishing February 2021

This is the time of year that the die-hard steelheaders manifest themselves. These are not the same woosies who think ice fishing in their heated shanties is tough. These are the guys and gals who stand in freezing water and are willing to freeze their fingers and toes until they hurt so bad they feel like throwing up.  These are the anglers who make 2 or 3 casts then clean the ice out of their rod guides and in 2 or 3 more cast do it again, and again, and again,  all the while smiling and chatting with their partner,  These are the guys and gals who are willing to trudge through 2-3 feet on new lake effect snow to get to their fishing spot. These are the anglers who willingly sit in an open drift boat with no protection from a westerly head wind all day.   

The last few weeks have seen several -0 starts to the day and later starts to the day due to skim ice on the river. However, the fishing is very good and we are having some nice days on the upper river from Altmar to Pineville.  Right now the flow is 494 cfs at the Pineville gauge with a release of 350 cfs. This is very fishable for both the boating angler and the wading angler. Typical flies for this time of year are your go to trout nymphs like the Copper John (try these in red, green, Chartreuse and hot pink - size 12), GR Hares ear in #12, Flash Back Nymph #12 and, of course, a Globug in Cherise or Chartreuse with a pink dot producing well. If you are bead fishing a 10mm bead on Chartreuse or Cherise are working too. If you want to fish eggs, fresh steelhead roe is the way to go. Tie these in a blue or pink netting and you should get some action. 

 Of course, the water temperature is hovering just above freezing most of the time now so be careful wading is the rule. If at all possible fish with a friend and wear some sort of spikes or cleats. As the sun begins to show itself more regularly and higher in the sky the algae bloom in the river will also increase, this is as slippery as it gets for the angler. A fall in the river right now can be life threatening and at the least, a temporary interruption to your day until you can get into some dry clothes and waders.  You also want to take a break every so often to warm up and have something hot to drink as well as eat something with high carbs to fuel the body.

This is a great time to fish steelhead, and soon we will see these fish setting up to spawn, kickung off the spring season.  Take some time to fish the Salmon River this spring and please stay safe.

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Saturday, October 17, 2020

Salmon River NY update/fishing report

This last week since Columbus Day has seen the Salmon River at an average flow at Pineville gauge at 220 CFS.  We have had some rain this week but with little effect on the river.  There is rain forecast for a few days next week but we need steady rain for several day to make any difference to the flows.

As for the salmon run, with low water there are not really large numbers in the river, although there are fish throughout the river.  Some fish are spawning, however, there is not a lot of spawning activity going on.  There are fish entering the river on a daily basis and most fish we have fished to and seen are on the move upstream.  These are all fresh, clean fish at this time.  I would expect the run to continue for the next 2 weeks based on the things I see.

There are steelhead being caught, mostly from Pineville down to the mouth of the river.  Not large numbers but still nice to see.  Once more salmon are spawning we should see an increase in steelhead numbers as more of them enter the river to feed on roe.

Now that Columbus day is behind us and many states have open hunting seasons now, the number of anglers on the river should drop off, allowing ample opportunity to have some prime water to yourself.  Take advantage of the 'extended salmon run' and come on up.

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Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Salmon River news and update

 The gauge at Pineville is 216 CFS at a release of 185 CFS.  We are still dealing with low water conditions and there is no measurable rainfall forecast with in the next week.  If you remember back to October 1, 2010 the Salmon River hit a historical flow at over 20,000 CFS.  It's hard to imagine that but when I think back to that day it't kind of crazy.  

Pineville boat launch at 20,000 cfs.

Short Bridge at downtown Pulaski in 20,000 cfs.

Since then we have had 3 seasons, including this one,  were we have had to deal with low water conditions.  Not being able to work out of a boat as a guide presents some challenges.  One is that you are limited to river access.  With the boat I am able to float from Pineville to 2A and have many opportunities to fish areas that receive little to no pressure, even in the peak of the salmon run.  Now I am limited to areas I can walk into and sometimes that is limited by the physical ability of my clients to cover ground, most are out of shape and lack the endurance to walk great distances.  I remember times 25-30 years ago when, do to low water conditions and we could not use the drift boat, we would leave a car at 2A and then drive a second car with clients to the Sportsman's Pool and make the 'death march' down to our waiting car at 2A.  

The second challenge is carrying enough gear in with you to take care of anything that would come up.  With the boat I have all that I would need and more. 

And the third challenge is, if you client wants to keep salmon for the smoker, they need to be dragged out from the river.  In the boat you float them out and no one is worse for the wear.  On foot I always review the rules and rule #2 is that the client drags his own fish.  (Rule #1 is that all foul hooked fish are released.)

As for the fishing, there are fish throughout the main river system.  The tribs like Trout and Orwell Brook are in desperate need of water so the fish that are waiting to run these are stacking up the mouth of these creeks.  Every morning these fish are picked off by opportunistic anglers, but each night these areas fill up again with fish.  Some fish are setting up to spawn but unfortunately there are fish also setting up to spawn in the estuary now. 

We need rain and need it badly.  I'm not worried about the egg collection at the hatchery, they will get what they need.  But there are upward of 60%-70% of the salmon that return each year that are wild fish, spawned and reared in the river and these are the fish we need here on a yearly basis. They are stronger, survive better than hatchery fish and are the early runners that we have come to depend on for our September fishery.

If you are fly fishing, Deceivers, leeches and most bunny type flies will produce.  I have had good success with a Slumber Buster on steroids tied on a #2 salmon hook.  I use a tungsten cone head to eliminate weight on the line, but in these low water conditions sometime a non-weighted fly is all you're gonna need.

You might as well come up and give it a shot.  As they say 'a bad day of fishing is better than a good day of work'.

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Sunday, October 4, 2020

Salmon River NY update

 Well, despite the low water we are still getting decent action on the salmon run.  Most action is in the early morning as salmon move from holding water through to the next deep pool.  Areas like the Short Bridge, Sportsman, Pineville, Abandoned Trestle  will see good movement at first light. Not a lot of action in the spawning areas yet but by this weekend there should be fish setting up regularly in these areas.

Two of what turned into a three fish limit on salmon.

Right now the gauge at Pineville reads 209 cfs at a release of 185 cfs. 

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Saturday, July 4, 2020

Summer trout fishing tips

It's July 4th weekend and a lot of you will no doubt be heading to the rivers and stream to get some 'much needed' fishing in.  Here in the central New York/ Salmon River area we have had a couple weeks now of warm to outright hot weather and virtually no measurable rainfall.  The streams are quite low and water temperatures are warm. When water temperatures hit 68 degrees both rainbow and brown trout get stressed.  If the water temperature continue to rise and gets in the 75-78 degree range for an extended period, it can be fatal for both species of trout. This means that trout in most rivers and streams are prone to heat stress and are weakened.  Here are a few tips to help our trout fisheries from the New York State DEC.

1. Avoid catch and release fishing for heat stressed trout.  Trout already weakened by heat stress are already at high risk of death no matter how carefully they are handled.

2. Don't disturb trout when they are gathered in unusually high numbers.  It is likely these fish are recovering from heat stress on a pocket of cold water.

3. Fish early.  Stream temperatures are at their coolest in the early morning.

4. Go to plan B. Have an alternate fishing plan ready in case the water temperatures are too high at your intended destination.  Consider fishing a body of water that is less prone to heat stress or fish for a more heat tolerant species like smallmouth bass.

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