Steelhead heaven: 15 miles of NY's Salmon [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Steelhead heaven: 15 miles of NY's Salmon

02-09-2004, 05:12 AM
(My ol friend writer Scott Sampson writes another nice Salmon River Article. This article is being run to hopefully help the local economy recover a little and also help those that are new and interested in the sport)

Steelhead heaven: 15 miles of NY's Salmon

New York fishing map feature

By Scott Sampson
* Fishing and Hunting News PULASKI, N.Y. ? It's a little like trying to stop a freight train by dragging your foot: you hang on and hope. You dance over the rocks with cleated boots in a race between you and the steelhead to the next pool. Your tail-walking friend is attached to your hopes and dreams with a 4-pound leader and 5- or 6-pound-test main line. You are layered in clothing that dulls the physical cold of 33-degree water. Korkers, the spiked sandals, are tied on over the felt bottoms of your 5mm neoprene boot waders. The spikes dig into the bedrock, gravel beds or sometimes bottom ice that forms in the midwinter pools of slower water currents, keeping you upright.

Salmon River guide Randy Jones completed the dance with this big metalhead.
You jockey your way down the river in hopes of getting below your fish, so you can let the current help you battle what might be an average steelhead of 8 pounds ... or one that is in the high-teens of trophy class. Guide Randy Jones ( advises his anglers to plan the battle before the hookup. If you can only stand still and hang on, the war will be lost within seconds and your trophy of a lifetime will be only a glimpse and a pulse of success. But Jones readily admits that planning the battle before it begins is more easily said than done. Success is measured in the number of hookups experienced and not fish landed. And "hookups" are not just a rap at your bait or fly. Hookups are fish-leaping, rod-thumping, heart-stopping experiences that are recorded in your mind forever. A hookup might last for seconds or fractions of an hour. With the light line, limber rods and fast currents, you never get a second chance. The steelhead can wrap the gossamer line around a rock or a snag as easily as you can fall into the river as you follow the fish downstream hoping to reach quiet water where you can tease it into the net.The stellar Salmon The Salmon River, in Oswego County, is the premier steelhead water in the East. It is short by river standards, just 15 miles long from Lake Ontario to the first dam impassable by fish, but it has some 10 miles of public fishing easements and another 2 miles of private water open to a limited number of anglers willing to pay to cast. There are also two fly-fishing-only areas upstream of the Village of Altmar. The river contains classic pools, runs and riffles. A minimum water flow from the Lighthouse Hill hydroelectric dam makes the river a year-round fishery, even in midwinter when other waters may be frozen shut. Steelhead runs begin in mid-October and winter fish typically hold in the deep pools until they spawn in March and April. May is a transition fishery as the silver-sided trophies drop back to the lake and the Skamania strain prepares for summer runs. While nearly 30 percent of New York's steelhead are reproduced naturally, DEC assures adequate numbers of fish reach the Altmar Hatchery by stocking 120,000 yearling steelhead of the Washington strain, along with 48,000 of the summer fish. Other waters, such as the Oswego, seldom gets more than 20,000 stockers.Winter challenges Winter fishing takes place in crystal-clear water, and is more challenging than any other time of the year. The worse the weather, the fewer anglers and the more room you have to fish. Drift boats run from August to May with more than 35 professional guides on the river, but there has also been an increase in individually owned drift boats. If you run one, put in at Altmar and take out at Pineville or the Ball Park. A drift boat helps you cover more water but unless you are back-plugging or back-trolling, you will be doing a lot of your fishing from shore and using the drift boat as transportation from pool to pool. Much of the fishing is accomplished with long limber rods that can handle the light line and still keep as much line out of the water as possible as you drift a fly or bait through the pools. Even flyrodders will use the chuck-and-duck technique, fishing a running line on a 9- to 11-foot rod. The running fly line, normally used with shooting heads, is a means to meet the official requirement of using traditional fly gear in the fly-fishing-only sections of the river. Consult the regs for equipment guidelines for fly-fishing areas as well as the rest of the river. New this season, for example, leaders may only be 4 feet between the fly or bait and any weight added to the line.
At a glance
Fishing and Hunting News

What: Salmon River winter steelhead.Where: Pouring into Lake Ontario in northern New York. The fishable stretch of the lower Salmon is relatively short: only 15 miles of water run from the first dam down to Ontario.Why: The Salmon is the best steelhead stream in New York, and, arguably, one of the best in the continental United States.When: Best fishing is in February and March.

02-10-2004, 09:39 AM
My brother acxtually did all of the graphics for Scotts book. Do you know John Sanders? He has just finished his book. Took a year and a half.

Small World.
Keith B.

02-10-2004, 04:37 PM
Hi Keith,
Small world is right!Nice to chat and have enjoyed your post's. Welcome to one of the best Web sites for the Cape and beyound. Great bunch of anglers here, all willing to help in anyway possible. They'd give you the shirt off their back.

I have heard the name, but do not know him personally, good reputation.

I wont post it here, but see if you can find my email address or something to contact me. If you have a web site (Please dont post the url here unless your a paid advertiser, Ive made that mistake before and above will be the last time I make that mistake again)) I'll throw it up on my, will, errr, lets just say, if you have a web site for your buisness, send it to me privately and Ill post it on mine. You should see a nice jump in your hits. I have a lot of white space I need to try to fill and enjoy trying to help others in the buisness.

My work load is starting to get heavy so I wont have much of a chance to chat much, so it was nice meeting you.

May all your door knobs always smell of grossly oversized Stripers and steelhead,


02-10-2004, 04:55 PM
Never mind sending it to me. I found it. Ill post it tommorrow along with this web sites address to share everything with everyone.

02-10-2004, 10:47 PM
Well Randy,

It's nice of you to do that for Keith. But he undertands that we rely on our sponsors to deal with our burden, and has inquired about sponsorship.

You asked me if the Forum would like to advertise on your website recently. Although we did not take you up on your offer, that advertisement would have only been worth something if you did not let everyone else promote themselves on your site along with us without the same ante.

If you were filling white space wantonly, I think we would feel compromised. It boils down to a matter of honor. If one sponsor is good enough to support us, then we will not dishonor him by letting others promote their interests or the interests of their direct competitors because of the available cleavage (I removed that post) at twice the price.

These are companies like Rio, Airflo, Scientific Angler, Sage, Thomas and Thomas, LOOP, Rob Meiser, etc - some of the finest in the industry. Great flyshops of North America, guides who are excellent recommendations even to your best friend. People we want to honor as they honor us with their sponsorships.

In fact I have held my advertisement off the site because I am not sure how people would take it. I want people to think of the forum as the forum, not as my promotional project. Due to a recent job change, I might not be able to hold off forever - but I have to think that four years says something about me as a person.

So many people are tempted to jump on board and push their wares. We deal with spam day in and day out. It's a hassle especially for our staff who take no payment for bringing this site to it's members, although someday that might change. It's been four long years of work without pay.

I don't think it's a lot to ask... but if you want to participate, all we ask is that people play by the rules that let us keep this house in order.


02-11-2004, 05:22 AM
Paying Sponsors - Banners-Donations and a small url blurb to help Keith

Hi Juro, all,

I personanly have not" that I am aware of" asked any web site bullitin board-chat room for a donation or sponsorship. (Could I be wrong?) :)

This is what is appearing on my web site tonight for todays report. I did it partially last night and here it is 6am and Im already prepping tonights report - yikes!) Have to run and do a trip today, so hopefully Ill have some pictures to add and some nice tips, etc...


Mail Bag:
Keith is a nice guy with a nice product. We met on

(I was going to put his lil 2 paragraph ad here for you to see, but then I remembered the rules, it will be on mine tonight)

(His url will appear here)

Other web sites I like and have enjoy for years on Cape Cod for qaulity fishign reports, articles, fly tieing tip's and much more
(another good Cape cod url site similar to your's will appear here), (another good Cape cod url site similar to your's will appear here), (another good Cape cod url site similar to your's will appear here)


Nothng earth shattering, but I do try take care of those that take care of me and sometimes it makes me feel goodd inside. You may pick up some new members, donations?

Anyway, as Ive said, you all have been more than kind and generous with your tips, articles, knowledge and entertaimant. (And putting up with me) One of my biggest pleasures in the evening is enjoying your forum members post's.

It's funny, most web site's like your's want my long lenghty educational articles to ad content to there site. Putting a url at the bottom is not an issue.

( Feel free to delete this and all post's I just made. No hard feelings, no biggy. I just feel that these sites are a source for the free exchange of information and by adding good substance- bring's more viewers to your site. This helps the local economoy and also any sales you might be offering off your web site. Content = more viewers. More viewers = hopefully more sales. Its one thing to be a paid advertiser and another to take hours out of my day to write report's, educational articles to help your viewers. And in exchange only add my url. The viewer wins!)

Anyway, have to run, nice chatting and I respect your site,, it's members and your rules and regs.