: Salmon River 9/19-9/23
09-23-2002, 10:38 AM
Took a drive up to Pulaski last week to see what was going on at the Salmon River. My first time there although I have fished western ontario tribs in the past for steel/browns later in the fall.
Mission: fool some salmon on my 9wt and fish for chrome.
I had never fished here for Kings before so I was surprised to find out that they are less agressive than the other GL species I have encountered in the past. This may be from the low water conditions or the incredible crowds that lined the banks of nearly every hole in the river. We also were not fishing "fresh run" fish - they had been in the river for the better part of a week. To call these fish spooky would be a gross understatement.
I will from now on refer to this as the "Snaggin' River" as I was appalled by the number of "fishermen" who hailed from just about everywhere to line, lift or flat-out snag their trophy in the back. What surprised me the most was to find registered guides doing the same thing :tsk_tsk: . Then they would play the fish to exhaustion rather than just break it off and give it a chance to get upstream.
Thank god for the less crowded fly only sections where my friend and I were able to actually see the fish snap at our flies and legally hooked and released a couple of 20 pounders (which did fight like hell and tested our drags and 10 pound tippets - very exciting). These fish were both large males with big kypes and looked a little fresher than the rest of their doomed compadres.
Saw one steelhead total for 4 days of fishing :confused:
In the future, I'll stick with the more agressive browns and steel of the western tribs. Maybe these salmon behave differently when they are fresh out of the lake or the water is higher, but for me, this just wasn't flyfishing.
09-23-2002, 10:44 AM
I take it that you saw the famous snagging pattern, the J-plug emerger. It catches most of its fish on the rise......:eek:
Glad you got some fish. I've had a few people try to get me out there since I've moved to my current location, but it just hasn't intrigued me enough yet. Hearing about the crowds doesn't make it any more appealing either.
09-23-2002, 11:20 AM
The western tribs are actually pretty cool. Once the weather gets cold and deer season is in full swing the crowds will dissipate.
Yes there were J-plugs flying across the river like ammunition. Especially at the appropriately named "sportsman's pool":hehe:
Saw an ambulance take one guy away who apparently had stuck one into the back of his head on the cast. Guess it's true what they say about reaping what you sow :rolleyes:
09-23-2002, 12:44 PM
round my neck of the woods, people assume that since you're a flyfisherman you have some mystical druid-like understanding of the river.
I've had guys almost angry at me when i don't know where the fish are holding. sheesh
09-23-2002, 02:58 PM
Yep thats what I have heard about the Salmon from my east coast friends. Thought it had changed though , but I guess not.
Better to go there after hunting season starts in October, crowds start to thin out then like out here in Michigan and Wisconsin country. Just make sure you wear some hunter orange though when walking the river because many of those guys that were snagging salmon in September are now carrying guns in October and November, hunting.
I bet December would be good up on the Salmon from what I have heard.
Salmon stop biting the closer they get to their spawning grounds. A much lesser percentage will bite then when they first enter the rivers. But some of them will. I have had dying ones bite a fly and others in great shape totally ignore it. Hard to figure out which ones will bite.
09-23-2002, 04:37 PM
This past weekend I had the privlidge to accompany Big Dave on New York's best kept secret....the Salmon River;) . I believe Dave pretty much summed up the entire experience in his post. All I can say is that this fishery, under the conditions that we were dealt: low water, high temps, and EXTREME fishing pressure seemed at least to me a horrible joke. What surprised me the most was the complacency of some of the local tackle/fly shops to go along with the lie that this is/was a real SPORT fishery.(At least in terms of the "fabled" salmon fishery.)
As Dave posted we each managed to fair hook a few fish each and despite all my best efforts I even landed one. You really had to work for these opportunities which were few and far between!
I should have realized what was in store for Dave and I when on the first night at the motel I was assaulted by someone's errant egg hook that had somehow found its way into my bed spread! All I can say is that I am glad it was only my knee that got impaled!
I believe the town of Pulaski should adopt this as its motto... "If you ain't draggin...then you ain't snaggin' "
09-23-2002, 05:32 PM
Fishing up river for salmon is unnerving at best. The chinnoks are crusty, frieghtened and have been snagged and fought a few times each. If your lucky you might find a steelie or some coho's.
I always fish the DSR. It's costs you 20.00 for admission per day which is the only downside. It is right above the estuary so the fish are fresh and for the most part unadulturated. When a fresh run is comming through even the chinnoks will come agressively to the fly. One of the most attractive aspects is that the river is patroled by employees who enforce their no snagging policy fairly well. Plus J-plugs aren't allowed.
I got my trip schelduled for next week but know I hearing reports that the water will be shut off to 0 cfs which doesn't sound good. I might have to go somewhere else or cancel my trib. Please rain real hard!!
09-23-2002, 08:34 PM
We debated all weekend whether or not to fish the DSR section of the river. However we heard a number of discouraging reports from the lower sections. Our attempts to locate good numbers of fish throughout the rest of the river were futile. It seemed that the only concentrations of fish were in the deeper pools and thus the domain of the J-pluggers!
I have no doubt that fresh run fish behave much differently than those that have been in the system for a while. I only had six or seven opportunities all weekend(Thur-Sat.) in which I observed the fish(mostly Kings) strike my offering. I hesitate to even call it a strike. It seemed more like an annoyed snap than anything else. Of those six or seven I only managed to land one due to my ??ineptness?? and the use of seven pound fluorocarbon.
09-23-2002, 08:35 PM
Pulaski sounds worse than our snagger locations. This why I do not go near these places until after the salmon run is essentially done and hunting season is underway. Michigan rivers tend to get reasonable from late october on.
It seems even though snagging is illegal now in all great lakes and PNW states that it is still rampant and non controllable by the DNRs.
Yes I can beleive guides snagging.
I bet they donot have this problem in European salmon rivers, Malcolm do they draw and quarter snaggers these days or perhaps the rack ?
09-23-2002, 08:58 PM
We did see a few of New York's DEC officers on the river on Saturday.(All four of them!) All I can say is that these men in green have a formidable and scary task in front of them. We witnessed them writing up a group of "outstanding" sportsman for who knows what offense. Some of the characters I came in contact with on the river were more than a little shady(and more than a little drunk) if you get my drift.
The funny thing about the J-plug is that according to those I talked to...this devilish lure(Can you even call it that?) will go out of "season" at the end of September. My understanding about the regs. is that snagging is outlawed on all Great Lake tribs. in New York at ALL times. Why then is it necessary to phase out the J-plug if it is in fact a legitamate means to catch these river salmon? :confused: Think about it!
09-23-2002, 10:07 PM
Yes those DEC officers have one tough job dealing with those characters, I have seen some real losers which I would not be on the river with at night for any amount of fish.
Actually, I have stayed far away from the areas they congregate in for the past 20 years. It is just not worth my time to be near them nor fish when they are around.
Never seen a J-Plug used out here but then again I have not kept up on the latest snagging techniques. Its a shame this type of behavior cannot be adequately controlled by the DNR departments.
Go back to the Salmon in the dead of winter for steelhead bet the snaggers will be not around, there beer will get cold or whatever else they need to have a good time, etc...
Its because of these lower ethic people they I gave up hunting 30 years ago. Imagine running into these types of guys in the woods when they have a rifle in their hand, I did and decided it was not worth the risk any longer.
09-24-2002, 10:44 AM
Raid tackle shops, homes, campgrounds, pile them up and set them on fire.
I was actually at a shop in town and overheard an employee touting the j-plug as a legal means of snagging. "They die anyway might as well snag them." We don't spend any money their now.
Also, heard of stories where guides have told their clients that "the kings don't bite and that this is how you have to hook 'em" What a joke!
How about setting up those swimming pools full of nasty finless hatchery trout and bluegills right out side of the bars and tackle shops so all the snaggers can sit in lawn chairs and have at it. Get rid of the kings also so they are not tempted to get near the river. Steelhead, Cohos and a few Atlatics will do just fine.
09-24-2002, 08:22 PM
Hey, thats a great idea we could also offer advanced snagging videos with seductive ladys perhaps, maybe a tractor pull or swamp buggy race track outside the bar, etc... I think we have something here, anything to keep them away from our rivers and andramous fish runs.
Have to check with UK members of the board , do they have these problems over there with salmon runs and if not how to they prevent it.
I think as long as there are large salmon runs we are going to have this problem though.
09-24-2002, 09:07 PM
I think the intentional snagging of an Atlantic salmon is means for a hanging.