Salmon River Madness - Fly Fishing Forum
Great Lakes Steelhead & Salmon Amazing "Inland ocean" fisheries

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Old 10-26-2004, 12:13 PM
Gillie Gillie is offline
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Location: Great lakes and West Coast Steelhead
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Salmon River Madness

Spent the weekend up on the Salmon River. Stuck to swinging flies on sink tips and did 1 nice steelie that got off. A good day by my standards. Casting and fishing was very difficult due to a blanket of leaves in the water.

I decided to lok around a bit and went futher up river. I haven't ever used these forums as a place to complain before but I have to say something about what goes on up there.

In the middle river "fisherman" (and I use that term very loosely) were standing 5-10' away from king salmon and flinging tons of lead and snagging fish everywhere. The "fly fisherman" I saw were doing similair but are better at hiding it. I was able to get above some guys and you could watch there fly drift downstream on the oppisite side of the fish then magically it would come upstream and across and end up in the mouth. The wonders of dental flossing.

I then decided to wander up to the "fly fishing only section". I didn't realize that a running line, 15' leader, cannon balls 2 feet from the hook and a casting stroke that involves flinging the lead as hard as you can and sucking the running line through the guides constituted fly fishing. Mind you there were a few guys in that water who were nymphing with just enough weight to get down (you could tell because it didn't look like a depth charge dropping from a plane hunting submarines when it hit the water). There were even two guys who had split a chunk of water and were swinging flies. But of course I watched the yahoo brigade wade right through the water he was swinging in while peering through the water with polarized glasses looking for a fish in need of dental care.

I don't expect everyone to conform to my values. I know that swinging is not the most effective way to catch steelhead and salmon on that river. Many guys only get to come up there once a year and catching fish is a priority, but there has to be some degree of sportsmanship. Learn to mend and fish a nymph or egg with a minimum of weight. If you don't want to fly fish learn how to run a float. I don't know what the answer is but I had to vent.

I'll get off my soapbox now and tie some flies.

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Old 10-26-2004, 05:14 PM
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Moose Moose is offline
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I hear ya man!

Been trying to "CATCH" a salmon here on the American and with all the snaggers (flossing IS snagging!!) it is quite difficult. Some of these guys have so much weight on that when they cast out the line hits bottom and stays still in the current. They actually have to coax the weight of their rig downstream over the rocks! I've seen so called fly fishermen throwing fast sinking shooting heads with 15 foot leaders and about half a dozen split shot at the end with a bead, purely for aesthetics I'm sure. They stylishly work each drift with that classic high speed sidearm rip about 15 times per drift, like they're setting up on a marlin with 200 feet of line out. About every 897th time they do this a salmon magically appears, clearing the water with a bead stuck in the side of it's head.

The kicker was last week when I tried to get into a lineup of guys, politely taking the last upstream spot so I could work my spey rod with no one above me, plenty of room to cast. A local fool walks up on the beach behind me and begins rigging up, then wades out and stands 5 feet upstream from me, my right side. I asked this fine sportsman if he hadn't noticed me casting a 14 foot spey rod and realized that I may need a bit of room? I explained that this was why I was up here at the end, so I wouldn't bother anyone and would have enough room.
His response was "How much room you think you need? I'm fishin right here, f**k off".

After he unwrapped my 15 feet of T-14 from around his head and plucked the barbell eyed starlight leach from his coat he glared and scowled a bit, but being a good 100 pounds lighter and head shorter than I, and finding me not to be in the most jovial of moods, he slunk off and disappeared.

I don't know why some folks mistake politeness and calmness for patience!
Life is but a walking shadow. A poor player who struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot. Full of sound and fury!! Signifying nothing. May as well go fishing!
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Old 10-26-2004, 06:09 PM
peter-s-c peter-s-c is offline
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Here's an example of the classic Salmon River casting stroke:

Like Moose, I found the broad swing of a spey cast useful in acquiring room. Since I'm vertically challenged, I used the "mad Canuck" gambit to encourage cooperation. "I'm not real good at this spey business so you best stand clear or I might hook you by accident." says a wild-eyed me.

The Salmon River is an experience we should all enjoy . . . once. It puts all other fishing related problems into perspective.
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Old 10-26-2004, 07:00 PM
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Salar-1 Salar-1 is offline
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Location: Quebec Salmon rivers
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Moose and Peter
May I humbly suggest Betout of the lineup and proceed upstream from the idiot.tye on some 1 or 2 lb test leader and put on a tiny SHARP egg hook and cast this "fly" infront of Mr. Yahoo when you feel the hook connect to his waders tug and break off the hook.The idiot won't feel this happening but will soon notice an "itch : as the # of hooks touch his legs and the resulting holes fill his waders with COLD water !
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Old 10-26-2004, 08:13 PM
Gillie Gillie is offline
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Location: Great lakes and West Coast Steelhead
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I like the egg with light tippet ploy, I might have to try that. I shouldn't speak entirely negative about the Salmon River. In about another 3 weeks when the salmon have died there are some longer runs where you can fish in a classic manner for steelies. The crowds drop dramatically. There are still areas you don't want to venture into (ironically the fly-fishing only water is the last place you want to go).
Middle and lower river offer water that can be swung all winter long if you will brave the elements in that area in the winter.

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Old 10-26-2004, 09:32 PM
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salmon runs bring out the absolute worst.

seen way too many yahoos, snagging/flossing. the pm in michigan is IMO the worst. these yahoos spend 800 on a new outfit, spool the reel with mono and c&d the fish to death. its disgusting.

I have seen fisherman (in Indiana) use old spark plugs to weigh down their offering. they call it bump snagging, feel the fish bump the line set the hook.

they tie the plug to the bottom of the line then tie on a hook about 10" up with a puff of yarn on it. couple that with 50# fireline and you are ready to fill up the freezer.
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Old 10-28-2004, 09:43 AM
Isgrigg Isgrigg is offline
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Salmon season can be ugly....

Years ago I was fishing the PM and it was very ugly ... guys 10 yards a part sagging fish ... crowding to in to your hole ... groups of guys fishing in shifts in the same hole so no one else could get in for the whole weekend ... yahoos everywhere.

Then they made the "flys only" section "catch and release" ... bless them 1000 times ... 99% of the yahoos went away ... down stream I think ... into the lake I hope. Sportsman ... curtious sportsman ... now fish there. It still gets crowded, but it is a different crowd ... with a different attitude about fishing.

Love 'em and Leave 'em ... it makes a difference in the fishing, the river and the fisherman.
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Old 10-29-2004, 04:46 PM
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MarkNY MarkNY is offline
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steelhead time

gillie, i completely understand your frustration. you half to pick your water really carefully. unfortunately, the fly zones are never a viable option whether its salmon or steelhead season. the salmon are all but completely done, just a few beat up fish that are holed up. but, the fishing has been superb, hint,hint. and no, im not fishing to beat up salmon. tell you what, i can show you a completely different experience on the salmon river than what you dealt with recently. if interested, email me. best, mark
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Old 10-30-2004, 12:44 AM
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Henry Henry is offline
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Hi friends,

I first fished the Salmon River NY. 24 years ago...I last fished it 19 years ago. It made me sick to see the wholesale slaughter that went on by supposed sportsmen just so they could have meat for the smoker and 5 gallon pails of eggs to sell. I stopped making pilgrimages to the Michigan Penninsula around that time for those same reasons.

Worst thing to happen to me on the Salmon was up at the tailout of the Railway bridge hole. Guys were swinging weighted hooks all over the place and as I stood at the bottom of the hole, I could see silver flashes and grey shapes darting in and around exhaused hen salmon being pulled in backwards. These steelhead were busy picking off the eggs aborted by the poor salmon during the fight.

I got like 3 trout in a row on double egg-sperm fly before 5 guys moved in on my drift and literally cut me off (about 3 ft of my flyline head%@#%^#)...guy said the knot was too bad to untangle!!??. I made the 5 hr. drive home 2 days early and vowed to never go back...and I haven't.

Okay, deep breath Henry....ahhh!...that's better.

Sorry to be such a downer.

Tight loops and great fishing,

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Old 10-30-2004, 02:59 PM
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Salar-1 Salar-1 is offline
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Henry et al
Please don't give up on the S.R.
The trick isto absolutely stay away from the "fly" fishing sector (unless the parking lotsare empty) and any pools. This time of year it's Steelhead time and the fishing CAN be quite good and the crowds thinner and a lot more genteel !
BTW Gillie that was use an egg hook bare without the egg (lot quicker penetration)
Cheers all
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Old 10-30-2004, 06:32 PM
rufessor rufessor is offline
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A normal day on the Salmon River

Been there, done that, multiple times... its just the way the river works. I used to live out east and that river fills up with SO MANY people that unless you hit the incredible luck to be next to 6 guys (or girls) in a row who can cast a double spey with their one handed rods (yeah right... once ever but more are learning!), its just impossible for anyone to get line out without ducking and chucking... submarines LOOK OUT BELOW. Not sure what the solution is, I stopped fishing that river... worked for me. The other thing to do is wait until the Salmon are all gone, then the river emptys out big time, still a lot of guys steelheading but you get a different crowd most are of a more serious fisher person variety and I think you will find your day less stresfull if a bit cooler. One thing, fishing that river in January with a Big ASS lake effect snow storm dumping 2-3 inches of snow/hour around you is worth doing at least once. I would go back for the Steelehead, but never again during Salmon season.
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Old 10-31-2004, 07:12 AM
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Jim Miller Jim Miller is offline
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Location: Adirondacks, L Ontario tribs, Salt waters
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Hey Guys
Fished the Salmon last Friday 29th......and I fished the Fly Zones. Upper area had a FEW guys.....shared the upper pool w/ 2 nice fellows and we all caught fish!Lot's of other productive water not being fished at all! I'd say one out of 5 was a decent salmon. Sure you had to cull out the Lepar fish...but if you dead drifted a wouldn't snag up too much on the spawners and half dead. Also had to keep moving to fish to new fish....and not the same spawners over and over.
Also had a steelie on and landed a 24" brown. Landed 6 salmon...many more on.

Later I went to the Cemetary pool (lower FF area) 4 or five other guys in sight (only 3 fishing the pool).....really not crowded at all....there was a push of fresh fish later in the day....I could see them in the tail of the pool....couldn't hook up.
All in all...a pretty good day !

Mark NY....I'd like to try to fish w/ you sometime for steelies (Nov.?)

BTW: the season seems to be running late this year....salmon were late and the steelies seem to be late also...low water is the problem (I think)

Last edited by Jim Miller; 10-31-2004 at 09:21 AM.
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Old 11-01-2004, 12:37 PM
SageBoy SageBoy is offline
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Location: Cape Cod and RI
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Just an fyi for anyone reading this post. If you are looking to catch fish, Steelies that is, then I would highly recommend hooking up with markny (Mark) for a couple of days. He knows those waters like the back of his hand and I really wish he would pursue getting into guiding. That's how good he is and I will leave it at that!

p.s. All proceeds go to me.
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Old 11-01-2004, 04:06 PM
Carl Carl is offline
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Location: West Michigan rivers
Posts: 177
Great sport!

Ah Gillie! I like your idea of planting little hooks in snaggers with light tippets. How do you play this game? Is it a Slam if you can get one hook in each leg? Do you get more points if you hookup below the surface Here in Michigan some anglers use tiny trebles with bait for whitefish (unrelated to fly fishing). If you use a size 14 treble, you might be able to get some secondary damage when the treble bites into something else

Honestly, the only time I'd go there is having someone too close who refuses to make space. I don't think I'd change flies, except maybe to add dumbell eyes as already noted above. There's something fitting about dumbell eyes when casting amidst dumbells.

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Old 11-02-2004, 10:27 PM
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FlyFishMich FlyFishMich is offline
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Location: Michigan
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Have to agree with the folks that have given up on the salmon "fishing". I, too, have given it up like a bad habit ....don't miss it a bit
Being held captive in Michigan by my wife...send help!!!
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