Salmon River: A World Class Fishery

The world famous Salmon River, located in Pulaski, NY sits on the edge of the Tug Hill region. The Salmon River feeds into Lake Ontario and the flow of the river is controlled by the two reservoirs. Smaller, less pressured tributaries occupy the surrounding area and feed into to Lake Ontario as well. This provides anglers with a vast opportunity to catch trophy sized Atlantic, Coho and King Salmon, Steelhead, Brown Trout, Smallmouth Bass, and Carp. Located not far from Syracuse, the Salmon River is only a short drive from major neighboring cities.


Chinook and Coho Run 

The Salmon River is a river famous worldwide specifically for its Salmon and Steelhead run. Fish from Lake Ontario begin to pour into the river in September and stay until late May. The peak of Salmon fishing season happens when the spawning run occurs. From the second half of September to the middle of October, Salmon fill the streams in pods of 10 to 200. At times, there are so many Salmon in the river, you’d think you could walk across it without ever touching the river bottom. The Chinook Salmon range from 15 to 35 pounds, while the Coho Salmon that enter the river at the same time average 12 to 15 lbs. These Salmon can be very aggressive when they do take a fly. A mixture of egg patterns and woolly buggers tend to be the most productive choices of flies for anglers.

Steelhead Run

Following the Salmon up the river closely are the Steelhead. The main run of Steelhead will start at the end of the Salmon run but they will be mixed in as well. From late September straight through to March, these Steelhead will fill the river and give fly anglers a true test of their skill. Throughout the Fall 2014 season, we saw our largest Steelhead on the river. There are plenty of Steelhead in the weight class of 15 to 20+ pounds. The hardest fighting fish around, they will take all anglers, regardless of skill, for a ride. During this time, fishing with indicators and egg patterns as well as swinging flies with two handed spey rods are very productive methods.

Winter and Spring Fishing

Winter Steelhead fishing can be some of the best during the months of January through March. Steelhead can and are more predictable during this time. Winter Steelhead fishing during this time can be productive depending on the weather and water temperature. The best technique this time of the year is fishing the slower water with big flies or dead rifting pockets with natural patterns. Steelhead are continuously entering the river throughout the winter, entering the rivers to spawn. Once the Steelhead complete their spawn, they drop back to the lake. They are hungry and aggressive. The early spring can also be very productive. The peak spawning time for steelhead occurs from late March to early April. Steelhead remain in the river until late May, depending on the spring meltoff. These Steelhead average between 6 and 10 lbs. With the meltoff from the Tug Hill Plateau and local areas, the rivers rise and more of a bug life appears on the river. Swinging big flies is very effective.

Summer Fishery

The Salmon River isn’t just a three season fishery. The summer is another fun time for anglers on the river. With trophy size Smallmouth, Carp, Atlantic Salmon, Skamania Steelhead, and the stocking program done by the Douglaston Salmon Run with brown trout, the Salmon River is filled with fish to be caught.

Salmon River

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