Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Salmon River Steelhead

Salmon River, Pulaski, N.Y - The water flows have been stable for the past few days. The water release for now is still holding at 750 CFS. This may seem like a lot of water but this is a good flow for steelhead fishing. With stable water flows, calm winds and no leaves being blown into the river, the steelhead fishing has gotten back on track. On the days that I am fishing the lower river in the DSR I am seeing steelhead constantly on the move. In the upper River, the lower flyfishing zone remains closed, however the upper flyfishing zone is opened to fishing and is full of steelhead. While fishing the lower river, we have been catching the occasional Brown trout. I consider Brown trout on the Salmon River to be a bonus fish. Brown trout is a fish that I do not plan to catching on a consistent basis.

A common question that I constantly get asked is how will I know when I get a bite? The answer is simple with water temperatures holding in the mid 50° range, the answer is, don't worry you will know. The steelhead we are catching, are chrome bright and fresh from the Lake. These steelhead are fighting and running so hard we are doing good to land 50% of what we hook.

I do not know what is going on for certain, but we are having one of the best fall steelhead runs I have ever experienced. I suspect it's is a combination of good conservation practice of catch and release, possibly a change in hatchery practice, some sort of positive change to the Lake ecology, or a combination all of the above. Whatever it is, we have steelhead!

Productive flies: Not much has changed, for the most part the steelhead remained keyed into salmon eggs. This means egg flies such as nuclear roe bugs (colors: Oregon cheese and orange) in sizes 8 and 10. If you're interested in swinging flies, my suggestion is to fish the lower river in the DSR. We are starting to get a few steelhead to take a swinging fly in this section of the river. The flies I have been using here for swinging have been black and brown buggers size 6 and Mr. rubber legs in Brown, size 4.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Guides Day Off

What do I do when I have a day off? The same thing everybody else wants to do. Go fishing!!!
Just like everyone else I can not always pick the best days to fish. The conditions for today were very tough, but I had a chance to go fishing so I made the best of it. The day started out bright and sunny, then slowly deteriorated to wind driven rain. When this happens in late October the river fills up with leaves. These conditions do not help a whole lot with the steelhead fishing. When there is a lot leaves and the river, steelhead do not like to move far for a fly. Another problem is your fly will often get lost in all the leaves that are drifting down river, not to mention all the leaves that foul up your fly. In the end, we fished hard and made the best of it. As always the best time to fish is when you can.

Salmon River, Pulaski, N.Y - What is going on? We are definitely now seeing the effects of the rain and the Salmon River has gone up once again. The Salmon River has within a few days gone from 185CFS to 350 for two days, and now the Salmon River is running at 750. This Monday the River will be at a 1000 CFS and is supposed to last 24 hours. The weather prediction for this weekend is more rain. I would not be surprised if we are looking at a 1000 CFS all of next week. We wanted water, well, now we have it. Careful for what you wish for.

The good news is we are done with a Salmon run and we are now fishing for Steelhead in high water is a lot easier than fishing for Salmon in the same conditions. Good numbers of fresh Steelhead are showing up in the bottom and of the DSR. Hopefully the Steelhead will not get exposed to the salmon eggs as quickly as they did earlier in the week. With a lot of water, good water temperature and fresh Steelhead we should do well this coming week swinging flies.

Productive flies; as you would expect egg patterns, nuclear roe bugs (colors: Oregon cheese and orange) have been the most productive for me. We have also been catching a few fish with pink estaz eggs. Because of all the leaves, size 6 and size 4 black and silver woolly buggers and fall favorites are an excellent choice to swing.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Rising River

Salmon River, Pulaski, N.Y. - I have often said be careful for what you wish for. The Salmon River has finally received enough rain to bring the water up to base level. The normal flow for the Salmon River during the fall is 350 CFS. Hopefully we can enjoy a few weeks of normal water flow for a change. Anyways at 350 this is what we call spey water. Finally the two-handed rods are coming out.

With the sharp increase in water flow, the steelhead fishing has been surprisingly tough the last couple of days even though Steelheads are continuing to enter the river in decent numbers. The normal water flows have also put the fish back to a normal migratory pattern. It didn't take long for things to get back to normal. Steelheads are now spread out throughout the entire length of the Salmon River including the upper fly-fishing only section.

The Chinook Salmon run is for the most part done here on the Salmon River. Most of the salmon have entered the river and are now spread out through the river system and spawning. The way things are progressing with the salmon spawn, I suspect this stage of the salmon run will be winding down in about two weeks.

Productive flies: we have not been targeting the Salmon, however, the same old stuff will always get a few fish (woolly buggers in brown and black). We are primarily fishing for steelhead. Because of all the spawning salmon, egg flies are what we are getting our Steelhead to take. With the increase in water flow to 335, things might change in a day or two and we might start to take more steelhead with a swinging fly. Stay tuned for the fly patterns.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Fast Changing Conditions

Salmon River, Pulaski, NY - It never ceases to amaze me how fast fishing conditions can change from one day to the next. Last Friday night 10/19/07 the Salmon River flow finally went up. Not a big increase in the scheme of things, however an increase nonetheless. The water was increased to 185 CFS and is supposed to go until Monday night 10/22/07. This may not seem like a big deal but it will have a large effect on how spread out the fish will be throughout the river. Up until now most of the fishing has been concentrated in the lower half of the river. Now we will be finding both Salmon and Steelhead dispersed throughout the entire river system. The slight increase in water flow has accelerated the fish migration significantly, with the fish population no longer concentrated in a few select spots. The fishing pressure will also be spread out more evenly throughout the river. I am looking forward to spending the next two weeks fishing the Salmon River with reduced fishing pressure.

With the increased water flow we received a run of both Chinook salmon and Steelhead. The Chinook salmon run is finally starting to wind down sharply. The next two weeks we will see large concentrations of salmon spawning within the river. Locations that have high concentrations of the spawning salmon are now going to be prime locations for locating Steelhead. Due to the low water year we are experiencing, this is not going to be one of those falls that we can fish for Steelhead with a swinging fly. The majority of the salmon this fall will be spawning within the Salmon River. As a result, the river bottom is going to be saturated with salmon eggs. As I have said in the past, salmon eggs are one of those food sources that trout will key in on more than any other source of food.

For this fall, egg flies are going to be our most productive fly patterns. I personally like to fish Nuclear Roe Bugs in the fall. The advantage of this fly is that it drifts better in the lower water and has more of a single egg look to it. The colors that I generally use are Oregon Cheese (my favorite), orange and occasionally chartreuse. The veil on the fly is always white glow bug yarn. The size I prefer to fish are sizes 8 and 10 tied on a heavy wire wet fly hook. For those of you who do not know the recipe for this fly, here it is:

Nuclear Roe Bug
Hook: Daiichi 1530
Size: 12 - 8
Thread: white waxed thread
Body: dub - Oregon cheese glo-bug yarn
Wing: White glo-bug yarn tied as a veil

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Salmon River, Pulaski, NY - And that goes for the Steelhead fishing too. The last few days I have seen the biggest runs of Steelhead that I have ever seen before. What I expect is going on, is that we are going to have another excellent year of Steelhead fishing. Also with the low water, I am able to see a lot of the Steelhead as they work their way up river. Most of the Steelhead that we are catching right now weighed in between 7 and 9 pounds. However there is a large number of four-year-old fish, which weighed in between 12 and 16 pounds. Excellent Steelhead!! These Steelhead are classic fall run Steelies, bright chrome and full of fight. The steelheads are so hot that they are hard to land. Our hookup/land ratio right now is at best 50%.

We have been concentrating on fishing behind spawning Salmon for the Steelhead. There are spawning Chinook salmon spread out through the lower and mid river. As a result the Steelhead are very quickly keying in on the salmon's eggs. Most of our fish are being caught with nuclear roe bugs, fished right downstream of the spawning Salmon. With all the Salmon eggs drifting in the river we have not had much luck swinging flies.

The last few days the number of Chinook salmon entering the river has slowed down considerably. I am still seeing plenty fresh Salmon entering the river daily to keep the Salmon fishermen interested. This is not the end of the Salmon run, there are plenty more to come.

Productive flies as I mentioned before for Steelhead: our hottest fly has been nuclear roe bugs in Oregon cheese and orange. We've had a few Steelheads take Mr. Rubber legs in brown. For Salmon pretty much the same thing. And of course do not forget woolly buggers in the standard colors of brown and black.

Brown trout are more of a bonus fish for the Salmon River. However the other day we did manage to catch one Brown trout. This Brown trout took an Oregon cheese nuclear roe bug. The best part is the Brown trout weighed in at 16 pounds.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Steelhead - Salmon

About the photograph: this is a male steelhead caught with a woolly bugger we call the raider bugger. The Steelhead weighed in at an impressive 17 pounds.

Salmon River, at Pulaski, NY - The last few days we have received a fair amount of rain, however the water flow remains at 100 CFS. The cool weather that has accompanied the rain has also helped to drop the water temperature. The water temperature is now holding in the mid 50s.

Chinook Salmon continue to enter the River in decent numbers. I suspect we will have at least one more week of good runs of salmon. Steelhead numbers continue to improve daily. We are hooking two to four Steelhead a day on average. This is in my opinion very good fall steelhead fishing at this stage of their run. The big problem comes when we try to land these fish. When you hook a fall steelhead, they basically explode. Even with low water, the Steelhead is doing an excellent job of holding up to their reputation.

The fishing pressure: I suspect that by mid week the River will start to quiet down considerably. The fishing pressure this past weekend was not as heavy as I thought it was going to be. This does not mean the fishing is over. In fact, the best fishing is yet to come....Steelhead!!!

Productive flies: Not much has changed but here I go anyway. True to form this fall, we have been using a larger than normal selection of fly patterns. For salmon a pattern is finally starting to show itself. Mr. rubber legs in Brown and black, woolly buggers in Brown and black and Dave's SA. For steelhead we have been using nuclear roe bugs in Oregon cheese and orange. We've also caught steelhead with Brown woolly buggers and the nuclear roe bugs have been catching more than their share of salmon.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Good Fishing

Salmon River, at Pulaski NY. The weatherman's predictions are holding true. We had good rainfall Monday night and into Tuesday and now the weather is cooling off sharply.

The last three days, 10/8 thru 10/10 we have had large runs of salmon. I suspect we will continue to receive strong runs for at least another week. I have started to see salmon spawning. Not to a lot of salmon yet, but enough to have an effect on how we are fishing for steelhead. Keep in mind, steelhead will quickly key in on eggs. We have been catching most of our steelhead fishing behind spawning salmon with egg flies. At the same time, keep in mind with low water conditions most of the River will have suitable habitat for spawning. As a result spawning activity is not going to be concentrated in a few select locations. This means we will have to do it a lot more hiking and hunting to find feeding steelhead. As always steelhead fishing is a coverage game. The more water you can cover, potentially the more fish you can catch.

Productive flies; True to form this fall we have been using a larger than normal selection of fly patterns. For salmon a pattern is finally start a show itself, Mr. rubber legs in Brown and black, woolly buggers here again same colors Brown and black and Dave’s SA. For steelhead we have been using nuclear roe bugs (colors: Oregon cheese and orange). We've also caught steelhead with Brown woolly buggers and the nuclear roe bugs have been catching more than their share of salmon.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Looking Good For The Week

Despite the warm weather, salmon continue to enter the Salmon River at Pulaski NY. The weather forecast for this week has a lot of rain and cool temperatures in it. If all of these conditions hold up, this week could be the best week of fishing so far. There is a lot of salmon yet to run, and the way things look they are on the way. Let's hope the weather forecast for the week holds up.

This fall has had one surprise so far....the giant runs of Coho salmon. Normally we will get into these fish for a few days in mid September and that will be it. This fall we are still catching Cohos almost daily.

A lot of you have been concerned that the water level on the Salmon River is too low for the salmon. As I have been saying, the Salmon do not know the water is low, they will run. The salmon that ran earlier last week have made it to the fish hatchery. 100 CFS is enough for the Salmon to run the river; it just takes a little longer for the Salmon to get there. We need to adjust to the conditions and shut up and fish!!!

By now I usually have all the productive flies figured out. But with the given current conditions I have had to do a lot experimenting each day to find what will work on any given day.

One final note; October 11th, 12th and 16th have opened up. If you are interested, call the fly shop at 585-352-4775, or you can leave me a voice mail on my cell phone at 585-233-0436. If you send me an e-mail, remember it might take me a couple days to get back to you.

If you have not seen Jeff's giant 26 pound, Coho Salmon? Then here it is!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Chinook Salmon

Salmon River Pulaski NY- The Chinook salmon are on the run. Another great day fishing the DSR. Runs of both Coho and Chinook salmon came through Wednesday 10/3/07. On Tuesday and Friday the runs were not as strong, however more than enough fish were making their way up river to keep us busy catching salmon.

We have had 6 days of strong runs of both Coho salmon and Chinook salmon. The way it looks to me the main runs of salmon have started. We should have steady flow of salmon coming into the river now. As for Steelhead, we have been catching these fish almost on a daily basis. The Steelhead fishing will only get better as the fall goes on.

For now the water temperature is still hanging around the mid 60's, and for the water flow it remains a 100 CFS. With the low water we are using fluorocarbon leaders and tippet and at times no weight.

Productive flies; not much has changed. I've found that I had to use several different patterns throughout the day depending on light conditions. At first light, big dark colored bunny leeches were very effective. As the day wore on, size 4 pink and purple comets, black and brown Mr. Rubber Legs, and of course black and silver woolly buggers. As I always say when in doubt fish a black stone fly, in sizes from 10 to 6.

One final note; this weekend is Columbus Day weekend. Keep in mind that this is the busiest weekend of the entire salmon season. October 11, 12 and the 16th has opened up. If you are interested, call the fly shop at 585-352-4775, or you can leave me a voice mail on my cell phone at 585-233-0436. If you leave me an e-mail, remember it might take me a couple days to get back to you.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Jeff's Coho Salmon

26 lb Coho Salmon

Salmon River, Pulaski, NY - The cool nights are definitely having a positive affect on our fishing, cooling off the water and triggering runs of salmon. The water temperature the last couple of days has been in the low 60s. A great run of both Coho and Chinook salmon came through the DSR Sunday 9/30/07. I saw two Brown trout caught and we also caught one steelhead. The biggest surprise of the day is Jeff's Coho Salmon. This is the biggest Coho Salmon I have ever seen. This salmon weighed in at 26 pounds, truly a fish of a lifetime. The fly that Jeff caught this on giant fish was Dave's SA. This is truly a giant fish especially when you consider a very big Coho normally weighs in at around 16 pounds.
Again today 10/1/07 a good run of salmon came through the DSR. Just like the day before the run was a mix of Chinooks and Cohos. If low water conditions persist, I suspect that once the Chinook salmon starts to run heavy, the runs are going to be intense. Other area tributaries such as North and South and little sandy are now at this time so low, salmon will have a tough time finding the streams. This will concentrate all the salmon that normally run the eastern end of Lake Ontario into one river, the Salmon River. This may explain why we are encouraging a monster run of Coho salmon.