Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Big Water

Salmon River, Pulaski, NY:
We received heavy rain fall last Saturday, as a result the water flow went from 335 CFS to 750 CFS over the weekend. The rainfall we received over the weekend was close to 3 inches. With that much rainfall the water flow has been increased to 1150 CFS. This release is scheduled to run through Thursday night. After that we will have to see as there is more wet weather on the way. Water flows of this level can make the fishing a little challenging, especially with all the leaves in the river. It will take most of a day for all the debris to clear out. However water flow increases will often trigger new fish to enter the river.

We are continuing to catch quality fish every day, some days we do better than others however the fishing remains consistently good. Chinook salmon are now becoming scarcer every day as a result the heavy egg bite is starting to settle down. This has allowed us to fish with a swinging wet fly more effectively, especially in the lower river. Upper River, we are still experiencing Steelheads and Browns that are heavily keyed on to egg patterns. I suspect this will continue for some time to come especially with the fluctuating water flows. Each time the water flow increased the river bottom is shifted slightly. As result large volumes of eggs are knocked loosed and sent adrift. This could cause a river-wide egg bite for the first day of the water flow increase. Something to keep in mind this winter each time water flows are increased.

Productive flies have not changed much we are still having our best results with nuclear roe bugs in colors of Oregon cheese and orange for egg patterns. When fishing egg patterns we have been using 8 pound or 3X tippet and when we can get away with it we will fish as heavy as 10 pound or 2X tippet. For wet flies fished on a swing our best producer has been a brown and copper size 4 Wooly bugger. Other flies are Mr. rubber legs, green but picket pin and black stone flies. When we are fishing with a wet fly on the swing we have had to go to 12 pound tippits, and still on occasionally will get broken off on to take.

Note: I still have November, 26, 28, 29, 30 is still available. December is wide open, Call the fly shop the number is 585-352-4775 my cell number is 585-233-0436 or e-mail me at jay@jaypeckguides.com

Friday, October 24, 2008

Big Brown

About the photograph, this exceptional Brown trout was caught by Jeremy. It weighed in at 16 pounds. Male Brown trout this big are extremely rare, I will only see a small handful of male Browns that way in at over 15 pounds each season.

At least for the Salmon River the salmon are now becoming scarce. I now only see an occasional salmon entering the river, when fishing the DSR. The large concentrations of spawning salmon have pretty much died off. There are still a few pairs of salmon finishing up with their spawning, here and there in the upper river. For the most part the salmon run for the Salmon River is over. Hopefully most of the salmon fishermen will soon realize this and go home. There is still a fair amount of fishing pressure in the top half the river, hopefully this to will soon taper off.

Water flows have remained constant over the week as of now water release is at 335 CFS this water flow will continue through the weekend. The only fluctuations we've had in the water flow has been from rain runoff. So far this fall we have enjoyed some of the best water flows in years.

The cool weather has continued to cause the water temperatures to drop over last few days. This has also kept the fishing pace slower than last week. However air temperatures, water temperatures and the fish are all starting to acclimate and the fishing is starting to come back to normal. We are still experiencing the best fishing from midmorning through the afternoon. The late start is from water temperature fluctuations, once water temperature start to warm up around midmorning this usually triggers a bite.

Productive flies: flies for both the Steelhead and Brown trout have been very consistent, unlike the salmon fishing this fall. For egg patterns Oregon cheese and orange nuclear roe bugs size 8. For wet flies green butt picket pin size 2, brown and copper woolly buggers size 6 and 4, Mr. rubber legs size 4.

Note: I still have November, 26, 28, 29, 30 is still available. December is wide open, Call the fly shop the number is 585-352-4775 my cell number is 585-233-0436 or e-mail me at jay@jaypeckguides.com

Monday, October 20, 2008


We have had a series of extremely cold nights. Morning air temperatures have been down round 26 degrees, and it has taken most of the morning for the frost to melt. These last few cold nights have caused the water temperature in the river to drop as much as 5 degrees over a single night. A water temperature drop, of this much and this fast has a significant effect on fish behavior. It will take a few hours for water temperatures to start to climb back up. Most mornings the fishing does not start to pick up in until mid to late morning. I have ever been a big fan of early morning starts, and this is one of the reasons why. I see no sense in getting up very early in the morning, and then having to wait a few hours for the Sun to melt off the frost and warm water temperature up before the fish even start to bite. Hopefully the water temperatures and the fish will acclimate to the weather patterns and the fishing will get back on track soon.

What about the fish? Steelhead continue to be the dominant fish in the lower river, some days outnumbering the salmon. We are also continuing to catch Brown trout on a daily basis. I have no idea why we are seeing so many Brown trout this fall. Most days I am seeing more Brown trout in a single day, then I would see for entire fall in the past. The upper river still has salmon spread out on any suitable piece river bottom for spawn. The way everything is looking I suspect there will still be at least one more week of heavy salmon spawning activity. Mixed in with all of the spawning salmon are the Brown trout and Steelhead. These fish are taken full advantage of what is now a massive glut of salmon eggs. This is where you will need to match the hatch, fish with egg patterns, such as nuclear roe bugs. Stay with colors Oregon cheese and orange. Other productive fly patterns have been Mr. rubber legs, Brown and copper woolly bugger, black stone flies.

These two photographs show a relatively small lamprey eel that we removed from a Brown trout. These eels are a major problem in Lake Ontario. Over the last few years there has been a dramatic population explosion with the lamprey eels both New York State and Canada has been trying to find ways to get these eels back under control. Most of the fish we have been catching have been attacked by these eels. Some fish have several scars from previous attacks. If the fish gets attacked too many times it can die from it, in fact the lamprey eel was considered to be one of the many factors contributing to wiping out the Atlantic salmon from Lake Ontario.

Note; I still have November, 26, 28, 29, 30 is still available. December is wide open, Call the fly shop the number is 585-352-4775 my cell number is 585-233-0436 or e-mail me at jay@jaypeckguides.com

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fall Steelhead

As if on cue the Steelhead are showing up, right on schedule for the Salmon River. We have had consistently excellent Steelhead fishing over the last few days. Most of the action is taking place in the lower river, in the DSR. There has not been a lot of salmon spawning in this section of the river. As a result the steelhead, are not as keyed in to eggs as they were last fall. This has allowed us to use a variety of flies and techniques to fish for the Steelhead, such as a slow swing presentation, using wet flies. This is not to say that egg patterns are not taking their share of fish, egg flies such as the nuclear roe bug are taken more than their share of Steelhead. But it is nice to have an opportunity to swing flies to fall Steelhead that are chrome bright and fresh from the lake. Fall Steelhead like this is a real handful once they feel the hook.

Brown trout continue to show up in surprisingly large numbers for the Salmon River. I have said in the past, that Brown Trout are a bonus fish. This fall we have been putting a Brown Trout or two in the net almost every day. Right now if you wanted to catch a Brown Trout you would have a very good chance of doing so. Normally when we are fishing for Brown Trout we would be using roe patterns (egg flies). At least for now we are catching Browns on a variety of flies. Besides egg flies: woolly buggers and Mr. rubber legs are getting the job done on the Browns. I have not narrowed down any one particular fly pattern that these Brown trout prefer over anything else. Just like the salmon fishing this fall you need to figure out the fly patterns almost every day for the Browns.

Steve Ortiz with his giant steelhead weighing in at 18 pounds. This fish was caught with a size 4 brown and copper woolly bugger, a fly also known as Steelhead crack.
Back in July I was talking about some of the large Steelhead that were being caught out in the Lake. This past summer it seems like there was more Steelhead caught that weighed in at over 20 lbs than any summer I can remember in the past. With a one fish steelhead limit in the rivers and a lot of conservation-minded fishermen out in the lake, it makes me wonder what we might see in the river this fall.

Note: I still have one day available in October 25 we will be fishing for steelhead. For November Brown Trout and Steelhead I still have, 26, 28, 29, 30 is still available. December is wide open, Call the fly shop the number is 585-352-4775 my cell number is 585-233-0436 or e-mail me at jay@jaypeckguides.com

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Busy weekend

Columbus Day weekend is the busiest weekend for the Salmon River in Pulaski, NY. After this weekend traditionally the fishing pressure gradually decreases. This does not mean the salmon run, or for that matter the fishing, is over for Salmon River. At this point I figure we have had approximately one half to three quarters of our salmon have already entered the river. For the salmon fishermen this means there is still some great fishing yet at hand. Salmon continue to trickle in at a slow to moderate rate. With water flows at 500 CFS it is hard for most fishermen to notice the salmon running. This fall there is more than enough water and the salmon and they are spread out all across to the river and from top to bottom of the river. This does not make migratory fish too obvious for the casual observer. Unlike last year, low water flow forced the salmon into small channels. For the next couple of weeks there will still be fresh salmon moving up river. Anywhere along the river there is gravel there will be spawning salmon digging. Salmon have been spawning for almost 2 weeks and there is some ratty looking salmon hanging around the spawning gravel. These fish are easy to spot and avoid.
The steelhead fishing continues to improve every day. We are now starting to hook into steelhead everyday. With water temperatures in the upper 50 degree range early October steelhead are extremely hot and sometimes it takes a little bit of luck to put a hot steelhead in the net. Most of our steelhead activity is still centered around the lower river. The numbers of steelhead in the up river is steadily improving however we have not spent much time fishing there because of the fishing pressure. The upper river and the fly fishing zones are the most busiest locations along the Salmon River right now.
We are also catching a Brown trout or two every day, this is more Brown trout then I have seen on the Salmon River in many years. Hopefully this is a good sign for the up coming Brown trout run in November.

Productive flies: this week the fly patterns have started to become a little bit more consistent. Top producing patterns are Brown and copper woolly buggers size 6 and 4, Brown and copper with a orange bead head Mr. rubber legs has produced more than its share of steelhead the last few days. With all the spawning activity from the salmon, orange, Oregon cheese nuclear row bug's size 8 are becoming more productive every day.

Note: I still have one day available in October 25 we will be fishing for steelhead. For November Brown trout and steelhead, I still have, 26, 28, 29, 30 is still available. December is wide open, Call the fly shop the number is 585-352-4775 my cell number is 585-233-0436 or e-mail me at jay@jaypeckguides.com

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Rain Continues

Salmon River Pulaski N, Y - The rain continues to fall, it is mostly lake effect rain. The lower river will see cloudy skies and the upper river will see steady rain. The more you go in land the more rain there is. All of this rain has filled the reservoir back up to capacity. For now the water flow is at 750 CFS plus run off. The water flow will be reduced to 500 CFS until this coming Thursday. From there we will have to see what happens. At this water level the salmon can be heard to spot when they are running. As a result many fishermen will think there is no salmon moving and will not fish one particular spot for long before moving on. Steady but light to moderate runs of salmon continue to enter the Salmon River on a daily basis. Steelhead are now starting to show up a little bit more consistent now. Some days they are there and you can find them and other days the steelheads are nowhere to be found, but the steelhead fishing is starting to improve. With this water flow it will take Chinook salmon approximately 2 days to make the run from lower River to the fly fishing zones. The fly fishing zones are becoming extremely busy with fishermen and new salmon that are showing up every day. Along with the Chinook salmon there is also a few Brown trout being caught along with the occasional steelhead. The spawning activity is also increasing daily. We are still on the front end of the Chinook salmon spawn. On a normal fall Chinook salmon spawn will last in approximately 3 weeks. Majority of salmon will spawn out over the next two weeks. By the middle of this month the Chinook salmon run for the Salmon River will be all but over. As I stated earlier, steelhead are just starting to make their appearance in the river. The fall steelhead run will go well into November. Productive flies for us the past few days have been nuclear row bug's in colors orange and Oregon cheese in size 8, Brown and copper wooly buggers size 6.

Brown trout in the Salmon River are not very common. The state stocks Browns every year for the Salmon River. However for some reason only known to the Browns them selves, only a few return each fall. If you are interested in fishing for Lake run Brown trout salmon River would not be a good choice. Brown trout in the Salmon River is what I refer to as a bonus fish each fall I will only see a couple dozen being caught.

Note; I still have one day available in October 25. For November Brown trout and steelhead, I still have, 26, 28, 29, 30 is still available. December is wide open, Call the fly shop the number is 585-352-4775 my cell number is 585-233-0436 or e-mail me at jay@jaypeckguides.com

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Changing Conditions

Salmon River, Pulaski, NY - Over last few days we have been having a series of lake effect rainstorms. This recent weather pattern has dumped over 2 inches of cold rain. The affect of this has dropped the water temperatures in the river down into the mid 50 degree range. All the rain that has been received has also kept the water flow up. The Salmon River continues to flow at 750 CFS. When the river is flowing at this level it can be difficult to spot fish migrating up river. The last few days there has been moderate runs of Chinook salmon. Because of the higher water flow these fish often go unnoticed by most of the fishermen. There should be plenty of fish dispersed through the entire river system by now. Along with the salmon we are starting to encounter more steelhead, this is right about on schedule for fall steelhead. Most of the steelhead that we are starting to find are around spawning salmon eating eggs. This time of the year, steelhead are fresh out of the Lake, chrome bright and full flight. Landign a fish like this can be a big challenge. The fly fishing zones continue to receive more and more fish every day. The spawning activity is increasing daily.

Productive flies -- Trying to nail down a series of fly patterns has continued to be a challenge. My suspicion is this will continue for the fall, at least with salmon. We have been catching most of our fish with Brown and copper woolly buggers size 6. Coho candy size 4 have been the most productive flies recently. The spawning activity with the salmon egg flies are now becoming more important.

Atlantic Salmon -- Hope For The Future

The Atlantic Salmon is the original salmon for all the Great Lakes this includes Lake Ontario. The original strained of Atlantic salmon was lost around the turn of the sentry. The reason for the salmons disappearance was a combination of over fishing, damming of their spawning rivers and the introduction of foreign of species, all took their toll. As an indigenous species to New York state DEC are required to have a management program in place to bring back the Atlantic salmon. The process of reestablishing these fish has been a long and painful process, with very little success to show for the effort. The process has been plagued by bad fish stocks, politics and poor management judgment, forage fish issues in the lake. These problems and challenges are nothing new when it comes to fisheries management.
Over last few years the Salmon River Pulaski N, Y has been the one location that the department has been concentrating their efforts. Reason for the Salmon River is not because of politics or anything else, it is because this river offers the only remaining habitat suitable for the Atlantic salmon to have a chance at a self sustaining reproducing population. One thing is for certain the Salmon River can and does produce phenomenal Atlantic salmon par. Unfortunately these young of the year fish all migrate out into the Lake Ontario where they will feed and a forage fish called L. *eiss. These forage fish have a nutritional deficiency that the Atlantic salmon are very sensitive to, as result the survival rate in the Lake is extremely poor. As a result the D. E. C. has been working with different strains of Atlantic salmon to find a group of fish that is more tolerant to lakes forage base. Another technique the department is going to be employing is to take the few surviving Atlantic salmon that returned to the Salmon River and spawn these fish as their own strained. The hope that is that the fish them selves will be part of the solution to several of the problems that plague this wonderful fish. Hopefully in a few years we will have enough Atlantic salmon entering the Salmon River to make a great summer fisheries.

I caught this Atlantic salmon in the DSR this past September 26. The fish weighed in at 8 pounds and took a fly I call Coho candy, a pink and black fly. Not exactly a traditional Atlantic salmon fly, but I'm still pleased to see the fish. There was also one all are Atlantic salmon caught that day. A small sigh of hope for the future.

Note: I still have one day available on October 25. For November Brown trout and steelhead, I still have, 26, 28, 29, 30 is still available. December is wide open, Call the fly shop the number is 585-352-4775 my cell number is 585-233-0436 or e-mail me at jay@jaypeckguides.com