Salmon River Drop Back Question - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-23-2018, 08:09 AM Thread Starter
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Salmon River Drop Back Question

Folks,

A few years ago I was speaking to one of the shop guys in Pulaski and he told me what temperature to watch for which will cause a mass exodus of spring drop backs to vacate the river and go back down to the lake? I can't recall what temp he mentioned.

Does anybody here on the forum know? 50? 55?

Tx, Bob
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-23-2018, 10:32 PM
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Folks,

A few years ago I was speaking to one of the shop guys in Pulaski and he told me what temperature to watch for which will cause a mass exodus of spring drop backs to vacate the river and go back down to the lake? I can't recall what temp he mentioned.

Does anybody here on the forum know? 50? 55?

Tx, Bob

dunno but don't come out west to fish for them not cool out here.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-24-2018, 07:11 AM
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I have been fishing the Salmon River since 1976. Here are some of my observations on the spring fishing for dropback steelhead:

*April 15th is typically the start of the good dropback fishing when water temperatures reach 40 degrees and most of the spawning has been completed.

*Cool, wet springs can extend the dropback fishing in some years to May 15th. But on years with a warm, dry April most of the steelhead will be back in the lake by May 1st.

*When the water temperature reaches 60 degrees rapid out-migration occurs.

*After the majority of the fish have finished spawning, very high flows or very low flows will accelerate out-migration. Moderate, stable flows tend to keep the fish in the river longer.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-24-2018, 07:52 AM
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dunno but don't come out west to fish for them not cool out here.
+1. Not cool anywhere
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-24-2018, 09:55 AM Thread Starter
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So aside from the snide comments, what's wrong with it? To me, if somebody is THAT concerned, stressing the fish BEFORE they reproduce seems a whole lot more detrimental to the stock. At least in the spring, they've already reproduced and are supposedly "on the feed." On another note, spring fishing is widely spoken of on this site. Given the fact that typical steelhead are spring spawners, there must be a whole lot of so-called "blasphemy" going on? People don't fish in the spring in the PNW?

To those with the remarks or unspoken views, do you forsake spring fishing? I'm sure there will be a few whose panties get bunched, but for non-personal debate's sake, can you enlighten me on the rationale? Tx
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-24-2018, 10:51 AM
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I do fish some streams in early spring, while there are still decent numbers of fresh fish coming in. I donít target down runners due to their lack of energy, not so exciting to hook and I donít like to further stress an already exhausted fish. I think it does depend a lot on the situation of course, as I have hooked some chrome bright fish in small coastal streams that had already spawned but were still quite strong and healthy. Generally I would never intentionally target down runners, so I do stop fishing for steelhead once the numbers of down runners starts to get high. Iíd rather they get back out to sea with as good a chance at surviving to make it back for another go. Plenty of other good fishing in the spring to do imo.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-24-2018, 11:15 AM
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The idea of not targeting kelts is largely a vestige of when people fished for food. Poor meat quality and, after the grab, generally a weak fight. Avoiding kelts has continued more recently as a management tool because repeat spawners, albeit rare, have high fecundity. Yet interesting that C&R mortality on kelts is the same as for pre-spawn river fish (Halttunen et al. 2010).

PNW steelheaders donít typically target kelts - the spring fishing targets late winter runs or early summer fish. However, kelts are unavoidable from time to time, particularly when chasing winter run fish in rivers that also host summer runs, which have peak spawning several months earlier.

Sorry for the information distraction

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-24-2018, 01:39 PM
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In other words:
Becasue in the NW steelhead fly fishing is largely a sport-fishery, to intentionally target drop-back fish is not acceptable since they aren't nearly as sporty - not so macho plain and simple - and spring is a favorite time to fish for many anglers since majority of wild native fish (severely depressed) are the most numerous therefore more likely to be encountered...
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-24-2018, 02:55 PM
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DrBob specifically asked about Pulaski NY not somewhere out west. I'm hoping to fish the Salmon River sometime during the second week of April. I don't have an answer to your specific question since I fish when I have the opportunity regardless if it is September, January or April. I do know that the winter fishing has been very good this year with plenty of fish in the river and the flows recently have been low(er) then I normally see. Suspect that if we get a large push of water in Mid April they will be heading back before the end of the month.
As I've said before, anyone fishing for salmon, steelhead or lake run browns are fishing for SPAWNING fish. Otherwise they would not be in the river. If you are fishing for them legally then enjoy yourself, live by your own code of ethics and go fishing. If you don't want to fish over redds (I will not), don't. Don't think fall backs are fair game? Don't fish for them. If you go by some of the folks here you would get to fish for about an hour a year.....

DrBob, perhaps I will run into you. I will be the one with the spey rod, barbless hooks and that unethical clicker reel. :-)

Quinn
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-24-2018, 04:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fish Tech View Post
I have been fishing the Salmon River since 1976. Here are some of my observations on the spring fishing for dropback steelhead:

*April 15th is typically the start of the good dropback fishing when water temperatures reach 40 degrees and most of the spawning has been completed.

*Cool, wet springs can extend the dropback fishing in some years to May 15th. But on years with a warm, dry April most of the steelhead will be back in the lake by May 1st.

*When the water temperature reaches 60 degrees rapid out-migration occurs.

*After the majority of the fish have finished spawning, very high flows or very low flows will accelerate out-migration. Moderate, stable flows tend to keep the fish in the river longer.
That's cool.

Wondering: Do you find fish the same areas during the out-migrations as when they're moving up-stream?
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-24-2018, 07:59 PM
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Great Question. Comments:

1) Swinging for dropbacks in mid-April on the Salmon River is fun; the fish are aggressively feeding.
2) You're fishing the water and not bonking fish on redds in the head with junk.
3) The fish are exotic (no different than carp, bass, or brown trout in New England - have at 'em).
4) Fishing native kelts is bad form; I don't fish for black salmon in Canada and walked away from a pod of kelt steelhead on the Situk in August of '89.
5) A nice benefit of the lower pools (Meadow Run) is that you can get walleye - be careful as they are native.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-25-2018, 06:59 AM
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That's cool.

Wondering: Do you find fish the same areas during the out-migrations as when they're moving up-stream?

As they are moving back downstream in the spring I have found they won't hold in the fast water riffles like they do in the fall. I have better luck in the slower water.
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-25-2018, 07:52 AM
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drop back

hey paul , sent you a pm .
thanks , jim

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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-03-2018, 10:59 AM
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Since this thread started on the subject of Lake Ontario trib steelhead fishing, I will return it to that. Can anyone advise me which of the tribs in NY are likely to be most productive? I ran across this link listing someone's idea of the "10 best" streams but would like a little more detail including a few local patterns that are productive. I expect to go the week of April 16 and hope to avoid crowds during the week.

Thanks Tom
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-18-2018, 10:21 AM
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Since this thread started on the subject of Lake Ontario trib steelhead fishing, I will return it to that. Can anyone advise me which of the tribs in NY are likely to be most productive? I ran across this link listing someone's idea of the "10 best" streams but would like a little more detail including a few local patterns that are productive. I expect to go the week of April 16 and hope to avoid crowds during the week.

Thanks Tom

The salmon river is the most productive.
all the typical patterns that steelhead take elsewhere will work.
Im not trying to be snippy, but the "local" patterns that produce are usually guys who will try out something that worked elsewhere. If it produces well, it gets categorized as such.
If youre new and in doubt, and swinging, I'd recommend variations of wolly buggers and egg sucking leeches. Not fancy flies, but they catch every fish that swims. Black, purple, olive, and white. There you go!
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