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Any sugestions on getting set up with a two hander on the Salmon River in Ny for steelhead in the fall and/or winter? Anybody with any hands on experience there? Haven't been up there in years and am thinking about going late fall this year. What kinds of lines do people use on a stream this small? Flies? Techniques? Basically everything or anything you can think of...:)
Thanks
 

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Salmon R., NY

I fish this river and several nearby creeks frequently. Other than a few pools (Schoolhouse pool, treatment plant pool) this water can be easily covered w/ a nine foot nine weight. Typical nymphs and woolly buggers as well as egg flies work good for steelies. With salmon, you'll be mostly lining them through the mouth. I avoid Friday night thru Sunday preferring to go other days when it is less likely that I will feel compelled to choke the crap out of someone who dearly deserves it. Although, I must say it is somewhat better than before the ban on snagging. On weekends it is truly "combat" fishing and I think the Spey rod is going to be a liability then. It will be an invitation for someone to lop off your very expensive line. I do not fish the Douglaston pay area on the lower end preferring the river above that including the two fly sections which can get very crowded.
 

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I won't be going there during salmon time. Hate it. The compactor is most likely where we will be fishing, near the Portly Angler. I grew up in that area, about 30 minute drive from Pulaski, used to go all the time. Haven't in a while now and would like to try for steel without using weight and stuff like that on my line...
 

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ahhh yesss.....

Good question, I plan on making a trip out there this fall. I was going to go in the summer, but I was too busy.

This river is a great spey rod river. Using tradtional spey rods and long belly lines allows this river to seem like it was a western steelhead river. It has a high gradient, gravel laden type setting with a wooded landscape and rolling meadows.

Mu advice would be to have a 13'-14' 8wt or 9wt rod suitable for throwing a floating line with heads(200-400 grain) Most fishing can be done by using a floating line, long leader and a few splitshot with a nymph or egg pattern. You may also want to try sink tip lines and swingin speys/streamers. Have nymphs(hexes, stones, caddis), eggs(nuke, globugs and estaz), streamers(sculpins and esl's) and some speys as well.

Hope this helps!
 

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Right on!

I'm pretty much in agreement with the above post, with a few exceptions.... or rather, additions.

Make damn sure you also have some wooly buggers, leech patterns, and stonefly patterns in black, brown and olive, sizes 6 - 10 3X long. If you go up later in the year, be sure to take some "bunny flies" along in black, white, olive .... and bunny FLESH FLIES as the steelies really go for 'em on occasion.

BobK:D
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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Hi Gordon, hope the fish are biting down your way -

If it were me I would fish off the beaten path, for instance the braid currents below Altmar for instance, or anywhere skamania fish might be holding, and swing a dry line or light type II sinktip and a sparse spey fly and make the fish move to the fly rather than drag the fly to the fish. I know this is far from local/conventional wisdom and you'd need to stay away from pools with names (and crowds) but there's nothing like getting the rod ripped from your hands by a summer run rocket on the swing and you're not likely to end up snagging salmon by mistake with a greased line.

I'd consider joining you since I could drive there but I have at least three major road trips this fall and can't do it. Maybe another year though, please post a report!
 

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I know of a few folks who have had some luck swinging muddlers on a floating line in the fall as well as some small spey flies. Don't overlook the very heads of those pools in early November. I've seen more than a few early run fish taken higher than I would have normally thought.
 

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Hey, Juro...

Your advice is good, but untimely. During the summer when the Skamies are in, the MOST fish are in the CLOSED section - Big Atlantics and Skamies are mostly in the lower fly section and Cemetary Pool (which are closed to fishing!)

BobK
 

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First off I must say that I've never fished New York's Salmon River. However, Dec Hogan fished it several years ago when he was there for a spey casting clinic. Dec told me when he got back form the trip that it was one of the most beautiful rivers for floating line spey fishing that he ever fished.

Dec fished it with an older Sage 8150-4 (15 ft 8wt) 2-hander and a floating line with greased line wets and skated dries. He found the heads of the pools and the tail-outs to be particularly good for finding and hooking steelhead. He was also surprised that nearly nobody fished with traditional floating line salmon/steelhead techniques since he found a swung fly to be so effective.

Based on what Dec told me, I would definitely use a 2-hander on New York's Salmon River with a floating line and traditional greased-line, swung wet-fly, and skated dry-fly techniques.
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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Re: Hey, Juro...

BobK said:
Your advice is good, but untimely. During the summer when the Skamies are in, the MOST fish are in the CLOSED section - Big Atlantics and Skamies are mostly in the lower fly section and Cemetary Pool (which are closed to fishing!)

BobK
I was talking fall, as was Gordon, but thanks for the update on closed areas.

When I started fishing the area in the late 70's the limit was 5 steelhead per person per day and snagging was legal / rampant throughout the river. It seems the regulations have come a long way!

Tell me about the big atlantics... I understand Ontario once hosted a large landlocked population.
 

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Hey everybody,
Thanks for the info. It will most lilely be around Thanksgiving when I am up there. At least that is what it looks like now...I really and truly do appreciate the help. Anything else? If any of you are ever coming here for anything, don't hesitate to ask for help. I am thinking many of you may like to fish for false albies, I generally know a thing or two about it. :) Keep this going and feed me some more stuff...
 

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Juro,
Lake Ontario at one time did have what is said to be the greatest freshwater Atlantic Salmon fishery on the planet. Legends say that early settlers harvested them at night w/ pitch forks they were so plentiful. "Landlocked" doesn't really do them justice as fish of 40 lbs were reportedly not uncommon. Around 1840 or so commercial fishing pressure, dams for flour mills, and deforestation started taking thier toll. A couple decades later the opening of the erie canal let in many exotic species and thats all she wrote. I think by 1896 the strain was declared extinct. In recent years the state with help from the Feds have tried mightily to restore the Leaper with limited success. Recent studies done at Cornell suggest that what really may have finally done in the Atlantics were the Alewife. They are a small Herring type baitfish that came in from the Atlantic Ocean through the erie canal. They quickly displaced native forage species and are by far the most abundant fish in the Lake and have been for decades. They contain high levels of an enzyme called thiaminase. It breaks down thiamine which is critical for the healthy development of Atlantic Salmon. Hatchey eggs that are bathed in a thiamine solution will survive but wild fish have no chance. There is also the nagging question of why returns of stocked fish are so low. There is talk of experimenting w/ different strains. Many biologists feel that they are simply expensive fish food for the ravenous chinook. With the introduction of Zebra and Quagga mussels 10 or so years ago the lake has become much more sterile. Recruitment of Steelhead is way down from historical highs and this is the suspected problem. We'll see where she goes from here but I kinda feel bad for the biologists. With new exotics found each year it's kinda like shooting at a moving target.
As previous posts have alluded to, there are some Atlantics caught each summer in the river and more taken as incidental catch in the Fall. Most guys think they are Brown Trout and many get killed.

Fly Tyer,
Dec was correct. It is a great river to fish traditionally and ever so slowly people are staring to realize it. The stench of snagging is still strong in the air and it has morphed into lifting and lining but the word is starting to get out to more and more anglers that want to fish sportingly. I would really encourage people to come out and swingspeys or streames not just for the chrome but for the Kings also. The absolute key for success is that you must get after them in the lower third of the river when they first come in. They darken up and sulk within a day or two of entering the river. Obviously, lowlight conditions will improve your odds. When they first come in they are real ornery and haven't been pricked in the tail yet. Set up above any of the countless pockets and runs between the name pools. You absolutely do not need any lead or even tips for this kind of fishing and will snag nary a fish. Greaseline and swing your way down through the pocket and put in your time. The sight of the wake of a 30 lb chrome chinook drawing a bead on you fly is very cool. At least it will give you that fix until the real fishing starts in a month or so. Plus there are always plenty of aggressive coho, late running skamies (or early running fall chromers), browns and the rare atlantic to spice things up. I may sound like an adverstisement but guess what...word is already out about this river. It can't really get much more crowded. We really have to start educating the guys that are already there. Let the slinky guys know that they may "contact" more fish using their searching rigs but it doesn't even come close to the feeling you get from the pull on a properly presented fly.

BTW The latest liscense agreement between the State and the power company that controls the dam above Altmar implemented minimum year round flow levels. This occurred 4 or 5 years ago. Ever since the DEC has recorded very substatial levels of wild chinook pouring out of the river each spring. Last year there was a very strong run of early adult chinooks that many longtime fly fisherman felt on average were more sexually immature and agressive towards the fly than any time in memory. I caught some fish that were absolutley dime bright. Speculation is that they are wild fish. The state is in the process now of trying to get a handle on recruitment of wild chinooks.

tight lines
 

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Dmas -

Welcome to the speypages and flyfishing forum! Our community is enriched by informed and passionate anglers like yourself. Not everyone may agree with philosophies like yours and mine but to be informed and express concerns and dreams is an important part of being a steward of the river.

I will use the term "lake run" instead of landlocked, although as someone who grew up with the dream of hooking a 3-5 lb landlocked salmon in Maine and New Hampshire never mind 40# there is nothing demeaning about that term in my mind, in fact quite the opposite. The Great Lakes are indeed inland seas.

Imagine the Ontario tribs teeming with huge atlantics fine-tuned over millenia to be as perfect as nature could make them for their river homes! Man would I love to be riffle-hitching a bomber over such waters, most likely rivals any fishery in the WORLD.

Wow, blows me away to think of it!
 

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Yes, it would have been something.

Point taken about the term landlocked. I'll take a 3lb landlocked any day!
 

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Greased line is a term derived from the days of old when they used fat to 'grease' silk lines to float. The name is used to refer to floating line presentations with an across-and-down swing of a wet fly, or a dry. Jock Scott wrote a book by the name published in 1935.

A skater is a fly that is tied to ride above the surface, creating a wake. Steelhead under the right conditions will torpedo a fly riding on the surface film and it is the most fun a fisherman can have with his waders on.

Do a search on greased line salmon and you should find reams on the internet.
 

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yes...

That is something that we GL anglers have to live with. I found out how to make due with it and work around it. Here is what I found out...

1) A long stick can be a very special one...if used correctly you can use it to threaten people....

2) As seen in the Great Lakes Clave we had, a 2/0 hook flying in front of someones face should keep them well away from coming close to you.

3) Usually the areas I fish are ones looked upon by the many yahoo's. Keep in mind that fish hide in the strangest places.

4) Going out when the crowds aren't there is the best time to go. Sometimes fishing may not seem worth it because of conditions such as weather, rain, etc. A day on the river is better than staying home and tying flies...unless of course the conditions are too extreme to even go out. Make due with what you have....who knows, that fish of the lifetime may be your next cast.

5) Keep your mouth shut....the wise ones know this. Not talking is better than anything you can do. Go about your business.

6)Lastly, sometimes if everyone else is doing something...the opposite can be better(not all the time.) Whether it be fly choice, presentation, or whatever....try something different for a change.

Now back to the Salmon River....ahhhh, I wish I was there.
 

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Thanks Juro (again). I'll check it out. I'm gonna need to send you a check eventually for all this long distance education. All those years of limited horizons with a fly rod and I never realized how ignorant I was. Great forum.
 

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Peter,

You are a man after my own heart. I, too, enjoy solitude (or, in lieu of that, good companionship without crowding) when fishing. Here in NY, the only way to do that is to go out on during midweek, and find places where only sportsmen go. Amazingly, there are lots of these places - it's just that the turkeys seem to attract all the attention.

BobK:smokin:
 

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not in Michigan....

Yahoo's are out all the time...to get away is in the solitude of winter, my favorite time to chase steelhead. Ahhhh, a hint of mykiss is always good!
 
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