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 When is the best time to fish the Salmon River NY?

Fly,Spin,Spey,CenterpinI get asked this question all the time and before I answer it I need to know who I'm talking to, what kind of fish you are seeking to catch, and what your skill level is.  For all the "Salmon River Virgins" as I call people who have never fished this area before and don't have a clue about fishing, I would recommend coming to Pulaski during the second week of September through the third week of October.  This is the absolute prime time to come fish.  What can you expect to catch?  Plenty 

of Chinook (King) Salmon, Coho Salmon, Skamania Steelhead, and Brown Trout.  So you're saying a "mixed bag of fish right"?  Yes.  What about the Steelhead?  Well, there are two kinds of Steelhead, a Skamania Steelhead which is a hatchery raised fish and can handle warmer water temperatures.  They come in from May to October.  They can reach up to 20 pounds but average 8-12 pounds.  What about the other Steelhead?  Well, those are called "Washington Steelhead" and they come into the Salmon River in October and stay until about the first or second week of May depending on the water temperatures.  They can reach up to 30 pounds or so and are the most sought after sport fish on the Salmon River.  How about Brown Trout?  They come into the Salmon River to spawn along with the Chinook (King) Salmon in the fall months, some stay all year, some go back to the lake.  Where can you go and fish and have an opportunity to catch a variety of fish?  The Salmon River in Pulaski NY.  It's an awesome fishery.  A place where the locals measure their fish in pounds, not inches! 

What about the summer months and early September?  This is the time when fishermen come to fish and have peace and quiet.  They love to catch small trout, skamania steelhead, atlantic salmon, and smallmouth bass and enjoy the fact that they basically have the river to themselves.  When the Douglaston Salmon Run opens up (8-19-06), the more skilled fishermen are there to get a jump start on the salmon fishing.  While there's not a ton of salmon that time of year, they like to sharpen their skills and beat the crowds.  This is the time of year from mid August to about the 2nd week in September that we here at Yankee Fly & Tackle Shop offer a "Beat the Crowd" special.  A time for fishermen to come and fish and learn the river.  A time to beat the crowds as it says.  A time for virgins and a time for the skilled.

To make it easier for you, here is a list:

Summer= skilled anglers with opportunities to catch skamania steelhead, atlantic salmon, small trout, and smallmouth bass.  A time to learn the river in it's mostly low water time (185-335 cfs).  A time for kayakers and whitewater rafters to come as there are 4 scheduled release dates with water levels from 400-750 cfs.

Fall= our busiest time of year and a time with tons of salmon and of course, tons of people.  Columbus Day weekend is our busiest weekend of the entire year with the most people & most fish.  September, October, and the first part of November are our "Christmas Months", a time that everyone makes their living in about 6-8 weeks. 

November it slows down a bit on the crowds and this is the time that the serious steelhead fishermen come.  The busiest weekend is Thanksgiving weeekend.  It's also the best month to catch some monster size brown trout. 

December= one of the best months to catch some monster size steelhead.  Yes it's cold and snowy, but this is a month for serious steelheaders.  Most of the driftboat guides have heaters in their boats.....we do. Also, we find that it's the month of "giving", a time when people buy gift certificates for their loved ones for Christmas.

Jan-March= downright cold but again, a great time to catch some huge steelhead and they are plentiful.  Also a time to catch some really big and pretty spawning rainbow trout.

April= a prime month for steelhead and what we call "dropback steelhead"....they spawn in the river and as they make their way back to the lake (hence dropback), they are very aggressive & hungry.  April is a busy time of year for beginner & avid steelheaders.  Water levels tend to be an issue with some days of melting snow and runoff making it possible for the river to be in flood stage.  It all depends on how much snow we get over the winter for this month to be fishable.  Always watch the weather and water reports before you come to Pulaski.

May= still steelhead and as the water temperatures warm up towards mid May, we start to see Skamania Steelhead enter the river.  They're bright silver and agressive feeders.  You can always tell a Skamania Steelhead with it's clipped fins and missing adipose fin. 

Bottom line.....the Salmon River is an all year fishery and like I said, it all depends on who you are, what your skill level is, and what kind of fish you want to catch.  Call us at the shop and we'll talk about it and help you plan your trip whether it's your first time or you've been here before and want to try something different.  (315) 298-2466 shop  (315) 298-6253 home for Dawn & John Rucando

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