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Posts Tagged ‘Salmon fishing’

I have not been doing much as far as reports go this season. The reason is simple, my reports from early September through now would all be the same. It would say the river is full of fish. They are everywhere from the DSR to Altmar.  I have seen some keyboard hero’s complaining that the reports are false and there are no fish. Let me just say this if you went to the salmon river and didn’t find fish you are either blind or didn’t move around.  Now if you were just looking to snag fish in the shallow water areas earlier in year you probably didn’t find much. The fish were stacked in the deeper darker holes as the water and air were very warm this year.

Recent rains finally brought all the smaller streams up to a good fishable level and the fish moved in.  I am not going to name any of them but if they run into Lake Ontario there are fish in them now.  Hopefully we continue to get rain and keep the water levels up so they stay at a good fishing level.

Salmon River still has plenty of fish with a few late pushes coming in the last few days. We should be on decent salmon for the next couple weeks.

I have also seen many people complaining about lack of steelhead this year. Hello it’s barely the middle of October.  Yes some years we see good numbers of them as early as September but those years are rare.  This is a good thing as many would get snagged and dragged out on ropes. I have no problem with people keeping steelhead. I myself love to eat them. However, when there is a good early run you will often see people kill more than their limit and claim they are coho. If only there was better cell service on the river so they could be reported more often.  Steelhead are starting to show up more and more each day in the lower river. I talked to a lake captain two days ago and he said there were good numbers of them out deep in the lake. We should be looking at a good steelhead fishing season this year.

I do have a couple of November dates left and a few more open dates in December if you want to get in on the action before the cold sets in. If you are looking for peace and quiet January and February are wide open. I will have heat and hot coffee on the boat this winter.

Have fun and fish.

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It was a cool fall morning when we launched the boats in the dark.  This was my first time rowing down the river in the dark and to say I was nervous would be an understatement. I wasn’t going to let me first ever customers know that though. I was lucky enough to have a veteran guide let me follow him down river.  We were the first ones in the river so we had our choice of spots.

At 5:15 am we dropped anchor at tail of the School House Pool. We only had about a hour and a half to sit in the dark and wait for legal fishing hours.  We hadn’t been sitting there 5 minutes when one of my guests cracked his first beer.  They had brought a 30 pack with them so this had me concerned.  I started rigging up the plug rods we would put out at daylight. Once the plug rods were set I made sure our bottom bouncing rods were ready then I drank my coffee while they drank their beer.

When I put out the plug rods at day light there were at least 6 empty beer cans in the bottom of the boat and fish all around us. I was praying we would hit a few fish on the plugs and get them to the net first thing. That was not the case. We had 3 hard hits that doubled the rod over but never hooked up. At that time you couldn’t run bead chains unless you had a special lures permit and being new I didn’t have one.

Now it was plenty light out and we could see the fish constantly moving through the current around us. You could also now see at least 10 empty beer cans in the front of the boat. I pulled in the plug rods and hand them the bottom bouncers. I am not going to lie and tell you we were trying to get the fish to bite. We were trying to line them just like almost everyone else on the river at that time.  I explained to them how to cast just up stream of the fish so as not to spook them and then drift the line back into them. They kept casting right at the fish. I would tell them to cast ahead of the fish and they would cast way upstream and get snagged. I retied and they cast directly at the fish again. I was in trouble and I knew it. After about 2 hours of this and a few more beers the fish were gone and it was time to pull anchor.

When we dropped anchor again there were about 50 in the current right along side the boat. I though we were safe because it was a bit deeper water so they could get away with casting a little too far upstream. They were having trouble seeing the fish so their casts were even farther off target. It seemed no matter what I told them they did the opposite. It wasn’t long before another guide came through saw the fish and purposely splashed his oars through the hole sending them fleeing. I was not happy and never forgot this moment. I didn’t say a word as I was the new guy on the river and I had customers with me. I let them cast for a few more minutes while I regrouped and made a plan. I knew something had to change if I was going to get these guys at least one fish.

We made a big move down stream where I could pull plugs in some deeper water. I knew this was our only chance as they were never going to get one casting.  We fished through the first hole with out a strike. There were a few shots from a liquor bottle taken though. As I was setting rods in the second hole I noticed there were at least 20 empty beer cans in the bottom of the boat. I could tell the guys were far from sober. The second hole was money or at least it should have been. I watched the right rod double over and saw the fish thrashing on the surface. As I yelled “right rod right rod right rod” I rowed upstream as hard as I could to keep the line tight. Of course both guys tried to grab the left rod. By the time they got to the right rod the fish got slack line and came off.

There was only one spot left to try plugging before the boat launch. It was now or never and I was far from optimistic. I put the lures out again and started working them in the current. We were almost to the tail of the pool when the middle rod slammed down into the bow of the boat. I pulled hard on the oars and yelled “middle rod get it and reel”. I told them in the beginning you don’t have to set the hook, the fish will do it for you, just keep the line tight.  When he grabbed the rod out of the holder not only did he set the hook like Bill Dance but he dropped the rod right back down giving the fish the slack it needed. The fish was gone and so was all hope of saving the day.

Back at the lodge they told a bit different story to the owner who they had booked the trip through. They were not happy to pay all that money and not catch a fish. I was given the chance to tell my side  of the story when I stopped in later that evening. I learned a lot in that first trip. First and foremost I needed a special lure permit. Second there would be a limit on how much alcohol was allowed on my boat from there on out. This was when I decided if someone is just looking to catch a buzz they can hire someone else.

 

 

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Everyone is waiting for the run to turn on and be in full swing. I wish I could report that it was. However, there are fish in the river from top to bottom. More fish and more fishing pressure in the lower half of the river. If you are willing to work for your fish you will catch some. You will also enjoy a few less people on the river than normal for this time of year.

The trick is to get on the river early and pick a spot you believe the fish will be in that morning. If when day light comes the fish are there then game on. If they are not give it an hour or so to make sure they aren’t just down stream of you and headed your way. If they don’t show get in the truck and head to a new spot. Keep moving until you find them. Don’t necessarily follow the crowds. During my trip on Friday we moved to a section of the river that we had to ourselves and we found more than enough fish to keep us busy.

The other option is to hire a drift boat guide that will cover water until you find fish or take you out in mouth of the river at night. I will say as of lately the night fishing still hasn’t been what it should be. I have a feeling by this weekend the run will be on but if it isn’t follow these steps and you will find enough fish to keep you happy.

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Finally we got the rain we have been waiting for. The small streams have water and are fishing very well. The Sandy’s have plenty of water and lots of fish. Grindstone is also fishing well with good numbers of fish in it. My friend Shawn sent me a video of the Little Salmon River yesterday and it was LOADED with fish.

If you have been waiting to fish the smaller waters of Oswego and Jefferson County the time is NOW!!! There is more rain in the forecast so the fishing should stay good. If the water does drop remember to drop down in leader and weight size. Also stay back and fish the deeper pools.

If you have been waiting for  steelhead the Salmon River is the place to be. There have been more and more caught each day. The lower half of the river will be your best bet. If you want to get away from the crowd spend the $50 and fish the Douglaston Salmon Run. It seems like a lot of money to fish for the day but believe me it’s worth it. If you break it down by the hour it’s less than $6 an hour to fish a beautiful stretch of the river.

This can be a great time to swing streamers on a sink tip if you are fly fishing. If you are spin or pin fishing Salmon Skein or egg sacs are your best bet. Good luck and C U on the water.

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October is time to target monster Salmon in the small waters of Oswego and Jefferson counties. There are many great streams in the area that support large runs of these amazing fish.
Fishing these waters requires a change in approach and gear from fishing the larger waters of the area.

First the change in gear that will need to be made. Many people fish heavy line and weight when Salmon fishing on the Salmon, Oswego, or Black river. This is unnecessary on the big rivers and will not work on the small waters. These streams are often shallow and clear. The Salmon will see the heavy line and shy away from it almost every time. I recommend fishing no heavier than 12 pound test main line and using a 10 pound leader. If the water is very clear I will fish as light as 8 pound. As far as the weight goes only use just enough to tick bottom. The streams being much shallower and to much weight will cause you to snag bottom often.

I also like a rod that is more of a Steelhead rod than a Salmon Rod. Actually something in between is best. You want to make sure that you will be able to cast the light weight and line whatever distance is needed. That is why I prefer a 9 to 11 foot rod. This allows you to cast when needed or at times just drop the bait in front of the fish or in the top of the hole.

When it comes to your approach much more stealth is in order. It is best not to wear bright colored clothing so that the fish will not see you. When you walk up to the stream make sure to walk slow and watch for fish moving in the water. Polarized Sunglasses are a must for small water Salmon fishing.  If you do spook fish watch where they go and give them time to rest. Chasing after them will do no good as they are not going to be willing to hit right after spooking from a hole.

I am often asked where is the best place for small water Salmon fishing. This changes constantly based on the rainfall. These waters are not damn controlled  and therefore require rain to bring the water levels up. One of my favorites is the Little Salmon River in Mexico, New York. This stream has no public access however there is a section in the town of Mexico where you can get permission with a donation. As of last year it was $50 for a year long pass.

Grindstone creek is another that provides great fishing and unlike the Little Salmon River it has a lot of public access. There is access at Selkirk State Park where the creek empties into Lake Ontario. This is a great place to cast spoons into the lake before the Salmon start to run or when they first start entering the river. From there if you travel upstream on County Route 28 you will find 2 more public access points. There is also public access off Krebbs Road and County Route 41A.  This stream is well known and does see fisherman but not nearly as many as the Sandy Creeks.

Little Sandy Creek, South Sandy Creek, and North Sandy Creek are all great Salmon fishing streams.  As you travel Route 3 north out of Port Ontario you will cross all 3. Little Sandy has access of Norton road. This is a very small stream as far as width goes but it can hold impressive numbers of fish when the water is right. Down stream from the parking lot you will find deeper holes on bends in the stream.

South Sandy Creek has access along Route 3 and along South Landing Road. At the parking lot along Route 3 you will find a very slow moving and deep river. This is a good place for casting lures or fishing with a float and large egg sacs. Along South Landing road you will find more of what you would expect in a Salmon stream, shallower fast moving water with deep holes.

North Sandy Creek is my favorite to fish and there is a nice parking lot where Route 3 crosses the stream. This area is often heavily fished and is best to be avoided on the weekends. There is a great hole right above the bridge that is very deep and will almost always be holding fish.

There are many other small streams and creeks that see an annual run of Salmon each fall. I can’t list them all as I am a guide and must keep a few secrets.

salmon

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