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Salmon River, Pulaski, NY - 11-15 Oct 07

Day 2 - Scoping it out

Up at 4am so as to be at the diner which opens at 4:30 ahead of the crowd. Pulled into the parking lot and saw that several other fishermen had beat us. Only problem was that there were no lights on in the diner and there was a big "Closed" sign on the front door. A quick assessment of the situation led us to head towards the downtown area where we found a open Dunkin Donut. We beat the crowd and appeared to be the first customers of the day. By the time we left, fishermen were standing in line out the door.

Our plan for the day was to head upstream of the "Compactor Pool" to a secret spot that Steve had found the year before. I am not sure why that "secret spot" had a well beaten fisherman's path leading to it but we followed along anyways. As you might have guessed it was still O-dark thirty with daylight not arriving until at least 7am. Headlamps and sure footing were the order of the day
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When we arrived streamside we found the water very low. We later found out from the locals that the river was as low as any of the old timers could remember. We saw a few fish but try as we might, we could not buy a bite and attempts at "aggressive fishing" aka "snagging" did little better.


The weather was overcast with drizzle most of the day. We did a little exploring of the river and tried to formulate a game plan for the remainder of our trip. The drizzle turned to rain so we packed it in and visited the Salmon River Fish Hatchery which is the source of this wonderful fishery. The river splits in two with the smaller branch leading to the hatchery where salmon who follow that side are led through a maze which ends up in a processing room where females are slit open for their eggs and males are milked for their sperm. The two are mixed under laboratory conditions which results in fry hatching out and growing to stockable size. These fry are released back into the river where many of them survive to migrate downstream to Lake Ontario where they grow to adulthood. Depending on the species and their biological clock they eventually form up at the mouth of the Salmon River and start the process all over again. Believe it or not, they actually have a sign at the pool just before the fish enter the processing tank in the hatchery which says "Welcome Home".

I don't think anyone in our group caught a fish today. We did scope out some interesting spots and saw a group from Vermont, aka "**** Yankees" who seem to have a good spot that was producing fish. We found they were leaving at noon the next day. Guess where we planned to be just about that time?

Day 3 - Third time's the charm!

Up once again at 4am. The rain had stopped so things were looking up. We found a replacement breakfast spot which had opened up just down from the closed diner. It was a little pricy but beggars can't be choosy. I just wish they would light those little burners underneath the buffet line - (The food was on the luke warm side).

We again switched on headlamps and followed a fisherman's path up over a hill and along wood and field to a "secret spot". This time we were downstream of the "Compactor Pool". We arrived well before first light and were rewarded by the sound of big fish moving upstream through a shallow riffle. We spread out and were soon joined by several other fishermen who just happened to luck on to our secret spot.


Not to worry, we had the choice locations. I think Steve and I both had hook ups but as is often the case with salmon fishing a "hook up" does not mean a landed fish. Steve and John kept in touch via two way radios and John let us know that he had landed one and asked if I wanted to keep it. I had brought a 48 quart cooler to bring some fillets home but decided that considering the distance we were from the road that it was not worth the effort. (Up there, they skid stringers of salmon out much the same way we drag a deer - it doesn't look pretty but that is the only thing that works when you are looking at two or three 20 plus pound fish on a stringer).

John reported there was a big pod of fish in front of him and that fish were slowly moving through all the time. He was not the only one trying their luck at that run. Jim was fishing the same area and soon hooked up to a speeding freight train.


His fish put up quite a scrap but Jim came out the winner. This is what we came for. You're looking at a healthy Chinook, aka King Salmon.


We fished along side a local who brought his grandson down to help subdue a fish. This fellow was using a spinning outfit with snaggless sinker and four foot leader ending at either a salmon egg or something similar. He knew what he was doing.. Once he had a solid hook up he backed up to allow his little companion to assist with the fight. Here is a shot of the next generation of fishermen.


We fished here until about noon and everyone hooked up but I don't believe anyone succeeded in landing one. You can have a fish on for several minutes and be having the fight of your life when suddenly he comes unbuttoned and your line goes limp. Still a good feeling.

In the afternoon we went to the "Vermont Hole". The afternoon action slowed down but we all had hook ups. I think one fish was brought to hand.


Up at 4am and on the water all day long makes for some tired fishermen. We were even too tired to go out to eat a couple evenings, electing instead to order a pizza and other fixings to be delivered to our room. Early to bed in anticipation of a banner day in the morning.


Turns out that we saved the best for last and the next two days made the trip all worthwhile. (To be continued)
 

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Great Pics Al. Makes me sorry that I missed it this year. I see that the young man and his grandfather are using a noodle rod. Are you seeing more of those for Salmon?
 
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