Sandy Creek & The Altmar King

On Friday evening I convinced Janelle to come to New York with me to find out what was happening with the mid-September salmon run. By 5:00AM Saturday we were halfway to Pulaski and I was debating driving past the Salmon River and heading further north to see if we might discover King salmon in Sandy Creek. The reports out of the lower Salmon River had been consistent for a couple of weeks. Each day pods of King and Coho salmon were seen moving into the Douglaston Salmon Run (“DSR”) from the estuary. With fishing guides buzzing about the DSR, I figured Janelle and would experience less fishing pressure on Sandy Creek. At 7:00AM we found ourselves scouting the parking lots in Ellisburg and Mannsville. There were cars in the lots, but all I saw were New York license plates and this is typically a good indication that only the locals are on the fish.

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Salmon River Chinooks In High Gear

On Wednesday it was still bothering me that my time fly fishing the Upper Fly Zone on the Salmon River the prior weekend had been unproductive. I was thinking of calling it quits on the 2016 salmon season and starting to focus my energy on autumn steelhead or brown trout. Then Thursday evening it hit me I hadn’t looked at the Douglaston Salmon Run (“DSR”) report all week. I surfed over to their website and within seconds of reading their Thursday, October 6th report, I knew what I’d be doing on Friday morning. The line in the report that got me was the note from a guide who fished the Lower Clay Hole that morning who said he conservatively estimated 1,000 fish moved past him. Throughout the month of September, all the charter boat captains were saying that there were huge numbers of marked salmon sitting just offshore. I knew the potential for an epic run was there, but after the last three years, you just couldn’t definitively say it was going to happen. Well folks, it happened.

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Chasing Chinooks on The Upper Fly Zone

On September 29th the Salmon River saw the best run of salmon so far this season. The Douglaston Salmon Run (“DSR”) was reporting large numbers of fish clogging the river entrance in their morning report and the afternoon report mentioned a client hooking 100 fish and landing 20. While the fishing slowed on Friday, I was still anxious to get on the water Saturday morning. Access to the DSR for the weekend had been sold-out for weeks. The first weekend in October is a common time that many anglers who do an annual trip to Pulaski make their trek. With the DSR out of the equation, I decided I was going to target the public water in the Upper Fly Zone just above the Salmon River Fish Hatchery. I knew this area was not going to hold the volume of fish that were in the lower river, but for what it lacked in fish, it would make up for in limited fishing pressure.

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Second Chances on The Salmon River

Last Thursday night I finished up work around 5:00pm and headed to Pulaski for the third weekend in a row. To say I had high expectations would be an understatement. On Thursday afternoon the Douglaston Salmon Run (“DSR”) posted a report that their river patrol had spotted hundreds of salmon making their way toward the river at the lower property line. I figured this was finally it, the epic run that was going to see all the Chinook and Coho salmon stacked in the estuary move through the Lower Clay and head upriver.

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