Salmon River Run

Guest post from Lance Connors:

It’s about 2 months away still, but it’s already on my mind. New York’s Salmon River, teeming with huge salmon, brown trout and steelhead, running up it to spawn. It’s my favorite time of the year for sure.

For those of you have never fished researched, or even heard of the great fishing at the Salmon River, I’ll fill you in. Basically salmon run up the river from the Great Lakes, and the trout follow them up to gorge on the eggs. On top of this the salmon will eat other salmon eggs, and there are big steelhead in the mix too.

I’m fortunate to live on the MA-NY border, because for some of you Eastern Mass guys, it is a long drive. But it’s all worth it it the end. I’m going to summarize the salmon run here, and try to explain why it is the best fishing opportunity in the Northeast in my opinion….

  • You’re fishing for BIG fish! Huge salmon, steelhead, and a real possibility of hooking into a double digits brown.
  • It’s challenging. You may be thinking, “Boy, Lance, isn’t this kind of like shooting fish in a barrel?” Well, no. It’s true, there are a lot of fish there. That’s why I go. But there is also a ton of food there… eggs and such floating everywhere throughout the river. Why should a trout take your yarn egg fly over the dozens of real eggs floating downstream? And the crowds are unheard of… take the Y-Pools shoulder-to-shoulder fishing, and multiple that by 10 miles of river! That’s the worst part!
  • The experience. I just mentioned that the crowds suck. It’s true, there are a lot of bait dunkers, snaggers (Totally illegal! But this is its own post), and fly guys, and truth be told, there are a lot of idiots there. I just mentioned snaggers, but guys keeping everything they catch, etc. That said, with all those anglers, there are a lot of other cool people there who have all sorts of stories and tips to swap. I’ve met some really interesting people there and learned a whole lot. I actually met fellow Fly Fish MA blogger Troy there!
For gear you’re using heavier rods than your normal stocked trout require, mostly because these fish are big and you need to control where they go to prevent tangles with everyone else. I use a 7 weight rod, but I’ve seven 8-10 weights used too.
Now there are a few techniques that work here, but the one you see most of the fly guys using is fishing eggs. Glo Bugs, Y2Ks, Nuke Eggs, any sort of year or chenille in the form of an egg! Usually some sort of weight is needed to get that egg near the bottom where the fish are holding. I use tungsten putty.
I could go on and on about this, but I’m going to limit myself to keep this post from getting too long! The fact is, if you make the trip to the Salmon River, you will pick up on the techniques you need pretty quickly. I think everyone should fish here at some point, especially if you love in New England. But, it’s really not for everyone; if you hate crowds, it’s likely not for you.
I will have more on this topic closer to October (when the good fishin’ is!). If you have any questions about this my email is
*Also, it’s not just the Salmon River. Most rivers in this area that connect to the Great Lakes have the same good fishing!*

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2 thoughts on “Salmon River Run

  1. Yes, I live in Pittsfield Ma, and a friend of mine keeps inviting me to go with them every year. The Salmon crowds I'm not interested in, but the after Salmon Steelies, I may take him up on some day. He's pretty religious to go weekly from Salmon season thru the 1st of the year Steel heading, so there are plenty of my own personal chances to go. He actually just bought into the Douglaston stretch of private water, and he gets guest passes, so this maybe my year?

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