Thanksgiving trip to the Salmon R (NY)

Made my first trip up to fish steelhead on the Salmon R in NY for a few days over Thanksgiving. I ended up meeting a buddy of mine up there so I had someone to fish with most of the time. I’ll begin by saying that the conditions were tough (tons of snow – see pics) and few fish. But, it really is a beautiful area and certainly has the reputation of being a super productive fishery. Like any steelhead fishing it’s all about timing and, in this case, my timing was not quite on the mark. I fished hard, covered a lot of water  hiking and wading almost 30 miles in three and a half days for just one fish – a nice hen steelhead from a run on the very tail end of the Douglaston Salmon Run property. For those of you that haven’t been up to the Salmon the Douglaston property allows a limited number of permitted anglers to access about 3 miles of prime river frontage and salmonid  habitat. There’s no “secret” spots on this river so it’s definitely worth the cost ($50 full day weekends, $40 weekdays; afternoon passes are $25) to fish in slightly less crowded conditions during prime fishing periods or weekends. We fished various sizes and colors of beads and egg/yarn flies. Variations of orange and pink were most common although some guys were saying blue and white also work in some situations. Everyone we talked to were also experiencing slow fishing whether drifting beads, nymphs, and egg sacs or swinging more traditional steelhead patterns and streamers. Even though it was tough fishing I’ll be back to try again for steelhead and also for salmon and lake-run browns next fall! See some photos from the trip below…

Anyone else fish the Salmon R or any of the smaller rivers and creeks in that area?

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9 thoughts on “Thanksgiving trip to the Salmon R (NY)

  1. I haven't been, but a good friend of mine who's an avid steel header on the Salmon hold a yearly membership on the Douglaston Salmon Run stretch. He keeps bugging me to join him, some day/year. I'll take him up on his offer maybe some day

  2. Hi Adam, I fished some of the Lake Eerie tribs in early November and had similar luck and many folks reported similar fishing conditions. It was my first time steelhead fishing but what it did teach me is how to work for fish. We had 5-8 mile days for 3 straight days and 5am starts – lots of hiking through some beautiful creeks. Here in our local NE rivers, we are so used to driving to our access spots and then if we move it's not more than several hundred yards up or down river. I pulled out a road atlas I have and see an entirely new perspective of our NE rivers and an abundance of possibilities!
    -Jaime

    1. Hey Jaime, where were you fishing the Erie tribs? I like covering a lot of water although it's probably not always the best strategy. I just never possessed the patience or attention to detail to really hone in and fish one area thoroughly. I've tried to change but hell its too late now haha. I'll keep using effort as a surrogate for skill.

    2. Hey Adam, we fished out of Fredonia/Dunkirk area. Spent a lot of time on Eighteenmile Creek. It was a perfect weather weekend (mid 40s) so it brought out a horde of anglers. Lots of anglers, few fish and even fewer bites. But when they did bite it was a lot of fun! It's amazing how fast they move and even the 1yr old fish fought amazingly hard. I can't believe we were calling a 22" trout a "small one"!

  3. Maybe if you just fished a little harder you would have done better!
    I am still scratching my head–we logged a lot of miles and a couple thousand casts, but I am glad that you got one!

  4. Glad you were able to get one! Just took my first trip up there the week before thanksgiving, just before the snow. Fished it hard for 3 days with a group of guys that have been up there every year for the last 8-9 years. I hooked up one time and lost it within seconds, and another guy (my father) had one on for maybe 30 seconds. Other than that, it was all quiet. We avoided the D.S.R though (maybe a mistake) The river was also empty despite hearing that it is usually mobbed. Talking to some locals, they were reporting the low fish population due to eggs laid in (now dry) tributaries and areas during a big flood year, either last year or the year before. Hopefully they see a return of fish soon, both for my personal fishing pleasure, and the local economy.

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