Monday, October 13, 2014

Swinging The Salmon River

There is a place on the Salmon River in New York that is a fly swinging paradise. It's location is accessed by a very long walk to the lower portion of the Douglaston Salmon Run property. The pool  is called The Meadow Run.  From top to bottom and through a narrow yet deep gut between two islands, it offers the best and most aesthetically pleasing swing you will find on that river.  There are many places on this former Atlantic salmon River that offer a good swing and if you love to cast with two hands a trip to Pulaski will not disappoint.  Just don't let yourself get hung up on the negatives.  

The top of The Meadow is created where a strong rapid quickly becomes a steady flow through the center.   This water is not the best for nymphing or floating.   From that point you can find fish for the entire three hundred yards down river.  Broad and constant flow makes it best suited to the swing.  There are far better locations like upper and lower Clay hole right next door that will give indicator and float what they came for.  The tail flattens and widens to form three separate channels around islands.  The center cut is deep and the lane of choice for most of the migration.  During low water conditions this area below the main pool will receive most of the attention.

The problem with this pool, and all others on the river, is that there is no rotation.  Sometimes it can be down right uncivilized because of all the different methods of legal fishing that are allowed.  The high stick nymphers take the least room, we Spey Boys need more and the Center Pin and Spin rods would float their egg sacks all the way to the lake if they could.  The time when the crowding is most prevalent is first thing in the morning.  Only the least caring are still in bed as the sun comes up.  I get to my designation at least an hour before sun rise and there still can be five anglers standing in the run.  Sad to say, but as true as can be, this is not a gentlemen's sporting river.  By mid day the crowds seem to disperse through the area and opens the door to getting in some quality swinging action.
This past Saturday I was able the hook up two fish on the swing in the lower part of the pool.  Because the location is close to the lake the possibility of a real bright and very large fish becomes clear.   You need to stay with the rhythmic cadence of the swing and make as many quality passes as possible.

Another fine choice would be to find locations in the two fly zones that offer water that is less frequented because of proximity to access points.  You will not find any center pin or spinning rods here.  Most anglers are using indicators and nymphs and there are an increasing number of two hand casters.  In low water these places will be available by crossing and walking.  In higher flows you will need to use one of the bridge crossings and walk.  In some cases you will be the only rod on your side and looking at six to ten on the easy side.

For this river I use marabou collar flies, bunny leach flies with eztaz heads, cut shanks and West Coast style Spey flies.  More traditional West Coast Steelhead and European Temple Dog style flies can be used with a good deal of success.  The water temperature is the key to how well you will do.  The colder the water gets the slower and deeper you will need to run your fly.  Most situations during late October through the first week of December can be handled with Scandi lines and poly leaders.  As the river cools down you will want to switch to a Skagit and might need to go as heavy as t14  at times.  I greatly prefer to use non weighted flies as the action is far better.  It is also much easier to control depth and speed by having the ability to control my line and not have the fly drag on the bottom.  This river loves to eat flies and using weight can take it's toll.

Right now, the crowds have started to thin and the river is loaded with fish.  In normal years the ground would be snow covered and walking made more difficult.  This year, for the two hand fly swinger,  the window of opportunity is still open.  The key to right now is that you can not get hung up on what you think should work.  If big leech and marabou flies are not producing then move smaller down to sparsely hackle more insect looking.  Change flies not only by color but size as well.  Make sure you are running the lightest tippet that you dare.

Many of the Lake Ontario and Lake Eire tribs are producing well right now.  The Salmon River is but one that gets a great deal of attention.  We need to swing more and hope that in the future some of the pools will start to rotate.  I expect the next few weeks will see a lot of action for the few who will make the effort.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Donation For Project Healing Waters & Hope On The Rise

I have something special to share with you.  I have been entrusted with two matching numbered sets of Pierre Lutz prints from the Grande Cascapedia Series.  Pierre was a five time artist of the year recipient from the Atlantic Salmon Federation.  His work is well known on covers and maps of the great rivers.   Each set of four(4) numbered 66/200 and 67/200 were printed in memory of Pierre as he pass away shortly after their completion.  They are not signed.  The stipulation for me is that they be sold and 100% of the proceeds be donated to charities of my choice.  The beneficiary of set 66 will be Project Healing Waters.  They gave to me and I can give something small back.  The beneficiary of set 67 will be Hope on the Rise.  ( I have met Susan and Mary and what they are doing is special and deserves support.  If you would like to own these beautiful 9 1/4" x 6 1/4" prints ready to be framed please send to your offer and set number desired.  Bidding on these SILENT auctions will close on November 1, 2014 at 10pm Eastern Time.  Winners will then be notified.  Own these depictions of "The Forks", "Bend At Parsons", "Charley Valley Rock" and "Pool Eighty"  Opening bid for each set is $150.00.