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Old 12-18-2013, 09:55 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Salmon River Pulaski NY
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Default Pulaski New York fishing river guide has Pulaski NY river guide fish report

Pulaski New York fishing river guide has Pulaski NY river guide fish report off drift boat for salmon-steelhead on Pulaski NY river
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Dec. 18 Salmon River Pulaski NY Steelhead Drift Boat Guide Spin Fly Fishing Report Update:
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Ol'man Winter has arrived with snow and colder temp's. If your coming up to fish or are thinking of coming up to fish this Winter, this complementary article may help you to prepare, be more comfortable, have fun, be safe and hopefully help to make your trip here memorable in many ways.
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Fishing in Jan. and Feb.? Are you Nuts? -Yup:
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Here are some things to consider when fishing here in the winter. The Salmon River is a dam-released river, so it never totally freezes over.
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Slush - Planning your fishing day around it:
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No it's not the stuff you put in a cone and eat but rather a winter occurrence that causes certain area's of the river to be unfishable.
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(For all Photo's, please see profile - linked to Fishing Report page)
Nice looking Female Steelhead. Super!
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Knowing current water -air temp. current water and future water flow level's, tonight's predicted lows with tomorrow's highs will help you decide where to begin your day of fishing.
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Sample:
Water temps. are 34 deg. up top and the flow is 285 cfs. Evening lows are swinging around 5 deg. and daytime highs are around 32 deg. (No heavy snow is forecast) The Key here is the nighttime low. Normally if the low is below 20 deg. you will have slush from Pineville down. If the low is only 20 deg. then you may not have any slush the entire length of the river.
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When slush is present at these air temp's then normally by 10-11 A.M. the lower part of the river will clear out and make fishing possible. If you're ever not sure, than do what I sometimes do and go to the short bridge in town and have a look for yourself, before planning your day. If air temp's do not rise above 20 for the daytime high then you may have slush down river all day.
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(Photo)
Nice colored up Male Steelhead. Notice the bump on the lower jaw. Also the red rosy cheeks and red stripe down its side. What a beauty!
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If I'm planning to start my fishing at dawn, then I'll start up top. And then later possibly move down river once the slush has had a chance to clear. If certain areas of the river are slushed up and you are the first to arrive after it has cleared than the chances of hooking-up are good. You will be the first angler fishing to fresh fish that have not been disturbed or pressured.
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This same condition occurs on the smaller creeks around the Salmon River in early-late winter. Many an early A.M. trip North has ended with a return trip when slush was not considered. I will always check air temp's the day before I plan fishing the creeks. Often, I will arrive at 10 A.M. and fish while the last balance of slush is clearing and getting first shot at the prime spots. Fish-on!
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If you wanted to fish during the prime time during the winter than here are a few things I would consider. (Work and family schedule must be flexible)
1. 3 day warming trend. If there is run-off expect fresh fish in the lower end!
2. Drop in water level or rise.
3. Fish around a holiday, not on it.
4. Mid-week
5. Springtime creeks and streams- Wait till ice out and fish them on the rise or fall of water levels. If you fish them after they have cleared for to long they tend to get fished out. If you can find your honey hole when the water is up, then the fish will be there.
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(Photo)
Another Male steelhead. Congrats!
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If you arrive and the air temp's are in the low 20s for the high then here are a few tip's to staying warm and catching some fish!
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1. The days of me fishing a full 8 hours with these air temps are almost over, unless there is sun and no wind. It is actually very pleasant under these conditions.
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2. Only fish the most productive part of the day. Normally this occurs during the warmest part. 4 hr's is sufficient between 11-3.
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3. Fish spots where the sun is shinning on you, instead of fishing spots where you are in the shadow of a cliff or tree's.
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(Photo)
Another client with a Female Steelhead. Both smil'n!
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4. Where dark clothing so the suns warm rays can be absorbed into your clothing.
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5. Use a spinning rod. I'm a fly addict, but when it's cold, I love my spinning rod! Hands can stay warm in gloves, guides ice up less frequently, my bait or fly is in the water more due to the mechanical nature of a spinning rod which allows me more chances of hooking up.
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6. By yourself a pair of fleece wind blocker fingerless gloves with a pull over mitt. I'm out in this weather a lot, and these gloves are all I wear, they are the best! I also reeely enjoy wool gloves with a pull over mitten. Even if wet, they still insulate. I normally carry 2-3 extra pairs of gloves as I hate wet-cold hands in the Winter time.
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7. Put heat pads in your gloves and underneath your arch in wader boots. These are sold at most tackle shops in the area.
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8. Treat yourself to a pair of 4-5 mil neoprene boot foot waders preferably with a polypropylene wool insert that wraps your feet or a Thinsulate rating of approx. 1200 or more in the boot. You work hard so you deserve it - right? Make sure they are 1-2 sizes bigger than normal as air circulation is key to keeping warm. My feet and body actually perspire on even the coldest of days and when standing in the freezing water all day! If you walk any great distances then these are not the best as you will perspire like crazy and then be damp all day. A lot of us full-time Winter guides use Cabelas (hunting?) waders that used to sell for around $200.
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9. Wear high tech. under garments that insulate as well as breath. I use Orvis and have found them to work great!
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10. Being in a drift boat with a big heater is always a treat.
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11. You all know about eating right. Stay away from things that take along time to digest. I find a nice pasta dish works for me. A good breakfast and lunch are also an important ingredient to staying warm in the afternoon.
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12. I find that when my toes and fingers start to sting, it's time to actively start moving them and think of warmer places. Going for a quick walk along the river is one of the best ways to get that feeling back. The trick is to never let your feet go numb. It can take all night to get the feeling back into them. If they start to sting, then thats your clue to take some kind of action. With stocking foot waders, where your laces lose or what I call "a sloppy fit". This also helps with blood circulation. Once, I stumbled into the river water when I let my feet go numb. Can't feel them and its easy to fall.
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13. Take breaks to your car or local restaurant to warm up.
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(Photo)
I think it was a toasty -2 degrees outside when this picture was taken. Approx. 16 lb's. Fish kept for Ken's dinner table. Congrats Ken!
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14. Keep moving from spot to spot only hitting the most productive areas in each hole.
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15. Start the morning off with a nice long walk to one of your favorite spots. There is nothing like a little exercise to warm you up. This warmth will also stick with you for awhile.
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16. Make sure you have on some good solid spikes, chains or korkers on your wading boots to keep you steady on your feet while on ice or slippery rocks. Felt is not enough.
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Hope this helps a lil, Randy
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Archived Dec. Salmon River Report
Im finding less fish around then the last few weeks. But, we are really just getting back to where the numbers are making more sense and where they normally should be at.
There are 2 reasons why Im finding less fish.
1. These fish have a very difficult time getting out of peoples freezers and making there way back into the river.
2. Natural fish movement.
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Today it was hard NOT to find them. We witnessed some incredible fights today and a few left us wanting.
We used the drift boat and John was 5 for 12.
Found them in 4 out of 6 spots.
3 from the first spot.
Nothing from the next 2 spots.
3 from the 4th.
3 from the 5th.
3 more from the 6th spot.
We left fish to find fish and probably could have played with more but the day had to end sometime.
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John has been having a problem landing fish over the last few years. So today he was hopeful to actually see what they look like up close and personal. He also was interested in learning some new and exciting water that he could come back too on his own and fish. We succeeded on all fronts. Just about every spot was hold'n. I noticed other anglers and other guides clients also having pretty good luck today. Top to bottom of river.
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(Photo's)
The Santa hat magically appeared out of my bag, just in time for the first fish picture. This next Steelhead we had to give chase in the boat and barely landed it. Directly below us was a fallen tree and shallow white water rapids. I set the anchor in the middle of the river, jumped out of the boat, gave chase and netted the fish just before it ran into the brush pile. John gave out a howler of satisfaction and excitement.
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(Photo's)
Caught John in the middle of doing battle. This picture shows who won!
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(Photo's)
What a honk'a! Approx. 16 lb'r. Great way to end the day! Congrats!! (All fish released)
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I'd like to take a minute and THANK all of you, who are putting some of your catch back. If it were not for some of you, I believe sincerely, that we could not have had such a productive day.
Thanks again!
Randy
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From the Mail Bag:
Randy, I found a book called Fly Fishing for Salmon and Steelhead of the Great Lakes, by Kenn Filkins, to be very instructive (but not quite as helpful as your web site, of course).
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By the way, congratulations with the success of your 12'6" 7 wt. Orvis. It sounds like a great rod. I went with the 11'6" 8/9 wt. Loomis, which I am loving, but (as you pointed out) it may not be the most appropriate for winter steelhead on the Salmon River. Maybe I need to get another rod . . .
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Who would have thought that less than two years ago I had never fly fished for steelhead or salmon. This year, by contrast, I've had seven great days of steelhead fishing and 13 great days of salmon fishing and my confidence (if not my skill) is growing by leaps and bounds as is my interest in the sport.
Thanks again for all of your help these past two years. I look forward to more instruction next year.
Have a great holiday season.
Mark
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Mark, I could not be happier for you! The fish gods have been smiling down upon you for sometime now. Happy Holiday's, Randy
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Hi Randy, how are you. Was wondering if you could give me some fly rod/reel equipment recommendations without me having to rob a bank to purchase stuff. Would be looking for a 9 foot, 9 weight outfit.
A place near me has some St. Croix rods with lifetime warrantees for between 150 and 200 bucks but as far as reels go, I have no clue. Would like to keep the reel under 200 bucks.
Perhaps I will see you this summer. Thanks Dave
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Hi Dave, Great rod for the bucks! Buy it!! Try an Orvis Battenkill Large Arbor 9-10 reel. Its one of the most reasonably priced L-A reels out there. I have used one for about 2-3 years, on a year round basis for steelhead, Salmon and Striped Bass. If you buy a lighter weight rod for Steelhead, then use it on that rod also. All of my 5, 6, 7 weight Steelhead rods all have 9-10 reels on them. Why buy another reel when the larger reel picks up more line, better drag, etc. Who cares if it does not balance with the rod perfectly. The fish dont seem to mind!
Hope this helps,
Randy
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Fun photo's:
(Photo's)
I like this photo of an iceberg floating down thru the lower end of the river while getting a nice Steelhead photo. The fun part of landing this steelhead was hoping these ice bergs wouldn't hit your leader and break you off. It's always FUN when your fishing and 1 of these run's into you. SURPRISE!!
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(Photo's)
I had a celebrity in the drift boat today. It was Dave Claus. (Santa's brother)
Dave, Myself and Miss Steelhead are fishing you all a Safe and Happy Holiday!
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(Photo's)
Floating thru the Cow Pasture in the drift boat during a dark, overcast, fresh snow, Winters day on the Salmon River Pulaski NY. (Looks pretty cold and miserable to me, care to join me? Didn't think soooooooo..............)
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(Photo's)
My niece Kate says, the fishieeeeees are thiiiiiiiiiiis BIG on the Salmon River NY!
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(Photo's)
Jen decided to spend some quality time with her boyfriend while he fished here for steelhead during the Winter. (yukyuk)
A funny reaction to when the heater runs out of propane in the middle of the day, in the middle of the Winter on the drift boat.
She was hanging around for the day while her boyfriend fished for Steelhead. (We hit our fair share) In return, she was promised a day of shopping in Montreal.
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From the Archives - Jud and his girlfriend Theresa had a few goals for today:
1. An introduction to the Salmon River.
2. Have fun
3. Stay warm
4. Learn the basics of fishing for Steelhead.
5. Catch fish
We succeeded on all of the above goals.
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Theresa's first question was, Randy, how will I know when I get one on? Jud and myself both said in unison, you'll know.
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Shortly there after she was tight to a Steelhead. She yelled, WOW, oh SH-T, what is happening, what do I do. (yukyuk, or something to that effect) As her line came tight, rod started to throb, drag started to sing and her fish made a mad dash for freedom.
She did a great job of fighting the fish and was rewarded with the below landed Steelie.
(Photo's)
Theresa with a (lake effect) snow covered hat and a great smile. Theresa battling her first ever fish in her whole life. What a way to break her in on a great big ol Steelhead.
What will todays steelhead drift boat fishing trip on the Salmon River NY have in store for us? Lot's of steelhead!
(Photo's)
WOW! A 16 lb. steelhead! This was Teresa's first time ever fishing in her whole life! I think she will be back) - (Fish released)
(Photo's)
Teresa yells out VICTORY!! throwing her arms in the air. Her boyfriend Jud was tickled pink and very proud of her success. I think Jud has found a new fishing buddy.
Jud mumbles under his breath, beginner's luck. yukyuk
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We hit fish in 1 out of 3 spots. Today's tally was 1 for 5.
Another memorable day of many. "The Salmon River, Where memories are made"
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Recent Viewer Comment:
Randy I have never fished with you but I want to thank you for your reports and all your advice on steelhead fishing. I am thrilled the fishing has made such a good comeback and you and your clients releasing all fish caught last week has to play a big part of the comeback. Just think about when the limit was 3/client and 3 for the guide. 9 a day taken 5 days a week and 45 less fish in the river just for your boat and if it was the same for other boats and shore anglers the fishery would never be what it is today.
Keep up the good work
Gary in Connecticut
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HI Gary, Thanks for your kind and generous words! Best Holiday Fish's, Randy
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We didn't catch a fish all week
My guest's and I canceled or re-scheduled 6 trip's this week due to uncomfortable - possible - probable dangerous, driving - fishing weather conditions. Sometimes, a fish (or the $) just ain't worth it. Your safety and comfort is #1!
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Where the land ends LIFE begins
My favorite time of the year:
First off, we have had about a gate of water or more for almost the entire steelhead season, so far. This has and well continue to cause a flow of fresh fish into the river. The reservoir's are looking good with ample water for the upcoming Winter month's.
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Weather and water wise, things are looking to be shaping up nicely for this Winter. With recent rain, then snow, then rain, then high winds combined with above freezing air temperature. This has produced additional run-off.
With air + water temperatures dropping you will then see them keying in on the slowest, deepest water for the remainder of the Winter. Keep in mind the transitional spots will still produce as long as we have fish on the move. (Presently)
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Another key is angler pressure. Less anglers = less pressure. With cold temp's, this cuts out a lot of the fair weather anglers. Hunting season also causes a reduction of angler's on the river. One of the main ingredients that effect's angler pressure at this time of year are the holidays.
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Most folks would think of Jan., Feb. not being very good. But I can tell you, it can and is a couple of great month's to steelhead fish.
All of the above and more are reasons why this is my favorite time of the year.
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Archived Jan. Salmon River Report
(Photo's)
With the sunrise came hopes for a good day on the river.
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I had a first today. My guest's were 100% on hooking up in every spot we fished off the drift boat. We hit fish in all 5 spots today. I also noticed about a dozen fish on the move (In transition, swimming up river) off the boat. Pat and Todd had a combined tally of 4 for 10 today on the Silver Bullet's! Blue egg sacks were the hot ticket today. Ssssssh.
We lost 2 fish today that were BIG Steelhead! One had to be about 20 lb's and the other was a solid 16 lb'r. Both were lost due to my guests poorly tied knots. (he-he)
(Photo's)
Todd is all smiles - 3 of the landed steelhead were released to fight another day and hopefully to produce more off spring for all of you to catch.
Only the above BIG Male was released into the cooler. Congrats!
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(Photo's)
As the sun rose to another day on the water, it made me realize how very lucky I am. To do what I enjoy and share it with all of you.
Thanks,
Randy
( P.S. If you are coming up this weekend to fish, bring a shovel and sleep in. -yukyuk)
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Dec. 8 Salmon River Pulaski NY Steelhead Drift Boat Guide Spin Fly Fishing Report Update:
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Steelhead are top to bottom of the Salmon River. Fresh Steelhead entering, running, spreading out and settling into there Winter homes. Steelhead anglers are finding steelhead up top, middle and lower River. Go get'm!!
Please re-read all of the below complementary fishing reports, Tips, Articles as they relate to Steelhead. They all have relevant info. that is still pertinent now
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NORTH BRANCH SALMON RIVER AT REDFIELD NY
Here is a "live" gauge on one of the feeder streams - branches that run into the Salmon River Res. system. USGS Current Conditions for USGS 04249200 NORTH BRANCH SALMON RIVER AT REDFIELD NY It gives you an idea of run-off. Heard a rumor that in the future we might get another live internet gauge on the other branch.
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On the Floor laughing Article:
I laughed my butt off when I read the part about a traditional fly fisherman writer for Trout Unlimited ending up w/ a professional steelhead guide who only fished spinning rods with bait, chummed the water with bait (fish eggs) and after landing his first steelhead the guide promptly whacked the fish on the head w/ a bat so a picture could be taken w/ out the fish falling out of his hands)
I think that the writer was doing a comedy sketch (made up?) about the humor of complete opposites, except for the one thing they both shared and cherished in their lives...... the true passion for the sport!
Steelhead Skies | Trout Unlimited - Conserving coldwater fisheries
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(To see all photo's - Fishing Report page)
Skip is tied into another 10 lb. Fresh Silver Bullet (Landed). I'm hamming it up, ready with the net and my goofy looking hat!
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This Weeks Guest Fishing Report:
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Mon.
Sa-zammmmm! Fish on and on and on!! My 2 guest's hammered the chrome today with approx. 18 steelhead. After soooo many steelhead, its hard to keep track! (All fish released) Simply amazing!!
We fished 8 spots over a 6 mile stretch off the drift boat and hit them in all. The 6 thing's we did that was critical for my guest's success were:
1. Presentation
2. Working - cover our water (prime lye) thoroughly.
3. Changing our rigging according to what the fish were plainly telling me.
4. Presentation
5. Presentation
6. Having the correct Habitat, there is a lot of empty water out there
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Tues.
Scheduled day off the water to work in the office.
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Wed.
Another amazing steelhead adventure off the drift boat! Mike and his 11 year old daughter Alexa's made me proud to be there guide. Mike did most of the fishing while his daughter slept, hung out in front of the heater, ate snacks and landed the occasional Steelhead that dad Mike hooked up. Mike tangled w/ an approx. 12 Steelhead. We found them in 4 out of 7 spots fished over a 8 mile stretch. One spot was a prime Winter lye and the other a transitional holding place. Last Friday I had fished this transitional holding spot and we hit 5 steelhead, but none today for the short time we were in it. Looked at my watch and it was time to hit the ramp. Another great day of many on this never ending virtual fishing trip.
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Thurs.
Incredible! Outstanding "Day for Kings"
My 2 guest's played with approx. 19 steelhead off the drift boat in 5 or 6 different places over a 6 mile stretch and I even hooked up a few while demonstrating and experimenting with our presentation.
50% Fresh and 50% older steelhead around. They landed some beauties!
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Fri.
Noticed some more fresh steelhead around that have recently arrived.
Same clients as yesterday, 1/2 day trip today off the drift boat with my 2 experienced guest's. They hooked up approx. 8-9 steelhead. Ye-haa! They landed some beauties! All from several magical spot's! Congrats!
At days end I was flattered and recieved the highest complement any guide could ever ask for. (Very experienced steelhead angler) Gary said that he learned more in 1 day with me than in the last 3 years of being guided by numerous other guides.
Al didn't have to say anything as I was flattered and complemented by him with ALL of the steelhead he got to play with. This was his first time EVER fishing for them. His exact implementation of my suggestions on his presentation were spot on and numerous steelhead were the rewarding result!
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Guess we just got Lucky this week
I sincerely hope that all of you have a chance to experience a day or a week like my guest's and myself enjoyed!
(All fish released for you and your children's future fishing pleasure, its nice to share, the gift that keeps on giving, remember, nobody likes shrinkage -yukyuk
Hmmm, pulled the calculator out after realizing my guest's averages were up a lil this year from last, over all.
7 guest's for the week had an 8 steelhead per angler approx. average of 56 steelies
In 3.5 days of guiding, we enjoyed an approx. 16 steelhead per outing of approx. 56 silver bullet total.
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(To see all photo's)
Ken with a Bright Chrome Freshie, Congrats!
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Humor
Today started as one of those relaxing, enjoyable, peaceful rainy days. The only thing that was irritating was when the tranquility of the day was interrupted by that darn whining sound of my guest's drag's. Then people would yell, Fish On. Come on folks, can't a guide get a lil rest, peace and quite around here? The nerve of some people! Then I was expected to chase after this 16 lb. Steelhead that kept doing these darn 25 foot tail walks across the pool, then these obnoxious somersault's 4 feet into the air with a big ol loud belly flop with water splashing 20 feet in all directions. I would have reeeeelly been upset if my hair had gotten wet. Then more speeding bullet run's until that bright orange stringy stuff (backing) would appear behind the fly line.
I just could not win today. Every spot I stopped to fish, my guest's would continually hook more fish. Out of 3 spot's my guest's fished, we hit them in all. I got so fed up that I finally stopped in a spot where no fish has been hooked in over 100 years, and my guest's were still able to hook some up. So much for a nice relaxing day on the water. I think I need to find a new, less stressful job, where a person can get a lil R and R
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Habitat - Reading Water - Current Breaks
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One of the most important aspects of Habitat is to figure out the relationship between all of the different water levels and all of the individual and different current break's. How each current break effect's the water movement and then how the fish relate to each current break. By having a clear and precise understanding of this allows the knowledgeable angler to understand our quarries weakness and then exploit them. Basically, where do they hold at all of the different water levels on this river to help you catch them.
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The reason a current break is so important to the fish is that it decreases the amount of energy they need to expend to maintain it's position in the river, creek or stream. If they have to expend to much energy they will die. You can see how these current breaks can be the difference between life or death for a fish and why it is critical for them to use them and for us, the angler, to understand this relationship.
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The fish change their lies every time there is a major change in water flow in most holes. Due to the effects that the current break has or does not have on this new flow of water. They will also change their preferences due to time of year, fishing pressure, temperature of water and their biological clock to name just a few. Their change could be as little as moving from the head of the hole (heads of holes are current breaks) to the middle of the hole where the current is not as strong. Or from the tail (higher water flows - the tail is a current break) to the middle of the pool when the water drop's. During real high water sometimes the hole (current break) itself provides little to no protection from the current and you will find the fish moving to the seam of the hole. A seam - where the faster water meets the slower water. Seam's are another current break that the fish love to use. During extreme water flows they could even position themselves directly along the bank of the river.
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We have low water current breaks and high water current breaks. Many times a current break is not large enough to effect the high water and the fish's relationship to it becomes useless. Just the opposite can be said for larger current breaks during low water. A prime example of this would be --- hole. During low water this large hole is normally not used by the fish because the water moves so slowly above it that there is no current for the fish to need it. (It's like a pond) But, during high water when the current is really moving, this spot is used by the fish because it provides shelter (a current break) for the fish to conserve their energy as they move up or down the river. So, we have high water spots (current breaks) that we only fish during high water and low water spot's that we only fish during low water.
So the trick is to know when each spot (or part of the spot) is productive (when the fish will use them) and only fish these area's during the correct water flow. We have different current breaks that the Steelhead use in the Fall (more aerated moving water) compared to the Winter (less aerated moving water). We have different current breaks that the fish use while they are moving up or down (in transition) the river that are different than where they would want to stay for an extended period of time. You have heard me talk about these spots as transitional holding and holding. During their spawn their current breaks change again.
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The small island you stand on to fish the hole in low water is now the current break for the fish in much higher water flows. The small boulder on the bottom of the river holds fish behind it in low water flows but becomes almost useless during high water.
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Transitional water is where the fish keep swimming up river and do not stop.
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Transitional holding water is structure or current breaks that the fish use while in a transitional mode while moving up or down the river to rest for awhile. The length of time any species of fish will hold on these current breaks is determined by the quality of the current break and what the fish had to go through to get to it. (There are other factors also) Fish normally use the depth of water and the current to navigate. So any current break that is on this path is normally used. Whenever we have fish that are in transition then these locations should always be fished.
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Holding Water:
They have reached a place in the river where all of their survival instincts are satisfied.
We need the same things they do to survive.
A prime lye consists of:
1. Depth of water for safety from predators.
2. A good enough current break to decrease the amount of energy they need to expand to maintain this position.
3. Enough food.
These "happy fish" will not move from these positions unless one of a number of things happen.
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Having an intimate understanding of Current Breaks and when and where to fish them will help you on your steelhead quest.
Best Fish's, Randy Jones
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Dec. 1 Special Holiday Fishing Report and Ramblings Update:
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(To see all Holiday photo's, please visit profile - Fishing Report page)
A Brown Trout and a Steelhead caught while fishing the Salmon River in Pulaski NY during the Holidays
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Temperatures look to moderate this coming week. Winds look light if at all. I noticed a lot of the bank anglers having success, which is always nice to see.
All is great on the Steelhead front. Lot's around in some places, some are scattered in other spots and we still have some in a transitional stage, entering, running the river and spreading out. So those transitional resting point's shouldn't be over looked yet.
I'm noticing 75% darker steelhead and the balance being bright chromers. The fresher steelhead are either in those transitional holding spots or ones that have just recently moved into there Winter places.
I was flattered to speak with an ex-client of mine who was out fishing all week on his own. He thanked me for showing him this spot and helping him with presentation and rigging. He found 16 steelhead on one of his days and plenty more on the other days. Shortly there after he was tight to another one of many steelhead. Since he was fishing a lil up river from my drift boat, I offered to net his fish from the back of the boat. He pulled that steelhead in and brought it to the surface behind my boat and with the help of my 10 foot net handle we were easily able to land it. What a beauty! Fish released.
I might add that ALL of the Steelhead we landed this past week were ALL released, for your future fishing pleasure. I'd like to thank all of you who are releasing your catch as your gift to ALL of us anglers. It's nice to share.
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Ramblings from the Row'rs Seat:
A guide friend told me recently that before it snowed he filled his drift boat to the brim with trash he had picked up from Pineville down to 2A. Super!
I was at a few popular spot's myself the other day and picked up a bunch of trash. Thanks to the few of you who pick up other's trash also!
Next time I stop in Jersey, Im going to dump all MY trash in there front yard and see how THEY like it. (Just kidding Jersey)
Once, I filled my boat 4 feet high on all sides from the transom to the bow with trash bags on a river clean up with friends. Had to stand up while rowing to be able to see down river.
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Just another day at the office
The Moon lit our travels to the hopeful honey hole under the cover of dark. The sun rose to an inspiring orange and pink sky with an encore of Geese trumpeting over head. The thunder shouted, fish on! A rainbow the color of our quarry, shown majestically over the meadow. The pouring rain, sleet, hail, sun, snow and a bone chilling west wind off the lake were are travel companions today.
(Boy, I should be a writer, NOT!!)
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Ever heard these?
W.C. Fields Quote: (you youngsters may need to google his name)
When he was asked what he spent all his money on?
Broads, Booze and Gambling, the rest I wasted.
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W.C. Fields Quote on Prejudice:
I am free of all prejudice. I hate everyone equally.
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W.C. Fields Quote on Trust:
Trust everybody, but cut the cards yourself.
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Where the land ends LIFE begins
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(Photo)

This article first appeared in the February 2002 issue of the NY Conservationist magazine and is being reprinted with their permission. Article and most photo's by Mike Cavanaugh. Mike works in DEC's Division of Public Affairs and Education.
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You may enjoy reading Mikes article on a day on the Salmon River with his son Tom. For me, certain days stand out among other's. Sometimes its the big fish, numbers of fish or the camaraderie we share. Today was different, it was not about numbers or size, but mostly about dad sharing his love for the great outdoors with his son and spending quality time together.
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May devoted anglers read these words and relive the simple pleasures of finding - and landing - the big one.
( The fisherman's book of wisdom )
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(To see all Holiday photo's)
A Fish for Christmas?
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Thomas looked a little puzzled as he picked the brightly wrapped package from under the tree; it wasn't heavy, it didn't rattle or anything. In fact, it felt like an empty box. A cruel trick to play on a 12-year old boy, but the sudden appearance of cameras as he unwrapped it meant that this would be something special. He was even more perplexed, however, when the box contained only a single fishing fly and a note that said January 5th.
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Fly Fishing in January?
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The drive up to the Salmon River was filled with questions. What kind of fish will we be after? What's a steelhead? How will we get to the river in all the snow? What's a drift boat? What if I get cold? Why are we going with a guide, Dad?
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The answer to the last question really shed light on all the others. My experience with winter steelhead fishing was limited, to say the least. A guide would help us be safe, comfortable and most of all, he'd share his knowledge on the river. After a quick dinner in Pulaski, we settled in.
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I had met Randy Jones at an outdoor show the previous spring while helping with the fly casting demonstrations near Randy's booth. After a few friendly exchanges about my technique, or lack thereof, we started talking about the Salmon River. This guy seemed to have a compatible personality, the right approach to fishing and a good attitude about protection of the resource and ethical behavior on the river-all important considerations that I wanted to share with my son. More importantly, he really seemed to enjoy what he did, a quality I've found to be contagious. I had wanted to get Thomas out during the winter run of steelhead, but had never ventured into the cold and ice to try. A chat with Randy made up my mind.
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That night, I dreamt of dancing steelhead and the excited smiles of a boy who is growing up too quickly. We hopped out of bed in the pre-dawn darkness to find 4 inches of fresh snow and a temperature of about 20 degrees. Promptly at 6 AM, Randy, with his drift boat in tow, pulled up. We got Thomas outfitted with some 5 mm Neoprene waders, korkers (safety spikes for the slippery bottom) and grabbed a bite to eat on our way to the drift boat launch in Altmar, just downstream from the DEC's Salmon River Hatchery.
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Before launching the boat, Randy and I talked about my objectives for the day. I told Randy that this was Thomas's trip and, with that in mind, to devote most of his attention to making sure my son learned a bit of technique, and how to be a courteous and ethical angler. While catching a fish was important, a good day on the water was the goal.
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(To see all Holiday photo's)
We fished for a while in the fly-only area upstream of the Altmar bridge, using a fly rod. My third cast-WHAM! A silver rocket took the fly and gave me the fight of my life-for all of about 30 seconds, that is, 'til I got too aggressive and it broke the tippet. Oh well! Under our guide's tutelage, Thomas was doing much better; getting the hang of casting to the right spot, feeling the drift and cooperating with the handful of other anglers in the pool. After 45 minutes, Randy decided it was time to move downstream a bit.
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(To see all Holiday photo's)
Riding in the big drift boat was quite an experience for both of us. Randy steered and poled us around some rocks; we bumped over others. The fresh snow, combined with the steam rising off the river and the bright gray of January overcast made it a surreal picture. Other anglers shivered in their waders as we drifted past and warmed our hands in the red glow of the propane heater on the boat. While drifting Randy spoke to Thomas about his experiences fishing the Salmon River and his love of fishing.
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(To see all Holiday photo's)
We drifted for a few minutes and landed at a hole just upstream from the popular trestle pool. We got out of the boat and waded into the icy water (thank goodness for our insulated Neoprene waders). There were a few other anglers and some real promising water. The promise was kept within a few minutes as Thomas hooked into a large and very energetic steelhead. I put down my rod, picked up the camera and enjoyed watching my son get dragged around 100 yards of Salmon River real estate, with Randy running close behind! The big fish was netted and Thomas got a close look at a 16-pound silver beauty. High-fives all around, a picture or two from the proud dad, and the fish was released unharmed to hopefully brighten the day of another angler.
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As we drifted and fished for the rest of the day, we learned about the river, we visited with other anglers, we talked about the steelhead we were seeing, we had a lot of laughs and , oh, by the way, Thomas caught another fish or two. Randy felt bad that the "old man" hadn't caught any fish, but I assured him it didn't matter. After all, that wasn't the objective of the trip. Just look at that smile!
(To see all Holiday photo's)
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I'm often asked, "What was your best day on the water? After 30 plus years of guiding in Vermont, on Cape Cod and the Salmon River in New York, many best days flash across my mind. As I searched deep for my best fish story, it suddenly hit me. It wasn't my fish, my day or even my story that gave me the most rewarding experience!
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Any guide will tell you, we are teachers and our true satisfaction comes in a way that any teacher feels when their students do well on a test. When I guide I feel my guest's are fishing through me. As a partnership striving for the same goal.
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Today, more than ever I felt a part of Mike and Thomas's hopes, desires and dreams. We shared laughter and the excitement in each other's voices. The look of total satisfaction and awe as we revived, released and watched a keeper swim away, savoring its beauty and gracefulness. Released to produce more offspring for your children's pleasure.
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Subscriptions can be purchased by either mailing a check, or via a "Hot Button" from the opening page of the DEC's website link below and subscribing on line.
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The Conservationist
PO Box 1500
Latham, NY 12110
or call: 1-800-678-6399
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Visit the Department's website at: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
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(To see all Holiday photo's)
12 year old ("Hot Rod" for the day) Tom's Holiday present from his Dad, Mike.
Tom was all smiles after fighting this big (approx. 16lb Steelhead). This was his first time ever fishing for them. The second one even though smaller, still gave him a great fight and both will last in his memory for a life time. Congrats Tom! I have a feeling it will be a long ride home for his father Mike! ( Both fish released )
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It's Q and A time. Get your thinking caps on.
Question related to Habitat
You have 30 seconds to answer................
Ready,
Set,
Go!
How many current break's are there normally in a pool?
You have 6 current breaks (unless I missed one ) in every pool. (Add in any big boulders, logs or lil depressions)
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Can you name them?
You have 30 seconds......................
Times up. I'm watching, so don't try to cheat like you did in high school -yukyuk
1. The head of the pool
2. The seam on the right side
3. The seam on the Left side
4. The tail of the pool- folks dont think of this as a current break.
5. The speed of the water. Where it goes from fast to slow.
6. And the little talked about, "The hole within the Hole"
If the hole is on a corner than the inside of the corner where the water is slower could produce. You may call this the inside seam. Or, any current break (example - single rock, any size, or a pile of rocks) within the faster water on the outside of the corner could produce.
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Question related to Habitat
1. How many of these current breaks produce steelhead?
2. Are all of these current breaks guaranteed to produce a Steelhead or two for you?
You have 30 seconds.......................
Times up.
1. All 6 current breaks.
2. Yes, may be seasonal or water level dependent.
Yup, at some time or another they will all produce for you. All of them could produce in the same pool, same day, same hour.
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What is the most important factor on whether these current breaks will produce for you or not? (providing their are fish there)
You have 10 seconds...........................
Times up.
Presentation
The pool could be loaded with chrome and if you do not have the proper presentation than nada. I see it daily. We can have a hole loaded with Salmon or Steelhead, sometimes you can even see them as their are so many. But, we never catch one until my guest's have gone through the ol learning curve and succeeded in 100% presentation. I've written about this before so Im sure most of you remember what I consider be a 100% drift. No matter the tool you use to present your offering. A 100% drift would be anything that gets and keep's you offering in the strike zone the quickest and the longest for the specific tool you are using. (In my opinion)
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1. What are the 2nd and 3rd most important part's of fishing if presentation is 80% of it? (In my opinion)
You have 10 seconds.................................
Times up
1. Habitat and Rigging
The 2nd and 3rd most important would be rigging and habitat, which Ive discussed a lil in the recent past and a hole lot over the years.
If any of the 3 P, H and R are are not 100% than your hoping for luck. Sure it happens, but to be confident and consistent, you'll need 100% knowledge first of all 3 .
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Question: (In my opinion)
You have a pocket. How many current breaks are there?
You have 30 seconds..............................
Times up.
You have the same number of current breaks as a pool. A pocket is just a smaller version of a pool.
It could be a BIG pocket or a small pool.
How about a run (channel), # of current breaks?
Again, I'd guess 6. Same as a pocket or a pool. Pretty much the same thing. They are normally just long and narrow.
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*A lil tip I'll share with you is that in a large pocket, created by a big rock ('s). I normally find them at "what we call" the V. As the current comes back together after passing the big rock, it forms a sometimes visible V.
*As soon as the fish swim's up river and comes in contact with the V, it has found itself a pretty nice resting - holding area (current break) to take a break. You would think that directly behind the rock would be the preferred stopping - resting point, but it's not the preferred. The tail or V also provides any feeding fish the ability to keep a look out for any food passing by. Surprisingly enough, the current break (V) could go 20-30 feet or more, either surface or sub-surface behind the rock. So the rock you see might have a fish sitting 40 feet back on it. (At the bottom of the V)
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What is similar and just as important or critical for success as a surface current break. (Example of a surface current break - big rock tip sticking out of the water combined with current with a visual pocket behind it that you can see - hint hint)
You have 5 seconds..............................
Times up.
Answer: Sub-surface current break
This could be anything from a rock, the hole with in the hole, log, underneath the white water at the head of the hole. If you think about it, doesn't a big subsurface rock have 4 or so current breaks? Behind the rock, the 2 seams beside and behind the rock and the tail (V). Hmmmm, interesting.
Keeping on this thought. How many of you remember a specific current break (example - rock) that is visible in the lower water and then becomes invisible during the higher water? I personally find that the productivity of this type of current break increases in value when the water is higher.
Also, how about that lil island you stand on to fish when the water is low. Think that might be a nice current break that the fish will use when the water is higher?
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These and more are the area's to concentrate on. Specific lye's, prime holding area's, prime current breaks that I always use in my business. Pretty simple once you break it down.
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I hope you'll look at any one of these prime spots, current breaks, holding area's a lil different now. There are obviously a lot more different types of current breaks to look for when your on the hunt for the sometimes elusive Steelhead.
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Your getting good. You get a gold star for today's test. I'll try to make it harder for you next time. Boy, and here you thought you were just coming here for a fishing report.
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Best Holiday Fish's,
Randy Jones
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River News - Celebrity Guest Catch's Steelhead!
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(To see all Holiday photo's)
Guess who was fishing for Steelhead in old farts pool this weekend on the river? Yup, even Santa takes time off to wet a line and tangle with some Silver Bullets on the Salmon River. Ol' Saint Nick was 1 for 3 using a combination of glow bugs and Stones. Santa was last seen chasing a rocketing, somersaulting, speeding bullet, tail walking Steelhead down the river steady on his feet, bellowing Ho-Ho-Ho, Happy Steelhead Fishing Holidays to Alllllllll..
(Santa released all of his Steelhead, as a Holiday gift to you)
"The fish you release may be a gift to another fisherman as it may have been a gift to you."
Lee Wulff
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Funny story:
A guide friend asked me where we were hitting all of our steelhead this week. I told him I couldn't remember as it was dark outside when I anchored the drift boat.
After we had hooked up several Steelhead a bank angler asked what we were using, I said I couldn't see as it was dark outside when I tied it on.
After we had hooked up several Steelhead a very wise and experienced friendly steelhead bank angler (who I might add was having a lot of success also) asked what pound test leader - tippet we were using. I said I couldn't remember as it was dark outside when I tied it on. Then I pulled out my spool from my chest wader pocket and said, O, its 50 ponund test. He politly chuckled in return, for me being soooooooooo helpful.
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Food's that help you to stay warm in the Winter and "Kids" what is lake effect snow video:
VIDEO: Foods That Keep You Warm
VIDEO: How does lake effect snow happen?
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Mail Bag:
Hi Randy, I have been planning to make trips up to the salmon R for probably 8 to 10 yrs and havent made it yet. I hit 18 mile creek a couple of times right around this time of yr...but am interested in getting knowledgable enough to make annual trips up to the Salmon R (about half the drive). I have all the gear.
I am interested in getting a handle on where, how to fish the Salmon from shore in areas where I can wade fish without killing myself (58 yrs old, in pretty good shape but my knee joints have some wear and tear)
Any suggestions on areas I could target? If you have some good ideas on locations to point me at and think I would benefit from scheduling in some time with you, please advise. Are weekdays much better (crowdwise) than weekends? Any insight/recommendations will be greatly appreciated. Thanks - Joe
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Hi Joe, Mid-week always best, less angler pressure so more fishing opportunity for you. If flexible, try not to fish on a Holiday or around it or weekend's.
Any place where there is a bridge crossing the river. Any place where there is a road that runs along the river. They also have a number of public parking area's adjacent to some of the holes. A map would show you these area's nicely. I'd start there.
Happy Hook'n, Randy
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(To see all Holiday photo's)
Some more Holiday Cheer Steelhead. Congrats!!
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Last weeks fishing report:
Mon.
Dentist apt. schedued day off. No cavities, so I was happy
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Tues.
Dave and brother Ron - "repeat - experinced" clients tangled w/ approx. 27 steelhead. Yup, your eyes are reading that correctly. 27!!!!! Holy cow! I doubt Ill have another one of those days again this season. My guest's and myself enjoyed "A Day For KINGS!"
I sincerley hope that all of you have a chance to experince a day like today!
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Wed.
Dave and brother Ron joined me for a second day, hungry for some more Chrome. Fought approx. 17 total Steelhead today. Simplie AMAZING!!! They just booked me for another 5 days. Spring time April steelhead, next years Fall Salmon and Nov. steelhead.
Since I'm rambling about future Steelhead fishing, I like the Winter time as you'll have more fishing opportunity w/ less anglers fishing. Which normally means more steelhead for you!
I also like the end of March and the first few weeks of April for Spring time steelhead fishing. Its a lil warmer, sight fishing is an optional treat and in April the upper fly zone opens back up wich is another option. The U.F.Z. closed today until next April.
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Thurs.
Canceled trip due to dangerous wind chills. Yes, I had my skirt on - yukyuk, so you fair weather anglers are not alone and can rib me a lil.
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Fri.
Friday the river was VERY crowded with anglers and boats. I didn't know if Id be able to find a good place to fish. It was soooo cold, I didn't meet my guest until 8am. I got lucky and found 2 nice spots that know one knew about.
As I slowly drift down the river in the drift boat, I noticed know one was fishing the tail of a very productive hole. I set the anchor and within a few drift's my "repeat - experinced" guest was into his first Steelhead of many. Landed a couple nice ones out of 6. Once we finished experimenting with rigging and presentational changes (that all worked) and the fishing slowed to a crawl. We pulled anchor and headed out to see what prime water we could find them in next. I noticed know one was fishing a normally productive spot that fish's great in 750 cfs. So I set the anchor and within a few drift's my guest was tight to 5 more Steelhead. We fished 2 other spots very breifly and left as it was a lil to crowded for my liking.
My 1 "repeat - experinced" guest Anton played with 11 Steelhead today!
Biggest Steelhead was approx. 15lb's as it catapulted itself skyward toward the heavens, somersaulting several times before splash down! I could see angler heads turning as it sounded like a big brick being thrown into the water. Then a tail walk for about 20 feet. Darn..... I love this job!
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Another one of Anton's day's out with me steelhead fishing:
Anton was my 1 guest using a fly rod off the drift boat on Sat. Due to his superior angler ability level, He Hammered'm!
He played with approx. 16 Steelhead. Ye-haaaa!
Within the first 10 minutes the drift boat across from us had 3 Steelhead on. It wasn't long before Anton had his first Steelhead on for the day, of many. After the next 15 minutes of no fish for us to play with we decided to get out of the boat and work this productive spot 5-6 feet at a time, working our 30 foot window of opportunity. We picked away at them while the boat across from us were hammering them using center pin's w/ floats and eggs or beads. (Over heard the guide say they played with 14 Steelhead in this spot the day before.) After Anton and I had moved down approx. 100 feet from where we had started off the boat, we found a pod of Steelhead in this normally productive small area! We worked about a 12 foot length of the bank working back and forth the remainder of the day. Why leave fish to try to find fish, especially with all the drift boats and fair weather shore anglers around. Pheeew, now I could relax and enjoy the view. I watched Anton's presentation thru out the day and suggested a few reminders and tips that worked like magic. Try this, then like magic, "Fish On". We both would chuckle.
At one point we were hitting Steelhead on almost every drift. Wow! Then, all of a sudden nothing! We poked around for the next hour with not'a nibble. Looked at my watch and it was time to hit the ramp.
All the other boats and shore anglers were all smiles as we slowly drifted down the river past them in the drift boat, joking and laughing. I congratulated 1 guide and his clients of there success's. I told him we didnt find 1 steelhead all day in this one spot that we had been fishing all day. He knew better He said that he had noticed us having success. I told him they were only chub's. We all laughed. Another guide freind and his clients were fishing a nice place all by themselves down river. We joked how up river looked more like Salmon Season with all the boats and anglers. It was nice to see everyone out enjoying this world class fishery! Even saw a few family's out with the kids having fun.
Another one of many, Day for Kings!
Congrats again Anton!
All fish were pictured and released for all of you to enjoy! Mostly old'r darker educated male and female Steelhead with one freshy in the bunch.
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(To see all Holiday photo's)
This is one of my all time favorite steelhead photo's. Anton fishing in April. Big'ol Buck! Congrats!! (Released)
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Anglers are finding the steelhead fishing presently either challenging, tuff, ok, not bad, pretty good or amazing. I guess we just got lucky this last week, as we found the steelhead fishing amazing!!
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Crystal Ball Fishing Forecast:
The Steelhead fishing will remain strong all Winter into May! On top of ALL of the Steelhead that are presently in the Salmon River. We will continue to see many more Steelhead enter, run, spread out and hold in the Salmon River NY. I'd recommend coming over to fish.
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Today's Fishing Tip:
Please re-read all of the below complementary fishing reports, Tips, Articles as they relate to Steelhead. They all have relevant info. that is still pertinent now.
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Water Level Forecast and Crystal Ball:
Until 11:59 PM Sun DEC 01, 750 CFS
Water Temp's have dropped even further. (hint-hint)
Wed. the local creeks came up and were running chocalate, due to the storm that dumped rain and snow on us. I was surprised that they didnt raise the Salmon River water levels, so I guess they had room for it all. A freind recently reported that @ one of the 2 reziviours, it was 2 feet below full.
We have some more rain and snow in the forecast. Dont know if it will be enouph for the water levels in the river to come up or not. I'd guess that the water levels will remain at 750 cfs and then drop later this week?
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Did you know?
If you look at all the license plates in all the angler parking lot's along the Salmon River. You will, on any given day see more out of State plates then NY plates. Also, you will see more NY plates around all of the other local Steelhead and Salmon streams and creeks that are not publicized that much.
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Did you know?
Approx. 10 years ago when the DEC did a creel survey, 80% of anglers were keeping these steelhead and not practicing C and R. 20% of our Steelhead anglers were.
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Approx. 3 years ago when the DEC did a creel survey the above percentages were reversed. Only 20% of anglers were keeping these Steelhead while 80% were putting them all back and practicing C and R. Hmmm!
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A good ol'timer freind and guide jokingly say's that there is one bad side effect to keeping and eating these fish. Genital Shrinkage!
He told that to one of my clients a few weeks back when he decided to keep one. My guest replied, I know all about that, I've been married for 30 years (harhar)
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Ever wonder why we have sooo mannnny morrrre Steelhead around now, compared to 8-10 years ago?
I'm no fish biologist. But, I'd guess its for numerous reason's.
1. Genetically stronger Strains?
2. Creel limit of 1 Steelhead per day per angler.
3. Size restriction to keep.
4. Mild Winter's.
5. Pen rearing project's. Letting the fish get larger before being released. Less predation?
6. More anglers practicing C and R. Nobody likes Shrinkage!
7. More bait in the lake?
8. The hatchery folks are putting steroids in the water?
I'd have to guess that its a lil of all of the above, plus some I missed.
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Hello and Happy Holidays to all the armed forces that read my reports from around the world. We will save a few fish for you all appon your safe return. Thanks for your service!
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Thats it for this week's Fishing Report, Etc... I think I covered all the important stuff.
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May all your door knobs smell of Steelhead
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Thank you all for your words of encouragement, kind words and continued support. Ill continue to do my best in sharing what I've learned through experience, experimentation, borrowed ideas and taught techniques.
Stay tuned for more entertainingly informative and mildly educational reports and articles on this never-ending virtual fishing trip with your host Randy "The Yankee Angler" and friends.
I sincerely hope that what little I've been able to share with you will help you along the path to more enjoyable, safe, knowledgeable fishing.
Thanks for stopping in and spending your valuable internet fishing time here
Hope your all enjoying this great fishing!
The Steelhead fishing of your dreams...... ............ we'll make it reeeeeeeeeeeeeel.
(Holiday photo's)
An ol'Holiday Brown Trout, landed by me in ol'Pucker Brush Creek
Best Steelhead and Salmon Holiday Fish's,
Salmon River NY Guide and Author Randy Jones
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