New York’s Salmon River has long been revered for its fantastic runs of trout, steelhead, and its namesake: salmon. Atlantic Salmon were the first to put a bend in anglers’ fishing poles, but New York State stocks Pacific salmon species to increase angling opportunities. The headwaters of the Salmon River, Lake Ontario, offers fantastic fishing as well, with a fleet of charter boats at the ready to target all of these species.
Primetime for Steelhead is March through May, with January, February, July and August producing fish at a slower rate.. November and December can also produce, depending on the year. For Kings and Cohos, take a trip in September and October. Atlantics run from April through November, giving you a wide window to tangle with these natives. Brown Trout are available almost year-round and the Smallmouth bite heats up right before the spawn in early April, and tends to run all the way through to ice-up. No matter what the season there is always something to fish for in this watershed.
Because these fish are highly migratory, many anglers choose to hire one of the many knowledgeable guides that call the region home. Many factors affect when these runs occur, from rainfall to temperature and even the position of the sun, so going with a professional that is intimately acquainted with these subtle nuances significantly increases your odds of landing the behemoth you have been dreaming about. Wading is the primary method of accessing the water, but there are drift boats for hire that will let you cover significantly more water than you could on foot. Private water is also available, for those that would like to fish waters that receive limited pressure, with or without a guide.
In addition to the salmonids, there are other species in the area worth chasing. Walleye, often of substantial size, can be found in Lake Ontario from Oswego Harbor to Black River Bay, as well as Sandy Pond and Oneida Lake. Bass fishing is another highlight of the region with the eastern shore of Lake Ontario once again providing fantastic action, as well as Oneida Lake and a number of smaller lakes and ponds. There are guides that specialize in both fishing lures using conventional tackle or fly fishing gear for those looking for an added challenge, and those that tackle ice fishing when the water turns hard. Look to New York’s Salmon River region for your next angling adventure!