I recently have become an avid fisherman. This is quite a surprise because I’m the anti thesis of an outdoors person. I grew up in New York City and I’m more familiar with the concrete jungle than with the great outdoors. No one could expect that this city boy would love to go fishing on a river in upstate New York.
About ten years ago, I was invited by a friend named Howard to go salmon fishing on a charter boat on Lake Ontario. I did not go due to lack of interest and other commitments but something that puzzled me was the thought that salmon were in a lake. Having lived in the Pacific Northwest and been to Pike Street Market and seeing the salmon being tossed by your head I always thought salmon were ocean fish. As I was starting to become interested in fishing I googled salmon fishing Lake Ontario and then I started reading about the Salmon River in Pulaski NY. I read about how Lake Ontario was stocked with Pacific Northwest salmon and that yearly from September – November they migrate up the Salmon River in Pulaski NY to spawn. As they run up the river fisherman will fish for these great fish.
Last week on Sunday, my wife was not feeling well so we did not go for our typical Sunday drive. Since it was such a nice day, I called my friend Sam and asked him “have you heard about the Salmon River in Pulaski?” He said he had been fishing out in a charter with his father in law for salmon on Lake Ontario but he did not know about the Salmon River. I proceeded to tell him that the fish migrate up the river and that you can fish for them from the banks. Sam, was intrigued and he said “lets go for a drive – I’ll pick you in a few”.
As we neared Pulaski we saw a sign to the Salmon River Fish Hatchery which I had read about. I told my friend to make a right and drive up the hatchery. Not sure what we expected but we looked around and then went to the stairs that the fish had to climb. It was early September so there were a few fish in the stairs that we could see.
After that we went back on the main road to Pulaski NY and we turned into the first DEC fishing post. There seemed to be about 20 cars parked so it looked like this could be the spot. We got out and started walking down the clearly marked trail down to the river. After about 10 minutes we encountered two guys walking like with something heavy on their backs. As we got closer it was two salmon that they were carrying. These were not just small fish these were gigantic, these were river monsters. They each looked to be about 30 pounds each. As we passed these guys I think my pace got faster as I hurried to the river.
When we got to the river we saw about 20 people wading in the river and there was a college age girl reeling in a fish. She fought this fish for about 30 minutes on a fly rod. I watched as she pulled in this fish and it was probably 25 pounds which is amazing considering the girl that pulled it in was probably just over 100 lbs with her waders. As I walked around the bank I made up in my mind that I was going to start fishing on this river.
Not sure how long we stayed at the Sportmans’s Pool but we went back up the trail and got back on the road. I learned from reading online that if you go to a new fishing spot you should stop at the tackle shop. So we drove towards Pulaski and we saw Fat Nancy’s Tackle and we pulled in. We spoke to a sales person and he quickly rattled off everything we needed to start fishing and then offered he was a guide. I tried to take in everything that the sales person/guide told me but I think I felt a bit overwhelmed. I picked up some items and thought to myself I could pick up some items cheaper at Walmart. We left and turned on to 81 and started heading home. As we drove we were both silent just thinking about everything we saw that day. After a few minutes driving I told my friend that I decided I was going to go fishing on the Salmon River. He asked me “when?” and I replied that I was not sure because I’m typically someone who wants to go home and research before I go. I told my friend that I was going to come back tomorrow and look around some and then he said “I can take time off tomorrow – lets go fishing”. This is not my usual way of approaching new experiences but I figured – “why not”? Lets do it.