Fly fishing for steelhead (actually any technique) is a new me. But with winter stretching on, one has to consider all the possibilities and since the Salmon River is relatively close to home, steelhead represented a viable option for January fishing. With only one previous experience under my belt, my friend Bob and I decided to headed down to New York for our first fishing of 2009. It was also our first time fishing the Salmon River – lots of firsts.
Bob met me at our place and we were off by about 7 am. The weather forecast was for sunny skies and temperatures around zero. By around 9:30 and after missing the exit for Pulaski, we made it to Fat Nancy’s where we were provide with some basic information, a river map showing all the major pools and a few assorted items for catching fish. Apparently the ticket is eggs fished just off the bottom.
Given this was all new to us, it seemed reasonable to do a bit of experimenting and check out a few different spots along the river. The decision was made to start at the lower fly fishing area. Given it was a Monday, I was a bit surprised at the number of cars in the parking lot and the number of people in the water. 10 am and we were on the water. We fished for a while without any success other than Bob lost a fish when his leader broke. But that was at least an encouraging start.
After a bit we decided to try another spot. Crossing over the river we passed the parking lot just downstream of the fly fishing area and since it had a few vehicles in it decided to continue on. A few minutes later we came to Ellis Cove and stopped to give it a try. A couple guys were coming back to their vehicle as we got ready. They had caught a few earlier in the morning but things had slowed as the sky cleared. We did find a few other people fishing and a couple had nice steelhead to show for it.
From there we moved on to Pineville Pool where we talked to a guy from Scranton Pennsylvania. He gave us a few tips as to where the pools were but still no success. By this time it was about 1pm and we were getting cold and hungry so we decided to go look for something to eat. On our way back into Pulaski we passed Sportsman’s Pool and since the parking lot was deserted we stopped to have a look. It was a bit of a hike to the water where we found a nice long pool. A couple drift boats were anchored at the head of the pool so we figured it might be a good one to check after lunch. We got back and headed down to the water but again without success.
From there we went back to the lower fly fishing area for a bit and then decided to fish things off at the pool just downstream of the bridge. It was now busier than earlier in the afternoon but clearly people were having success. We watched one guy lose a nice steelhead and saw a few other guys with fish on stringers. Despite some pointers from a guy who was spey casting as to the location of a good slot along the far bank, I wasn’t having much success.
I was having trouble managing the weight on my line so I don’t think I was getting close enough to the bottom. Although, Bob was fishing a sinking line and wasn’t having any success either. We ended up packing it in around 4:30 without any fish. Although it was less than an auspicious start, it was good to get out. The challenge of learning this type of fishing is something we will have to keep working on.