Salmon River, NY Report: Dec. 26, 2019

We are incredibly excited to launch fishing reports for the Salmon River in New York, brought to you in partnership with our friends at The Salmon River Newbie. We will be updating these reports all Steelhead season to help you decide when to head north and brave the elements for a shot at some Great Lakes Steel!

Lower Section, Salmon River


Last week, the weather was warm in upstate NY.  Some days reached into the high 40s. That is three times the normal temperatures in Pulaski and Altmar.  Additionally, there were a few water level fluctuations that pushed fish to move around and cleared out the river of debris.  The water was clear, and the sun was out, so this made anglers have to change their fishing strategies. The river is currently at 750 CFS at Pineville, and the water release is at 500 CFS.  As of this writing, it looks like the water levels will continue as is this weekend. This water level is considered by many an optimal water level for Steelhead fishing on the Salmon River. The weather will continue to be warm with maybe rain on Sunday.

@CobbleCreekOutfitters, a guide on the Salmon River, recommends the following strategy to fish during this time.

  1. Do your homework the day before.  Look at the water levels and the weather and map out a strategy for locations and types of fishing.
  2. Be quiet and careful in your wading.  The sun and water clarity are spooking fish, so being careful in wading is essential.
  3. Use smaller presentations during clear water.  
Douglaston Salmon Run

Douglaston Salmon Run

Due to the warm weather and water clarity, the fishing was characterized as good during this week.  The number of anglers who were able to get into fish went up from previous weeks. This could be because, during this season, the Douglaston Salmon Run only allows a limited amount of anglers per day.  So the fish to angler ratio goes up, and on warmer days, anglers’ attitudes can be more positive so that fishing can be more productive. The mental game is as important as the equipment when Steelhead fishing. 

This weekend I recommend that you fish early light because as soon as the sun comes up, the fish begin to hide.  Then around 10 AM, you can go and explore or try nymphing on the rest of the property or go upriver. I recommend coming back in the afternoon as the fish become active again.

Some may not know this, but you can get an afternoon pass to the Douglaston Salmon Run for around the price of a fancy pizza.  The afternoon pass is a cheap way to try it out during the Steelhead season.

On the Douglaston, there are lots of swingers that come to swing for Steelhead.  One thing that swingers know is that swinging for Steelhead is not a numbers game.  

@GuideWayneO, another guide on the river, was fishing on his day off for 1.5 hours reported “each of us had one bite on darker colored flies.  Black and silver and black and blue.” He advised to swingers, “put in the time and make the bites you get, count.”

Town – Pulaski

Since November, the fishing for Steelhead from Black Hole to Ball Park has been pretty dismal except for the Long Bridge.  But this past week, I received more positive reports. The previous week’s water fluctuations may have moved fished around, including fresh fish into the river system.  The sunny days and water clarity are pushing fish into centralized holes. Light line and small presentations that get you down quick are the keys in town.


Water fluctuations, water clarity, and the sun are moving fish around.  I received more positive reports from Pineville to 81 than in the previous month.  Additionally received positive angler reports from Pineville to Trestles.  

However, the reports from Trestles to Lower Fly Zone were pretty up and down.  Usually, during the Steelhead season, this area is pretty consistent, but last week, there were slow days and only one good day where a couple of anglers characterized it as being “on fire.”  This weekend it is going to be crowded due to the holiday and the weather. I recommend that you venture down below this area for some different waters and opportunities.

@ribeye26, a guide who hooked up 18 times between him and two others, recommends “adjustment to lighter fluorocarbon got things going for us.  As always, blue egg sacks were the best with a couple of fish on chartreuse sacks.

Reports Provided by @SalmonRiverNewbie

For more detailed reports go to!

Lodge Spotlight: Tailwater Lodge, Altmar NY

Salmon River, NY Report: Dec. 12, 2019

5 Tips for Chasing Salmon River, NY Smallmouth


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