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Salmon River

The Salmon River can be defined simply as "world record fishing".

There's no question, these waters provide some of the strongest and most attractive rod and reel fishing in the Northeastern US... North America... the World!

And, Cannon's Fishing Lodge and Captain Dave are within walking distance of this angler's mecca - known predominantly for it's giant salmon!

Twelve miles of breathtaking views, runs and more! The Salmon River is carved along a twelve mile stretch of forests, country roads, and simple serenity, that produces thousands of of trophy chinook and coho salmon, steelhead, rainbows and brown trout each year.

Gravel riffs and pools shape the river's upper landscape, giving way to bedrock and boulders in its lower sections, before it reaches the stillwaters of a mile-long, marshy estuary into Lake Ontario.

The villages of Altmar and Pulaski, and the hamlet of Port Ontario provide the backdrop for the twelve mile fishing experience.

And, Cannon's Fishing Lodge provides highly skilled, experienced guides for this incredible river fishing:

We have a select group of guides we recommend. Call Suzi for more info!

Four seasons of fishing! The Oswego County Department of Promotion and Tourism Fishing & Hunting Guide boasts that the Fall, winter and spring provide the bulk of angling action in the Salmon River, with exciting summer fishery running in June and July. Massive runs of chinook and coho salmon peak in September
and October. Steelhead run the river in numbers beginning in October. They overwinter in the deeper, slower lies, spawn in shallow riffs in March and April, and then drop downstream to Lake Ontario.

According to Pulaski-based Whitaker's Sport Shop and Motel, and their website www.whitakers.com, the following outlines just why "the Salmon River is without a doubt, the most famous salmon and steelhead river in the entire northeast."

We ask that while you're visiting Northern Oswego County that you visit our local sports shops (like Whitakers), restaurants and more!

Starting around first of August, schools of chinook and salmon begin staging in Mexico Bay. This is considered deep water, down rigger fishing, and it can be amazing for any angler! By mid-August a few "eager" male salmon begin to appear in the Salmon River. Weather conditiions generally dictate how many fish and how soon. Cool weather, offshore winds, and heavy rains all "move" fish.

Labor Day weekend signals the start of salmon season. River flow is increased to 750 cfs. for the weekend, and this change of flow moves fish. The flow for the rest of September, October, November, and December will be 335 cfs. But this can vary due to rainfall or drought. During the super dry fall of 2003 we fished in 110 cfs. - Great for sight fishing but really tough on the fish. Many fish spawned in the lower section of the river instead of migrating upstream. Lots of rain last fall meant lots of many 750 cfs. flows - Lots of fish moving with the higher flow and moving fast. It's surprising how far and how fast the fish can move when they have good water and mother nature calls. Most of the true spawning areas/gravel bars are upstream of the Pineville bridge and that's where the bulk of these fish end up. Chinooks and Coho are fall spawners and they all die after spawning. By November they are pretty much gone.

Steelhead are spring spawners, but the first of the winter run fish show up with the salmon. These fish are here to feed on the abundance of salmon eggs in the river. Schools of lake trout also often move into the lower section of the river to feed on salmon eggs. Know your fish because different regulations apply to different species!

November and December see more steelhead entering the river system. This is a great time to be on the river! Not too crowded, hopefully not too cold, and hopefully not too much snow...but be prepared! Good rain gear (cheap raingear is, well, cheap and won't keep you dry) layered long underwear, hats and gloves are a must.

January and February are reserved for serious
fisherman only. It's cold and there's lots of snow, but lots of fish too. Dress warm... sleep in a bit longer... fish upstream of the slush line...break out the noodle rod and floats...carry handwarmers. It can be brutal at times but it beats sitting at home in front of the tube, and 25° and sunny feels downright balmy when you dress right!

Spring comes eventually, in March or April. The base river flow is 285 cfs. But melting snow can change that big time! With increased flow comes another run of fresh fish. Be prepared for any kind of weather and lots of water! 200 - 300 inches of snow on the Tug Hill has to go somewhere. Spring time has the most fish, but it has the most water, too. You must be flexible and adjust to the conditions.

The most overlooked fishery is the post spawn fishery. Steelhead don't die after spawning and they don't rush back to Lake Ontario. It's more like a slow down stream migration...and these fish feed all the way back to the lake! Water levels have moderated, temperature is up and fish are really active. Steelhead will be in the river until the water temperature reaches about 55°, usually well into the month of May.

The Salmon River is known as the Salmon Capitol of the East. It offers world class fishing to any and all who wish to try their luck. Every fall thousands and thousands of King and Coho Salmon begin their annual spawning run into Lake Ontario tributaries. The Salmon River has a fish hatchery which ensures good numbers of returning fish year after year. Also, recent years have shown that in the Salmon River and its tributaries, natural reproduction has seen some success.

Salmon River here we come!


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