Although there are a couple rivers in New York with the name "Salmon River", only one has an international reputation. That is the Salmon River that flows into Lake Ontaria near Pulaski, a small town along the lake's eastern shore.
As summer draws to a close, transplanted Pacific salmon begin to stage at the mouth of the river waiting for cooler waters and shorter days to begin their annual spawning migration. Some will enter when rainfall raises the river's water levels, but the majority enter when the local power company (Niagara Mohawk) begins to release water from Redfield Reservoir, from which the lower Salmon River flows. After an initial release of water to jump start the spawning run, the power company "pulses" the flows every night in cooperation with the NY Department of Environmental Conservation in an attempt to both extend the duration of the run and make the fish populations in the river more consistent day to day.
The salmon are a mix of Chinook (King) and Coho (Silver), the same fish that draw fisherman by the droves to the rivers of Alaska. Chinook both outnumber and outweight the Coho in Lake Ontario and make up the majority of the Fall fishing opportunity. An average chinook salmon weighs in at a hefty 20 pounds or so. In simple terms, they are BIG fish, and there are lots of them.
And steelhead too
Along with the Pacific Salmon, the Salmon River enjoys good runs of Steelhead, another Pacific coast transplant, and brown trout. Both can ring up double digits on your scales. There are also smaller runs of Lake Trout, as well as a few Atlantic Salmon. In recent years, there are even signs that the experiments with Skamania, a strain of steelhead that migrate into the river during the summer, is starting to take hold.
Without question, the numbers, size, and variety of fish running in the river at any given time can rival the best waters found anywhere else in the world.
A Schweitzer/Joergensen Publication
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