I was originally going to use the title, “New York, New York,” but decided to go with Andy Mekelburg’s suggestion. Andy’s thought was to capture the fact that over the weekend of October 7, 2022, we fished for salmon on the Salmon River in Pulaski, New York, and then fished for trout on a different Salmon River near Malone before finishing fishing for trout on the West Branch of the Ausable River in Wilmington. My thought was that “if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere,” as Frank Sinatra sang so distinctly.
While we enjoyed the incredibly vibrant colors, the fishing was tough. The salmon were not running in the numbers we had seen in the past. They also seemed to be in a hurry as they did not seem to pause as much or as long as they have in the past. This fact made sight fishing more difficult. As we have previously, we used guide Greg Liu, who is one of the guides associated with the Douglaston Salmon Run (douglastonsalmonrun.com/guides). Greg did his part and Andy and I each took a nice King or Chinook Salmon. I also lost five, including one who smashed a mop fly and actually walked on his tail for a bit. Unfortunately, I lost him when he turned upstream and I slipped backward, which gave him the slack he needed to shake the hook.
For those interested in fishing for salmon on the Pulaski, I would strongly encourage you to purchase a day pass for the Douglaston Salmon Run (DSR). I would also recommend that you speak with PVFF’s own Dan Neuland, as he is a wealth of knowledge. Also, it is important to note that nearby lodging accommodations are scarce so the further ahead you can plan, the better. Andy found the Tug Hill Resort (tughillresort.com) in Redfield, New York, and it was affordable and nice. While it rained the night we were there, they do have a nice fire pit and grill set up for guests.
After we finished fishing for salmon, we headed about three hours and 170 miles northeast of Pulaski to my family’s farm in Brandon, New York. We enjoyed a delicious meal with my parents which featured literally homegrown steak. The next morning, we left to continue our fishing on the other Salmon River near Malone, New York. This Salmon River runs north into Canada and does not contain salmon; the Salmon River we fished first runs northwest from the Lighthouse Hill Reservoir in Altmar, New York to Lake Ontario.
In any case, we fished for a few hours in the cold with no success before heading over to the Hungry Trout Resort (hungrytrout.com) in Wilmington, New York, which is near Lake Placid. It is located on the banks of the Ausable River in the shadows of Mount Whiteface and is near the other sites from the 1980 and 1932 Olympic games. When we arrived, we fished the Ausable behind the lodge but again were unsuccessful. However, as they were throughout the trip, the fall colors were magnificent.
The next day, we fished with guide Mike Egan (603-557-7503) from the Hungry Trout Fly Shop in an area known as the Bush Country. It is very remote and lightly fished and its pools are famously described in Ray Bergman’s 1952 book “Trout.” It was cold and rainy, but we had fun, which after all is the main point of fishing. I was thankful to catch several good brown trout, including one which rose to smash a pink Fat Albert. I will say the lowlight, if you will, was my falling – and getting completely wet – while crossing the river at the very end of the day. I mention this to stress the importance of being safe and taking your time, particularly at the end of the day. At least my phone survived and at least it was the end of the day.
By Mike Holland
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