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The Fisherman

November Pulaski Steelhead: Cold, slow, warmer, slow

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I made two trips to the Salmon River last month. My timing was awful for the first. In what is now being recognized as a sub-par year in terms of returning fish, we (I went with Peter Jenkins, owner of the Saltwater Edge in Newport, RI) also had to deal with a bitter cold front that crushed the bite with cruel finality. I felt luck to escape with my fingertips intact and two steelhead to hand. Two weeks later I returned with #2 son Cam. The weather was a bit warmer, but the bite still stunk. I had one day without a touch and the another with just one fish. (I'll happily take the 1-for-1.) Here are some photos from both trips.

 

If Jenks looks cold, it's probably because he is. What a miserable day. Not a touch, ice in the guides all day long, and the temps never got above freezing.

PB121341.jpg.5dfc0fd86a6929e34d77f1208afabe8c.jpg

 

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Day two. Starting time temp: 17 degrees. It never got above 19 that day (how balmy!) and despite the sun we had snow showers all morning. Note: that's not cigar smoke coming out of my mouth. A little bent rod action surely takes your mind off the cold.

IMG_0597.jpeg.d16dc36a4bc33ecdd9e3fe375681c364.jpeg

 

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On a day that cold, gotta keep the fish in the water as much as possible. A quick lift, a shot, then back he goes. I fouled one more, then lost one to a broken leader. But if I can land one steelhead, it's a good day. Copper bead head/pearl Crystal Meth.

PB131365.jpeg.04d2e2b3b6d0013b6a43c0bcb507a896.jpeg

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Day one with Cam was a total blank for me. Not a touch despite carpet-bombing the middle river for eight hours. Cam managed a nice brown, and Row Jimmy rolled a fish, but that was it. Early on day two, fortune smiled upon me in the form of this gleaming beauty. Then Cam uttered the fishing quote of the year: "Well, Dad, at least now you won't be grouchy for the rest of the day."

DaySaver.jpeg.bb6080af915dfef89ba97cb525b5204a.jpeg

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I'd like to tell you that my fish was the start of something big, but 'twas not to be. We endured hours of the same non-existent action. So when Cam scored this handsome steelhead around noon, we decided that on this day (50 degrees and partly sunny to boot!) we'd beaten the house.

CamSteel2019.jpeg.2a5341884785a0f68bf1ce62fff4e77c.jpeg

 

 

Steve Culton

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I think trips up there are going to be in my future. I did it once about 15 years ago for salmon and had a good time. I always wanted to get there for steelhead. 

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Drew

 

Do you enjoy combat fishing?

 

Maybe the only way to fish the SR is when it is so cold the crowds won’t venture forth.

 

It does have a fascination though.

 

Maybe one day I may have a quick dalliance .

 

mike

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9 mins ago, Mike Oliver said:

Drew

 

Do you enjoy combat fishing?

 

Maybe the only way to fish the SR is when it is so cold the crowds won’t venture forth.

 

It does have a fascination though.

 

Maybe one day I may have a quick dalliance .

 

mike

Yes and no. I was there early October. Combat fishing is an adequate description. 
 

I will see what next year brings but I think my usual fall vacation (bass) will need to change going forward. 

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Drew

 

Both of us are thinking and acting same way. We are not doing denial over Stripers.

I wonder if the businesses who have taken a great deal of my money over the past 23 years of coming to the USA  will even realise I am not coming back.Of course they won’t. They most of them will not even twig my absence.

But you and I will not be alone. Collectively we represent a significant amount of lost revenue.

That gets lost to the AMFSC. They  listen  to the commercial baying of the charter and head boat fraternity and other interests looking to make short term money from Stripers. But motel and house renters and car rental and airlines and gas’s stations  and restaurants will not see money from me next year.

Detail gets lost. And yet detail is important you ignore it at your peril.

I am personally devastated by what has happened to the Striper resource.

It will be taken away from us by greedy short sighted ignorant men.

There was a reason why I traveled many thousands of miles every year to fish for Stripers. I loved them more than any other fish.

Sad hardly describes how I feel right now.

No sea fish worth persuing  in the U.K.

So all that remains is put and take trout which is what I used to do between trips for Stripers.It hardly  takes the edge off.

I read about Pacific Steelhead but they are in big trouble to. I have dreamed about these fish for years and dreams is now it seems all we have.

 

Just so sad.

 

mike
 

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Mike, sadly I agree on everything in your post. It is on its way to being lost. But that’s not going to stop me from fishing. There are new opportunities out there. I just need to find them. In some ways I’ve been planning this already - a new vehicle that will be more reliable for road trips. My hand surgery - between the financial expense and the downtime it’s a big commitment. I haven’t really flyfished much the last 10 years, mainly because of my hand (and other things took that place). That gets addressed tomorrow. My job/career - some of it was planned to have more time to fish. That’s taking shape now as well and hopefully continues to develop. If things go as planned I will have an additional day off every other week - more time to fish.

 

I will still fish for bass. But it just won’t be the ‘be all, end all’ that it was in the past.

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21 mins ago, Drew C. said:

Mike, sadly I agree on everything in your post. It is on its way to being lost. But that’s not going to stop me from fishing. There are new opportunities out there. I just need to find them. In some ways I’ve been planning this already - a new vehicle that will be more reliable for road trips. My hand surgery - between the financial expense and the downtime it’s a big commitment. I haven’t really flyfished much the last 10 years, mainly because of my hand (and other things took that place). That gets addressed tomorrow. My job/career - some of it was planned to have more time to fish. That’s taking shape now as well and hopefully continues to develop. If things go as planned I will have an additional day off every other week - more time to fish.

 

I will still fish for bass. But it just won’t be the ‘be all, end all’ that it was in the past.

Drew

 

Both of us are thinking and acting same way. We are not doing denial over Stripers.

I wonder if the businesses who have taken a great deal of my money over the past 23 years of coming to the USA  will even realise I am not coming back.Of course they won’t. They most of them will not even twig my absence.

But you and I will not be alone. Collectively we represent a significant amount of lost revenue.

That gets lost to the AMFSC. They  listen  to the commercial baying of the charter and head boat fraternity and other interests looking to make short term money from Stripers. But motel and house renters and car rental and airlines and gas’s stations  and restaurants will not see money from me next year.

Detail gets lost. And yet detail is important you ignore it at your peril.

I am personally devastated by what has happened to the Striper resource.

It will be taken away from us by greedy short sighted ignorant men.

There was a reason why I traveled many thousands of miles every year to fish for Stripers. I loved them more than any other fish.

Sad hardly describes how I feel right now.

No sea fish worth persuing  in the U.K.

So all that remains is put and take trout which is what I used to do between trips for Stripers.It hardly  takes the edge off.

I read about Pacific Steelhead but they are in big trouble to. I have dreamed about these fish for years and dreams is now it seems all we have.

 

Just so sad.

21 mins ago, Drew C. said:

Mike, sadly I agree on everything in your post. It is on its way to being lost. But that’s not going to stop me from fishing. There are new opportunities out there. I just need to find them. In some ways I’ve been planning this already - a new vehicle that will be more reliable for road trips. My hand surgery - between the financial expense and the downtime it’s a big commitment. I haven’t really flyfished much the last 10 years, mainly because of my hand (and other things took that place). That gets addressed tomorrow. My job/career - some of it was planned to have more time to fish. That’s taking shape now as well and hopefully continues to develop. If things go as planned I will have an additional day off every other week - more time to fish.

 

I will still fish for bass. But it just won’t be the ‘be all, end all’ that it was in the past.

Drew

 

Spooky we must be sat on the same train tracks. I just got myself new wheels for same reasons, I am retired now at 67 so time in theory rich but cash strapped. Family still need you especially when grand kids come along.

I fished more often when I had a demanding  job in sales. 
My solution to loss of Stripers could be a return to my roots of small river Trouting . We actually have some good wild Troutfishing  left for relatively small money in Wakes and Scotland in beautiful places. But far way.

I may come back in 2021 or 2022 to the  Cape. My hopes of making a go selling TH Fly rods are now in tatters.

Yes let’s be optimistic. There are other opportunities and guys if our age need to jump onto them quickly. 
 

mike
 

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14 hours ago, Drew C. said:

I think trips up there are going to be in my future. I did it once about 15 years ago for salmon and had a good time. I always wanted to get there for steelhead. 

There are a bunch of streams up there that get steel and salmon,SR is not the only one.Every trib to the GL gets steelhead,not a hard fish to catch if they're in the section of stream you're fishing,but,and it's a big but,they are migratory;here today,gone tomorrow so you have to be willing to cover ground to find them in a river system.

At the river mouths and just up into the flows are good places to start in small to medium sized streams as is the first riffle up from slack water(on larger streams the first riffle can be miles upstream from the stream mouth proper) as curious fish not ready to migrate will often move from the lake and into the lower reaches and back out again.These are some of my favorite fish to go after as many are still actually eating and they are curious coming in from the lake about their new environs and will snap at anything that piques their curiosity .

There are many more small to med streams than big flows like the SR and they are easily navigated/waded,fish are more easily found and caught and access is typically good.Salmon brings on a lot of ugly ppl and behavior.I much prefer steelhead,not just for the fish but the game and the lack of ppl.

Also,keep Erie tribs in mind.Although smaller,the fish are more numerous and the streams generally more scenic than Ontario tribs.

Mikes' been threatening to come over and fish steel for some years now,maybe 2020,eh Mike?

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Being from the Syracuse the SR is one of the places we fish the least for Steelies, I am not a fan of combat fishing, there are many many tribs to choose from and fish. Any of the fishing I do are going to be when the weather is lousy so it keeps as many people away as possible, when we do go we put a lot distance on the feet looking for fish, it they are not there they are not there, so move until you find them or stay until they come to you are the choices. much like Albie fishing LOL they will be there at some point but you just do not know when. It is more of a hunt for fish I think that anything else. 

Stay warm and dry, we live with these conditions for 6 months of the they suck.

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58 mins ago, slip n slide said:

There are a bunch of streams up there that get steel and salmon,SR is not the only one.Every trib to the GL gets steelhead,not a hard fish to catch if they're in the section of stream you're fishing,but,and it's a big but,they are migratory;here today,gone tomorrow so you have to be willing to cover ground to find them in a river system.

Slip n slide is right on. If they're not there, they're not there. I just got back from a week of Thanksgiving fishing the Erie tribs in Ohio and the fish were just not around. I fished 3 of the major streams and a couple of the smaller tribs and only went 1 for 2 for the entire week. The word is that the fish are still hanging in the lake and waiting for a big rain to start pushing upstream. When that happens those rivers will be on fire. Timing is everything with Steelhead, but it's a ball when you're in the right place at the right time.

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1 hour ago, smath said:

Slip n slide is right on. If they're not there, they're not there. I just got back from a week of Thanksgiving fishing the Erie tribs in Ohio and the fish were just not around. I fished 3 of the major streams and a couple of the smaller tribs and only went 1 for 2 for the entire week. The word is that the fish are still hanging in the lake and waiting for a big rain to start pushing upstream. When that happens those rivers will be on fire. Timing is everything with Steelhead, but it's a ball when you're in the right place at the right time.

that big rain and subsequent flood that will bring on the fish just happened,sitting and watching the gauges and ready to bust a move,was fishing Mi as they had a ton of rain but they're froze up now

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2 hours ago, Quonnie said:

Being from the Syracuse the SR is one of the places we fish the least for Steelies, I am not a fan of combat fishing, there are many many tribs to choose from and fish. Any of the fishing I do are going to be when the weather is lousy so it keeps as many people away as possible, when we do go we put a lot distance on the feet looking for fish, it they are not there they are not there, so move until you find them or stay until they come to you are the choices. much like Albie fishing LOL they will be there at some point but you just do not know when. It is more of a hunt for fish I think that anything else. 

Stay warm and dry, we live with these conditions for 6 months of the they suck.

I've always thought of steel fishing as a good excuse for a long walk w/ the chance to catch a fish thrown in.Very true,often gotta cover some water to find them but it's amazing how cold fingers and feet warm up after you've hooked a couple big trout and the adrenaline is coursing through your body!

Winter fishing requires calories and a thermos of hot coffee...and fleece socks!

You're up in NY,ever fish the Niagara below the falls? Equal parts scary and cool!

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Be heading up there Xmas day for a week in the wonderful cold. Been doing it for many years. Used to the cold because of my job. Nothing better than 10 degrees and no ones around. Hand warmers are a must Nothing better than an ice cold beer at the end of the day

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