By: Troy Creasy
It’s been a great year for steelhead on the Salmon River. Sure we had high water all winter, but steelhead trickled in on high water. The hatchery got its eggs in a few days. There’s a ton of steelhead around this year. This is the best run we’ve seen in five years and there’s at least another good month of fishing.
We are going to have a May like we haven’t seen in a really long time. After this front comes through the fishing is going to be even better. By next weekend if it warms up like they are saying the bite is going to take off. Don’t get me wrong we are catching plenty of fish now, but warmer weather will bring even more action.
There’s still two feet of snow on the hill that has to melt. We are going to have good, cold water into May, which means the steelhead are going to stick around. In fact, there’s still a lot of spawning fish. Because of the water temperatures I don’t think the fish aren’t going to leave. Our water is ice cold. We are at like 35 degrees. These fish stay in the Salmon River until the water is in the 50s. They aren’t even coming out of the hatchery yet. They are trickling out, but that’s it. The mass exodus hasn’t happened.
I don’t have an exact number, but there’s probably like 3,000 fish in the hatchery, maybe more. They are going to trickle back in the river soon because they have to travel back into the river to get to Lake Ontario. The high and cold water means these steelhead will be comfortable in the river and don’t want to leave. As I mentioned we have a lot of fish on the gravel spawning. If you are targeting the drop backs they tend to hold at the head and tails of the pools looking for food to dump in.
We are fishing for drop backs daily and have at least a month of great fishing. There’s so many fish around that I’m excited about going out every day. It’s not a big fish year, though. The average fish is about seven pounds, but we’ve caught them up to 12 pounds in the last two weeks. Keep in mind they are thinner this time of year. The only reason we are only catching 5-10 a trip instead of more right now is because it’s so cold. Only so many fish want to bite. When the water warms the bite is going to take off.
The water is so cold that beads and lures aren’t working as good as they normally do this time of year. Right now they just want eggs. I’ve been tying sacks every night. The color has been changing with the water conditions. When the water was colored it was chartreuse and pink netting that was good. When it clears it goes to blue and white. I’m curing all my eggs in Natural BorX O Fire. I’ve been curing salmon eggs, brown trout eggs and steelhead eggs when I get them. It doesn’t matter what kind of eggs you have as long as you are curing them with the Natural BorX O Fire.
Editor’s Note: Troy Creasy operates High Adventure Sport Fishing and has guided the river full time since 1987. For more information on his guided Salmon River trips please visit https://www.facebook.com/troycreasy62 or http://www.highadventurefishing.com.