Kings returning to "spectacular" Salmon River

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    PULASKI, N.Y. — It's often said the early bird gets the juiciest worm. Pulaski, on New York's Salmon River, bears this out.

    Ripe kings first start surging into the village around mid-August. By the first week of September, enough fish trickle into town to lure a following.

    Most of these guys are here before the main runs because it's the best time to catch fresh trophies decked-out in healthy, green/silvery finishes, without all the wear and tear the fish will sport in later runs.

    But even if you show up late, there will be plenty of worms, err, kings in the Salmon.

    "It's a spectacular fishery, an absolutely spectacular fishery," said Steve La Pan, NY DEC Lake Ontario unit leader. He said last year's catch included 89,448 kings caught and 26,000 kept.

    That's nearly three times as many fall kings as were caught at the mouth of Oregon and Washington state's Columbia River, one of the best (and most hyped) runs on the West Coast.


    Most of the early kings are generally found in the river's lower reaches. Unfortunately, the first fast water runs through a private fishing preserve that charges a fee to fish, and claims numerous private regulations enforced by river keepers and their snitches who hide in bushes, behind trees and rocks.

    Black Hole

    But the preserve only claims both sides of the river for roughly 2½ miles. At the Black Hole, the deepest pool on the river, half the stream flows over property whose owners offer free access to all.

    A huge parking lot on Riverview Drive (off Bridge Street) overlooks the hole and access is easy. A parking fee is charged during the peak season.

    For a couple hundred yards upstream of the Black Hole, access is tough on the free side because of a cliff.

    Staircase Hole

    Beyond that runs the Staircase, 1,000 yards or so of whitewater punctuated by fishy looking pools. Be aware, the south side of the river is still private preserve.

    Long Bridge Hole

    The Staircase climbs into the Long Bridge Pool, a 500-something-foot hole spawned by raging rapids, and ending in deep channels and pocket water.

    The rapids and pockets between the LBP and the Short Bridge Pool are popular with sight anglers.

    Short Bridge/Village Pool

    The SBP (a.k.a. Village Pool) is right in the heart of Pulaski. Both banks are easily accessed and are usually jammed with anglers standing shoulder to shoulder.

    Trooper holes

    Above the SBP, the river flows around an island and runs shallow, punctuated with fish holding pockets, and some shallow pools, including the 81 Hole and Trooper Hole.

    All these spots are in the village. There's some free street parking. However, most guys simply park in the village access sites and hoof it.

    The biggest are the Dunbar Field-Clamshell Pool (take NY 13 to the Railroad crossing and turn north on Lewis Street), and the Haldane Com-munity Center (follow Maple Avenue to Maple Avenue Extension).

    More spots

    Additional pools worth exploring include: a huge hole about 100 yards downstream of the Railroad Bridge Pool and the RBP (you'll find parking for about 10 cars at the side of the tracks on CR 2A); the pools around, including directly below; the CR 2A bridge (there's a fishing access site with parking for about 20 cars); and the Compactor pool, about three-fourths mile upstream of the bridge.


    For tackle and up-to-the-minute fishing news, go to Woodies Bait and Tackle, NY 3, Port Ontario, 315-298-2378.

    A good place to stay is the Portly Angler Lodge, 315-298-4773, (the river borders its back yard).

    For tourism info, contact Oswego County Dept. of Promotion and Tourism (800-248-4386).

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