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Angler Group Plans Spring Cleanup On Salmon River

ALTMAR, NY – A group of dedicated anglers will return to the Salmon River on May 7 – not to fish, but to pick up trash and debris – for their second annual Salmon River Cleanup.

The Lake Ontario Tributary Anglers Council will meet at 10 a.m. at Fox Hollow Lodge, 2740 State Route 13.

Volunteers will receive trash bags and gloves and disperse in teams to pick up trash along the river.

The Lake Ontario Tributary Anglers Council will hold a trash cleanup May 7 on the Salmon River. Pictured is LOTAC member John Wehrle at the group’s catch and clean tournament last fall. (Photo by Jessica Burt, Oswego County Tourism Office.)

The Lake Ontario Tributary Anglers Council will hold a trash cleanup May 7 on the Salmon River. Pictured is LOTAC member John Wehrle at the group’s catch and clean tournament last fall. (Photo by Jessica Burt, Oswego County Tourism Office.)

Anyone interested in helping out is welcome to join in the effort.

All trash will be collected in a utility trailer at the boat launch parking lot off County Route 2A near Pulaski.

LOTAC members will meet back at Fox Hollow at 3 p.m. for food provided by the lodge and raffles of donated gear and tackle.

Refreshments will be $6 per person.

The following Saturday, May 14, LOTAC members will assist the DEC and other organizations in planting 7,000 trees along the stream banks of the Salmon River.

“After last year’s flooding of the river in the fall, this start of stream bank restoration will be the beginning of a lot of work,” said Jim Rood, LOTAC chief financial officer. “For that event we will be meeting at the Salmon River Hatchery on County Route 22 in Altmar at 8 a.m. to split up into groups and disperse to plant the trees.”

Club president Jim Kirtland said LOTAC was created in the fall of 2007 when the Lake Ontario basin was struck with a severe drought that caused record low water levels on the Salmon River and other Lake Ontario tributaries.

“There were several factors that influenced LOTAC’s creation, with the primary cause being the outrage that many of us felt in witnessing a blatant disregard of fishing regulations by unethical fishing practices in low water conditions,” said Kirtland. “We recognize that Lake Ontario tributaries are an integral part of the Lake Ontario ecosystem, supporting a viable and varied fishery capable of delivering maximum recreational value within a sustainable ecological framework. LOTAC members believe that expanded efforts should be made to further conserve and manage tributary fisheries for optimal sustainable use.”

Kirtland said that LOTAC members are very concerned about the current fiscal crisis facing New York State.

“We feel the general pool of state funds do not adequately guarantee the future of the Lake Ontario tributary fishery,” he added. “Through conservation and education efforts, LOTAC intends to assist in the infinite preservation, overall fishery, and habitat improvement of all streams, rivers, and creeks that flow into Lake Ontario.”

The organization was very visible in education and conservation projects during its first year.

“Last year, in our first fully operational year, we started off on the right foot with helping in our conservation efforts,” said Rood. “We held our first river cleanup, hauling out items from clumps of monofilament to a mountain bike. We assisted the DEC in planting 2,000 tree saplings and had two booths helping kids learn how to tie flies at the Salmon River Festival and National Hunting and Fishing Day open house at the hatchery. We also held our first Catch and Clean Tournament that combined catch and release fishing along with another river cleanup. We hauled out over a ton of garbage.”

The group expects to have its official non-profit status with the Internal Revenue Service in the next few months, and members are looking forward to continuing programs that help to preserve Lake Ontario tributary streams.

For more information, contact jim.rood@lotac.org, call Kirtland at 607-239-7861, or visit www.lotac.org

Steelhead Numbers Quadrupled On The Salmon River In Five Years

By Spider Rybaak
OSWEGO, NY – Lake Ontario ranks as the most productive salmonid fishery in the Lower 48 States. In fact, the world record coho salmon, a species native to the Pacific Ocean, was caught in the Salmon River near the village of Pulaski. And right when the fishing seemed about as good as it gets in Oswego County, creel surveys conducted last fall by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation show a dramatic increase in steelhead numbers.

Fran Verdoliva, Salmon River Program Coordinator for the DEC, holds a nice spring steelhead. The fish was released back into the river. (Photo by Jessica Burt, Oswego County Tourism Office.)

Fran Verdoliva, Salmon River Program Coordinator for the DEC, holds a nice spring steelhead. The fish was released back into the river. (Photo by Jessica Burt, Oswego County Tourism Office.)

In its “2010 Salmon River Creel Survey” report, DEC provides graphs comparing creel survey results taken in 2005, 2006 and 2010. Last year, from Sept. 7 through the fourth week of November, anglers reported catching 32,146 steelies, compared to only 7,738 taken in the same period in 2005 and 9,509 in 2006.

If you do the math, you‘ll see more “chromers” were taken in the fall of 2010 than were taken from September through May, in 2005 and 2006 combined.

The rainbow trout’s anadromous form (living most of its life in the sea and returning to natal rivers to spawn), the steelhead is streamlined, colorful and extremely powerful. Famed for its incredible stamina and leaping abilities when hooked, it boasts top honors in the imaginations of the world’s salmonid anglers.

Its most endearing quality is its human-like inclination for taking risks. Courageous to the point of carelessness, each fall and winter it ascends streams ranging in size from brooks to major rivers like the Oswego and Salmon in search of its favorite food, salmon caviar. In the spring, it runs the same streams to spawn. In the process, it offers anglers roughly eight months of opportunities for close and personal encounters with trophies the size of the ones swimming through their dreams.

The reason given for the huge increase in steelhead depends on who you talk to. Some think that current economic conditions lead to more people fishing, and the more anglers you have out there, the more fish are going to be caught.

Others attribute the greater numbers of steelhead to the explosion in the population of round gobies and other exotic forage.

The way they see it, the more gobies and zooplankton there are for predators like cormorants, mink, catfish and game fish to prey on, the more alewives and other minnows there are for trout.

DEC aquatic biologist Scott Prindle, one of the survey authors, says “…indications were that there were LOTS [his emphasis] of steelhead around compared to the recent past.”

Prindle just finished working the steelhead egg take at the Salmon River Hatchery in Altmar, where there were “abundant fish stacked up in Beaverbrook Dam trying to get into the hatchery.”

Samples taken at the Salmon River Hatchery this spring indicate that the fish are somewhat smaller in size, but, Prindle added, “we will have to wait until the scale aging is completed to see if the steelhead are actually smaller, or if the population is weighted heavily towards younger fish.”

No matter how you cut it, one thing’s for certain — greater numbers of steelhead, even small ones, indicate a promising future — for the steelies, the anglers with trophies on the brain, and the communities along the Salmon and Oswego rivers.

For current fishing conditions in Oswego County and visitor information, go to www.visitoswegocounty.com or call 800-248-4FUN.

Spider Rybaak is an award-winning outdoor writer who has been published in more than 20 periodicals. He is the author of “Fishing Eastern New York” and “Fishing Western New York” guide books that cover 429 streams and lakes in New York State.

Contact him at srybaak@yahoo.com

Check out his blog at http://fishingandhuntinginoswego.blogspot.com/

The Salmon River’s Special Fly-fishing, Catch-and-Release Areas – Where a Trophy is Too Valuable to Catch Only Once

By Spider Rybaak

Anglers can explore ideal conditions for salmon and trout along designated fly-fishing areas of the Salmon River near Altmar.

Anglers can explore ideal conditions for salmon and trout along designated fly-fishing areas of the Salmon River near Altmar.

OSWEGO COUNTY, NY – The Oswego River, half of Oneida Lake and the southeastern corner of Lake Ontario alone make Oswego County a fantasy fishing destination. But there’s more, namely, the Salmon River, the most productive recreational coldwater fishery on the continent.

Recognizing the value of this precious resource, the authorities have set aside a couple short sections for fly-fishing, catch and release only, giving trophy salmonids the chance to survive and thrive after their encounter with man; and drawing anglers from all over the world to indulge in the possibilities.

“This special section is unique,” says Fran Verdoliva, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Special Assistant for the Salmon River, “because it’s the only year-round, fly-fishing, catch-and-release area in the state.”

Don’t confuse the Salmon River’s special areas with the artificial lures only stretches punctuating famous NY trout streams like the West Branch Ausable, the Beaver Kill and the Delaware. The more common restricted areas allow fishing with any type of equipment and artificial lure. The Salmon River regulations, on the other hand, only allow angling with traditional fly-fishing tackle: a fly rod, fly reel, fly line and tiny, virtually weightless lures called flies, typically made of yarn, feathers, fur and threads.

The Need for Room?

Flies set fly-fishing apart from other forms of angling. Whereas weight—a bobber, sinker, swivel, even the bait—pulls line off a conventional reel after the angler performs a single, forceful swing of the rod, a fly relies on a heavy line to carry it to its destination. A series of false casts (whipping the rod back and forth, stripping line from the reel with each back thrust) get the line through the rod’s eyes and when enough is out to place the offering over its target, it’s allowed to drop to its mark.

Average fly-fishermen are quick to tell you that all that false casting requires a lot of space–open space. They claim the procedure is difficult to impossible to execute properly with anglers, trees, bushes, cliffs or anything else in the way.

Space is the main justification for the special sections. Fly-fishing is so specialized, most guys won’t have anything to do with it. Restricting the stretch of water to fly-fishing precludes crowding.

“Fly-fishing is being used as a management tool in these areas because it provides some added protection to the fish due to the fact that the technique of fly-fishing and tackle required can make it a little more difficult to catch fish. We are not trying to maximize catch, yet it still provides angling opportunity,” says Verdoliva.

Both sections are fly-fisherman friendly. The DEC has made several improvements to make one of the best holes more accessible to anglers. It used to be rimmed by a steep cliff and was only accessible to those hardy and brave enough to trudge through the deep, slippery, rock strewn water at its head and tail. Purists used to suffer the difficulty because it paid off in the finest quality fly-fishing imaginable.

Now its cliff has been tamed by a stone staircase; its wild, rocky south bank disciplined by a wall of massive stone blocks as smooth as a sidewalk. Best of all, the character of the pool has been changed utterly. Instead of huge boulders forcing the water into pockets of foam laced in a latticework of raging rapids, the flow is relatively straight and only mildly rapid.

“The stream bank improvements were made to offset the severe stream bank erosion that had taken place over the years and to move the current flow back into the natural stream channel,” notes Verdoliva. “An added benefit is that we were able to reconstruct the bank to also provide safer access.”

Divided into upper and lower sections, the special sections are located a short way downstream of the Lighthouse Hill Reservoir’s powerhouse, a barrier fish can’t surmount. Drawn from the bottom of the impoundment, the water running through the upper river is the coolest on the entire stream this time of year and slightly warmer in winter, providing ideal salmon and trout holding areas.

Open from April 1 through November 30, the upper section boasts the largest population of trophy landlocked Atlantic salmon found anywhere in fast water from mid-May through July.

What’s more, Skamania, the summer form of steelhead (anadromous rainbow trout), also find this stretch to their liking in June and July.

Starting at the upstream side of the county Route 52 bridge in Altmar and stretching for about a quarter mile to the mouth of Beaverdam Brook, the lower section is open from Sept. 15 through May 15, and is most popular for its fall runs of monster brown trout, king and coho salmon, and steelhead from early autumn through mid-spring.

Although landlocked Atlantic salmon and Skamania occupy the upper catch-and-release section all summer long, high water draws fresh runs from the lake. While a heavy rain is usually enough to trigger a run upriver, the surest high water comes from scheduled power company releases for recreational whitewater rafting and kayaking. This year’s remaining releases will take place July 10-11 and 24-25, Aug. 7-8 and Sept. 4-5.

Get to the upper section by parking at the fishing access site on county Route 22, upstream of the Salmon River Hatchery, and walking the trail for about .10 mile. The lower section can be accessed from the fishing access site at the county Route 52 bridge in Altmar.

Scene Around Town: Gone Fishin’

Photo by Jessica Burt, via Oswego County Tourism Facebook page.

Photo by Jessica Burt, via Oswego County Tourism Facebook page.

This is just one of many great photos taken at the annual Women’s Fly Fishing Seminar, held at Pineville on the Salmon River on Saturday.  Women who love to fish got expert help in the difficult art of fly fishing.

Jessica Burt took this photo for the Oswego County Department of Promotions and Tourism, which shared them with us.

Go to the Oswego County Tourism Facebook page to see all the great pictures from this event.

Two Arrested After Fight on Salmon River

From the State Department of Environmental Conservation

Investigators with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Bureau of Environmental Crimes Investigations have charged two individuals for a fight that occurred on the Salmon River on April 8, 2010.

Patrick A. Mahoney, 42, of 2624 State Route 13, Altmar, NY, and Robert F. Mahoney III, 45, of 1240 County Rt. 15, Boylston, NY, will be arraigned May 3 in Albion Town Court before Judge Howard Allen. Mahoney and Mahoney each were charged with third-degree assault after engaging in a fight with William E. Murray, 62, of Ithaca, NY. They were also charged with petit larceny for taking and throwing Murray’s glasses and camera into the river. The altercation occurred in the Salmon River at the Ellis Cove fishing area in the town of Albion. Murray suffered a concussion from the fight and was treated and remained overnight at a Syracuse hospital before being released.

Both charges are misdemeanors that can result in fines of up to $1,000 and jail time of up to one year. In addition, the pair was charged with violating the Environmental Conservation Law, which states no person shall engage in a fight or assault any person at fishing-access sites and public fishing rights areas under DEC jurisdiction. This is a violation that can result in a fine up to $250 and imprisonment for up to 15 days.

In addition, Patrick A. Mahoney and Robert F. Mahoney III each face the potential loss of his state-issued Guide license. DEC may revoke a license guide if the person is found guilty of violating provision of the Environmental Conservation law or New York State’s Code of Rules and Regulations.

OHS Student Earns Salmon River Honors

OSWEGO, NY – Talented Oswego High School and Oswego Middle School artists continue to be rewarded for their excellent work.

Cassidy Barney - first place

Cassidy Barney - first place

Once again the Oswego City School District has an impressive display of student art exhibiting at the Oswego County Art Competition held at the Salmon River Fine Arts Center in Pulaski.

This is the annual juried show that is open to all school districts in the county. This year 48 pieces created by Oswego School District students were on display.

Oswego High art teacher Melissa Martin noted, “This year we had a tenth through twelfth grade first place award winner and six honorable mentions at the show.”

Cassidy Barney earned a first place cash prize of $100 for his drawing “What to Do.”

Emily Henderson - “Vines”

Emily Henderson - “Vines”

Other grade ten through twelve artists recognized with honorable mention status were Sarah Skinner for her drawing “American Flag,” Chelsea Sereno for her graphic piece “Self Portrait” and Elizabeth Nielsen “The Concept” sculpture.

Winners were also honored as the seventh through ninth grade level.

These included Emily Henderson for her sculpture of “Vines” as well as Mackenzie Palmer for her sculpture ‘Blind Eye Giraffe” and Chrissy Abare “Trigger Fish” computer graphic.

Martin explained, “Oswego is represented in all categories including Computer Graphics, Drawing, Painting, Mixed-Media, jewelry, Ceramics, and Sculpture.”

Chrissy Abare - “Trigger Fish”

Chrissy Abare - “Trigger Fish”

Sarah Skinner - “American Flag”

Sarah Skinner - “American Flag”

Oswego students in grades ten through twelve whose work is on display include Bobby Jo Demmerle, Emily Fleischman, Jade Nelson, Haylee Gardner, Elizabeth Nielsen, Chelsea Sereno, Alex Wetter, Cassidy Barney, Haley Annal, Gerritt Crisafulli, Emily Richmond, Justine Harrington, Sarah Skinner, Mary Montagnola, Ashley Fidler, Nicole Bonacorsi, Alex Avery, Anglica Alejandro, Becky Fidler, Madison Palmer, Jane Coty and Denesha Howard.

Elizabeth Nielsen - “The Concept” sculpture.

Elizabeth Nielsen - “The Concept” sculpture.

Seventh through ninth graders who had work on display were Chrissy Abare, Emily Henderson, Sarah Mancuso, Paige Ruel, Chelsea Ketchum, Reilly Patrick and Kayla Volkomer.

Martin noted, “Elizabeth Nielsen has five pieces on display while Sarah Skinner had four of her works chosen at the upper secondary level and Chrissy Abare had three of her works on exhibit. Other students also had multiple pieces of work on display at the Salmon River Fine Arts Center.”

Rudy’s B Mites Lose A Pair In Recent Hockey Action

Anthony DiBlasi of the Rudy’s B Mites is shown pictured in action at Crisafulli Rink in Oswego. The Rudy’s team lost a pair of games recently against Salmon River and Lysander.

Anthony DiBlasi of the Rudy’s B Mites is shown pictured in action at Crisafulli Rink in Oswego. The Rudy’s team lost a pair of games recently against Salmon River and Lysander.

OSWEGO, New York – The Rudy’s B Mite squad lost a pair of games in recent action in Oswego. In a tough battle against Salmon River, the Rudy’s team was defeated 3-2. The following weekend they hosted a strong Lysander team and lost 7-1.

“The entire team played hard in each of the games,” said Head Coach Mark Fierro. “Our kids are working hard in practice and they are showing that effort week after week during the games.”

“Despite these two losses, our team is making great strides, and we’re looking forward to the upcoming games and tournaments in the New Year,” he added.

Scoring for the Rudy’s team against Salmon River were Mark Jones and Andrew Noyes. Jones scored the lone goal against the Lysander team.

Cole Cullinan and Nick Burnett shared the goalie duties for the games, registering key saves in each of them.

According to Fierro, the team’s strong effort was led by Jones, Noyes, Cullinan, Burnett, Anthony DiBlasi, Tyler Wallace, Spencer Stepien, Lucas Shepardson, Cammi Ahern, Bryson Bush, Evan Giocondo, Isaiah Raby, Julia Roman, and Katie Fierro.

Water Treatment: Wounded Soldiers Find Solace in the Salmon River

SSG Shaun Outwater holds a 17-lb. king salmon he caught during the Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing weekend on the Salmon River. Guide Norm Normandin stands behind him. Outwater released the salmon. (Photo by Spider Rybaak.)

SSG Shaun Outwater holds a 17-lb. king salmon he caught during the Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing weekend on the Salmon River. Guide Norm Normandin stands behind him. Outwater released the salmon. (Photo by Spider Rybaak.)

By Spider Rybaak, on behalf of Oswego County Promotion & Tourism

OSWEGO COUNTY, NY — History is loaded with references to water’s curative power. Every culture has its own version of the Biblical Pool of Bethesda or Ponce De Leon’s Fountain of Youth. On the weekend of Sept. 18 – 20, 2009, Oswego County’s Salmon River was put to the test. And it passed with flying colors…literally.

That’s when Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing brought 15 wounded soldiers and veterans to the Salmon River for the most exciting water treatment of all: fly fishing — the art of casting colorful, all but weightless flies tied of yarns, feathers and threads to trophy salmon and trout.

Famed as the country’s most productive hot spot for these species, the Salmon River met the challenge, surrendering Chinook salmon averaging 17 pounds, and brown trout running three to five pounds.

For the second time in as many years, Fred Kuepper, PHWFF regional director and Coordinator for the Oswego County Chapter, and Fran Verdoliva, Salmon River Program Coordinator for the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, were the main movers and shakers of the event.

According to Kuepper, “this year two-thirds of the participants are active duty soldiers stationed at Fort Drum, and the rest are disabled veterans from the Veterans Administration Medical Centers at Syracuse and Batavia, and the VAMC’s Oswego County outpatient clinic.”

Verdoliva arranged access for the group on the closed waters behind the state hatchery, a sanctuary for fish lucky enough to make it through the 11-something-mile gauntlet of anglers fishing downstream. Fishing this uncrowded stretch insured the recovering warriors had all the room they needed to cast flies, an angling technique requiring a lot of space to execute effectively.

“Besides being fun, this program is a win-win situation for everyone involved; first and foremost for the vets, but also their families, the volunteers, and sponsors,” said Kuepper.

“The whole community pitches in and benefits,” Kuepper continued.

Co-sponsors NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Training Academy provided lodging and Brookfield Power provided dinner on Friday night. Local churches, businesses and veterans organizations furnished additional food and supplies. Area guides and PHWFF members offered fly fishing lessons and expert advice on the water, Kuepper added.

Dave Bollman, a disabled Marine Corps veteran, holds a brown trout he caught on a bead-headed nymph during the Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing weekend on the Salmon River. (Photo by Spider Rybaak.)

Dave Bollman, a disabled Marine Corps veteran, holds a brown trout he caught on a bead-headed nymph during the Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing weekend on the Salmon River. (Photo by Spider Rybaak.)

Retired Navy Captain Ed Nicholson started PHWFF in 2004. His original plans called for simply teaching the guys fly fishing as part of their treatment regimens. But he knew about the remarkable results Bill Blades, a prominent fly-tier, had with disabled veterans at the Great Lakes Naval Hospital during World War II and added fly-tying lessons to his program.

Proving highly popular during our country’s current state of war, PHWFF has grown to 45 programs in 35 states.

Incidentally, PHWFF doesn’t target trout exclusively. In fact, in other parts of the country, the organization stages outings for ocean species like red fish and flat-water critters like bass. It’s only a matter of time before fly-fishing for warmwater fish (black bass, northern pike and panfish) in places like Sandy Pond, Lake Neahtahwanta and Oneida Lake makes it into the Central New York program.

For more information or to donate time or money, contact Kuepper at 315-963-4095; FredKuepper@aol.com.

For information on the national organization visit their website: www.projecthealingwaters.org.

(Spider Rybaak is an award-winning outdoor writer who has been published in more than 20 periodicals. He is the author of “Fishing Eastern New York” and “Fishing Western New York” guide books that cover 429 streams and lakes in New York State. Contact him at srybaak@yahoo.com Check out his blog at http://fishingandhuntinginoswego.blogspot.com/ )

Public Invited To 14th Annual Salmon River Hatchery Open House

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will hold its 14th annual Salmon River Hatchery Open House and Family Days on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009. Open house hours will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., held in conjunction with the celebration of “National Hunting and Fishing Day.”

There will be activities, seminars, and demonstrations throughout the day. Salmon River Corridor outdoor recreational opportunities will be highlighted in each program. Activities, programs and demonstrations will be geared towards hands on activities for youth and families. The open house will be held rain or shine, and admission is free.

The Salmon River Hatchery is located at County Route 22, Altmar, Oswego County.

On Friday evening, Sept. 25, there will be a special seminar featuring local guide Mike McGrath on “Fishing the Great Lakes Tributaries for Carp and Other Assorted Trophies.” The program will be held in the hatchery auditorium and starts at 6:30 p.m. with a social hour; the regular program begins at 7 p.m. Participation in Friday night’s activities will be limited to 75 persons; participants must register in advance. You may register by calling 315-298-760, by e-mailing fjverdol@gw.dec.state.ny.us or stopping at the Salmon River Hatchery and registering at the lobby desk.

On Saturday, there will be many opportunities for learning and fun. You can learn about the NYS Salmon River Hatchery by touring the facility with hatchery staff or you can learn about fishing for Pacific salmon with an on-stream demonstration. Inside the hatchery one can observe the rare and endangered fish exhibit. Bring the family and learn to cast a fishing rod, tie flies, fly cast and fly fish while enjoying the beautiful fall scenery of the Salmon River Corridor. Kids will enjoy participating in “Backyard Bass” and Hook and Ladders fishing programs. Families can learn about the heritage of hunting and shooting sports through the 4-H Shooting Sports Program, and they can participate in the highly popular Laser Shot Game. Children can learn about the living creatures of Beaver Dam Brook while persons of all ages will enjoy taking a nature walk at the Salmon River Falls. You can observe migrating salmon in the fish ladder through the ladder’s underwater camera, learn about cross country skiing, kayaking and canoeing opportunities and learn boater safety with the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Tours of the Salmon River Hatchery will be given every half hour starting at 10:30 a.m. by hatchery fish culture staff. This is the one opportunity during the year where the public is able to access the working parts of the facility with a more up close and personal tour.

Tours of the Salmon River Falls will be conducted by the Sea Grants Salmon River Stewards program. You can register for a scheduled tour by e-mailing mp357@cornell.edu. Or sign up on the day of the open house at the Sea Grant table.

There will be fishing demonstrations at 10:30 am and 1:30 pm by Mike McGrath and Associates at the Lower Salmon River Reservoir. The sessions will highlight methods taught during the Friday night seminar on “Fishing for Great Lakes Carp and Other Assorted Trophies.” Sign up for the on stream demonstrations at the Friday night seminar, during the Saturday Open House at Mike McGrath’s booth, or by e-mail at fjverdol@gw.dec.state.ny.us.

Along with the scheduled program events there will be many conservation organizations and agencies on hand providing information about their role in the Salmon River Corridor and the Lake Ontario Ecosystem.

For more information contact Fran Verdoliva, NYSDEC Salmon River Coordinator, at 315-298-7605.

Salmon Species Returns To Salmon River For The First Time In A Century

An Atlantic salmon, photographed in a zoo in Norway. Photo by Hans-Petter Fjeld <a href=

An Atlantic salmon, photographed in a zoo in Norway. Photo by Hans-Petter Fjeld (CC-BY-SA)

Atlantic salmon are back in the Salmon River.

The U.S. Geological Survey reports that Atlantic salmon have been found in the river for the first time in more than 100 years.

The salmon were all less than a year old and about 2 inches long. Scientists found 41 Atlantic salmon.

“This discovery suggests that, after many years of reproductive failure, restoration is starting to work for this species,” said Jim Johnson, Station Chief for the U.S. Geological Survey Tunison Lab of Aquatic Science in Cortland, in a news release. “This finding should provide real excitement and impetus for biologists and sport groups interested in bringing this species back to the area.”

Lake Ontario once held the largest concentration of freshwater Atlantic salmon in the world. Overfishing, deforestation, pollution and damming of tributaries all but killed off the fish by the late 1800’s. The fish survived in the rivers of New England for decades longer, but when a fish called the alewife was accidentally introduced to the region’s waters, the Atlantic salmon died off.

When salmon eat alewives, a chemical in the alewife weakens and kills newly hatched salmon.

Lately, however, alewife populations are shrinking as other predators gobble them up. That’s good news for the Atlantic salmon.

The state has been stocking 30,000 Atlantic salmon a year in the Salmon River.

“This provides some hope that we can get natural reproduction of Atlantic salmon despite the thiaminase issue,” said Dan Bishop, fishery manager for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Region 7 Fisheries Unit. “Our thinking was that the reproductive impairment would be very difficult to overcome.”

A strong return of Atlantic salmon would also give a boost to a region that bases much of its economy on fishing-related tourism.


Wild Atlantic Salmon Found in New York’s Salmon River (USGS)

The Atlantic Salmon Federation

More pictures of Atlantic salmon (USGS)

The Salmon of New York (DEC)


Atlantic salmon exist in many parts of the world. Here’s a BBC video showing some big Atlantic salmon fighting a strong current and jumping high out of the water to get over a waterfall:

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