The Fall Field Campaign kicked off with three great days of Chinook Salmon fishing with Jay Peck on the Salmon River in Pulaski NY on September 7-9.
Day one provided the usual excitement with the first 4 fish slamming the fly and breaking off as they charged up river at full speed. The first fish that I actually hooked on my second cast could have pushed the 40 pound mark and was the largest Salmon by far over the three days of fishing. It was incredibly bright chrome, powerful and fat. I then changed from 12 Lb. tippet to 15 and proceeded to land 6 fish in the 28 to 31 pound range. Jay and I estimate that the fish are running about 5 pounds larger than last year averaging about 28 pounds.
The Salmon were actually running down river in waves for some reason in Pods that could have numbered around 50 – 75 fish (they must have been spooked for some reason). Watching this huge mass of fish accelerate downstream is truly an amazing sight. It is almost as if a very large volume of water gets released all at once and the body mass of fish actually causes a wake to splash up on the river bank.
The weather was in the 60 to 70 degree range with some clouds and a light breeze. The total fish count in the river should increase each week and hopefully peak the week of September 21 – just when we return for three more days of fishing.
Over the three days I hooked about 30 “wild” fish and landed 13, where 5 were between 29 and 32 pounds. I fished with my 7 weight 11 ft. switch rod all three days and feel that while it is great for Steelhead, the rod will probably max out with salmon in the mid 30 LB. range. Meaning… It is going to be a real challenge landing the 40 pounder that I’m hunting!
I took approximately 1,000 photos and had one fish that was absolutely Chrome (so bright you needed your shades to look at it). 200 Photos made the final cut and 38 will ultimately be posted on the FFP site.
Final note: I made my first major fishing magazine cover with the Fall edition of Lake Ontario Outdoors (see the post here). The picture was of “Frankenfish,” the Coho/Chinook hybrid that was 34 pounds (picture by Jay Peck).