Fishing at the Schoolhouse Pool in Altmar
A rather large run of king and coho salmon, punctuated with monster browns and a smattering of steelhead ran the Salmon River last week. So I went up twice last weekend to see how the fishing was.
Around 3 p.m. on Friday afternoon, I stopped at Fat Nancy's Tackle Shop to pick the brains of the clerks. Jason Maccue was replenishing some stock. I asked him "how's the fishing been?"
"We've had good runs each week so far this month," he replied. "Currently, the fish are everywhere in the river. They're even in the creeks." (Trout and Orwell Brooks, tributaries of the Salmon River, and nearby Little Sandy Creek.)
All excited and shaky and stuff at the delicious news, I tried my luck in the Staircase, on the western edge of Pulaski. I saw a couple kings taken by others but I went fishless. The fish were huge; I estimated them about 25 pounds each.
After an hour I decided to go upstream to Pineville. The fish were in the pool below the bridge and I saw one of about 30 pounds landed. Several other guys yelled fish-on but their trophies broke off quicker than they could repeat the phrase.
I hooked one about 30 pounds. While rigging up, I was expecting fish in the 20-pound range so I tied on an 8-lb. leader. Big mistake. When the fish took off downstream like the Jamaican bob sled team, all I could do is let it go and try keeping up by running after it.
I was holding my own pretty good until it dove under a freshly fallen log and wrapped the line around a leafy branch. The line snapped and the last I saw of him, he was tailwalking down the rapids laughing at me.
On Sunday, I got there by noon. Everywhere I went, from the Black Hole and Staircase to the Trestle Hole and Schoolhouse pool, I saw guys with salmon. Not the relatively tiny 16-pounders of recent years, but the monstrous 25- and 30-pounders that we used to get back in the '80s and early '90s.
I scored one in the pool just below the bridge in Altmar. She took a half of a chartreuse Gulp Grub I fashioned to resemble a salmon egg. This time I packed a 12-lb. leader. She gave it her all but my Trion's drag stayed true. After her initial burst of speed failed to relieve the sting in her mouth, she stopped to figure out what to do next. I took the initiative and horsed her in as much as I dared. Everything went right and in less than 10 minutes she was at my feet.
I tailed her in about a foot-and-a-half of water and held on for a couple minutes to give her a rest and admire her beauty. Weighing well over 20 pounds, she lay on her side for a minute.
Catching her breath, she righted herself and I could feel her muscles flex. When she waved her tail violently, I relaxed my grip and she quickly faded into the rapids like a beautiful dream into early morning.
Great quantities of kings, cohos and brown trout will run the Salmon River until around mid-October, and smaller, but significant numbers will run until November.
There will still be some fish of each species available straight into December; but November usually ushers in steelhead time.
A happy angler with a 25lb king he took in the Schoolhouse Pool.
A shot of a pooch, a rather large one at that, watching his master fishing at the Trestle Hole in Pulaski.