Last Sunday I went up to Oswego to check out the salmon bite. Numerous fish porpoised in the power company tailrace, but there weren’t many anglers around, indicating there really weren’t many fish. In fact, the half dozen guys I talked to on the West bank’s river walk had only seen a couple kings taken all day long.
So I went up to Larry’s Oswego Salmon Shop to get his take on the bite.
“Ain’t many fish in the river,” Larry offered. “But there will be in a couple of days…the time it takes for the rain from all the storms we had this weekend in the Finger Lakes to work its way down here.”
Yeah, that’s what I figure,” I agreed, and left.
I called back Tuesday night.
He picked up the phone and announced “They’re in. Massive quantities of ‘em. I’ve seen loads of them being dragged up the hill all day long.”
I called Guido, an old friend, to give him the heads up and ask if he’d be interested in going on Sunday.
“Yup,” he replied.
His nine-year-old son was near enough to the phone to hear our conversation.
“Dad, can I go?” he pleaded.
“No,” Guido responded. “You’re still too little.”
I had a revelation.
“Guido, why not?”
“The fish are bigger than him, and it’s dangerous to boot.”
“Hey man,” I retorted, “he ain’t gonna be using a clothes line or a cable. The fish’ll snap the 12-pound-test before it can pull him in. And the metal fences on the river walks in Oswego have spindles that’ll keep him on the right side of the water. Let him go.”
“That’s right, there is a fence,”
“Daddy, can I go too,” chimed his 10-year-old daughter.
Fortunately, Guido likes northern pike and has enough stout equipment to go around. We agreed to meet at his house after church and drive up together.
Life doesn’t provide children with too many wholesome, cheap thrills. And salmon fishing during the runs is about as good as it gets. Imagine your child’s excitement when a salmon hits. And even if the fish don’t bite, the kids will have more than enough fun just watching all those crazed adults whooping and hollering and carrying on like…well, over-sized, aging children.
So c’mon, bring the kids up to Oswego this weekend to fish for salmon and brown trout. Even if they don’t get one, they’ll still walk away with the experience, and those who took part, deeply etched into their fondest memories. They’ll see, up close and personal-like, a salmon’s last days, a time when nature takes the noblest beast in fresh water and transforms it into a violent, grotesque critter bent on charging into shallow, turbulent, foaming water to spawn and die.
It’s one of life’s most enduring mysteries. They’ll thank you for it…and remember the trip… Let’s face it, life doesn’t give us too many tickets to immortality. Taking a kid salmon fishing during the peak of the run is the cheapest, most painless way to get there.
For up-to-date information on the Oswego River’s runs, call Larry’s Oswego Salmon Shop, 315-342-2778. If you want to drop in and meet one of Oswego’s most colorful characters, he’s located on 357 W. First St. on the west bank. Larry’s fishing reports are also contained in the Oswego County Tourism Office fishing hotline at 1-800248-4FUN, http://www.visitoswegocounty.com/