Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Skinny Creek Salmon

A couple dudes who requested anonymity--and their cohos weren't talking, either.

Eastern Lake Ontario witnessed the beginning of the largest salmon run of the season--thus far, anyway--on the night of September 28th. By the following morning, reliable sources on the Salmon River reported fish where plentiful throughout the river.

And Pulaski wasn’t the only spot hosting spawn-happy salmon.

Oswego got massive quantities of fish, too. On cue, their run was spurred by heavy rains that drenched Central New York, especially the Finger Lakes and Oneida Lake regions, last week, raising water levels in the Oswego River by almost a foot. So many fish charged the River in the city, folks driving south on NY 48 Thursday evening could see salmon trying to jump the Varick dam. Fortunately, the water was so high at the foot of the structure, the effervescence so thick, it cushioned the blows and the fish didn’t get seriously hurt slamming into the barrier, only a little humiliated and a bit frustrated; but they tried and tried again until exhausted.

This writer’s favorite form of fishing is for large fish on skinny creeks. Summer smallmouths in the Salmon River, steelhead in Little Sandy Creek, big native browns in Scriba Creek, and, most of all, huge salmon in Oswego County’s creeks and brooks.

So I went and tried my luck on Thursday  afternoon. I stopped at Trout Brook, at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Fishing Access Site on the shoulder of cty. Rte. 48. I was a bit disappointed to see the water was at normal levels. Once I got in, however, I was excited by all the fish. I counted at least 15 fish, a mix of kings and cohos, in about ½ mile, and caught a coho.

I never made it all the way to the mouth but a couple guys  who passed me heading back to the road, two limits of kings in tow , said the whole creek was loaded. “The further you go downstream, the more fish you’ll see,” one added with great excitement.

After about an hour, I split for the mouth of Grindstone Creek, at Selkirk Shore’s State Park. When I pulled into the parking lot, a line of guys stood atop the concrete wall at creek’s end--its mouth wanders and without the wall it would have sliced through the parking lot long ago.

Before I could wet a line, three guys had fish on at the same time. All three landed them.

I wasn’t so lucky. I hooked a couple but they split back to the lake and the last I knew, they were heading for Nine Mile Point, probably on their way to the Oswego River.

The skinny creeks are loaded with fish right now and will remain so for as long as the rain keeps coming. Other Oswego County thin streams worth trying are Little Sandy Creek and Orwell Brook.

So, if you’ve never experienced the thrill of hooking a monster salmon high on hormones, in a creek so small you can walk across it on most days, now is your best chance of the season.

Peter Barnes, a native of Dingman's Ferry, PA, straining over a king he took in Grindstone Creek.

Mike Isabella, Rotterdam, NY, takes a king from Grindstone Creek.

Schenectady, NY's, Larry Millen with his Grindstone Creek king.

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