Friday, February 21, 2014

Salmon River International Sport Fishing Museum

Spider Rybaak

Fred Betts with the cream of his collection.

Fishing museums are rare. Of the handful in existence, NY boasts two of the finest, both located on world famous trout streams. Oswego County has the most complete: The Salmon River International Sport Fishing Museum.

Truth be told, the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum in Livingston Manor, on the banks of Willowemoc Creek, a tributary of the Beaverkill,  which flows into the East Branch of the Delaware River, is more famous. That’s mostly because it’s been around for about 20 years longer, is located in the Catskills, the cradle of American fly-fishing, and is only about 50 miles from New York City.

But the Salmon River is rapidly becoming the top salmonid stream in the world— it’s already the most famous in the Lower 48 states. Another, equally important factor that’ll propel the SRISFM into the front of the pack is its inclusiveness; it covers all aspects of fishing, everything from casting and spinning  reels, to trolling rods, eel spears, lures and trout creels.  

In fact, Fred Betts, a Central New Yorker who boasts one of the finest creel collections around, gave a lecture on their history last Sunday, February 16. He brought the cream of his collection to show the evolution of fishing baskets, and how each change benefited anglers.

Betts’ talk was part of the facility’s newest program, “Afternoon at the Museum.” An open house held every third Sunday of the month, the series will feature speakers on a litany of fishy subjects.
The next talk, given by Mike Riordan, is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on March 15, and will cover the history of fishing line, from the braided horse hair lines of Ancient Rome to today’s super braids.

Riordan, president of the museum, says it’ll by open at 2 p.m., giving folks a little time to wander through the exciting displays before the speaker’s presentation, which will be given at 3:30 p.m.

But there’s more to the place than fishing equipment. The walls are plastered in fine art. Everything from fanciful Romantic era fishing scenes to realistic oils by greats like Maynard Reece is represented.

Run by volunteers, the hours of operation aren’t set in stone. However, the lobby contains loads of literature and is always open.

The museum is located at 3044 State Route 13, a few miles east of Pulaski. For more information, call 315-298-2213, visit or

Old time fly wallet.

Fine art graces the museum's walls.

Ice fishing and eel spears.