Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Tottering but Not Out

By Spider Rybaak

By Capt. George O'Brien
Lately, poor sports have been slandering Lake Ontario with reports its fishery is drying up.

Don’t believe it!

While there’s some indication the lake is experiencing a small drop in salmonid populations lately, experts attribute it to the boom and bust cycles every world class fishery experiences.  And although you can’t expect to limit-out on trophies every time you hit the water nowadays, there’s still enough big fish around to fill your dreams from ear to ear, and adorn a bare spot on your wall.

That point was brought home to me--again--last week when I accepted an invitation from John Kopy to float-fish the Salmon River. Native to the area, Kopy’s been fishing the stream for more than 50 years, and boasts 40 years of float-fishing experience under his oars. Plying rivers from Alaska to New York, he’s earned a reputation as one of the best steelhead guides on Great Lakes tributaries.
So when I called him last week to get some quotes for my upcoming book, “Fishing the Salmon River,” (Burford books, scheduled for release in 2017), he was eager to help me out; and then some.

“We can talk till the cows come home,” he adds a couple minutes into the conversation.  “But the best way for you to get a good feel for the current fishery is to come up and try it.”

“Are you free next Wednesday?” he asks. “I had a client cancel on me and if you have time, we can go out for a few hours.”

A couple days later we’re floating the river below Pulaski in Kopy’s drift boat. He’s manning the oars; I’m watching the rods for strikes.

We nail three steelies in about four hours, including a 30-incher.

“Good work,” he says as we head back to shore.

That’s what puts on the short list of the river’s best guides.

Check Kopy out at www.littlejohnjustfishes.com, or give him a call (315) 387-6343.

*Spider Rybaak is the author of Fishing Eastern New York and Fishing Western New York, the most complete guides ever published on recreational fishing in the state’s waters.  Available at all fine book stores and on-line.  Signed copies available from the author: srybaak@yahoo.com.

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