Pulaski, New York, November 22-24, 2019
Cold and damp with a heavy overcast sky. Possibility of lake-effect snow. It was late November and winter was approaching at the Salmon River in Pulaski, New York.

After meeting our guide,
Greg Liu, at Whitaker’s fly shop we headed for the Douglaston Salmon Run. We had a heavy overcast with the river was running around 500 cfs. According to Greg, the past few weeks were absolutely miserable, with cold temperatures and lots of rain. However this break in the weather also unleashed a mob of season pass holders and the main parking lot was busy with anglers gearing up and heading for the trails.
With the water low, and coupled with the cold weather and lots of anglers on the water, we knew the fishing would be tough. It turned out to be really tough. Greg maneuvered us into some very favorable positions, but the steelhead just would not cooperate. Around noon the wind was really blowing, making casting almost impossible. A vey strong gust almost blew the three of us into the river. Faced with deteriorating conditions, we decided to call it a day.

Although the river was still crowded the next day, both Jin and I managed to hook and land steelhead. They were holding in very specific slots and the bite was very subtle, without the usual strong gyrations and tail-flipping.
Fishing overall was still difficult, with most anglers camping out on a hole and not moving for the rest of the day. We spent time walking up, down and across the Salmon River several times before finding somewhere to fish.
On the final day we caught a break and managed to beat everyone to one of the spots we usually like to fish. Again, there were a lot of anglers on the water so we decided to just stay in this one spot for the better part of the day. Jin hooked and landed a fish and missed another. I got a bite as I was lifting the line for another cast—the bite was about six feet away from Jin and surprised all of us.
DIRECTIONS: Fly or drive. Most major airlines fly into Syracuse Hancock International Airport in New York or if you’d rather drive, from Virginia, use I-81 for a seven hour drive north to Pulaski. Our fly shop of choice is Whitaker’s, about a quarter mile to the right of the main freeway exit.

Depending on the fishing conditions we use switch or spey rods lined with steelhead, skagit or mid-belly lines, heavy indicator lines, split shot, and a variety of egg patterns, streamers, and nymphs from size 2 to 12 to drift or swing through possible holding areas on the Salmon River. A suggestion: those switch and spey lines are much thicker than normal fly lines so be sure to have a reel large enough to accommodate the line. About 100 yards of backing should be enough.