Pulaski, New York, December 6-8, 2013
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With the
banana beat down in late November still pretty fresh in our minds, I returned to the Salmon River with Jin to fish for steelhead with guide Greg Liu.

When we pulled into the parking lot at
Whitaker's Fly Shop in the morning, it seemed like we had only been gone for a few days rather then several weeks. But the big difference this time was the weather and the temperature. During the November trip we were stripping off layers during the day. Now we were adding as many layers as we could stuff into our waders to beat back the frigid morning chill.
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We slipped on our waders and headed for the Douglaston Salmon Run and soon we were in the water, drifting flies through one of our favorite spots on the river. Jin quickly picked off a nice fish and I pricked one on a half-assed hook set that popped off after a brief tug. I managed to hook another, which also got off, before finally bringing one to net. As we worked down the river Jin picked up a couple of smaller fish that he just stripped in and released while I played and lost another fish.
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After lunch we moved to another location, this one way upstream, where Greg left me to fish a nice, deep slot while he returned downstream to fish with Jin. He said if I hooked something I would wind up with them anyway. He was right.

About half an hour later I stuck something angry that, at first, boiled up and took off with my line and backing way upstream. I fought it back close to the bank but as soon as it saw me it took off again but this time it went downstream, heading for Jin and Greg. I moved onto the bank and followed the fish, trying to keep tension on the line while making sure I didn’t loose my footing and take a dive into the river. After a brief fight the fish was netted and after a few photographs it was released back into the river.
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The following day was nasty. The temperature plunged overnight and there were some snow flurries blowing around the river. Jin and I each caught a nice steelhead but that was about the only action we had for the day. Judging by the looks, posture and attitudes of other anglers on the water we considered ourselves lucky and were pretty happy about it.
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Our final day on the water was u-g-l-y. The temperature had dropped even lower that the previous day and the fly line was freezing in the guides. I had dunked the lower half of my reel while changing a fly and the spool froze to the frame. Snow was falling in big, fluffy flakes and the wind was picking up. We fished hard, but the weather was harder. Around 1pm we called it a day and headed for a restaurant to have lunch before heading for the airport.
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DIRECTIONS: From Virginia just follow I-81 and it's a seven hour drive north to Pulaski, N.Y., which is about 30 minutes outside of Syracuse.

EQUIPMENT: We used single hand, spey and switch rods with steelhead, skagit or mid-belly lines, sink tips, heavy leaders and a variety of egg patterns, streamers, tube flies and nymphs.
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