I have been traveling to the Salmon River in N.Y. for over 10 years. I’ve had many great days and many tough days. I’ve met a lot of great people and a lot of not so great people. Which you expect when fishing elbow to elbow with people. You make connections with people around you and if you go often enough, you build friendships and look forward to seeing them each year. People often help you land a fish and are willing to help net your fish. They are there cheering you on when you land that pig and there with a big “awww!” when the fish comes off the end of your line.
Each time I travel there is different experience, from the places I eat, the people I travel with and the places I stay. This year was no exception. I chose to stay at The TailWater Lodge right in Altmar. This brought my fishing experience to a whole new level. This place is a four star hotel. From the big welcoming doors with fish tails on them to the inviting rain shower in your room and their amazing restaurant with a menu you would find in the big city. All of which is most appealing after standing in cold water all day fishing. The cool thing about this place is you can park your car and walk to lower fly or fish right out back on their private river access. Staying at Tailwater brings a different atmosphere to your experience and time there.
After a long day of fishing I look forward to coming back, showering and heading to the restaurant where you hear everyone talking about their day, good or bad. There is a buzz in the room, a feeling we all get after fishing, an excitement that you hear in people’s voices when telling their stories . While you wait for your food or drinks you can shoot pool in the upper area or play darts. The great thing about this place is you don’t need to go anywhere else once you’ve parked your car. It’s a great place to bring both family and friends.
This year the talk was about the lack of fish in the river and the run being down but to be honest, the fishing didn’t seem too different than any other year for me. You always have good days and bad days in fishing and this year was no different for Aaron and me. With all the talk of no fish in the river we were not to opportunistic but we were there to fish and fish we did. We fished hard for four days. It was slow for my buddy Dan and Nathaniel, so the they headed to western NY in search of fish and to chase fishing reports.
Here is the thing about fishing reports, I don’t believe them unless I know the source. Some over exaggerate because they want people to book their lodge or hire them. Then you have the people who just don’t fish as hard as me or a few select friends so they will have caught no fish or very few and say the fishing sucks. I contacted a buddy on day one and told him all the reports weren’t good and he said, ” but they don’t fish like us”. So the point of this is, go fishing and experience it for yourself and take reports with a grain of salt.
We have slow days and big number days and this year was no different. We had around eight hook ups between us a day but on the last day we had 27 hook ups. The fish were fresh and silver. The majority weren’t huge but still in the seven pound range. We hooked bigger but they usually got the better of us and wrangled loose. Aaron did land one around 10 pounds. We hooked so many the day before we left that we decided not to fish the last morning.
Salmon River has 13 miles of fishable water but I often find myself in the Altmar area. There are more people there but there are also more fish there. If you are looking for water more to yourself, it is there, you just may need to do some walking to find it. If you are heading out for your first trip or your tenth trip, you should take a look at Tail Water Lodge for a whole new experience.