Fishing Season: Spring

Salmon River - NY

Fishing Outlook & Conditions

Water Temp:


Whitakers's Tip of the Week

At this point were at the end of our spring season and the majority of steelhead have finished spawning and returned to Lake Ontario. The few fish that are still hanging around are mostly in the lower end of the river. The best area for anglers to focus right now is between RT2A and the DSR. The steelhead that are dropping back have been holding in the head or tailout of the deeper holes and larger runs. Olive and black streamers with slow sinking tips have produced the best results.

Directions open in app

Map of Salmon River

Water Flow Data

Tidal Conditions

Orvis-Endorsed guides nearby

Tailwater Lodge Zero Limit Adventures

5-Day Outlook as of 5/4/21

With the recent rain check the water level before making the trip. Below average temperatures for this time of year along with rain showers.

Techniques & Tips as of 5/4/21

Swinging streamers with sinking leaders, dead drifting with egg patterns.

Current Conditions as of 5/4/21

With the recent rain check the water level before making the trip. Below average temperatures for this time of year along with rain showers.

Local Species Available Spring

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    Smallmouth Bass

Whitakers's Recommended Fly Patterns

"Must-have" fly fishing patterns in descending order of importance:

Name: Colors: Size(s):
Bead Head Woolly Bugger Streamer black, olive, brown 4
Conehead Rubber Bugger black, olive, white 4
Hot Cone Woolly Bugger black, olive 4
Meg A Egg Sucking Leech pink, orange 4
Kaufman stones brown, black 6
Rubber legged stones black, golden 6
Conehead Bunny Muddler black, olive, brown 4
Bead Head Flash Zonker olive, white, black 6
Steelie omelet chart, peach, cerise 6
Sucker spawn blue, pink, chart 6

Bead Head Woolly Bugger Streamer

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Whitakers's Recommended Gear

Description: About Salmon River

The Salmon River is without a doubt, the most famous salmon and steelhead river in the entire northeast. The salmon river is hydro electrically controlled and the water levels can vary based on rainfall, snow melt or drought. There is 13 miles of public access and 2 miles of privately controlled access where anglers can purchase a daily access pass. Labor Day weekend signals the start of salmon season with a scheduled water release. With the increase in water level the salmon begin their annual migration. Most of the true spawning areas/gravel bars are upstream of the Pineville bridge and that's where the bulk of these fish end up. Chinooks and Coho are fall spawners and they die after spawning. By November they are pretty much gone. Steelhead are spring spawners, but the first of the winter run fish show up with the salmon. November and December see more steelhead entering the river system. These fish will overwinter in the river and provide us with a winter fishery. January and February are reserved for serious fisherman. Lots of snow...dress warm...sleep in a bit longer and carry hand warmers. Spring comes eventually, in March or April. The spawning process begins and can provide plenty of action as the water temperature rises along with the arrival of mild weather. Once these fish have completed spawning, it's like a slow down stream migration as they feed all the way back to Lake Ontario.

Nearest Airport:

Syracuse International Airport (SYR)


Caddis, Stoneflies

Best Time to Fish:

Mid day once things warm up.

Best Stretch:

Upper end of the river between Altmar and Pineville.

Best Access:

DEC Public fishing access lots off NYS RT13, RT2A, RT52.