River Fishing

Your Captain/Guide Suggestes to Bring:

  • Bring all snacks and beverages in unbreakable containers.
  • Sunglasses, hat and sun tan lotion or sun screen.
  • Rain gear just in case.
  •  Camera.
  • A large cooler to transport your catch.
  •  Seasonal clothing (much more than you think)
  • Offshore
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
  • All tackle is furnished.
  • A New York State Fishing License is Required.


 River Species:

Salmon start to show up in the Salmon River around the end of August and will spawn in September, October and early November and then will die. Usually the first Salmon to show up in the fall are the Coho Salmon. These are smaller than the King Salmon or Chinook, but are very feisty, aggressive biters and put up a great fight. Chinook Salmon are the kings of the river and grow to 40 pounds plus. The Chinook Salmon's average size is 20 to 30 lbs. and you can expect to see thousands of them racing up almost every tributary of Lake Ontario. These fish are known to bust the best tackle and leave many anglers sitting on the bank in amazement of there brute strength. Basically its a freight train on a fishing rod.


Chinook Salmon are commonly called kings. They are not a native species to NY waters. Most all King Salmon caught in NY are from the waters of Lake Ontario. The King Salmon in Lake Ontario are raised at the Salmon River Hatchery, located in the Village of Altmar in Oswego County. It is here that the DEC will collect the eggs of the migrating Chinook Salmon. The Salmon River Hatchery produces about four million trout and Salmon each year.

 The NY state record King Salmon weighed an amazing 47 lb. and 13oz. This awesome fish was caught by Kurtis L. Killian on a orange fly from the Salmon River September 07, 1991. Most Salmon caught by NY anglers range from 15 to 35 pounds in weight, but there are some real line busters mixed in there as well.

 Chinook Salmon spend most of their time in deep open water. They feed on the vast schools of alewives and smelt found in Lake Ontario. A mature Salmon will be 3 to 5 years old. Not all fish will mature at the same age. A fish pushing 40 pounds is probably a 4 year old fish. Most fish will return to spawn after 3 years in the big lake. The Salmon have a genetic imprint that makes them return to the river in which they were born. This means each year the Salmon River receives a very large run of King Salmon from Lake Ontario.

  September heralds the earliest run of fish into the Lake Ontario tributaries. October brings on the main run of fish with spawning becoming completed by early November. Then after spawning is complete the Salmon will die off completing their life cycle.

  Once the fish start to return to the river they may be enticed to hit a variety of baits. Egg sacs or plastic imitation eggs are among the most common used. Sponge in various colors can also be very productive. Artificial flies and streamers will also entice fish to strike. The longer the fish are in the river the more interested in spawning they become. A fresh run fish is more likely to hit your fly or egg sac. Major Lake Ontario tributaries having Chinook Salmon runs include the Salmon River, Oswego River, Genesee River, Black River, Niagara River, Oak Orchard Creek and Eighteen Mile Creek.


As the fall rains swell the tributaries of Lake Ontario in October and November, monster Brown Trout get ready to take part in there annual spawning ritual. Brown Trout from 8 to over 20 pounds plus are taken. On any given trip you could see catches of 10 to over 20 fish are not uncommon. These fish will remain in the creeks for only a short while and then migrate back to the depths of Lake Ontario. Fly's, fresh egg sacks, plastic baits and even night crawlers seems to be the ticket to produce these big brutes.


Steelhead enter the Salmon River in late July(Skamania Steelhead) and remain in the river until late May. Fishing for these large lake run Rainbows can be very intense and may take many tedious hours in the brutal New York weather to be successful. Steelhead can also come easy if you put your time in on the water and know all the tricks of the trade. Light tackle is a key factor in producing Steelhead results on the Salmon River or any Lake Ontario Tribs.