Saturday, March 6, 2010

03.06.10 Saranac River landlocked salmon fishing, not catching

Took a quick trip up to the Adirondacks for a winter check on the lodge, and while here I decided to give the Saranac River in Plattsburgh a try for landlocked salmon. Todays weather was mild for this time of year, around mid 40's, so I figured it would be good. I made the drive along Route 9 out of Ausable Forks and then onto the Northway before getting off at the Plattsburgh exit. I first stopped at the mouth of the Saranac at Lake Champlain to see what it looked like. It was around 930 when I got into the river below the Broad Street bridge. The water temps were 34 degrees and my line and chartruese wooly bugger kept getting caught on the loose ice that floated down. I stayed there for awhile and then moved upstream above the police station near the old Saranac Street bridge. I thought for sure this would be a great spot. The river is wide and has long runs, deep pools, eddys, and riffles. What more could you ask for. For the next five hours I threw everything I had into that water- nothing. Dead drift, high stick, Euro nymph, slow strip, fast strip- nothin'. I fished hard and from both sides, from the bank, and up to my waist. I couldn't find a fish. I started to think that maybe the fish weren't here. They come into the river in the fall and make their way up to spawn, staying in the river for the winter, and returning to the big lake in the spring. I thought maybe I wasn't up far enough. I decided to go up to Schyler Falls to the dam to see if there was good water and access, but there was none. I decided to try the section of the river behind Plattsburgh SUNY. I got there around 330 and found more good variety of water, and it was 38 degrees. The river splits around a island that must be inhabited by 300 beavers- because every tree was either down or had some degree of bite into it. I'll refer to this as Beaver Island. Around 530 I knew it was done. I had a great time even though I couldn't find a fish. I "caught" four interesting peices of trash today- a losing NY lottery ticket, a beer can, a container for Canadian worms, and a pair of busted polarized glasses. I also saw some real nasty shelf ice that was set up over some deep water- very bad. The environmentally sound split shot I now use was put to good use today since I lost a few setups on the rocks and trees in the water. I would really like to know where the fish were today. I have to give props to Richard Garfield, a guide from Fly Fish the Adirondacks- he seems to know where the fish always are- as I have looking at his website and following his winter landlocked outings.