Salmon season off to a dry start; rewards on the river still found

Local News

PULASKI, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — If you look around the Salmon River during the fall, the leaves are bursting with color and the water is rushing in between the banks… If you step in it, your experience becomes a challenge. 

Photo taken by Lindsay Raychel

This year, the salmon aren’t the only ones bringing that challenge.

In Pulaski, there is a 12 mile stretch that people all over the world flock to, every year. This year, the world travelers aren’t there, and neither is the water.

Zana Gervaise, Owner of Salmon River Sports Shop said, ” It’s like record setting, uncommonly low. The reservoir is what actually controls the water level. But because there isn’t any water to release, it’s just all natural.”

Nautrally low and warm, close to 60 degrees at the end of September.

Edward Schulze of Utica said, “You can actually wear shorts, you don’t need waders. In another month, we’ll all be freezing up here and hopefully the water levels will be higher.” 

Although the North Country has seen rain recently, it could use a lot more to spread the fish out and push them up the river.

Michaela Felter of Binghamton, N.Y. said, “Most of it got absorbed because it’s been so dry.”

Schulze said, “We got some rain last night, it really didn’t affect the water flow. So the fish are very condensed, they’re in small pools”.

The rain hasn’t filled the Salmon River but it seems the coronavirus pandemic has brought more people to it. Some, for the first time. 

Sean Hanson of Philadelphia, Pa. said, ” This is my first year salmon fishing, yes.”

Lindsay Raychel asked, “Why’d you decide to do it this year?”

Hanson said, “My girlfriend and I are looking to move to Alaska. We want to kind of get away so we’ve been going to isolated spots and fishing more.”

For others, they’re simply looking for the sense of normalcy during the pandemic with tradition being the prize.

Travis H. of Binghamton, N.Y. said, “I’ve been coming up here since I was 10 years old, my grandfather brought me and I’ve been coming ever since.”

Felter said, “We’ve been coming up here, my dad’s been coming up for forever but I’ve been coming up since I was 8 and it’s just the one thing you look forward to before hunting season every year is coming up to Pulaski.”

Gervaise said, “I think it’s an activity that people can feel confident in that they can space out properly, get outside, get fresh air and it’s something new to try and well why not, there isn’t much else to do. Let’s give this a shot.”

The fish will still run. The reward is a shot at an experience like no other on the east coast.

Felter said, “I’m just glad we were able to come up here. It wasn’t a huge run today so we weren’t sure we were going to stay and I’m just grateful we did.”

Gervaise anticipates an active Columbus Day weekend and believes, from her experience, that the salmon will still be pushing beyond that date.

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