Reading Time: 9 minutes
It may be a small town, but fishing in Pulaski, NY, is mighty. Built around the Salmon River, this village lives and breathes catching fish. The phenomenal Salmon and Steelhead runs, easy access to Lake Ontario, and secret creeks are all worth exploring in their own right. Oh, and it’s just off Interstate 81. It’s no wonder anglers come to Pulaski from across the country!
In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about fishing in Pulaski. Get your tackle ready – this is a destination you won’t want to miss.
What to Catch in Pulaski
The name “Salmon River” gives the game away. These are the most popular targets in Pulaski, followed closely by Steelhead. But don’t let Salmonids overshadow the other sportfish in the local waters. There’s more to Pulaski than meets the eye.
Salmon Fishing Pulaski NY
Three types of Salmon swim upriver through Pulaski every year. The two most popular catches – Chinook and Coho – are actually Pacific Salmon that were introduced here in the 1970s. Atlantic Salmon are native to these waters, but they’re relatively rare. Because Chinooks and Cohos make up the majority of the catch, we’ll focus on them here.
Chinook – aka “King” Salmon – are the largest Salmon species. And they tend to get bigger here than they do in most other places. The Great Lakes record – a mighty fish that reached almost 50 pounds – comes from the Salmon River near Pulaski. But Kings are more often in the 15–30 pound range, averaging about 18 pounds.
No matter the size, King Salmon will put you and your tackle to the test. Once you hook them, they’ll take off – rushing up and down the river. But the struggle is worth it. These are some of the best tasting fish you can find in a river.
Also known as “Silver” Salmon, Cohos are smaller than their Chinook cousins. But many people actually prefer the experience of catching them. Rather than digging in and running, they’ll leap out of the water to try to shake the hook, dodging and twisting in their attempts to outsmart you.
Silvers range from about 3–10 pounds in Pulaski, with the average fish coming in around 8 pounds. The world record Coho was caught right here, and that monster came in at over 33 pounds. You never know, the next record holder might be you.
Salmon fishing in Pulaski is highly seasonal. In the summer, Salmon move to the shallower waters on Lake Ontario. They usually start to congregate around the mouth of the river in August, as they prepare to travel upstream. Come September, thousands of Pacific Salmon are jostling through the Salmon River’s shallow waters. By November, all signs of the great migration have disappeared, apart from the occasional carcass of a spawned out fish.
Steelhead Fishing in Pulaski, NY
Tourists come to Pulaski for the Salmon, but it’s the Steelhead fishing that locals rave about. These are big Rainbow Trout that have matured in the open waters of Lake Ontario. Like Salmon, they can find the exact river they started their lives in and reliably come back to it to lay their eggs. But unlike Salmon, they stick around for longer, extending the local fishing season all the way through spring.
You can catch two types of Steelhead in Pulaski. The Washington strain start to travel up the Salmon River in October and stay here through spring. They’re complemented by Skamania Steelhead, which start to arrive in the river as early as June. These beautiful fish are usually 5–10 pounds, but you occasionally find 20-pounders in the Salmon River.
Just as the cold starts to ease up, the fishing reaches a new level. Unlike Salmon, Steelhead usually survive their spawn and head back to Lake Ontario from about March to May. These “Dropbacks” are ravenously hungry and abundant, particularly in smaller creeks coming off the Salmon River. This makes for unforgettable fishing.
Pulaski Brown Trout Fishing
Hot on the heels of Salmon are Pulaski’s Brown Trout. These attractive fish start their own spawning run from September to November. Because they feed on Salmon eggs, you can often find them downstream from actively spawning Salmon. Trout stay in the Salmon River all year long, congregating in the lower part of the river in winter and spring.
Come to Pulaski out of season, and you’ll find an entirely different fishery. Smallmouth Bass arrive in Salmon River just as the Steelhead are leaving, around May. Then, they stick around through late August, spawning and feeding before moving back to the deeper waters of Lake Ontario. Some of the best Smallmouth Bass fishing in Pulaski happens in the estuary and lower river in June and July.
The beauty of Pulaski is that there’s plenty of quality fish around beyond the attention-grabbing Salmonid runs. Lake Ontario is just downriver, where you can catch huge Lake Trout, Walleye, and Yellow Perch. Then, a short drive north takes you to Sandy Pond, where you can fish all year round for Pike, Musky, Carp, Bowfin, and more.
How to Fish in Pulaski
There are two ways to go fishing in Pulaski – on your own or with a guide. Take matters into your own hands, and you’ll be on the water in minutes, at minimal expense. Hire a Pulaski fishing charter, and you’ll go directly to the most productive spots, fully equipped with tried-and-tested fishing gear. This is a surefire way to maximize your chances of catching fish, especially if you’ve never been here before.
Whichever option you choose, you’ll probably try one of these techniques:
No matter your fishing credentials, you’ll probably try float fishing at some point during your stay. This is one of the most effective ways to fish the Salmon River for Salmon and Trout. It works by attaching a float to your line, giving you total control over where your bait is in the water. Cast with a centerpin or spinning reel and get ready to reel in your catch.
Whether you’re a fishing purist or just want to try a new technique, there are few better places to go fly fishing than Pulaski. Like float fishing, this technique lets you position your lure exactly where the fish are looking to feed. But you can’t match the precision you get with fly fishing.
If you’re bringing your own gear, the most popular setup here is a 9′ fly rod or longer with a 9 weight or higher rating. Otherwise, many guides provide two handed switch rods, which are beginner-friendly and make it easier to see a King Salmon battle through to the end.
Traditional Salmon and Steelhead patterns, egg patterns, and nymph patterns are some of the most effective fly choices.
The cold winters that batter Lake Ontario’s southern shores don’t stop people from catching fish. In fact, nothing beats sitting in a warm, insulated hut and catching Walleye, Trout, Northern Pike, and Perch on a cold winter’s day. Make sure you ice fish with someone experienced who will keep you safe on the ice. Sandy Pond and Lake Ontario are both popular ice fishing locations depending on the conditions.
Fishing Spots in Pulaski NY
Fishing in Pulaski mostly concentrates on the Salmon River, but there’s a lot more to it than that. We’ll walk you through the essential spots to visit on the river and explain why this is just part of the Pulaski fishing story.
With Lake Ontario on one end and two reservoirs on the other, the Salmon River offers 17 miles of fishing adventure. This popular waterway is heavily stocked with Salmon and Steelhead every year and holds a good population of naturally-reproducing fish, too. Here are the top spots to explore:
- The Estuary and Port Ontario. The entrance to the Salmon River is also the departure point for most Pulaski fishing charters. From here, you can choose to fish Lake Ontario or to head upriver. But if you stay put, fishing the estuary in a drift boat can be rewarding in its own right. This is one of the best summertime fishing spots for Bass and Perch, and Pike patrol the waters in the spring. Come late summer and fall, and the waters fill with Salmon and Steelhead.
- The Douglaston Salmon Run (DSR). The two-and-a-half-mile section from the top of the estuary to the outskirts of Pulaski offer some of the best fishing on the whole river. This section is privately owned, but you can fish it for a fee. Rates vary depending on when you’re fishing and passes sell out quickly in the fall.
- Pulaski Village. The stretch of the Salmon River that passes through Pulaski is the perfect place to get to know the local waters. The “Black Hole” just north of the DSR is one of the deepest points in the river and gets filled up with King Salmon early in the season. You can also fish the pools near the bridges on South Jefferson Street and Salina Street.
- Between Pulaski and Altmar. There are several pools in the upper stretches of the river that are fantastic for King Salmon and Steelhead. The Trestle Pool and Sportsman’s Pool are a couple of the most productive.
- Fly fishing-only sections. There are two sections of the river around Altmar that are reserved for fly fishing and are catch-and-release only. This makes them calmer than the crowded spots downriver. The water runs fast here, and you can enjoy some great fishing for Brown Trout and Steelhead.
Beyond the Salmon River
Pulaski’s river is rightly famous for its Salmon and Steelhead runs, but sometimes popularity comes at a cost. If you want to get away from the crowds lining the river banks, check out these spots nearby.
- Salmon River tributaries. There are several smaller waterways leading off the Salmon River that offer great fishing in relative solitude. Explore them in the spring and look out for huge Steelhead in the clear, shallow waters.
- Lake Ontario. When the crowds on the Salmon River get too much, head offshore. Lake Ontario offers fantastic fishing from spring through fall. Smallmouth Bass, Brown Trout, Lake Trout, and all the Salmon and Steelhead you find upstream make for varied and exciting fishing, whenever you come.
- Sandy Pond. Just a short drive from Pulaski, Sandy Pond adds even more variety to the local fishing scene. It’s famous for its Northern Pike and also holds a healthy population of Largemouth Bass. Bowfin, Muskie, Carp, and Yellow Perch share these waters, too.
Pulaski NY Fishing Regulations
Everyone who’s 16 or older must have a license to fish in Pulaski, even if they’re just helping someone else bring in their catch. If you want to fish the DSR, you’ll need an extra permit that you can purchase directly from the provider.
There are also rules about when you can fish in Pulaski. It’s illegal to fish a lot of the local waterways at night, especially during the Salmon and Steelhead runs. There are also limits to the number of fish you can keep, and minimum size limits apply.
Finally, make sure you’re using the correct gear and techniques on the Salmon River and beyond. Check out New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation to find out exactly how you’re allowed to fish. Or go with a licensed guide, and all you’ll need to do is purchase a license – they’ll take care of everything else.
It’s Time to Visit the Salmon Capital of New York!
Once called “Fishville,” Pulaski is famous as the number one place to catch Salmon in New York State. But there’s much more to it than that. It’s also a fantastic place to explore Lake Ontario, a myriad of creeks and streams, and the diverse local population of fish species. We think referring to Pulaski only as a Salmon destination is selling it short. Pay it a visit and see the whole range of options Fishville has in store.
Have you fished in Pulaski before? What was your record catch? Share your top moments and favorite spots below. We can’t wait to hear from you!
Title: Pulaski, NY Fishing: The Complete Guide
Sourced From: fishingbooker.com/blog/pulaski-fishin/
Published Date: Tue, 31 Oct 2023 15:06:23 +0000