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Aug. 19, 2005

It's Official: Last Fall's Fishing was Phenomenal on the Salmon River

PULASKI - Anglers caught more than 85,000 Chinook salmon on the Salmon River last fall, according to a New York State creel census conducted between September and November 2004.

"Anglers fishing the world-renown Salmon River in Oswego County during the 2004 salmon run had an exceptional season," said Christine Gray, director of the Oswego County Department of Promotion and Tourism. "We're looking forward to great fishing conditions again this fall."

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) conducted the creel census from September to November, the prime fall salmon fishing season. An estimated 85,250 Chinook salmon were caught during a 50-day period. In addition to the phenomenal number of Chinook, anglers caught 6,924 steelhead, 3,372 brown trout, 2,416 Coho salmon, and 197 Atlantic salmon.

The 2004 survey was the DEC's first since 1992 to assess the entire salmon fishery on the Salmon River and its tributaries.

The survey confirms the success that anglers have with with Chinook salmon and with other species on the Salmon River and its tributaries, notes Daniel Bishop, NYSDEC Region 7 Fisheries Manager.

"The biggest difference between the 1992 survey was the number of fish harvested compared with the number returned to the river," said Bishop. "In 1989, anglers who caught steelhead kept about one-half of their catch. In 2004, anglers kept only 12% of the steelhead that they caught, indicating a high level of support for 'catch and release' fishing for steelhead."

Last year's creel census also showed the drawing power of the Salmon River fishery. Sixty-six percent of those who fished the Salmon River came from out-of-state and foreign countries, and the remaining 34 percent were New York State residents.

"This data is consistent with previous surveys," said Gray. "The Salmon River is well-known as a world-class fishery destination."

Other interesting facts from the creel census:

  • Anglers from Pennsylvania and New Jersey topped the list of out-of-state anglers.
  • 2,554 angler parties were interviewed.
  • 80 percent of the fall fishing is along the banks of the Salmon River.
  • The two fly fishing catch-and-release zones near Altmar account for 10 percent of angler efforts.
  • The remaining activity is on the tributaries and by drift boat fishermen on the Salmon River.

For up-to-date fishing conditions and visitor information, contact the Oswego County Department of Promotion and Tourism at 315/349-8322 or 1-800-248-4FUN, or access the Oswego County Web site at www.oswegocounty.com

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