In the late 1800’s Lake Ontario was filled to the brim with Atlantic Salmon. This was the golden age of salmon fishing. However, over-fishing and pollution deteriorated the salmon numbers in the lake and its tributaries. Conscious efforts were made to stock the lake with Chinook and rainbow trout but to no avail. Up to the 1960’s the Salmon River sport fishing could not pick up. In the 1960’s, the sport fishing (especially salmon fishing) in Lake Ontario watershed was being promoted widely by the New York state. Large stocks of Chinook, steelhead, Coho salmon and brown trout were maintained to artificially fill up Lake Ontario (plus its tributaries) to promote salmon fishing. Today, the stock runs into millions of Chinook and steelhead every year and releases them through the state owned hatchery.
Salmon River Fish Hatchery
Ever since its inception in 1981, the Salmon River Fish Hatchery has been at the heart of salmon fishing. Located at Beaverdam Brook, it raises the following fishes annually:
• Coho Salmon: 250,000
• Chinook Salmon: 3.2 Million
• SteelHead: 750,000
• Brown Trout: 300,000
• Landlocked Salmon: 150,000
Salmon Challenges on Golden 12 Miles
The prime salmon angling opportunities are spread on a 12 miles stretch on the Salmon River. it starts from the mouth of the salmon river and ends at the Lighthouse Reservoir Dam. There are two dams operated by Orion Power, a local power company. The lower dam is called Lighthouse Hill Reservoir and the higher dam is known as Salmon River Reservoir. Salmon River falls, where prime angling and salmon fishing activity takes place, is situated in between these two dam reservoirs. Fishing for native species such as Brook and Rainbow trout is permitted atop the dams. The public access to the salmon fishing and angling destinations are possible because the New York State controls the major salmon fishing easements on the entire length of the Salmon River. Remember, DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation) does not allow snagging hooks at Salmon River.