Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fishing the Douglaston Salmon Run

My guide, Gary Edwards, showing me where the fish are (the fish that I can't seem to catch)

A few weeks ago I was asked to come take photos of an outdoor writers conference at the Douglaston Salmon Run, a fishing preserve in Pulaski on the Salmon River. I wasn’t sure what to expect so I showed up after work wearing my dress clothes. Within five minutes I was told that I was going fishing. It was goodbye heels and hello waders!

I was paired with fishing guide, Gary Edwards. Gary’s fishing background is quite impressive. He and his wife Robin used to own a lodge in Port Ontario where Gary guided for many years. He set an I.G.F.A. (International Game Fish Association) World Record on a fly rod when he landed a 22lb. 9oz. Chinook salmon on 2 lb. test tippet. He has written featured stories for Fly Fisherman, Outdoor Life, Sports Afield, Field & Stream, and has been featured in over 9 nationwide TV Shows. You may have seen Gary and Robin on the PBS series, Vacations on the Fly, which the couple co-hosted and produced. The program aired nationally averaging 22 million viewers. They helped couples and families plan great vacation getaways revolving around some of the best fly fishing opportunities in the world. If you check out their website by clicking here, you can read about their trip to the Salmon River!

Although Gary and Robin now reside in Pennsylvania where they are preserve managers of Graystones Preserve, they still come back to the Salmon River for the best fly fishing. Gary's son, Jason Edwards, stayed true to his father’s roots - he is currently the manager of Douglaston Salmon Run.

After hearing Gary’s background I was rather intimidated, but Gary proved to be an awesome guide! He taught me a new technique - the “chuck-n-duck”, which isn’t conventional fly casting. After the trip I looked it up and found that it’s a popular technique around the Great Lakes tributaries. According to one definition, “in chuck-n-duck fishing, a weight is cast and the fly line and fly are pulled along, similar to spin fishing (except the line does not come off a reel), whereas in traditional fly fishing, the line is cast and the fly goes along for the ride.”

After spending a good three hours chucking-n-ducking (Gary spent more time ducking), I left empty handed. Gary had a bit more luck; he caught a nice 28lb. female King Salmon. On the bright side of things, I learned that being a girl on the river is a real advantage, because when we asked to fish a couple of occupied spots, the men quickly obliged.

Gary and his 28lb. King Salmon

The best part of the day was that I finally fished the Douglaston, something I always wanted to try. It is probably one of the cleanest and most beautiful sections of the Salmon River and everyone that fishes it is polite.

The following day I had numerous people report to me that everyone fishing on the Douglaston was catching fish left and right (talk about rubbing salt in the wound). On the positive side I now have a theory: I’m not a bad fisherwoman, I just have bad timing!

Just a note:

I browsed youtube and I typed in Douglaston Salmon Run or DSR and many people have posted their own personal videos about their fishing trips. There are a couple that I liked that I am linking to below: