Fall Favorites

Fall is a transitional time in the Northeast. Some states close certain areas when hunting season opens, and that can put a crimp in a fisherman’s plans. Here are a few places where you can get in some quality fishing before the ice forms and you can pull out your tip-ups, augers, and shanties.

New York

The Salmon River in the Pulaski Area runs some 15 miles from the Lighthouse Hill Reservoir in Altmar, NY to where it dumps into Lake Ontario at Port Ontario. Anglers find a variety of salmon, trout, and steelhead throughout the year. Most of these fish are moving from Lake Ontario into the river to spawn, and you’ll find Chinook salmon, Coho salmon, steelhead, Atlantic salmon and brown trout. The salmon started running around Labor Day and will continue through November when the spawning season is all about over. Steelhead, on the other hand, enter the river in November and December, so they’re the biggest draw. There are lots of hotels, motels, fishing shops, and guide services, so check out New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website for details.


Trout and landlocked salmon season closes on October 31, 2013, but fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass is open until November 30. Chuck Kashner from Vermont Fishing Trips recommends that anglers head up to Lake Champlain for some outstanding Northern pike, lake trout, and smallmouth bass fishing. “At this time of year the lake has turned over and the predator fish are on the feed. With smelt and alewives on the surface there is some tremendous surface activity, particularly since it’s after they’ve spawned and before they quiet down during the winter. Fish where some of the feeder streams run into the lake; excellent choices are the confluence of the lake with the Winooski, Otter Creek, and Lewis Creek. Arnold’s Bay is a good place to find lake trout on the surface and is a good bet if you want to cast for those fish instead of trolling for them.” www.vermont.org

New Hampshire

Coastal fishermen may be frowning that the striped bass and bluefish migration is complete, but if you want to pick one species to fish for in New Hampshire it should be for Atlantic salmon. The recent closure of the Merrimack River for the Salmon Restoration Program means that twice as many fish as usual will be stocked into the river in spots in Franklin and Bristol. The salmon are stocked below the Eastman Falls Dam in Franklin and at the Ayers Island Dam in Bristol. You’ll need an $11 brood stock salmon permit from the New Hampshire State Fish and Wildlife agency. Fish caught between October 1 and March 31 must be released. There are fly and spin areas, so pick a time when the water levels are low and go.

Tom Keer

Tom Keer

Tom Keer is an award-winning writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a Contributing Writer for Covey Rise magazine, a Contributing Editor for both Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program.  Keer writes regularly for over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics related to fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor pursuits.  When they are not fishing, Keer and his family hunt upland birds over their three English setters.  His first book, a Fly Fishers Guide to the New England Coast was released in January 2011.  Visit him at www.tomkeer.com or at www.thekeergroup.com.