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  1. #1
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    Landlocked Salmon

    I went exploring some cold water streams and rivers this weekend in Mass and found a spot that has landlocked salmon as well as rainbow, brown and streambed brookies. I managed to land two salmon on soft hackle nymphs which was probably dumb luck as Iíve never fished for them before. Does anyone have any experience fishing for them? I think I may tie up some flies resembling smelt Ė any suggested patterns?



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    Re: Landlocked Salmon

    My LLS experience is limited to the northern part of Lake George in the '70s and '80s, but the forage fish were smelt. The Grey Ghost and Kinnebago Smelt were all I needed, but I caught a lot more Lakers and Smallmouths than Salmon.

    Parr and smolts were often found gorging on mosquitoes near the shore in the spring. They were easily caught on dry midges, but targeting babies was considered about as sporting as child molesting.


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    Re: Landlocked Salmon

    Are they river resident fish, or lake-run? River residents will feed on bugs. You read about lake-run fish following smelt upstream early in the spring, but I've never fished that. Always just fished 'em like trout and found them to be pretty stupid, and into flashy nymphs. My experiences from maine....

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    Re: Landlocked Salmon

    If you smoke them, are they land locked lox? I would just call 'em land lox or locked lox.


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    Re: Landlocked Salmon

    I've had misc landlocked salmon binges starting in the 70's with the last one in the 2005 to 2010 time frame when LLS populations went through the roof in NYS and I pulled a 28" male from Fall Ck and a 30" female from the Salmon R.

    LLS are generally a pelagic top predator in low fertility lakes, so are kind of a bonus fish fish or something you have to work for. The closest ones are in the Finger Lakes (OK, there are a few in Neversink Res and Lakes Aeroflex and Waywayanda) and other good NYS spots are the Adirondacks and Lake Champlain. NH has the Winnipasaukee region and Maine is the hot spot with the some noted areas being the Rangely Lakes, the upper Penobscot R, East Grand Lake, and Sebago Lake.

    LLS are more surface oriented when the water is below 50F, which is roughly November through April. At this time I have had luck on lakes fishing wind driven currents. Look for wind rows (foam lines formed by wind driven currents) and where currents push against points concentrating bait. They follow the local bait fish, which are smelt through much of the range so smelt patterns are good. The fish bunch up when following the spawning smelt in the spring - which is a favorite time to fish. New England fly anglers also like ice out to troll their double hook smelt patterns. Back in the 70's the Finger Lakes had good smelt fishing, but since then have been replaced by alewives (Lake Champlain too) which sucks for fly anglers since alewives tend to cruise deeper out of fly range. Many New England lake systems are connected by rivers and thoroughfares which also hold lakelocks in the spring.

    When the water warms, most LLS go to the thermocline and are out of fly range.

    LLS spawn in the fall and in the Fingers usually move into the tribs in October before the browns in November. Many of the spawning tribs I fish across the range are on the smaller side and need rain to get the flows up and bring fresh fish in. The fish may only be there a few days before the flows drop again. Therefore, flexibility is key to targeting them - you have to move quick when conditions are right. It sure helps to be retired to fish spawning runs of LLS.

    BTW, LLS were native to NYS (see Salmon Ck by Cayuga Lake and the Salmon R) but were extirpated by 1900. NYS has been trying to reintroduce them from Maine Atlantic salmon stock for decades with mixed results. Generally, the results are mediocre and spawning has been mostly unsuccessful. However, there were two times when the fishing was great; in the 1980's and in 2009/2010. Both times people hoped the LLS would really take hold, but each time the populations crashed again. Let's hope they can become common in the Fingers again.


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    Re: Landlocked Salmon

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffK View Post
    I pulled a 28" male from Fall Ck
    I still can't believe that my 4 years in Ithaca on Fall Creek were all spent at the Fall Creek House (aka - Fall Down House) drinking beer and chasing the ladies instead of fishing the river there.

    A sinking fly is closer to Hell - ​Unknown

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    Re: Landlocked Salmon

    I've chased them twice. Once in Waywayanda. If I found the right stream, it's a tiny trickle. The other time I hiked around the Neversink reservoir to where the river flows in. It was a death march I am happy to have survived. I saw nothing in the fifty yards of public water I almost died reaching. Great fun those LLS. The mouth of the NS river is a pretty cool place. Just real hard to get to and trespass out of.


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    Re: Landlocked Salmon

    Thank you all for the insight and info!

    They are lake-run salmon, however there is a cold water outflow from the Aqueduct so I assume thatís why I was able to catch a few in the river? Iíll try nymphing again and will try swinging some smelt patterns, but really looking forward to the fall spawn and smelt spawn in the spring.

    I found a few smelt patterns ( Joeís smelt, Ballou Special and Winnepsaukee Smelt) That Iíll try tying up. If anyone has any other patterns, please let me know!


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