by Matt Chapple
Atlantic Salmon Taken Fishing the Olive Bead-head Wet
|History in New
Of all the salmon species that exist in New York’s waters today, including Chinook, Coho, Pink and Sockeye, only the Atlantic Salmon is native to the state. Lake Ontario once supported a population of wild Atlantic Salmon. This population may have originated from the anadromous form, one that lives its life in the ocean and spawns in freshwater, that migrated up the St. Lawrence River to Lake Ontario and into its tributaries and never returning to the Atlantic Ocean but using Lake Ontario as a substitute for the ocean. This form of Atlantic Salmon is referred to as “Landlocked.” This population of Landlocked Atlantic Salmon was once quite large and there were major spawning runs that existed in The Salmon River system, Oswego River system, and the Genesee River system as well as many others. The loss of suitable spawning habitats caused by, dams which blocked access to prime spawning areas, agricultural run off causing silted up spawning areas to silt up, and the removal of stream-side trees which causing increased water temperatures, over harvesting, and water pollution are all major contributors to the decline of the Atlantic Salmon. By the late 1800's the native Lake Ontario salmon were gone.
|New York at
At present there are many lake and tributary systems across New York State that maintain populations of Landlocked Atlantic Salmon. Unfortunately these populations are maintained by annual stocking programs. There is very little if any natural reproduction due to the introduction of alewives into the ecosystem of the Atlantic Salmon. Two examples are Lake Ontario and Cayuga Lake which both harbor populations of Alewives. The skin of the Alewife contains an enzyme (thiaminase) not found in the natural forage base of the Atlantic Salmon. This enzyme causes the breakdown vitamin B-1 (thiamine) which is essential to successful reproduction. Although natural reproduction does not occur, many stocked Atlantic Salmon return to the streams were they were stocked and can be viewed as they spawn from mid October to mid November during the peak of spawning activity. Unlike pacific salmon such as Chinook and Coho which have also been introduced into New York’s waters, some Atlantic Salmon may return to their home lake after spawning and may return to spawn again. So they can sometimes become quite large, which is a good reason to practice catch and release. There is research being conducted in a combined effort between Universities, state and government agencies to determine the feasibility of Atlantic Salmon restoration to New York. At present through stocking programs Atlantic Salmon can be found in Lake Ontario, the Finger Lakes, some Adirondack lakes and Lake Champlain.
It is a cross between a wet fly and a nymph. They are fun to tie and are deadly fish catchers.
Add a thorax to a wet fly, which extends the body length and the fly becomes a versatile nymph. Add a bead-head for times when you want to get down to the fish. The bead also adds some flash and seems to increase the fish catching effectiveness of the fly. The soft hackle has lifelike action in the water, making the fly appear alive, like a swimming, struggling, or emerging nymph. These flies can be fished in using various techniques including the dead drift, the wet-fly swing, and in slow water they can be retrieved using a very slow stripping action. All of these techniques I found to be effective in the fall at various times and conditions while fishing for Finger lakes brown trout and Atlantic Salmon.
Hook: curved nymph hook 6-12
Thread: olive 6/0
Tail: pheasant tail fibers
Abdomen: Olive hare's mask spun in a brush
Rib: fine gold wire
Thorax: peacock herl
Collar: Hungarian partridge two turns
Head: Two turns peacock herl and gold bead