Copyright 2014 James Marsh
Fly Fishing Guide to the North Branch of the Salmon River New York
Brook trout are about the easiest of all trout species to catch. They are not near as selective in
the way the go about eating as the other trout species. This stream has both a native
population of Northern Brook Trout and it is also stocked with hatchery raised brook trout.

There can be a difference in the way the stocked and native brook trout feed and take your
flies. The stock trout are much less afraid of people or predators. They have been fed in the
hatchery and are used to seeing people. The native trout are a lot more careful about
exposing themselves. You need to hide from them to fool them into taking your fly. Staying low
and dressing in colors similar to the background of trees and grass will help.

The trout can get a very good look at your flies in the clear, slow moving water, so good
presentations are necessary to fool the natives and sometimes, even the stocked trout
depending on how long they have been stocked. Many of the stockers are removed and keep
by fisherman within days of being stocked. We suggest leaders of at least nine feet long and
tippets no larger than 5X to fool the native brook trout. Sometimes, a lighter tippet is necessary.

You will need to use both upstream and downstream presentations, depending on the flow of
the water. Generally speaking, upstream presentations work best for the fast moving water.
Short upstream cast in the riffles and runs will normally produce but the trout will usually take
the fly near the ends of the fast water, so be sure to let the fly drift into the slow water.

Trees can be a problem casting from the banks in many areas and getting into the stream is
often necessary. You will always be far better off to fish from the banks as long as you can
cast to the area of water you want to fish. Wading spooks trout but is sometimes necessary.
Another tip we may provide is although the brook trout seem to take large flies at times, you
are usually much better off using smaller flies.

If something is hatching, you are far better off to try to match the particular insect with your fly
even though the brook trout are not picky. When the natives are in a feeding current picking
off flies from the surface or on the bottom, they are used to seeing the same insects drift
downstream. If your fly doesn't resemble the naturals at all, they may reject it. You will usually
increase your odds of success by using something that looks similar to the hatching insect.
North Branch
Salmon River
New York
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Photo Courtesy of
Dennis McCarthy
Photo Courtesy of
Dennis McCarthy