Fishing Pulaski NY: Access, Species, And Best Methods

Fishing Pulaski NY Steelhead
One of my clients with a nice spring steelhead caught while fly fishing.

Best Places To Fish In Pulaski, NY

Fishing Pulaski, NY, consists primarily of river fishing on the Salmon River for Steelhead, Salmon, Brown trout, and Bass. There are multiple access points with good parking and miles of access for anglers to fish.

You can also launch a boat to fish in Lake Ontario or cast lures and baits from shore.

When To Fish Pulaski

One of my fishing buddies fishing Pulaski NY
One of my fishing buddies fishing a great stretch of the Salmon River near Pulaski, NY.

There is year-round fishing with multiple species present in the river all the time.

Fall Fishing: Fall fishing in Pulaski, NY, is one of the best times to fish because all three species of salmon that will start entering the river in September and can be caught into November. Late fall is also great for steelhead and big migratory brown trout.

Late fall is prime time for big steelhead and is when lots of large migratory brown trout run up the river.

Winter Fishing: Winter provides some of the best steelhead fishing along with some brown trout that will remain in the river all winter and into the spring.

Spring Fishing: Many anglers consider the spring the best time to fish in Pulaski because of the spring-run steelhead fishing.

Summer: Fishing the river in the summer tends to be slower. This is when anglers have a shot at Atlantic salmon, resident brown trout, bass, and pike near the mouth of the river. many anglers spend the summer fishing out in Lake Ontario or near the mouth of the Salmon River.

Pulaski Access and Parking

There are 17 miles of fishing grounds on the Salmon River, and 12 miles of that are recognized as public access water. The fishing section starts at Lighthouse Hill Reservoir below the damn and goes to Lake Ontario.

Some of the river is on private property, so you need the landowner’s consent to access them, but much of the river can be easily accessed and then walked along the banks of the river.

Some landowners also charge a small fee to allow anglers onto their property; often, these are the least fished areas.

Some of the best upstream fishing spots in the Pulaski, NY area include:

  • Town Hole
  • Black Hole
  • Long Bridge Pool
  • 81 Hole
  • Paper Mill

 If you prefer to fish downstream, you can try the following pools:

  • The Joss Hole
  • The Wall Hole
  • The Little Black Hole

A private fishing ground that bears special mention is the Douglaston Salmon Run.

It is a 2.5-mile fishing strip with some of Pulaski’s best salmon and steelhead runs. You will need to pay a fee to access this fishing spot, and the day rates fluctuate depending on the time of year and the day of the week.

If you do not want to pay, the free fishing spots along the Salmon River are plentiful for those willing to explore. You can access most spots along the Salmon River through routes 13, 11, and 81.

Plenty of public parking spots near most fishing areas make them highly accessible. To see where the public parking spots are and the named holes along the river, check out this Pulaski Fishing NY MAP, which is provided by the DEC.

Fish Species in Pulaski, NY

Anglers fishing in the Pulaski area target four primary sports fish, each with its own peak times and best fishing methods. The mix of species allows anglers to fish for twelve months of the year.


Pulaski NY Steelhead Fishing

New York State is known for its fantastic steelhead runs, and the Salmon River in Pulaski is no exception.

Reports indicate that the New York Department of Environmental Conservation stocks this river with about 750,000 steelhead each year. Two main types of steelhead are the stocked Skamania or summer steelhead and the winter-run steelhead.

This allows for year-long steelhead fishing in Pulaski, NY, but just because there are many steelhead in the river doesn’t mean they are easy to catch. There are reports of 20+ days, but these are usually from anglers who know how to catch steelhead.

New York guide Andrew Full from Full Fishing Guide Service holding a nice steelhead caught fishing from a drift boat near Pulaski, NY.
New York guide Andrew Full from Full Fishing Guide Service holding a nice steelhead caught fishing from a drift boat near Pulaski, NY.

As a steelhead river guide, I use different methods, setups, and baits at different times of the year and under different conditions. Knowing the best methods and best baits really helps, and you can see all of this on my page, Great Lakes Steelhead Fishing: Proven Methods And Tips.

Steelhead are basically big rainbow trout. They enter the river as adult silvery fish with a red streak along their midline. The average steelhead caught in the Pulaski area weighs about 5-10 pounds, with the biggest mature ones being about five years old, and these old fish can weigh over 20 pounds.

The best time for steelhead fishing in Pulaski, NY, is in the fall, starting in October when the dropping temperatures and the rising water levels trigger steelhead runs into streams and rivers.

Anglers will also find decent winter runs of steelhead from mid-December through to early March, which is when large runs of spring steelhead enter the river.

If you prefer fishing in the summer, you will mostly catch the Skamania steelhead, which often start their upstream migration as early as June and continue throughout the summer.

Chinook Salmon

Guide Michael From Healy Outdoors is an expert at New York salmon fishing in the Pulaski Area.
Guide Michael From Healy Outdoors is an expert at New York salmon fishing in the Pulaski Area.

Fishing for the giant Chinook salmon is likely what has put Pulaski On the map.

Chinook salmon are the most prevalent salmon species in the Salmon River. The DEC stocks about 3.2 million of these fish annually in the local rivers between May and June. Many of these salmon will return to the Salmon River to spawn.

Some salmon start to enter the Salmon River in late August, and peak salmon runs will occur throughout September and October and will usually be done by mid-November.

Unfortunately, the Chinook Salmon do not survive the spawn, so it is not uncommon for anglers to find dead salmon in the rivers during the fall and the winter.

The best time to hit the river is after increased water flows created by releases at the reservoir dam or after heavy rains.

The average Chinook salmon weighs between 20 and 25 pounds, but fish up to 40 pounds are possible. The old Great Lakes record Chinook salmon is 47 lbs. 13 oz and comes from the Salmon River near Pulaski, NY. It was recently beaten out by the Michigan salmon, which weighed 47.86 pounds.

However, beware that these are aggressive fish that will put up a fight before you can catch them, and having the right gear is important.

I discuss my most effective methods and baits for salmon fishing in rivers on my, page Great Lakes Salmon Fishing.

Coho Salmon

This is a large Coho salmon caught on a guide trip with Healy Outdoors on the Salmon River near Pulaski.
This is a large Coho salmon caught on a guide trip with Healy Outdoors on the Salmon River near Pulaski.

Pulaski Fishing NY also includes aggressive hard fighting and acrobatic Coho Salmon.

Thanks to the DEC’s aggressive stocking efforts, there are also many Coho salmon in Pulaski during the fall. Coho’s are considerably smaller than the Chinook salmon, weighing an average of 10 pounds, with some getting up to 20 pounds or more. In fact, the Salmon River holds the world record Coho of 33 pounds. 4 oz.

Coho salmon are my favorite salmon because they are smaller and more manageable, and they fight differently than their large cousins, the Chinook.

Coho often goes airborne in the first five seconds, and they rip around the pool, leaping and pulling like crazy. They fight more like a steelhead. Coho are super fast but manageable enough that you probably won’t need to chase them a mile down the river as you might with a Chinook.

Coho salmon spawn in early fall, starting in September, and some might be found kicking around the river later in November.

I use the same methods and the same baits that I use when fishing for Chinook salmon.

Lake Run Brown Trout Of Pulaski

Large lake-run brown trout enter the river starting in September through December. They can be caught using lures, jigs, eggs, worms, and fies.

Brown trout can be found in the river year-round, and they can congregate near the mouth of the river and lower river all winter and spring.

These brown trout can get over 30 pounds.

Once they finish spawning, some will hold in the river all winter, but most will head back out to Lale, Ontario.

Brown Trout: Resident Brown Trout

The DEC has also been releasing resident brown trout to create a better summer fishery. Resident brown trout stay in the river year-round, and their average size is between 14 and 16 inches, but they can grow to be over 24 inches and 5 pounds.

Small Mouth Bass Fishing Pulaski NY

Fishing for smallmouth bass is usually best in June through late August. Some bass will enter the river to spawn and feed, and this migration often starts as most of the steelhead leave the river before early May.

As the water warms in June and July, the fishing in the lower river and at the mouth can be excellent.

Lures, jigs, and worms or leeches are good ways to catch smallmouth bass in the river. Focusing on the slower, deeper edges and slow pools are usually the best spots. My experience with guiding for smallmouth bass is to avoid the faster water and look for slow, deep edges off the main current.

Even along the bank is good if the water is 4 feet or deeper.

The Best Fishing Methods for

Fly Fishing

Fly fishing in Pulaski, NY, entails casting a fly suspended under an indicator and then drifting it through the current in areas where the fish will hold. Indicator fishing is likely the most used and most effective method for the deeper slower pools. You can see the best methods, best setups, and the best flies on my page Nymphing For Steelhead: The 3 Most Effective Methods.

I have also done very well when Euro Nymphing For Steelhead and discuss my methods and flies on my page Euro Nymph Fishing For Great Lakes Steelhead.

Fly fishing also includes Spey fishing or streamer fishing. Spey fishing is popular near Pulaski since the river is wide and has a good depth and current speed for this method. The same methods used to spey fish for steelhead will work for all species in the Pulaski area.

For more information on these methods, check my page Spey Fishing For Steelhead.

Streamer fishing, in particular, requires that you cast a large streamer fly and then actively retrieve it before casting again. With this method, you will attract larger fish, and reeling them in is exhilarating.

If, on the other hand, you are looking for a more relaxed Pulaski NY fishing method, consider either nymphing or Euro-nymphing.

Float Fishing

Float fishing is arguably the most effective method overall.

Float fishing requires that you present your bait below a float as naturally as possible and it allows you to get long drifts at a controlled depth. With float fishing, you can use a Centerpin reel or a spinning reel to cast your bait and float.

Done right, float fishing is very effective. Done wrong and you will struggle to catch any fish. For more on float fishing, check out my page, Float Fishing: Tips and Tactics Used By Guides

Spin Fishing

Spin fishing is yet another effective method of catching steelhead and salmon in Pulaski, NY. Spinn fishing with spinning reels can be done in multiple ways.

When using a spinning reel, these methods will work well:

  • Lures Fishing – Casting and retrieving lures.
  • Bottom Bouncing – A method of presenting a bait naturally in the current without a float.
  • Drift Fishing – Similar to Bottom Bouncing but used in faster and deeper water or where long casts are required.
  • Plunking – A relaxing method that can be effective when fish are moving through or in spots with lots of fish.

For more on spin fishing, check out my page Spin Fishing For Steelhead: 5 Most Effective Methods Used By Guides

Rules and Regulations

Fishing in Pulaski is a highly regulated activity, and there are special rules along the river that anglers need to know. Every angler must comply with New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation rules and regulations, and since rules and regulations can change do not rely on what we write here, instead check out the rules here.

Some of the most notable regulations include:

  • Licensing requirements – every angler over 16 years old must have a license. Even if your only task is to assist other anglers in bringing in their catch, a license is necessary.
  • Fishing sessions – fishing at night on most streams and rivers in Pulaski is prohibited, particularly during fish runs. You can only commence fishing half an hour before sunrise and must be out of the waters by half an hour past sunset.
  • Catch Limits – the DEC limits how many fish you can take with you at the end of your fishing session.
  • It is illegal to snag fish – Using treble hooks during salmon runs is also prohibited, and you must adhere to the hook requirements to fish in these rivers.
  • It is illegal to herd, chase, or stonefish to catch them.
  • Fly Fishing Only Sections – This upper section is dedicated to fly fishing and flies only.

Fishing Amenities in Pulaski, NY

Fishing Guides

The city of Pulaski, NY, has numerous experienced fishing guides, and this is a great idea if you are new to the area. The amount of fishing guides in the area is hardly surprising, as Pulaski is home to a world-famous fishing destination, the Salmon River. Some of the leading fishing guide services in Pulaski include:

  • Cold Steel Sport Fishing
  • Fish Wish Sport Fishing
  • Adrian Lasorte Guide Service
  • Angling Adventures Guide Service

 You can also find more fishing guide companies here.

Before settling on any guide, inquire about their licensing, the typical length of a fishing trip, and the fish variety you can expect to catch on your trip.

Accommodations And Food

Pulaski offers a host of accommodation options to visiting anglers, ranging from cabins to motels to lodgings and even fancy hotels. Some great places to stay during your angling trip include:

  • 1880s Hotel
  • Log Cabin Inn and Motel
  • Harris Lodging
  • Deer Creek Motel

You can also find more accommodation options here. It is advisable to book your hotel or lodging early, especially if you intend to go fishing during peak season.

When in Pulaski, I recommend visiting some of the small-town restaurants that are pleased to serve visiting anglers. There are many places in town to eat or to grab lunch and drinks to take to the river.

Bait and Tackle Stores in Pulaski

I am surprised at how many fishing stores are in such a small area, but like the fishing guides, there is money to be made with the number of people that fish the Salmon River.

Most bait and tackle stores specialize in local species and river fishing. The stores are not just a good place to get your tackle, but they are a wealth of local knowledge and tips about how the fishing is at the time you are there. Some of the leading stores here include:

  • All Season’s Sports
  • Malinda’s Tackle and Fly Shop and Lodge
  • Whitaker’s Sport Shop and Motel
  • Fat Nancy’s Tackle Shop

If you have a question or comment or would like to share your tips on Fishing in Pulaski, NY, let us know in the comments section.

Tight Lines


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

One Comment

  1. The information here is really helpful and I’m planning to visit next weekend. I was at Pulaski this spring but I was not equipped good and just was a spectator and I really loved it. This time, I’m planning to get some action