Fishermen come from near and far in search of salmon in Orleans County

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 October 2022 at 10:50 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

CARLTON – Corey Roger of Cheektowaga stands on the bank of the Oak Orchard River on Friday evening and casts his line, trying to catch a Chinook salmon. Roger already caught a coho.

There were hundreds of people fishing along the Oak on Friday evening, and the parking lot near the Waterport Dam included many out-of-state license plates.

Roger said he has been to the Oak in the fall for eight years. He expected to be down along the river at 4 a.m. today to get a good spot in the river.

He said this is the ideal time to be fishing in the Oak, before the crowds get bigger.

“Right now there are more fish than people,’ he said.

John Buck, 26, holds one of three Chinook salmon he caught on Friday. This one is about 18 pounds. Buck is spending a week fishing in Orleans County. He made a four-hour drive from Seilinsgrove, Pa. He said he will also try Sandy Creek and Johnson Creek. He said he’s been making the trek annually for the past eight years.

A line of anglers try to catch salmon at the Waterport Dam. The person in front is trying to reel in a big salmon.

A fisherman from Brooklyn tries to catch a Chinook salmon in the Oak Orchard River on Friday evening.

Fishing is big business in Orleans County, according to survey by the state Department of Environmental Conservation that put the total economic impact at $27,989,393 in 2017.

Out-of-state anglers account for 70 percent of the fishing economic output in Orleans County, $19,620,488 of the $27,989,393, according to the survey that was released in 2020.

County residents who fish accounted for $1,767,334 in economic activity while other New York state residents outside Orleans represented another $6,601,571.

Oswego which includes the Salmon River is the highest-ranked county with $192.7 million in total economic impact from fishing.

The Brooklyn fisherman said he hadn’t caught a fish yet on Friday but was thankful to be out in the great outdoors with the changing fall colors on the trees.

The Waterport Dam is a popular place in October with anglers trying to catch a big salmon or trout.

This fisherman has a heavy Chinook salmon on the line.

These two fishermen are ready to reel in a big fish at the Oak Orchard.