It seems like almost everything has a “national day.” From Pet Day to Ice Cream Cone Day to just about anything.
This Saturday is one of those days. The fourth Saturday in September is National Hunting and Fishing Day.
This has been the case since 1972 after President Nixon signed a presidential proclamation on May 2. National Hunting and Fishing Day is the largest grassroots movement undertaken to promote outdoor sports and conservation.
Local, state, and national events are held to introduce new people to the outdoors. One state level event here in New York is a Free Fishing Day.
The NYSDEC is holding a Free Fishing Day on Saturday as part of National Hunting and Fishing Day, this means that anyone can go freshwater fishing without buying a fishing license. Anglers must still abide by the rules and regulations.
If you are looking to catch something unusual that puts up a great fight, consider taking the drive to Pulaski to fish the Salmon River.
The salmon are starting to run up the river to find their spawning grounds. Catching a Chinook, or king salmon that weighs over 20 pounds is easily achievable. The record king salmon that was caught in the Salmon River weighed 47 pounds! Coho salmon also run in the river but are smaller than the king salmon. An average coho salmon weighs around 8 pounds, with the record at 33 pounds. Once the salmon are in the river, they quit feeding, but their aggression can cause them to attack lures, especially eggs or egg imitations.
Another possible place to fish that isn’t too far away is the Delaware River. Brown trout are autumnal spawners, so they are looking for places to lay their eggs.
Unlike the salmon, the brown trout keep living after they spawn so they still feed as they look for the perfect spawning area. Combine that with the aggression of claiming spawning grounds and the fishing can be great. Some sections of the river are fly fishing only and others are catch-and-release only so know where you are and what regulations apply to you.
If you prefer to stay within the county, consider hitting some of the lakes such as Balsam or Chenango Lake. Baitfish tend to move into shallow waters in the fall and bass and pickerel follow them looking for an easy meal.
Topwater baits can shine on calm days, otherwise try a shallow diving crankbait or spinnerbait thrown up towards shore and retrieved back to your boat. I’ve had good luck fishing around shallow cover, such as downed trees, to catch crappies in the fall.
No matter what you might decide to try to catch on Saturday, just make sure you are enjoying yourself and if possible, try to introduce someone to outdoor recreation in the spirit of National Hunting and Fishing Day.