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Tailwater-Hilton Collaboration

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  • September 30, 2019
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Tailwater Lodge Exterior Photo

Tailwater Connie Award Winner

Success Rooted in Outstanding Customer Service

Altmar, NY – Hilton honors the Tailwater Lodge with the Connie Award, the highest award for customer service.

A Tailwater-Hilton collaboration means guests will find even more services and amenities at the upscale Tailwater Lodge, a popular Altmar, NY, lodge known to fishermen and outdoor enthusiasts from around the world. Consequently, the partnership is a win-win for long-time customers of both hoteliers.

The word lodge often denotes rustic but at the Tailwater, expect Connie Award-Winning unparalleled attention to details and unrivaled customer service.

A fellow angler recently told me, “I’m done with scaled-down fishing lodges. I stay at the Tailwater because I want comfort and great food.”

About the Connie Award

Jenna Hackett – Tapestry Collection by Hilton global head

“The Connie Award is the highest hotel award for all brands across Hilton. The winning hotels are the perfect balance of product and outstanding service scores. There are only a few Connie Awards per brand awarded annually, making it extremely competitive to win,” says Jenna Hackett, Tapestry Collection by Hilton global head. “These hotels embody founder Conrad Hilton’s dream of spreading the light and warmth of hospitality and living his shared values each and every day. This distinguished award is presented to properties who have excelled in customer satisfaction and loyalty based on guest feedback and quality assurance standards.”







Before my arrival at the Tailwater two weeks ago, after four previous visits to the lodge in less than five years, I was curious how the Tailwater-Hilton collaboration affects the lodge’s overall theme. I reached out to Tom Fernandez, Woodbine Group representative, for answers.

Scroll down to read my interview with Tom Fernandez, Woodbine Group representative.

How do you describe your company’s relationship with the Hilton?

We are part of the Hilton Tapestry Collection. Tapestry is a Hilton Soft Brand meaning that the hotel maintains it’s ownership, branding, original fit, and finish. We are still owned by the Woodbine Hospitality Group and we continue to be an Orvis Endorsed Lodge.

What’s the significance of the Tapestry Collection and how does the Tailwater fit into that category?

Tapestry is a grouping of hotels that are very similar to independent properties. The focus of the brand is creating a high level of guest experience in nontraditional properties. Tailwater Lodge is a perfect example of the Tapestry collection – adaptive re-use of an elementary school re-purposed into a high-end lodge. We are the epitome of the brand. 

How did the relationship evolve?

Tailwater Lodge’s sister property Hotel Skyler was asked to be the first hotel for Hilton’s Tapestry Collection. In conversations, both Hilton and Tailwater believed the brand would be mutually beneficial for Tailwater.  So… Tailwater was Hilton’s third Tapestry hotel and we were awarded the Connie Award, the highest award Hilton gives for Customer Service. We have had a wonderful time being part of the Hilton Family and helping to grow the Tapestry Brand.

What Tailwater qualities have you retained and where will your longtime guests notice the changes?

I would say all qualities were retained. The only customer-facing differences are the online booking engine and the ability to be part of Hilton’s Honor Program.

How did your designers incorporate the new addition, spa, and pool design, so it remains consistent with the Tailwater’s lodge-like atmosphere and the antiquity of the original building?

The Tailwater Lodge spa
A full-service spa is one of the most recent additions at the Tailwater Lodge. Eforea is a Hilton Spa found all over the world but the inspiration and design are attributed to the Tailwater team.

The Third Phase of Tailwater focused on bringing additional amenities and guest rooms. We wanted to make sure that the addition was of the same feeling as the original space but highlighted some new aspects. Guests will find similar finishes, but some different tones throughout the space.  We also wanted to make sure that our amenities and common areas worked well, for families, fishermen and women, bridal parties, and corporate guests. 

How do the original rooms in the Altmar school differ from the new guest rooms?

I would say they are very similar. We were no longer working within the confines of the school building so we were able to have some fun with the space. The biggest change to the guest rooms was the addition of desks and desk chairs for either some business or maybe some fly tying. We also were able to create two suites that are truly standouts at the property.

There’s so much discussion about branding. How did the change affect the Tailwater brand or is your brand a work in progress?

Hilton doesn’t really change our branding, we are still Tailwater Lodge and we are continuously adding to our brand.

Relax in comfort throughout the lodge. The new addition makes it easy for you to satisfy your need for more space to move around, as shown in the King Suite.

How did the spa’s name evolve and who would you say is your target audience? Bridal parties? Fishermen? Do you have any anglers’ specials or deals my readers should be aware of?

Our Spa is a Hilton Spa. Eforea can be found all over the world. Again, it was inspired and designed by our team, especially the small touches like the steelhead tiles throughout the cobblestone floor in the space. We are part of a global brand but designed and operated by Woodbine Hospitality Group. Our clientele ranges from day-use, overnight leisure guests, bridal parties, and our fisherman specials will actually begin next week.

The Connie Award-Winning Tailwater Lodge is a featured Tapestry Collection Hilton Brand.
Arrange your day so you can make time for a massage or treatment.

Overall, I’m curious how your teams – Tailwater and the Hilton – agreed upon the upscale fishing lodge idea? Does the Hilton partner with other lodges?

Tapestry is an interesting brand. I do believe we are the only lodge as part of the Hilton Collection but that’s not say there may not be more in the future.

The Tailwater Lodge Pool is housed in the most recent addition.

Don’t forget to pack your bathing suit. The Tailwater Lodge pool is a wonderful way to wind down after a long day outdoors.

Want to Learn More About The Lodge?

Jenna noted properties in both the Curio and Tapestry Collection portfolios must feature a unique story and honor that story by weaving extraordinary elements, not limited to design components and an array of top-notch on-property amenities throughout the hotel. She explained,

“Properties in both the Curio and Tapestry Collection portfolios must feature a unique story and honor that story by weaving it into elements throughout the hotel – from design components to on-property amenities. As a result, we have been able to provide guests with one-of-a-kind experiences at over 100 unique destinations, like those available at Tailwater Lodge Altmar. This off-the-beaten-path location is ideal for the Tapestry Collection guest, who we know is an adventure-seeker that wants to experience and explore a destination to its fullest. After a long day of fishing on the Salmon River, explorers can wind down with a craft beer at The Tasting Room or treat themselves to a massage at eforea spa.”

Jenna Hackett

As the seasons evolve from fall to winter, plan a weekend of salmon or steelhead fishing or map out a hike in Altmar. Contact the Tailwater to book your weekend getaway and inquire about upcoming events at and around the lodge.

Take a few minutes to read my Tailwater companion stories.

Additional Tailwater Coverage…
https://joanmatsuitravelwriter.com/tailwater-lodge/
https://joanmatsuitravelwriter.com/fishing-salmon-river/
https://joanmatsuitravelwriter.com/stylish-traditional-fishing-lodge/
https://joanmatsuitravelwriter.com/fishing-family-fun-upstate-ny/

Disclaimer:

My accommodations at the Tailwater were comped but my opinions are my own and based on my experiences.

Bio

Joan Mead-Matsui is a five-time award-winning freelance journalist; travel writer and photographer. She covers news and features’ stories that range from unique travel accessories and products to destinations and attractions. Prior to launching her websites, https://joanmatsuitravelwriter.com and https://chigirie.com, Joan was a full-time freelance content and features writer for print and digital news sources and magazines.

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Lifestyle

Salmon River Fly-Fishing Tales

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  • September 25, 2019
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Salmon Fly-Fishing Tales" Learning to Fly Fish for Salmon on the Salmon River

Salmon Fishing

Angling On The Fly

Salmon River Fly-Fishing Tales is a three-day account of my first-time salmon fishing in the Salmon River, Altmar, NY.
by Joan Mead-Matsui, a five-time award-winning freelance journalist; travel writer, and photographer.

If you’re looking for Salmon River fly fishing tales and stories from my freshwater fishing expedition, you’ve come to the right place.

It’s all here – the angling, flies, bait, encounter with international anglers, and the final word on my success during my first salmon-fishing trip to the Salmon River. My Salmon River fly-fishing tales are more about my experience as a whole, rather than one specific story or incident.

The primary objective for this story assignment was to arrive at the river and learn as much as I could through listening, observing, and interviews with other anglers.

Where To Stay in Altmar, NY

Keep in mind you’ll need a place to rest your weary legs after a full day on the water. My late September trip to Altmar began in Pulaski, NY, with a long-time friend who also loves fishing and culminated with an overnight travel assignment, outstanding meals, and lodging at the Tailwater Lodge.

Tailwater Lodge Exterior Photo

The Tailwater’s accommodations tie in seamlessly with my outdoor recreation travel writing assignments and that’s why I’ve been a guest writer there four times.

If you’ve never stayed at the Tailwater, it is a phenomenal home-away-from-home upscale lodge that’s an independently owned Hilton Tapestry Collection award-winning property. It’s also adjacent to the Salmon River. The decor offers a lodge-like atmosphere but the accommodations are all about comfort, exceptional casual dining, and exemplary customer service. Bright and early, you can walk out the front door, hang a left, and within 50 ft., you’re on the river’s banks.

Need Room for Fly Tying?

The guest rooms are equipped with a desk and chair so you can set up your vise and tie flies should you deplete your supply.

Now that you have a place to hang your waders at night, the experienced fisher should have no problem catching at least one Chinook, Coho, or (landlocked) Atlantic salmon. The less skilled will learn a thing or two.

Longtime Goals Met Trepidation

Salmon fishery evolved into one of my goals not long after I learned to fly fish eight years ago. Only recently, did I find the courage to schedule a trip.

Why? Because I couldn’t coax any of my trout-fishing friends to take off time from their work. As a result, solo salmon fly-fishing was my only option and synonymous with wading into foreign territory. Despite mind-boggling self-doubt that actually kept me awake for a few hours the night before I departed for Altmar, I packed my gear in my car and embarked on my travel assignment to upstate New York.

Near-Perfect Conditions

A September trip, when the water is warm, appeals to me more than steelhead fishing in late October and early November. A few years ago, on a bitterly cold November day, my friend, our fishing guide and I set out to the Douglaston Salmon Run in search of steelhead. Within an hour, my fingertips and feet were numb and I was chilled to the bone despite several layers of clothing.

In stark contrast were the recent picture-perfect not-a-cloud-in-the-sky fall days with an ideal temperature for wading. Although they set the stage for three relaxing days they aren’t the ideal conditions for salmon migration. Salmon, much like trout, is a coldwater species and the air temperature was 70 degrees or higher by mid-day. That boosted the water temperature, which slowed the relocation.

One fisherman told me to return to the river to see the mass migration in mid-October. He assured me I’d see droves of salmon coming up the river once the weather turns ugly and cold.

Learning salmon fly fishing on the Salmon River

My mood turned more serious as my trip was winding down. Keep reading for additional Salmon River Fly Fishing Tips.

Salmon Larger Than Me?

Maybe not that big but I’d heard many stories about the weight and size of an average-sized salmon caught in the Salmon River. Twenty to 30-lbs is the most common range. As a result, I wondered how someone my height and weight could reel in a 20 to 30-pound salmon.

Thursday

After watching anglers in the Sportman’s Pool the first night I arrived in Pulaski, a neighboring town, I had my doubts if I had the skills to keep a salmon on the line and reel it in.

Friday

I awakened at 6:15 a.m. on my first full day in Altmar and was ready to fish by 8 a.m. Breakfast at Dunkin’ Donuts took longer than I expected and I decided to make a quick stop at a fly shop on Route 13. The sales clerk offered expert advice but my river arrival time was set back by an hour or more.

Saturday

The crowd thickened on Saturday as multiple drift boats and a large group of fishers arrived along both sides of the shoreline. More people on the water seemed to have an impact on the number of salmon I saw but a change in travel plans allowed me to stay until late afternoon.

TIP: Be sure to get your hands on a fishing map so you don’t waste your time driving. You’ll find one online beforehand or at the local tackle or fly shops when you arrive.

Fly or Spin-Fishing?

I wanted to increase my chances of catching a salmon so I brought the spin rods my friend loaned me and also rigged my fly rod with a heavier-weight line and attached weight and an egg pattern I bought at the fly shop. I’m skittish about using borrowed equipment so I tried both and eventually switched to my Orvis 9-ft, 8-wt Encounter rod. I set out down the path to the Sportman’s Pool, a popular spot along the Salmon River and joined a group between the deep pool and the riffles.

After walking around fishing gear for more than a mile along the river bank, I was relieved to find an opening spot where the riffles spilled into a calmer pool. That seemed like the ideal scenario for me, a person who doesn’t feel comfortable in water above my knees.

Salmon Fishing Tips and Lessons Learned

  • Every year, thousands of anglers toting spinner and fly rods descend on the river but not everyone leaves with a salmon. The beauty is those who don’t catch a salmon, have an opportunity to assist a fellow fisherman.
  • Throughout the day, there were times when anglers were elbow-to-elbow but folks came and went throughout the day. You’ll eventually find a vacant spot. Don’t crowd your neighbor.
Salmon fishermen should practice etiquette even when elbow-to-elbow conditions prevail.
Salmon fishermen should keep a distance even when elbow-to-elbow conditions prevail. Maintain a safe distance to avoid hooking someone or encroachment. Be polite and follow the New York State Fishing Regulations and Rules.
  • Move out of the way of an angler who has a salmon on his line. You might hear the phrases, “Coming up,” “Coming down,” or “Fish on.” As a courtesy, you should move out of the way and allow them to safely follow the salmon. You can also offer to help.
  • Female anglers are still a minority. Only a mere 10 percent of the fishermen I saw fishing were women.
This salmon fisher was calm as he waited for the Chinook salmon to tire.
  • Fewer than 40 percent of the fishermen I watched fished with fly rods.
  • Mostly everyone is willing to give advice.
  • Watch an instructional video before you go. There is an abundance of YouTube videos that will give you tips.
  • Read this Salmon River article and learn more about the salmons’ migration and spawning habits.
  • Salmon rise above the water and thrash as though theyre frolicking. Who knows? Maybe they’re celebrating their last days on earth.
  • The onset of the salmon run is similar to a silent alarm that sets off a flurry of activity that continues for months.
  • Anglers from around the world fish in the Salmon River.
  • Wear wading boots with studs to help keep you safe in the water. Salmon River rocks are slick and the current strong.
Yugoslavian Angler helps me prepare my line and bait on day three of my Salmon River fishing trip.
Salmon Season Can Bring Out the Best in Humanity. This Yugoslavian man was eager to teach me how to fish.
Don’t be shy about asking for advice from seasoned anglers.

When Does Salmon Fishing Begin?

Salmon season on the Salmon River typically begins in September, although weather plays a role in the migration. Suffice to say, schedule your trip from September to November or whenever a dorsal fin is spotted emerging from the water. Colder temps can bring on excellent conditions and you’ll be more likely to hook a salmon.

As you wade, wait, and watch for the shockingly large salmonoids to rear their heads and make their infamous splash, look around you and admire the scenery. A Yugoslavian fisherman told me salmon fishing is his opportunity to wallow in nature and cleanse his soul.

By this time, you’re probably wondering if I caught a salmon. The answer is no and as much as I would have loved to present one to my family, I went to Altmar to learn and observe. I felt a few hefty tugs on my fishing line but to make catching any fish the ultimate goal would take away from the invaluable lessons I learned and the friends I made.

Room for Improvement

5 Improvements I Should Make (Based on a Survey of Fisherman I met)
  • According to the Yugoslavian man, the egg patterns I had were not the best for salmon fishing. He recommended a mealworm fly.
  • My line was too long
  • I needed more weight on my line.
  • The salmon ignored my fly because I didn’t move it in front of them.
  • My casting needs work.

To Eat or Not to Eat

A salmon is a salmon and they’re all edible, correct?

Not necessarily, I learned. Depending on the salmon’s age and overall condition, not all salmon flesh is pink, flaky, and delicious. One fisherman told me some can taste fishy and others are downright foul-tasting. That was a disappointment to hear, considering I practice catch and release but would have made an exception.

Read my previous Tailwater reviews and stay tuned for my upcoming Tailwater Lodge coverage. Discover Oswego County here.

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Fishing Fishing Destinations

The Tailwater Lodge is a fly angler’s haven

  • By
  • July 24, 2018

As many of us on the East Coast are experiencing heavy rain and flooding, we can turn our thoughts to upcoming fly fishing opportunities, once the water levels have dropped. The Tailwater Lodge is an ideal base camp while you spend days fishing along the famed Salmon River. Plan your summer or fall trip now. 

Woodbine Group breeds new life into orphaned buildings

The Tailwater Lodge, Altmar, NY 

Only steps away from The Tailwater Lodge is a lush, green shoreline along the Salmon River.

Tom Fernandez was traveling to fish in the lower fly zone of the Salmon River when he saw a “for sale” sign on the former Altmar Elementary School.

Fernandez said, “The rest is history.”

He’s an avid fly angler and a representative of The Woodbine Group, a privately-held, family-run commercial real estate holding, and development company based in Syracuse, NY. The school was built in 1935 as the Altmar Elementary School and was vacant for approximately six years when The Woodbine Group purchased the two-story, 32,000 square foot structure from the school district in March 2013. Following an eight-month construction process, the Tailwater Lodge opened with a project cost close to seven million dollars.

The design team included Edwin I Harrington Architects; Charity Buchika, interior design; Lan Co., site work; and interior hardwood and case goods by Artistry in Wood and Cab Fab.

Fernandez’s step-father, Norman Swanson founded the business in 1978. The Woodbine Group breathes new life into abandoned buildings like elementary schools, abandoned Jewish temples and former medical arts’ buildings through adaptive reuse projects.

“As my step-father says he finds ‘orphans’ and then breathes new life into them,” Fernandez explained. “That’s our business model. We are very sustainable. We have a very environmentally centric way of developing…”

Rather than tear down old buildings and start from the ground up, Fernandez said his family feels it’s necessary to revitalize this area of the country to bring new growth.

“There are some amaTailwater 3zing buildings that have been abandoned and we choose to embrace that history and show what the northeast has to offer.”

The renovation of the building was more of a facelift with changes and updates made to the façade and the reappointment of space. Contractors were also able to utilize the majority of the windows and interior doors. Reclaimed timber conjures a “lodgey” feel, but don’t let the word “lodge” fool you. The Tailwater offers 42 guest rooms with unparalleled comfort and style and is one of two Orvis endorsed lodges in New York State.

“The large doors into the foyer, bar, birch walls, front desk pods were all reclaimed timber,” Fernandez says. “I think the restaurant and bar really stand out. Walking in and seeing the painting by Bob Ripley across the wall really brings the ‘lodginess” of the Tailwater out.”

Pulaski 2015 Rosangela Freitas
Rosangela Freitas, Trout Unlimited member, casts into the frigid water of the Salmon River in Altmar, NY.

Following an afternoon of fly fishing in the Salmon River, or any year-round outdoor activity, the Tailwater’s rustic décor, superb gut-pleasing meals served in the former gymnasium, over-the-top comfortable mattresses, custom-made in upstate New York, and bathrooms with large shower units and plentiful hot water will beckon you to come inside.

A refrigerator, free high-speed wireless internet, flat-screen cable TV, and a hearty, complimentary hot breakfast will prepare you for a day of searching for fish in the surrounding waterways or snowmobiling on the C5A Trail groomed trail system. Guests can don their gear and find onsite direct access to the Salmon River only footsteps away and upon their return to the lodge, can rinse their gear in the wader wash area and then store them in the facility’s locker area.

Fernandez noted, “The Tailwater Lodge caters to individuals and groups looking to tailor their experience.”

For more information, visit tailwaterlodge.com.

Read about my fishing guide blog here.

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Fishing Fishing Destinations Fly Fishing Guide Services Fly Fishing Lodge Lifestyle New York State Fishing New York State outdoor recreation Orvis endorsed destinations Orvis endorsed fly fishing equipment Upstate New York

Family fly fishing fun

  • By
  • December 15, 2016

Family fishing fun in upstate NY. Are you fishing for fun family outdoor vacations?

The Salmon River and Tailwater Lodge

Nurturing a love for the outdoors

 

Family Fly Fishing Fun
Children don’t need fancy gear or expensive equipment to experience fly fishing. A rod, reel, bathing suit and a few flies are all Kento Matsui needed to fish in the Salmon River. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui

Plan one summer outdoor family getaway.  

What are your plans for summer vacation?

As the distance between New Year’s Day and the last day of school narrows, time passes in the blink of an eye, or so it seems. Early spring is the ideal time to begin planning family and pet-friendly excursions.

“We’re going where?”

What’s the best way to choose an outdoor-oriented vacation that’s suitable for every family member?

 

That’s simple. The “where shall we go on vacation?” conversation can begin with a brief mealtime discussion. Ask your kids and partner for suggestions. My first choice is typically fly fishing, but I know that’s not tops on my kids’ list of priorities, so incorporate hiking, a kayak or canoe trip, and swimming with fishing.

Nurture your love for the outdoors

Planning vacations that suit everyone’s needs is a challenge. When I arrange family trips, I look for destinations that offer opportunities to connect with nature. Teaching children to respect and ultimately preserve our natural resources requires time, diligence and patience. If we don’t encourage them to venture outdoors, how will they ever find that peace and oneness they can derive from a long hike, summer picnic, or time in the water?

Two years ago, while I was on an overnight fly fishing girlfriend getaway with my friend, Rosangela, I discovered the lush forests of the Upstate New York region, specifically Altmar and Pulaski. It was one of those adventures that can be difficult to describe to someone who doesn’t have a calling to fish or a fondness for the outdoors. One option is to set aside two or more days. The Tailwater Lodge, an upscale Orvis endorsed fishing resort in Altmar, NY, caters to year-round family activities. Their rooms are spacious and family-friendly and the on-site restaurant is particularly convenient and a hit with my kids.

If you’re not a fan of crowds, the best time for families to visit the Tailwater Lodge is from spring until summer’s end. Anglers flock in droves to the Salmon River from the fall through early spring in pursuit of the famed salmon and steelhead, respectively.

Not only will you find meticulously clean, first-class accommodations. The staff caters to its guests’ needs by offering a variety of services to make your visit more enjoyable. Forget about spending those precious hours worrying about what the kids will eat for breakfast or lunch. A complimentary full breakfast is included with each reservation and available each morning bright and early. With advanced notice and an additional charge, the staff will also prepare a picnic lunch for you to bring along on your adventure so you can get out on the water early.

I’m not suggesting this type of vacation is suitable for young children. My sons, for example, are older and are comfortable in the water. They’ve also had swimming lessons. Still, we kept a watchful eye on them and reminded them of the dangers of strong currents and slippery rocks. Water levels can rise quickly, depending on weather conditions and the amount of water released from upstream dams. Consult with the Tailwater Lodge concierge for updates and the best spots to fish.

Family Fly Fishing Fun
Not yet bored with fishing, Yoshi Matsui casts into the Salmon River with his Orvis rod and reel. I bought the combo not knowing if he would ever agree to fish. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui

When the kids need a break, the water’s edge and the paths leading from the parking lots to the river can also serve as your outdoor science classroom. During our last trip, we observed a snake (from a safe distance) as it slithered along the shoreline and made its way into the water. Also, be sure to take note of the breathtaking scenery and a variety of indigenous waterfowl and other birds gliding across the sky. Stop for a moment to look for soaring Eagles and nests.

Family Fly Fishing Fun
Always practice safe wading and supervise your children. Water can rise quickly and without warning and some ledges can be steep. Ask about water levels and releases from upstream dams before leaving the lodge.

Be sure to wear a sturdy pair of closed-toe shoes and knee-high socks (or waders) to protect your feet and legs from the insidious poison ivy that grows freely throughout the forests. You might catch a fish (catch and release) but you definitely do not want to bring home blistering and oozing sores from the poison ivy that lines the trails.

Family Fly Fishing Fun
Yoshi Matsui is shown after casting his fly line into the Salmon River. 
Fishing licenses are required for persons 16 and older. Learn more about fees and regulations here at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website.

Salmon River

Family Fly Fishing Fun
Photo courtesy of New York State Department of Conservation

Above all, this post is intended to pique your interest in fishing and provide alternative family vacation ideas. While my second trip to the Tailwater Lodge was sponsored, I returned there with my family because I was so impressed with the accommodations and wanted my family to experience the lodge and the Salmon River.

The Salmon River community thanks you in advance for protecting and helping to preserve the region’s natural resources. Follow all rules and practice catch and release.

 

The Tailwater Lodge is located 52 Pulaski Street, Altmar NY 13302. For more information, follow this link.

Please note my trip to the Tailwater Lodge was comped, but my opinions are my own.


If you’d like to purchase Orvis products prior to your trip, follow this link: Orvis

I will receive a commission from Orvis at no cost to you if you choose to purchase an item using this link.

 

 

 

 

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Fishing

Salmon River fishing with Rosangela Freitas

  • By
  • December 20, 2015
fishing

Fly Girls’ Fishing Adventure

Why would anyone want to wade knee-deep in frigid water on a cold November day?

Salmon River Fishing with Rosangela Freitas 

As my friend and fellow Lackawanna Valley Trout Unlimited fishing buddy, Rosangela Freitas said, fly fishing is a year round sport. You can fly fish somewhere in the world throughout the year. It’s also an opportunity to reconnect with the outdoors. The world can seem a lot less stressful when you’re listening to the splash of the rifles and contemplating where a trout might be hiding.

In late November 2015, Rosangela and I traveled to Altmar in upstate New York to try our hands at steelhead fishing in the Salmon River. We enjoyed two eventful days of fly fishing. Anglers flock to the river, which stretches for 17 miles through Oswego County, New York, in pursuit of the coveted steelhead, an anadromous strain of rainbow trout that migrates from salt water to spawn in fresh water. Chinook salmon are king in the fall, but by October, the Steelhead also begin to enter the rivers and streams to feed on the salmon eggs from the spawning salmon.

Rosangela made the arrangements for our overnight stay at the Tailwater Lodge and also booked two half-day guided sessions with Mike DeRosa, owner of Zero Limit Adventures, Tailwater Orvis-endorsed river guide concierge, and head guide for corporate events at the Douglaston Salmon Run. Mike is a graduate of the Wulff School of Fly Fishing and Fly Casting Instructors Course and has fished extensively throughout the United States, parts of Canada and many other destinations throughout the world.

Mike has built his business on his love for the outdoors and an affinity for fly fishing. Read his website and you’ll find his pledge to do everything to the best of his ability to put you in front of fish and ensure you have the adventure of a lifetime.

That’s his motto and he delivers.

On our first day, Mike arrived at the Tailwater ready and eager to fish. He provided transportation to the Douglaston Salmon Run, a two-and-a-half-mile stretch of private, world-class catch and release sports fishing at the lower end of the Salmon River. His vehicle was well-stocked with top-notch fly fishing equipment, a variety of flies, snacks, and beverages, and with advanced notice, he’ll also provide lunch for his customers, which is something folks planning a trip to the Tailwater should keep in mind.

fishing
Rosangela Freitas practices two-handed casting during a November 2015 trip to Altmar, NY.

Despite a drop in temperature to around 30 degrees, Rosangela and I managed to remain in the cold water long enough for Mike to teach us the fundamentals of two-handed casting. Selecting flies the fish were taking was a priority for Mike and he changed them often. Silver and black Raider Buggers, a variety of smaller egg patterns and some stoneflies were among the flies he had on hand.

We began our second session mid-morning on Monday on a stretch in the Lower Fly Zone near the bridge in Altmar. We fished from the shore into swift moving water and saw steelhead and salmon drift by. Unfortunately, reeling in a steelhead was not in the cards for us during that trip, but the skills Mike taught set the stage for future adventures on the Salmon River.

To learn more about guide services available through the Tailwater Lodge, click here.

 

Pulaski 2015

 

 

 

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