After the rise of the Appalachian Plateau approximately 220 million years ago, the Salmon River and its tributaries were formed. The area drains approximately 280 square miles of forested, agricultural and rural residential lands on the western slopes of the Tug Hill Plateau and discharges into eastern Lake Ontario.
The greater Tug Hill, in which the Salmon River corridor is located, is a region where exceptionally good water quality exists due to an overall lack of impervious surface and high levels of forest cover. The region contains over 4000 miles of rivers and streams, 117,000 acres of wetlands and one of the largest intact forest blocks in the state. The abundance of water resources within the Tug Hill region is attributed, in part, to the 300-400 inches of precipitation that fall annually across the region. Lake effect precipitation delivers more than half of the annual precipitation and results in high seasonal variation of stream flow. Consequently, an abundance of water is available during most of the year to sustain the extensive wetland systems, high velocity streams and eroded gulfs of the region.
These natural resources lay the foundation for the outstanding water quality of the Salmon River; however, there are many agencies, parties and individuals hard at work to maintain the fragile balance that is the Salmon River. From the U.S. Department of Conservation and U.S. Forest Service, to local businesses and landowners, each have a fundamental role in preserving one of our nation’s most well preserved rivers while supporting their local economy and one of the heaviest sport fishing areas in the country.
According to the Salmon River angle survey, in Sept. through Nov. alone the river supported 96,456 angle trips totaling 655,706 angler hours. In order to balance this amount of fishing pressure, the New York DEC manages one of the most extensive fish stocking programs in the country at the Salmon River fish hatchery in Altmar, New York. Their efforts, help make the Salmon River able to support not only a world class fishery, but also a hatchery that is necessary for supplying all of the trout and salmon that are stocked into tributaries of Lake Erie ,the portion that borders New York, and all of Lake Ontario shoreline in New York State.