Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Summer draws to a close... (9/03/09 - 9/09/09)

The nights are cooler, the days are shorter, and the leaves are just starting to show their fall colors. Although the seasons have not yet officially changed, the passing of Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial end of the summer Eastern Lake Ontario Dune and Salmon River Steward season.

A fallen leaf in bold fall color...a sign of the changing seasons along the Salmon River. Photo by Chief Steward Greg Chapman.

For some Eastern Lake Ontario Dune and Salmon River Stewards, the time has come to head back to school and concentrate on their studies. Salmon River Stewards Jim Katz and Emily Freeman and Eastern Lake Ontario Dune Stewards Paul Dawson and Stacy Furgal worked their last days recently, and we wish them luck in their educational endeavors!

For some of us, this means a change of scenery as we switch from working at the Eastern Lake Ontario Dunes to new responsibilities along the Salmon River corridor as Pacific salmon spawning season gets underway.

Eastern Lake Ontario Dune-turned-River Steward Liz Wolff experienced her first day working on the Salmon River on Saturday. This past weekend was a white water release, and she was able to speak with a lot of kayakers and rafters from all over the state. A large group of 60 people were rafting down the river with a rafting outfitter from Letchworth State Park. She had the chance to listen in on some safety tips about rafting on the river which were really fascinating. Later in the day she talked with some anglers at Black Hole and Long Bridge, two popular fishing access sites in the village of Pulaski. Not many had luck catching fish but that will most likely change in the weeks to come when salmon season truly gets under way.

A view of the Salmon River near Compactor Pool. Photo by Chief Steward Greg Chapman.

For myself, Eastern Lake Ontario Dune-turned Salmon River Steward Greg Chapman, returning to the river feels like a homecoming. I worked as a Salmon River Steward last summer, fall and into the winter steelhead season.

There were many anglers catching Chinook salmon, which confirmed a report of a small run of fish that day. Although I saw very few paddlers and rafters taking advantage of the whitewater release, those I spoke with reported having no trouble sharing the river with the many anglers present.

A Chinook salmon caught on a streamer in the lower stretch of the Salmon River. Photo by Mary Penney, Steward Coordinator for New York Sea Grant.

Of course, Labor Day weekend, especially one as pleasant as we had this year, also brings many people to enjoy the beach at the Eastern Lake Ontario Dunes, some for perhaps the last time this season. Leaving SPB on Monday was slow-going, as I took time to say goodbye to many of the regular visitors that I've gotten to know this past summer.

Monarch butterfly on goldenrod at Sandy Pond Beach. Photo by Chief Steward Greg Chapman.

As her days drew to a close at Black Pond Wildlife Management Area, Liz took some time to do some end of the year maintenance including picking up litter and fixing the snow fencing in places where it was pushed down. Many families came out to enjoy the Labor Day weekend and say farewell to the beach area as summer turns to fall.

Pebbles in the water at Lakeview Wildlife Management Area. Photo by Dune Steward Liz Wolff.

Spiderwebs on cedar at Black Pond Wildlife Management Area. Photo by Dune Steward Liz Wolff.

We have all enjoyed our conversations with you, and hope that we will meet up with you again. For those of you that are looking for more adventures, we encourage you to venture out to the Salmon River corridor.

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