Here is another in our continuing series of articles about things going on around Rochester.

Fall and salmon fishing in Lake Ontario have always gone hand-in-hand for the many anglers living in the Flower City. Unfortunately, thanks in no small part to the unseasonable and downright strange end to the summer, the salmon have yet to make their way into Lake Ontario or its many tributaries in any meaningful volume.

The trouble is linked to the extended visit from the polar vortex last winter and its early arrival in late summer of this year. The cold, eternal vortex that helps give the north its reputation as a frigid landscape is expanding south early this year. When the cold winds collide with the last thermal breezes of summer, the reaction is initially violent, as we’ve seen demonstrated in the storms of the last few weeks. Following this initial reaction, the temperature thaws, leading into an autumn that feels a bit too early.

Schizophrenic Weather Leads to Salmon Confusion

The bouncing back and forth between warm and cool weather has led to a population of salmon that is unsure when it should be moving. According to a recent report from, Lake Ontario and its many tributaries are typically stuffed to the gills by September 20 with spawning salmon. The showing so far has been meager at best.

Typically, changes in water temperature from warm to cool serve as the stimulus the salmon need to get moving. However, Tonawanda News notes that because of the harsh winter we had last year, the Great Lakes remained relatively cool throughout the year. In other words, any downward shift in water temperature this year will be comparatively slight, and that’s likely the cause of the late start.

Still, local wildlife officials believe that the region will soon be flush with the tardy fish. Some big fish have already been spotted throughout the region, and although none have been reported to be anywhere near the world record 97-pound king salmon that was pulled out of Alaska’s famed Kenai River in the mid-80s in size, those seen so far are large enough to indicate there is a thriving salmon population waiting to make its appearance; it’s just a question of when.