This week saw the season's first significant action on the Salmon River.

Although the areas surrounding the Salmon River in upstate New York were spared the deluge of rainfall delivered to other parts of the state by the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee, several inches of much needed rain did fall. Combined with an brief increase in flow from the dam by Brookfield Power, during this past week, the Salmon River saw its first significant numbers of salmon entering the river. Reports from the lower river on Wednesday and Thursday included word of large groups of kings and cohos moving through.

As is customary, the arrival of salmon brought an onslaught of fisherman of various "styles", followed almost immediately by internet forums set ablaze with observations on the state of sportsmanship on the Salmon River. Rebukes regarding the "lining" and "snagging" of salmon were countered by accusations of elitism and thick headedness, and for a while it all flowed as freely as the river did during it's brief uptick.

Programs related to ranch lands and farm lands are some of the most affected.

The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved a 2012 funding bill that includes a staggering $726 million in cuts to federal conservation programs. Many important programs which focus on habitat protection, soil quality and water quality received damaging budget cuts. In some cases, programs were eliminated entirely. These recent cuts are of particular importance to fisherman and other sportsmen, as many of the damaged or eliminated programs were designed not only to protect habitat but to provide and encourage fishing, hunting and other recreational activities.

While the House version of the 2012 spending bill would cut programs more sharply, by 19%, the Senate bill cuts conservation programs by 12%. Important habitat protection programs such as wetlands protection were cut by 29%. According to the National Wildlife Federation, funding for the Voluntary Public Access program is cut entirely.

As part of a continuation of our '20 Questions' series, following is our interview with Jim Plante -- guide on the Housatonic and Farmington Rivers in Connecticut. To learn more about Jim, including links to his blog, check out his profile.

Hatch Magazine: What's the first fish you can remember catching? Tell us about it.

Jim Plante: I remember my very first trout on a fly rod. Was on the Salmon River in CT. I was actually fishing a small tributary of the river with a Mickey Finn. Nice little brook trout. At that very moment, is when this became an obsession. I'll never forget it.

HM: What's your favorite piece of gear at the moment?

Current Precip from Tropical Storm Lee

Fisherman across the Northeast United States can expect a continuation of high, often blowout water conditions. After many streams had just begun to return to traditionally considered fishable levels, the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee are slated to bring significant amounts of rain to many of these water bodies. The storm system has most recently dropped over 12 inches of rain on parts Tennessee, and areas of central Pennsylvania and New York are expected to over 10 inches in certain locations.

Current Precip from Tropical Storm Lee
Latest precipitation totals from former Tropical Storm Lee.

The remnants of Lee are currently centered approximately 60 miles northwest of Atlanta. While precipitation totals are currently tapering off, the NWS expects precipitation potential to increase as Lee continues to absorb tropical moisture streaming northward ahead of the storm's track.With dozens of rivers already at or near flood stage, many regions are at risk for additional flooding. The National Weather Service has placed the majority of counties in NY and PA under flood watch through Thursday evening.

Ambush 375s reading for boxing and shipping.

If you're one of the many hardcore , your wait is over. Cheeky announced that their Ambush 375 reels are being boxed and shipping out today. The Ambush 375 is a freshwater reel designed for line sizes 5 through 7, which holds up to 200 yards of Dacron backing while weighing in at only 5 ounces. It features Cheeky's KarbonEVO sealed disc drag system, built from Formula 1 racing components.

If the whole "built from Formula 1 racing components" thing didn't clue you in, Cheeky reels don't come cheap, but fans swear by them. The Ambush 375 retails for $640, with spools clocking in at half that price. Pre-orders are still available via Cheeky's site, but there's no word on whether the currently shipping stock only fills pre-orders or leaves enough for newcomers to buy the Ambush and have it ship relatively quickly.