Salmon are one of the most popular fishes world-wide, both for eating, and sport-fishing. While there are many different species in U.S. waters (most of which are in the Pacific Ocean), there are some generalities. With the exception of the few landlocked species (Kokanee, Landlocked Chinook, Landlocked Coho, and Landlocked Atlantic), Salmon are saltwater fish that are born in freshwater, then live out their lives in the ocean. When they are ready to spawn, they return to the exact stream they were born in, spawn, and die. On the Atlantic coast, there is one species, the Atlantic Salmon. On the west coast, there are Chinook (King), Sockeye, Chum, Coho, and Pink Salmon. Sometimes Steelhead are also included in the list, but this is incorrect. A Steelhead, while having a similar lifestyle to salmon, is actually a sub-species of Rainbow trout. Salmon can be fished for in both saltwater, and freshwater.
Freshwater fishing for salmon involves catching them on their spawning runs upriver, and timing is critical. The spawning runs can be as short as a week, so you need to be on the water at the right time. The other way to catch them in freshwater is to fish in a lake that has the landlocked species in it. In saltwater, salmon form large schools, and can be caught by many methods, with trolling being the most popular. Wherever you find them, salmon can be caught relatively easy if you learn a few salmon fishing tips in advance:
- One of the best ways to catch salmon in both fresh and saltwater is trolling with umbrella, or spider rigs, using planers. The planers take your lures out away from the boat's noise and shadow, and results in more strikes.
- A great technique for actively feeding salmon is Mooching. A Mooching rig is a 2-4 oz. banana weight with a leader going to a hook baited with a plug-cut herring or anchovy. With the boat moving or drifting slowly, just drop the bait all the way to the bottom, then slowly reel it up to within a few feet of the surface, drop it back down and repeat the process. This is very good when salmon are deep, around 100-300 feet.
- Casting and drift fishing are good techniques for Coho Salmon. Some of the best lures are the Daredevil in Red & White, and 5 of Diamonds patterns, banana jigs, and larger Mepps spinners.
- To locate schools of actively feeding salmon, look for bait-fish. Bait-fish usually congregate around structures such as narrow cuts, back eddies behind islands, areas of restricted tidal flow, and rock-piles.
By using these salmon fishing tips, you'll be better able to locate, and boat more salmon for your time on the water.
Salmon Fishing Tips