Whether you’ve just picked it up or you already are a professional angler, one thing is for sure – fishing is a great activity you can enjoy on your own or with your best friends and family members. It will help you build up patience and improve your surviving skills. Not to mention it provides the perfect opportunity for a cold beer with your buddies and spending quality time in nature.
If you plan on improving your fishing skills by trying to catch salmon, you’re in luck. All you’ll need is the proper fishing bait, your gear, and our top tips on how to easily bring home some fish for cooking.
Salmon is one of the few species of fish that can thrive in both saltwater and freshwater. They usually hatch from their eggs in freshwater, travel to the ocean, and come back in freshwater to spawn.
Prepare for the trip
The first and most important tip is to actually have all the gear and tools you require with you before going on the fishing trip. Make sure you bring in an extra pair of fishing boots and also have a lightweight and comfortable fishing hat that will keep you away from harmful sun rays during the day.
Since salmon prefers deep waters, you’ll most likely need a boat or a kayak to go into the deep. Bring enough provisions with you, as well as drinking water and some extra cold beers to keep you company. Don’t forget your line, bait, rod, and rig either. You are going to need all of them.
Choose your hooks wisely
Salmon is a big fish that can weigh anywhere between 5 pounds and 126 pounds, perhaps even more, depending on the species. Therefore, it has a tough and thick jawline so not all hooks will work.
If you want to increase your chances of catching salmon, make sure your hooks are razor sharp. Dull ones won’t penetrate the skin so you’ll most likely hurt the fish without actually catching it, even if it bites.
What kind of bait should you use?
You have probably heard that the most successful type of bait to use on salmon is roe or eggs, but why limit yourself to them? There are many other baits suitable for catching salmon, so it is up to you to find the right one for you.
Most experienced anglers choose the cut bait which is a strip of fish, usually a smelt or a herring. Flashtrap spinners or “spoons” (artificial lures that mimic the natural movement of fish) are also useful. However, we suggest leaving the latter to professional anglers.
Salmon usually swims in low lighting conditions in deep waters, so catching its attention could prove a difficult task. Therefore, you might want to try to attach something flashy to your bait to make sure the salmon sees it from a distance.
Crossing the red line
Opting for flashy colors when it comes to the line could prove beneficial for your fishing skills. It is scientifically proven that the color red dissipates in waters deeper than 15 feet. Therefore, it is invisible to fish and, when attached to a bait, will help you catch salmon faster and easier.
Unfortunately, this little trick doesn’t work with the sockeye salmon species as it can see the red color.
Color me pretty
As we previously mentioned, certain bright colors completely disappear in deeper waters. While this is great for lines, it isn’t good news for your lures.
Try to stay away from yellow, red or orange as they are harder for fish to spot in waters deeper than 50 feet. Instead, you should opt for purple, glow or UV lures that stand out even in the darkest waters and help you catch big salmon in no time.
Where to fish
The good news is that salmon can be found in any type of water, shallow or deep, salt or fresh. If you’re not a professional angler or don’t have a boat, you can stick to the shores and try your luck in shallow waters. Chum, pinks, and coho salmon are notorious for feeding on the surface, so you shouldn’t cast your bait deeper than 20 feet.
On the other hand, fish that prefers feeding near the surface is also easy to spook by the engine of the boat or high noises. We suggest choosing a lightweight boat that doesn’t make too much noise or even a kayak or a regular boat with paddles. For best results, try going at least 100 feet away from the shore in freshwater and even further in saltwater.
Waiting for the big catch of salmon also depends on weather conditions and the temperatures outside. Although you can pretty much fish salmon all year-round, the best time for it is from early spring to late fall. As for the weather, cloudy skies and high levels of water give you the biggest chances to fish salmon.
However, it takes time to properly read the weather signs and be ready to fish wherever the salmon is.
Don’t be consistent
Unlike other species of fish, salmon hates boredom and consistency, so you have to be innovative to catch it. Their tastes change each season, so what may have worked a couple of years ago may not bring you the salmon catch you are expecting this season.
So what can you do? Don’t keep your lure in the same spot or at a certain depth for too long. Be flexible and move your rod and reel every once in a while. A small change in speed or depth may also trigger your fish and help you catch it faster.