Best Bait for Salmon Fishing – Catch River & Ocean Salmon

Geoff Stadnyk in Baits & Lures on

Salmon! That red tasty fish that is well known for being omega rich, and heart healthy. Found on nearly every restaurant menu that offers fish, salmon leads the world in popularity among culinary artists. Salmon fishing is as popular a sport as it is a delicatessen. In its most basic form, there are really only 2 methods used when tempting Salmon to strike. Lures – which come in many various forms, are always a favorite of Salmon fishermen.

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The Best Salmon Bait

When it comes to actually using bait, it’s almost universally agreed that roe (fish eggs) works best. You can even use hotdogs as bait when fishing salmon and other fish.

Salmon fishermen also know the changing yearly behavior of this migratory species. Their fishing tactics or style such as drift fishing change with the season in accordance with Salmon location, and activity. Let’s continue to explore some of these proven practices, and get familiar with the best bait for Salmon.

Running Through the River for Salmon

pacific-salmonSalmon have to be one of the most incredible species of fish in the world. The impact Salmon have on the habitats of the territories they inhabit can be described as nothing short of astounding. Salmon start their lives born in river beds. It’s the exact same place they return at the end of their lives to breed and lay more eggs. Salmon spend the majority of their lives in the ocean, where they migrate to after birth. They are one of the few species of fish that are able to adapt from freshwater to saltwater breathing.

Just before the fall months, mature Salmon will travel from the ocean and gather, often to the exact same river mouth they came from. When the fish sense the time is right, they will leave the ocean and head back upstream to the place they were born. It is there that they breed, and lay their eggs for future generations of life. After the cold of winter, and as the eggs hatch, new young Salmon begin the journey down stream to the ocean where they will spend most of their lives.

Throughout this annual cycle of Salmon migration, they provide immense resources to nearly every animal that coexists in the surrounding wilderness. Bears, otters, osprey, and eagles depend on them for food. In the ocean, Salmon are hunted by sharks, sea lions, seals, among other creatures. Salmon as we know are also hunted by us. Human fishermen have been stalking salmon for ages. In today’s world, salmon fishing techniques have been refined. Let’s take a look at a few that work, plus where and when they apply.

The Best Bait for Salmon in the Ocean

As Salmon gather in the ocean before the bays, river mouths, and estuaries they originated from, many fisherman try their skill from the rocks of jetties. You’ll see some casting off of docks that jut out just before the river. It’s a short period of time to fish Salmon this way, lasting possibly 2 weeks to a month. During the majority of the summer months, fishermen must take to their water craft to hook these treasured fish.

One of the most accepted ways to fish salmon in the ocean is by trolling. This technique uses a lure slowly pulled behind your boat. Another technique uses dead bait that is rigged to have a live swimming action as it is dragged behind the boat. Salmon are highly sensitive to vibrations in the water. Fishermen stand their best chance of catching salmon by using a set up that disturbs the water as it travels. This often attracts the Salmon when sight or smell don’t do the trick.

Being on the ocean can be exhilarating, and is my personal favorite way to fish. Ocean fish, including Salmon at this period of their life, tend to be strong and full of fight. For the angler that is new to ocean fishing, I highly recommend going on a short outing to start. Sea sickness can ruin any fishing experience. Prepare yourself with over the counter preventative medicine if need be. But give the ocean a chance. There is nothing else quite like it.

Putting the Wood to River Salmon

During the fall months, many fishermen take to the rivers in search of trophy Coho, Steel head, or King Salmon. Fishing on the river or stream offers several different options. Anglers can approach by land, or take to the water by boat, using your favorite boat rental company would be the quickest method here. The techniques employed can vary from lure fishing, to the use of roe as bait. It can be done by trolling the boat, or retrieving the lure. Baited hooks can also be cast and left as offering to the passing Salmon, by land or by craft. Catch some river set up suggestions at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Fishing lures from the river shore involves the act of casting out, and upstream. Let the lure sink to your desired depth, then slowly retrieve your line. Again, vibrating jigs often get better results. This same technique can be done by dropping boat anchor anywhere along the river you’d like to fish. Move on, and try another spot if no action is found.

Another style that can be employed by bank or boat is called plunking. Plunking involves the use of either roe as bait, or a lure. The idea here is to use weight that will fix your rig in a desired spot on the river. You then wait till a wandering Salmon takes the bait. However your chosen method of Salmon fishing tends to be, some things are for certain. Wild caught fresh salmon makes an incredible meal, and many of these fish can provide a few such feasts. Salmon can get big, especially the King (or Chinook) species, and can put up quite the battle. They have tough mouths, and require sharp sturdy hooks to set in their jaw. The locations in Eastern or Western North America where these fish are found feature some of the most beautiful landscape in the world.

You might also want to check this article about how to pass a fishing boat.

Salmon Fishing around the World

Pacific Salmon species are native to the northwestern United States, Canada, and Russia. Atlantic Salmon are native to the northeastern United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Pacific Salmon have also been placed and populated in water systems of Japan, Chile, New Zealand, and South Korea. Atlantic salmon can likewise be caught in Argentina, Falkland Islands, throughout the U.K. And many surrounding countries.

Salmon fishing lies at the top of many a fishermen’s bucket list, and many a fisherman’s photo journal. The best bait for Salmon fishing can come down to individual preference. The fish are tracked from land to sea, but the journey is beautiful and the bounty is worth it.

Geoff Stadnyk

Geoff started fishing as a child in the gorgeous lakes of Mammoth, while on family vacations. His fishing experience includes the use of fly rod and reel. Guided trips along the Madison and Gallatin rivers in Montana, the Frying Pan and Animus in Colorado, and the Deschutes river in Oregon have all paid off and helped make Geoff the angler and writer that he is today.

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