Simple Tips For Successfully Fly Fishing Salmon

With a total of  five species of salmon native to North America —  chinook (king), chum (dog), coho (silver), sockeye (red), and pink (humpy) salmon — salmon is one of the most popular fish to fish for. In particular, fly fishing salmon in either saltwater or freshwater is a fun challenge that requires both patience and skill. Using the right techniques and equipment is key for making  a catch worth bragging about.

Know where to look

Ideally, you want to talk with an experienced local or guide who can tell you the best places on the water to fly fish salmon. However, you can have fun learning to read the water yourself. You may sometimes find fish at every depth, while other locations feature salmon only at certain river flows. Look for salmon a few yards upstream after rapids begin; they typically rest in calmer waters after battling faster currents. Additionally, spring salmon tend to rest in depressions near submerged boulders. So, keep an eye out for turbulence on the surface of the water that may be caused by an underwater boulder, but remember this will be occurring slightly downstream from the obstruction itself. Shaded areas are also popular resting places for salmon during the day.

Use the right flies

Your choice of fly can help set you up for salmon fishing success.  Atlantic salmon flies, in particular, are specifically designed to make these elusive fish easier to catch. With experience, you’ll soon learn which salmon flies you prefer to use. For example, dry flies are the most commonly used fishing fly and the Wulff Bomber is one of the most popular flies for  salmon and steelhead dry fly fishing. It comes in a variety of colors and sizes to attract fish in both clear and murky water. Alternatively, Munro’s Killer is a classic choice used by salmon fishers around the world. It contains several colors (black, yellow, and orange) thought to increase its efficiency and lure salmon in any conditions.  

Try the wet-fly swing   

The wet-fly swing is an effective technique for catching even the most hesitant of salmon. It’s simple to do, lets you cover an impressive distance quickly, and gets the fly deep into the water where salmon reside. The wet-fly swing involves casting your fly across stream and mending your line upstream — this ensures the fly sinks deep. There’s no need to twitch the fly as it moves across the current. You’ll therefore need to use an adequately heavy sinking-tip line, which is capable of reaching the bottom. Once you’ve swung the fly, perform a small roll cast to lift the line up before casting it back out. If you want to go deeper, cast the fly further upstream. Unlike other techniques, the wet-fly swing can be successfully used in both high or cold water conditions.
Fly fishing for salmon is an exciting  challenge to set yourself this summer. Be sure to get the most out of your efforts by following these effective tips.

Four methods to catch salmon

Your salmon fishing technique depends a lot on the type of salmon you want to catch, the number of people you go fishing, and how many salmon you intend to catch. Be aware of the regulations that determine how many salmon you can take back home. One of the first things to check out with salmon fishing is to see if you’re fishing or not in a catch-and-release area.

Four methods to catch salmon

1.      Salmon fishing with a downrigger

One of the most efficient methods to fish for salmon from a boat is to use a downrigger. The downrigger lets you fish at big depths and offers you control with the release mechanism. It also ensures you the ability to carry more than one line at a time.

The downright is a complex tool that includes an arm-and-rod base acting as a holder. They are attached to a spool of wireline that you put in the water. The lead weight at the wire’s end will make the lure get deep in the water.

Depending on the water depth, you can choose a long or short arm; you will need a long arm if the water is more profound than 22ft. You also need to consider the physical exertion you’re willing to give, as there are both manual and electric ranks. Needless to say, the manual creek is cheap, easy to control, and you can move it from boat to boat. The electric alternative is more expensive and cannot be removed since attaching it to the boat’s battery. However, it’s easier to use than the manual crank and reaches fish quicker than the manual crank.

We suggest you also buy a fish finder—a sonar device that measures the location of salmon and the depth. You should always keep the line a few feet above the fish and seek that the line doesn’t catch on the bottom of the water.

2.      Lake salmon fishing

Unless you want to fish from a dock or ashore, you will need a boat to fish salmon in a lake. Most fishers prefer trolling as salmon lake fishing. You will fish from your boat while it keeps on moving. You start by rigging the line with lure or bait and continue with casting it into the water from the side or back of your boat. Make sure you have a slow speed when trolling so that the lure remains below the water’s surface. You can control the depth by changing the boat’s speed and speed to the lure to help the salmon bite.

Mature salmons in lakes are very large, so seek a solid and rugged line, rod, hooks, etc. Large fish like to group in deep waters, so don’t hesitate to use sinkers, downriggers, or divers to control the depth. Sinkers are small lead weights that you can tie to the line, whereas divers are large weights that will ease fishing at great depths. You can use divers and sinkers with all sorts of lures: plugs, bucktails, spoons, flashers, and even a tiny fish.

3.      Salmon fishing with planer boards

Planer boards are made of plastic, wood, or foam, and you shouldn’t use them in heavy currents. However, they’re great because you can use several lines on your boat simultaneously. As you space the lines out from the sides, the angles that the planer boards create will get you to cover a generous area of water for trolling. Trolling is a boating method to use in lakes.

When you go after your salmon with planer boards, you have to know where to attach the rods to the boat. You need to use a planer board that correlates with the side of the boat where the rod hangs from. It’s how you create various angles so that the lines don’t end up tangling in the water.

Continue with attaching the planer boards to the fishing lines. The planer board features a release clip that works as a pulley system to control the angle of the fishing line. When you use a plane board, seek to weigh the line so that the lure remains at the necessary depth. Attach every rod to the sides of your boat to spread the lines across the water.

Once the line is rigged and you start trolling, you need to watch the planer board and see if the fish bites the lure. If the planer board falls behind or bobs, your salmon has found the lure already. Stop your boat and start reeling in. After you reel in the planer board, you need to detach it and the weight from the line.

4.      Float fishing

When you don’t want to go over your head with salmon fishing, you should try it with float fishing. You only need a rod with a bait-casting reel or spinning, a lure/bait, and a bobber. It’s possible to do float fishing from a dock, a stationary boat, and a shoreline.

The bobber is the essential element of float fishing as it indicates if the fish has bitten the bait or not. Choose the height of the bobber according to the depth of the water you fish in. The bobber will float at the water’s surface and the remainder of the line will sink (with bait and hook), regardless of how far you cast out the bobber. Many anglers prefer using small sinkers when using bobbers for fishing to ensure that the bait sinks deep into the water.

After you cast the line, pay attention to the bobber to see when you have a bite. The bobber will bounce up and down or sway away side to side when the fish swims into it or nibbles on the bait. Don’t rush and wait until the bobber is submerged. You don’t want to scare the fish away from the bait in the area. Jerk the rod back to get the fish and reel it in after the bobber goes entirely underwater.

Even if float fishing might not get you large salmon, it lest you put bait wherever you think salmon is swimming. A popular method with float fishing is to cast the bait into areas of lilies and weeds, as you cannot use trolling in these areas. You will find the technique helpful with salmon and other species of fish.


Robert Dwayne

Robert Dwayne

To say that I am an outdoors enthusiast is probably an understatement. I am hyper passionate about everything outdoors: hiking, survival, hunting. On this website I am sharing my stories and experiences, and I hope you'll find inspiration to take up your own adventures!