Salmon fishing 101

Posted: Friday, February 09, 2007

New to salmon fishing? These tips will help you choose appropriate gear and get started.

· Line is very important. Use premium monofilament, such as Maxima or Ande Tournament. Use 12- to 20-pound-test for all salmon except Kenai kings, for which you’ll want 25- to 30-pound.

· At a minimum, know how to tie the Palomar and Trilene knots. For fishing with roe, you’ll need the Egg-Loop knot. Tide books have knot-tying instructions.

· Buy hooks that are sharp “right out of the box,” such as Gamakatsu.

· Your reel should have a smooth-operating drag and a line capacity of at least 150 yards. Beginners have fewer problems with spinning reels than with baitcasters. The 7-foot, medium action, Model SPL1100 Shakespeare Ugly Stik, rated for 6- to 15-pound line, is a tough, inexpensive rod that will handle most salmon. Kenai kings require more rod, say, a “heavy” action 8 1/2-footer.

· For kings and silvers, try spinners and spoons in nickel and chartreuse, or nickel and flame-orange. For reds, try coho flies. Local stores have bait and pre-tied bait-fishing rigs.

· Drift fishing is a good way to fish for salmon from the bank. Cast slightly upstream from straight across. You should feel your sinker or lure bumping along the bottom as the current carries it downstream. When you no longer feel bottom, reel in and cast again. If you don’t feel any bumping, try a heavier sinker or lure. If it stops moving, set the hook with a hard, fast upward sweep of the rod.

· For information and brochures, visit the Soldotna offices of the Department of Fish and Game, at 43961 Kalifornsky Beach Road. Or, call 262-2737 to hear the recording on the 24-hour fisheries information line.

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