River fishing for salmon made easy

Posted: Saturday, April 20, 2002

New to salmon fishing in streams?

Following are tips that will help put fish in the cooler.

Rods, reels and line

Match your rod, reel and line to the fish and buy the best you can afford. Either a spinning or bait-casting outfit will do.

Spinning outfits make casting easier for beginners. The reel should hold at least 150 yards of line and have a good drag.

An 8 1/2-foot, graphite-composition rod is a good tool for all salmon. A rod rated for 12- to 25-pound-test lines would be a good choice.

Reliable fishing line is key to success. Buy a premium monofilament line. Twenty-pound-test is adequate for king salmon, except in the Kenai River, where 25-pound is a better choice.

For all other species and waters, 12 to 15 pound will do the job.


Beginners often tie knots that break or pull loose. The Palomar and the Trilene are proven salmon-fishing knots.

If you fish with bait, the Egg Loop knot will help hold cured roe on the hook.

Various publications illustrate how to tie these knots. Ask at a local tackle shop.


A tackle shop is a good source of up-to-date fishing information. People who work in these shops love to talk about fishing.

On the water is another place to ask questions. Most anglers are helpful, so don't be afraid to ask.

Location, location, location

Salmon in streams are usually found on the bottom. Whatever technique you're using, its vitally important to keep your bait or lure just above the bottom. If you're getting hung up on the bottom a lot, try using slightly less weight.

In the pink

In even-numbered years -- like 2002 -- large numbers of pink salmon migrate up the Kenai River between late July and mid-August.

The smallest of the Pacific salmon, these feisty fish weigh about 4 pounds and are fun to catch on light tackle. They will bite most any small lure.

Pinks are many an angler's "first fish," and are a great way to get kids excited about fishing.

Pinks are excellent eating, especially if caught in the lower portion of the river, say, downstream from the Sterling Highway bridge in Soldotna. Their fine-textured flesh is very "unfishy" tasting, more like that of a rainbow trout than a salmon.

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