Pointers help in salmon search

Posted: Saturday, May 27, 2000

You don't need to take a college course to learn how to fish for salmon, but you should at least become familiar with the following pointers before you head out to the river.

In addition, watch what other anglers are doing and ask for their advice.


Line is the most important component of your tackle, so buy the best you can afford. For king salmon, use 20- to 30-pound-test.

For other salmon, 15- to 20-pound usually is adequate. Most anglers use nylon mono-filament for salmon fishing.

If your line breaks, your knots may be weakening it or slipping under stress. Learn to tie the Trilene or Palomar knot. Written instructions for tying these knots are usually included in a box of new line.

Use sharp hooks. Hooks with "needle" points are sharp when new, but others may require sharpening with a file or stone. A sharp hook will scratch your thumbnail when lightly dragged across it.

Fishing technique

When salmon enter streams to spawn, they stay on the bottom most of the time. If your lure or bait isn't near the bottom, you're not fishing.

Don't forget to set the hook. A salmon's mouth is hard and bony. Set the hook with a hard, upward jerk of the rod.

Try to get downstream from the fish. It will likely swim away from you (upstream) and quickly tire.

Landing the fish

Don't try to pull in a salmon too soon. Let it wear itself out by fighting against the bend of your rod and the drag of your reel. Maintain a tight line at all times.

When the fish is tired and begins to come toward you, pull it in with a pumping action of the rod. Reel only when you lower the rod. Don't allow the line to go slack.

Fishing etiquette

When you hook a fish, yell "fish on!" This alerts other anglers to reel in and step back out of your way.

When fishing, please remember to be gentle with the river banks. Walking or standing on fragile banks speeds erosion and destroys the habitat needed by rearing juvenile salmon.

Instead of standing or walking on vegetation, find a fishing spot in the water, on a gravel bar, on a boardwalk or in a boat.

Your care and respect are needed to ensure salmon will be here in the future.

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