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Salmon Fishing

SalmonThere are seven species of salmon. The Atlantic salmon thrives in the Atlantic Ocean while the remaining six species – Chinook or king salmon, humpback, Coho, chum, cherry and sockeye-   live in the Pacific Ocean.  The cherry or masu salmon is in Asia.  The land-locked salmon is a non-migratory Atlantic salmon.

Salmon are anadromous. Spawned and fertilized thousands of miles upstream, salmon smolts migrate to the sea two years later where they grow into adult salmon and live for up to five years.  After their years in the open sea the salmon inevitably goes back to their “place of birth” to spawn and die right after. It cannot be explained how salmon know which river they were hatched and  there is nothing that could stop the salmon on its run from the sea.   King salmon (Chinook) that were tagged and tracked were able to travel 2,000 miles in 60 days. Waterfalls that seem impassable are leapt by the salmon.  It seems that only manmade barrier can stop a salmon migration.The yearly “salmon run” is a much-awaited event by avid anglers and natural predators.   Though there are hundreds of thousands of salmon swimming upstream, none will feed.  Why? Once salmon have entered the river, they stop eating and just live on their body fat.

fishing1Salmon Fishing Tips

It is quite a challenge to catch salmon once they are in the river for they no longer eat anything. Salmon will bite bait or lure out of irritation and not out of hunger. Note that migrating salmon tend to swim near the bank.  In shallow water, salmon will maneuver themselves into dark cracks and gaps not moving for days as they wait for the river to rise.  It is therefore best to fish for salmon not more than 20 feet from the river bank.

Salmon have been observed to be most aggressive when entering a pool. It is best to fish the tail end of a pool where the salmon is less aggressive.

Remember that the fish are swimming upstream so that a fishing “hotspot” in the morning will not necessarily be as “hot” later or vice-versa. The coming and going of tide might also make a difference as salmon are “pushed-in” upriver.

Bait fishing is most effective when done at dusk or dawn in slow moving water.  Though worm as bait is good enough, there are states that allow the use of salmon roe as baits.

Lure fishing is best used in shallower and fast-moving water especially during the summer.  Cast the lure diagonally against the current and let it float lightly. Fly fishing is not for the novice.  A simple overhead cast takes a lot of practice to perfect.

The spring Chinook or king salmon starts an early migration in March. However, the major salmon run occurs in June to July so that by August to September, salmon fishing is at its peak.

fishing1Salmon Fishing Gear

The type of rod to be used depends on the type of fishing to be done. Jerkbait rods are perfect for bait fishing or plunking. A trout rod would do well for lure fishing.  A fly rod is of course the best choice for fly fishing.  Rods today are made powerful yet light and flexible.

A fixed-spool reel would bode well for a jerkbait rod and trout rod while a fly reel is of course best paired with a fly rod.  Lures, flies and baits are varied.  A 3 inch or 6 –inch spoon or a spinner could be used as lure. For flies, a big one is needed when the river is full and smaller one when the water is clear and shallow.

fishing1Where to Fish for Salmon

Spring Chinook or king salmon run is in mid-May in Little Susitna River near Anchorage, Alaska. The connecting rivers in the area have different species of salmon migrating from May until September. The Big Susitna Rivers has the world’s largest salmon run and its tributaries like Talkeetna River and Deshka River where it is possible to see the migration of five salmon species.  Alaska’s Bristol Bay had a record of 60 million salmon migrating in 1980.

The Columbia River, Willamette and Rogue Rivers and Tillamook Bay are the best spots to salmon fish in the state of Oregon and Washington. In Idaho, the best rivers for salmon fishing are in Salmon, Snake and Clearwater rivers. Pulaski, New York’s Salmon River has the best Atlantic salmon run.

The Fraser River in Vancouver, BC is in anticipation for its once-in-a-lifetime huge sockeye run.  Around 25 million sockeye are expected to brave the run on September 2010.